FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) - A Fort Wayne Gospel radio station will launch its new platform that will air Gospel music across Allen County and nearby cities, hoping to bring hope to families who may be struggling.
According to GospelChops, which was founded in 2004 by Gerald Forrest, veteran video director, Gospel music is a genre of Christian music that usually has dominant vocals (often with strong use of harmony) with Christian or biblical lyrics. However, traditional Gospel music is written to express either personal or a communal belief regarding African American Christian life.
Fort Wayne radio station Rhythm and Praise 90.3 HD2 has been around since 2018, and will soon launch its new station, Rhythm and Praise 94.1, on Thursday, September 9th. Fort Wayne’s Rhythm and Praise is a sister station of WBCL, and both are subsidiaries of Taylor University Broadcasting Incorporated.
Leaders with the station said this will be the first Gospel radio station to cover all of Allen County and nearby cities. The station's mission is to "communicate God’s redemptive love and truth through captivating media that inform, entertain, challenge, inspire, and encourage." The new gospel radio station was created to serve the 40,000 people within the African American community in Fort Wayne, leaders shared.
Monique "Mo" Moss, the program director of the station, said Gospel music originated in the 18th century and was known as African-American spirituals. She said slaves would sing spirituals to keep their hope alive and to find encouragement. According to GospelChops, groups of slaves would sing together as they worked on plantations, often choosing songs connected to their faith. For some, this was more than a way to feel closer to God during hardship. For others, the communal songs and harmonies would create bonds between workers. Over the years, those songs evolved and the music is now commonly known as Gospel music.
While the name is different, the message of the music still remains the same. To this day, many Black churches still sing Gospel music. Moss told Fort Wayne's NBC News that many families enjoy listening to the music as it gives them encouragement and hope during hardships.
And that's what Moss is trying to do with the new radio station for Allen County residents.
"We need encouragement," Moss said. "We need hope. We need to talk about these things. We need to talk about social issues. We need to talk about community events, good things happening in our community."
Moss shared the station will not only feature local and national Gospel artists, but it will also address issues happening within the community. She said the station will also highlight positive events happening as well. A radio station that is representative of the community is important, Moss added.
Moss said that it's important for people across Allen County to have access to resources like this, no matter where they live. As of now, access to Gospel music on the radio is limited to certain areas of Fort Wayne.
To further understand the impact this will have on the community, Fort Wayne's NBC News talked with Fort Wayne Gospel artist E. Lamont. Lamont said he agrees with Moss' message, and believes Gospel music can unite everyone together, no matter their background.
"When you give Gospel to a community, it lifts everyone up," Lamont said. "It makes everyone better because there is more hope. There is hope in our music. There is joy in our music. There is recognition of the fact, yes, there is suffering, but through the suffering, we can make it through."
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