Chapter 7 - "For It Is God Who Works"

 

Chapter 7 - Remodeling

        A great deal of cleaning had to be done before KHCB could occupy the rented "storefront" on Almeda-Genoa Road. God provided a faithful group of volunteers who labored arduously to adapt the building to appropriate studio space for the radio station. The previous tenant had operated a convenience store that went bankrupt. The sheriff had taken the store fixtures and the light company had cut off the electricity. All the food in the store had spoiled, so a major cleaning job lay ahead.

        During the months of cleanup and construction that followed, over and over the Lord brought along the right people at the right time. The tile floors in the studio had so much dirt and grime on them that the true color of the tile could barely be distinguished. One of the volunteers sent by the Lord was a specialist in floor cleaning. When he walked into the Almeda studio volunteering to help, he immediately noticed the unsightly condition of the tile floors. He brought over a supply of his chemicals and proceeded to clean the floor. In a matter of days KHCB had a professionally finished floor with a beautiful shine.

        John Bush entered the door of the studio one day saying that he had three days off from his regular job and wanted to know if there was anything he could do. Mr. Bush had never been to the studio before, but a friend told him volunteers were needed and he wanted to help. There were many things that needed work, but the most pressing need was in the area of carpentry. Several doors needed to be framed and hung. Today, hardware stores sell door frames that are pre-fabricated; but at that time, carpenters had to construct door frames from scratch. The average man found this a most difficult and time-consuming job. When Del asked John if he had any experience in carpentry he smiled and replied that he was a professional carpenter. Del also smiled and praised the Lord for once again providing the right man at just the right time. In just two days, John had all the doors framed and hung, a job that would have taken any of the other men weeks to complete.

        Many came to the station daily after work and helped with whatever needed to be done. Others spent their weekends or vacations at the station for several months until the studio building was complete. A police officer, Wimpy Shackelford, who had accumulated a lot of sick leave, used it by helping KHCB with the construction. Two production studios and a control room were built leaving a larger reception area near the front door. The desk for the control board was built by volunteers in the breezeway of Del's house.

        Having the studios and antenna on the tallest building downtown was thought by engineers of that day to be the best location for an FM station in order to get the best coverage of the city. Thus, all of the FM stations in Houston had their antennas located on the tallest buildings in downtown. Since KHCB was unable to rent space on a tower in downtown Houston, arrangements were made to put the station's broadcast antenna on a 300-foot communications tower several miles outside the city limits, near the intersection of Holmes Road and Kirby Drive.

        The Directors accepted this location as a temporary measure. They purposed to move the antenna back to a site in downtown Houston as soon as it could be arranged. However, once KHCB went on the air, to the amazement of the FCC and other FM station owners in the area, Christian Radio had a much stronger signal and could be heard farther than another FM station in Houston that had sixty times more power than KHCB. Being on the outskirts of town eliminated the interference that the other FM stations downtown were experiencing because of the tall buildings which blocked their signals.

        This issue provided meaningful testimony to both Christians and non-Christians that the Lord was guiding and directing the ministry. KHCB discovered the truth of the Scripture: "For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate... Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" (1 Cor. 1:19-20). KHCB kept the antenna outside the city limits and, in subsequent years, other FM stations followed KHCB's example and moved their antennas away from downtown.

        At this point, KHCB still lacked one major piece of equipment that was necessary to go on the air: a microwave transmitter. This transmitter would act as a radio relay to send the broadcast signal from the studio on Almeda-Genoa Road to the tower site 3 miles away. As yet the Lord had not let one need go unmet, and here again He proved faithful.  The Baptist General Convention of Texas had a microwave transmitter left over from a radio station they had sold. KHCB was able to purchase that transmitter for $500.

        This microwave transmitter was an older model that required an expert to calibrate it properly. No one knew any experts in the field of microwave transmitters so Del and his assistant, Leonard Schmidt, patiently worked on the unit for one week trying to tune it. The task was difficult and tedious and at the end of the week, despite all their hard work, they were no closer to having it tuned than when they started.

        One day, a man whom neither Del nor Leonard knew walked into the studio and asked, "Would you like me to tune that transmitter for you?" He was a microwave specialist for AT&T, and within an hour he had the transmitter tuned and broadcasting perfectly. There was nothing left to do but praise the Lord and rejoice in the Lord's timely provision.

        By now, everyone had been working for months to get the studio building ready. The process took longer than expected, but finally everything seemed to be ready. KHCB notified the FCC, and an inspector visited the station the day before the construction permit was to expire. As Del showed the inspector all the equipment and answered his questions, he silently prayed that the station would pass the inspection without any problems.

        The inspector seemed to be particularly interested in the music. He asked to hear one gospel song after another and afterward explained "I have to get a better radio." He finally admitted that he was a brother in Christ and that he was very excited about Christian Radio coming to Houston. Del was shocked. But why should he be? Hadn't the Lord's hand been very clearly with KHCB from the beginning? This was simply the "icing on the cake." God had chosen this Christian man to be the one to inspect KHCB as a clear demonstration that He was in charge.

        Since the construction permit expired the next day, there was not time for the normal process of acceptance. A delay would have forced KHCB to re-apply for the construction permit and re-submit a new set of engineering studies. The FCC inspector went out of his way to show kindness and sensitivity to KHCB by wiring Washington that the station had passed his inspection and was approved for a license.

        The license was granted on March 9, 1962 and to the glory of God, KHCB went on the air at 10:30 that evening with a power of 3,410 watts. It was an exciting moment for all those who had worked for many years so that Houston could have a Christian radio station.

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Table of Contents

Foreword & Preface
1. From Houston to the World
2. A Seed is Planted
3. Getting Started
4. The Lord's Ways
5. God Reveals His Best
6. The Lord Provides Personnel
7. Remodeling
8. Financial Struggles
9 Ministering Servants
10. KHCB Goes to the Rodeo
11. Programming
12. Expanding
13. New Studio Building
14. The Tall Tower
15. Volunteers
16. Changed Lives
17. Trustees
18. AM Station Acquired
19. Hispanics Launch Friendship Radio
20. Chinese Language Programming
21. The Gospel in Vietnamese
22. Translator Takes KHCB-FM to Bryan
23. Reaching for the Stars
24. To the Ends of the Earth
25. And the Work Goes On