Plans to convert two Twin Cities rock and hip-hop radio stations into Christian music outlets are moving forward, but listeners will still hear more from "Yeezus" than Jesus on those FM frequencies over the next few months.
Representatives at Northern California-based nonprofit ministry organization EMF Broadcasting confirmed this week they intend to turn Go 95.3 and Go 96.3 into contemporary Christian music stations. The changeover probably will not happen until April, though, as EMF awaits licensing approval from the pandemic-slowed Federal Communications Commission.
"We've commenced the process and are confident it will get approved," said Joe Miller, director of signal development at EMF (short for Educational Media Foundation).
EMF's purchase of the two Go stations from the Pohlad Cos. was announced in early December, when staff at both outlets were let go.
Since then, preprogrammed playlists — modern hip-hop and R&B on 95.3 FM, youthful pop and rock on 96.3 — have been spinning ad nauseam with commercials but no DJs. (Go 95.3's list includes "Yeezus"-recording rapper Kanye West, who has recorded legit Christian music but likely won't be a part of the new mix.)
Miller said EMF management is still weighing options for which of its several formats will be featured on those frequencies.
The organization's two flagship radio brands are K-Love, built around modern Christian pop and rock hits, and Air1, centered on "worship music." Those formats can be heard in the Twin Cities via HD radio signals and FM translators.
Whatever the final mix, the broadcasts will be piped in from EMF's studios in California, with no local programming and only a small promotions staff in town. Miller said this is true at each of its 90-plus stations around the country.
The deal will increase the number of Christian music FM stations in the Twin Cities from one to three, counting mainstay KTIS (98.5 FM).
Atypical of the normally cutthroat radio business, KTIS station manager Dave St. John welcomed the newcomers to town.
"Our goal is to help people grow in faith and point more people to Jesus, and we know EMF shares that goal," St. John said. "The more people impacted by our ministries the better."
Look for a more detailed announcement of EMF's plans in April.
Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658