All-gospel radio station in Kinston, NC

Ella Crutchfield, general manager of WLNR 1230 AM in Kinston, reads church announcements on the air Thursday. The station opened in February.

Kinston has a new radio station — WLNR 1230 AM — featuring gospel music and ministry shows.

The station took to the air on Feb. 25 with programming by General Manager and CEO Ella Crutchfield, who is Pastor of Greater Church of Love in Kenly. Crutchfield, a Kenly native, began her radio career 24 years ago at a gospel station in Wilson. She started out as a secretary and learned how to operate the on-air mixing board. “And I just fell in love with radio,” she said.

Prior to radio, Crutchfield had a career at Wilson County Schools, where she worked as a custodian, bus driver and teacher’s assistant. When an opening came up at the Wilson station, she made a career change. “I said, ‘You know, it might be something I’d be interested in,’ ” Crutchfield said. She stayed with the station until it closed in December 2011.

Crutchfield has been looking for an opportunity to get back into radio until recently, when she discovered WLNR in Kinston, a sister station of the Wilson station. “I was praying and asking the Lord for something in radio,” she said. She and three employees now operate the 1223 West New Bern Road station.

“I’m here to stay,” Crutchfield said, “until the Lord says something different, and our plan is to keep it gospel.” It’s the only all-gospel station in Kinston. The only other city radio broadcast is WELS on Queen Street that plays contemporary Christian and classic hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

He said part of the problem he has faced is lack of technological advances by the FCC and competition by FM channels and Internet radio. The Kinston station, Rodriguez said, is operating on a trial basis. “We are really going to try and make it work with the gospel station,” he said.

Connor Media took out a license for at least as far back as 1980. The station was once known as WISP 1230 AM and played popular music at least as far back as the 1950s. It was an all-sports station in the early 2000s.

Crutchfield said she plans to broadcast church choirs and ministry talk shows, as well as gospel music. In the works is a program about a battered women’s shelter. She also plans to have live call-in shows. The on- or off-air call-in line is 252-522-4501.

The station is seeking ministries’ programming. For information, call 252-522-9567. Business hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

© 2013 WLNR-1230-AM
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