The state of California’s corporate HQ count has been the subject of many debates and discussions in recent years. In September 2020, The Hoover Institution noted that even in the economic boom years of 2018 and 2019, 765 commercial facilities left the Golden State.
You can now add the nonprofit owner of the fast-growing KLOVE and Air1 Christian music networks to the mix.
In all fairness to California, however, the move makes sense: It’s packing up and moving to the epicenter of the CCM world.
Educational Media Foundation (EMF), which in addition to the new broadcast radio networks owns and operates the AccessMore podcast hub and WTA Media, is embarking on a three-year initiative that will relocate the company’s leadership hub from Rocklin, Calif., to the Nashville region.
Rocklin is in Placer County, to the northwest of Sacramento on the I-80 corridor connecting California’s state capital to Reno, Nev., and points east.
In an announcement made late Wednesday (3/24), EMF said its global headquarters staff will grow in multiple phases, both from relocating employees and local hiring. A new permanent campus is to be constructed; the exact location is yet to be finalized.
“After much prayer, extensive discussion and research, the EMF Board and leadership team are in unanimous agreement that relocating our headquarters to the Nashville area will position us to fulfill our mission of creating compelling media that inspires and encourages audiences to have a meaningful relationship with Christ,” EMF CEO Bill Reeves said. “This move will enable us to better serve our audiences and deepen our relationships with faith-focused artists, content creators and the recording, film and publishing industries as we continue to broaden our media offerings through radio, film, streaming, live events, books and more.”
While its another blow to California, it’s not exactly a surprise to Sacramento lawmakers: EMF has been growing its Tennessee presence over the last several years. It recently expanded its studio, from which the K-LOVE morning show and Air1 programs now broadcast. The promotions department, AccessMore podcasting, live events and WTA Media teams already have offices in the Nashville market.
Members of EMF’s content division will begin moving into the existing offices and temporary space this summer.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee welcomed the shift of EMF’s headquarters to his state with open arms. “Our state is home to some of the top music, media and entertainment companies, and EMF will be a respected addition to this important sector,” he said. “We thank EMF for its investment in Middle Tennessee, which will strengthen our reputation as a leader in the music industry.”
Reeves added, “The State of Tennessee, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and the Tennessee Valley Authority have been outstanding partners as we considered, and now pursue, this exciting new chapter in the life of EMF. The Nashville area is the right place for us to be.”
EMF is in the final stages of selecting land locations, architects and building developers.
Once the move is complete, a 39-year history in Northern California will conclude. EMF began life in 1982 with a single radio station in Santa Rosa, Calif. Today, that is KLVR-FM 91.9, the originating KLOVE station for many years. Air1 dates to 1995.
Much of EMF’s growth has come in the last 2 decades, concurrent with growth in Christian Contemporary and worship music’s popularity across the U.S.