As the crazy year of 2020 comes to an end, I am grateful to be celebrating another milestone. December is my 40th year as a broadcaster. The time has whizzed by. Immediately after graduating from broadcasting college in 1980, I landed a radio gig as a staff announcer at WTOO FM in Bellefontaine, Ohio – now 98.3 WPKO. Other stations I’ve worked for include WCOM FM, Urbana, WAZU FM, and WIZE AM, both in Springfield. I have done just about everything from part time announcer, to account executive, to station president / general manager of WULM AM, which was owned by Urban Light Ministries. I’ve even dabbled in cable television by hosting a weekly show called Crossing Over. It has been quite a ride!
Within the last two decades, my focus turned to writing and hosting a weekly two-hour gospel music and inspiration show. For many years, Urban Light Radio aired on the former CDR Radio Network. CDR’s group of around a dozen radio stations was owned and operated by Cedarville University. The final iteration of that endeavor is Hot Gospel 20 with Eli Williams (HG20). Traditional terrestrial and Internet radio stations in various parts of the world carry the two-hour gospel music countdown. The podcast of the weekly show is downloaded many tens of thousands of times.
Radio Has Changed – A Lot!
In the forty years that have passed, I have witnessed an incredible transformation of the broadcast industry. From painstakingly editing magnetic tape by hand with a razor blade, to cutting and pasting digital files in seconds… the revolution has been astonishing. I can now produce a two-hour, broadcast quality music show with a laptop and USB microphone. It used to take nearly a roomful of equipment and many hours to achieve that! Simply amazing. Thanks to the Internet, the program is available to an international audience and on demand via podcast download. When I started on this journey, the 29 year old me had no idea what was going to be possible.
Still At It, and Loving It
Although my main calling over the last 35 years has been leading Lifeline and later Urban Light Ministries, producing Hot Gospel 20 has been a joyful hobby. Loving contemporary black gospel music and sharing it with the world remains one of my favorite pastimes. The show is possible because of teamwork. I am deeply indebted to the sponsors, stations, and the many people who have volunteered in different capacities. Special thanks go to Rex A. Wood in Louisville, Kentucky for his production and distribution expertise over the last decade. I am also grateful for the contributions of production assistant Jamie Thomas of Tampa, Florida.
Loving contemporary black gospel music and sharing it with the world remains one of my favorite pastimes.Pastor Eli Williams
How To Listen
HG20 is a one-of-a-kind weekly countdown of the twenty top songs aired on U.S. gospel formatted radio stations as ranked by Billboard Magazine. Features include biblically-centered inspirational thoughts, artist information, the weekly Gospel Music Trivia Challenge, and A Moment for Moms with Columbus Ohio’s Michelle Sutton. If Hot Gospel 20 is not broadcast on your local stations, you can listen anywhere on the planet (I love saying that!). Simple click here. Download and subscribe to the free weekly podcast at iTunes or Podbean. You can also listen on demand on TuneIn and other audio streaming services. Stations interested in carrying the show may contact Rex A. Wood at firstname.lastname@example.org.