One Thing Brought to Life
Family Life Radio’s History is Born from Intentionality
God-given goals can make a difference in your life and, potentially, the lives of thousands of others. It all starts with determining and doing One Thing each day over time to make lasting change.
For Warren Bolthouse and his wife Char, that One Thing was a desire to bring Christ-centered Christian radio to their community of Jackson, Michigan, back in the 1960s. This was a time when Christian programming was relegated to a few hours of Sunday morning airtime on secular stations.
In 1961, Warren began producing “Teen Time,” a half-hour program produced in the basement studio of Warren and Char’s home on Jericho Road. The program aired Sunday mornings on WIBM. Later, he started the “Happy Day Express” program for pre-teens and began producing 20 hours of weekly programming for broadcast on WIBM.
In April 1966, Warren launched the Family Radio Evangelistic Corporation which would ultimately become Family Life Radio. Broadcast time on WIBM expanded to 12 hours each day from Warren’s basement studio.
Times of Trial
In December of that year, a lightning storm torched the station transmitter knocking Christian radio off the air for eight months. During that time, Warren and Char almost lost their home. Warren considered returning to pastoral work, but Char encouraged him to persevere. Ultimately, the transmitter was repaired and they went back on the air in August 1967.
Warren then formed a Board of Directors for oversight and protection of the Family Radio Evangelistic Corporation. And in December 1968, he held a fundraiser to gain $24,000 to purchase WUNN in Mason, Michigan. January 12, 1969, marked the first day of broadcasting on the ministry’s first owned and operated station.
Building & Expansion
After changing its name to the Family Life Broadcasting System, two more Michigan stations were purchased in 1971 and 1973.
“Sometimes I wonder, ‘What if we’d just stopped with three stations and said we’ve got enough work’,” Warren said. “But we didn’t stop there because the Lord continued to expand the vision. Once we had a station or two going, we knew how to do it, so why stop?”
Family Life Radio expanded west with stations in Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona, in the late 1970s. A few years later, Family Life Radio’s ministry headquarters was moved to Tucson, followed by more station purchases in Albuquerque, Detroit and West Texas.
A Growing Network
Today, the network boasts 21 full power stations and 18 translators covering 11 states with a broadcast reach of more than 15 million listeners.
“Warren and Char [established] early on that we were going to be built upon God’s Word, built upon prayer, and build upon integrity,” said Dr. Randy Carlson, President of Family Life Communications. “Those [values] were set and stay firmly in place today.”
The life-changing music and Biblical teaching you hear on Family Life Radio are due in large part to the commitment Warren and Char made 50 years ago. Their One Thing has grown to an expanding network of Christian radio stations stretching coast to coast, reaching millions of people with music and programs that declare Christ and help listeners live intentionally.
God has been faithful to take One Thing and multiply. He’s done more than anyone could ever ask or imagine through His ministry at Family Life Radio.