Moody Feelings On AM Radio: ‘Limitations’ Hinder 2030 Vision


CHICAGO — “Moody Radio seeks to transform the world for Christ, one listener at a time, by producing and delivering quality, creative, biblical content, which helps people take the next step in their journey with Jesus Christ,” explains Greg Thornton, Senior Vice President of Media for Moody Bible Institute, operator of one of the nation’s biggest broadcast ministries.

That said, it has a clear vision on how to bring teachings of Christ to listeners over the next decade. It won’t include AM radio.

As part of a mission to double Moody’s overall impact by the year 2030, “audience growth through market expansion/re-alignment, and content development strategies” has been adopted by Chicago-based Moody Radio.

This means parting ways with three of its five stations broadcasting in kHz, rather than MHz.

Why? It is in recognition of “the limitations of AM broadcasting today, including the limitation on many AM stations to only broadcast in the daytime, as well as the dramatic rise in digital/online/mobile listening,” Thornton says.

As such, Moody has put the following three stations on the market:

  • Class D WMBI-AM 1110 in Chicago, a daytime-only operation with 4,200 watts from 1 tower in Addison, Ill.
  • Class D WDLM-AM 960 in East Moline, Ill., serving the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa with Spanish-language religious programming as “Radio Moody.”
  • Class D “Radio Moody” WGNR-AM 1470 in Anderson, Ind., serving an area northeast of Indianapolis.

Listeners in these markets will still hear Moody Radio broadcasting 24 hours a day “on our strong FM signals.” These stations include WGNR-FM 97.9 in Anderson, WDLM-FM 89.3 in East Moline, and WMBI-FM 90.1 in Chicago.

Proceeds from the sale of the three AMs will be used to further the expansion of Moody Radio and Spanish-language Radio Moody. This, Thornton notes, will be done through the addition of digital/online content, new apps in both English and Spanish, and the acquisition of “select” FM broadcast licenses.

“We’re excited about reaching even more listeners as we expand our line-up of digital and terrestrial channels to achieve the goal of doubling our impact by 2030!” Thornton says.

What Moody can see in the way of proceeds from the three AMs may be the biggest question it faces. With valuations shrinking rapidly and interest in AM radio waning — not just for Moody but for many existing and potential operators — the total take could end up in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, rather than in the millions.

WFCN-AM 1200 in Nashville will remain a Moody Radio station, and its lone AM. However, this station’s future is tied to its FM translator at 98.7 MHz.

In December 2018, Moody closed on its $425,000 purchase of WJKB-AM 950 in Moncks Corner, S.C. and FM translator W299CY in Charleston, S.C., from Kirkman Broadcasting. Like in Nashville, the focus is on the FM signal; the AM now carries the WCDC-AM call letters.