Beginnings – The Radio
In January of 1948, a new radio station started broadcasting in the Faribault, MN area. KDHL, AM 920 was the new local station playing music, and giving local news.
KDHL was looking for other programming and some forward-looking members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Faribault thought it would be a great opportunity to spread the wonderful Word of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with the area. So this small group put a plan together and presented it to the church congregation. No funds were asked from the congregation. The members of the new “Trinity Radio Club” each provided funding each week along with soliciting donations from church members. After getting the funding together, equipment was purchased (microphones and mixer) and a direct phone line was installed between the church and the radio station in downtown Faribault.
In late April, 1948, the first church service was broadcast over the air. We’ve been on the air nearly every Sunday since. For 69 years, our services have led the Sunday morning services on KDHL.
In the middle-1980’s, Faribault had a new cable television system installed which also allowed for local churches or organizations to put video programming on the local Faribault television channel. So the Radio Club members built a new camera system, centered on an RCA camera with a home-built pan/tilt system (run with a TRS-80 computer joystick) that fed back to a VHS VCR and TV monitor. The audio came from the same microphones used by the radio broadcast. This gave us a video of our service that was played on the local cable channel. The tapes were then retrieved from the cable company and taken to each of our local nursing homes by volunteers. So that one tape played on the cable channel, then made a 4-week trek through the nursing homes.
Expanding Video Services
In 1998, the Radio Club decided to increase our capability. We added a second camera (Panasonic PTZ color camera), a video switching system and moved from one VHS VCR to a total of four. We also added a titling system so we could add titles to our videos as they were recorded, which allowed us to put Bible passages and other information on the screen for our viewers. With the additional VCRs, we were able to send one tape to the cable company and have three others for immediate use by the nursing homes. Now our nursing home viewers could watch the service the same day.
In 2002, we upgraded our system by adding third and fourth cameras as well as upgrading our video switching/titling system to a NewTek VT4 computer system. This was an awesome move for us as we were able to provide much better recordings and more professional looking.
The Current System
In 2014, the Radio Club updated the video system by replacing the NewTek VT4 with a NewTek Tricaster 40 system. Our original camera, taken from the old church when the new church was built, finally died after 20+ years of use; leaving us with three cameras. We also swapped out our VHS recorders for a single DVD recorder and also purchased a DVD copier, allowing us to make up to three copies of a DVD at a time. Our nursing homes use DVDs now so they still get a copy same day as well as our local cable channel (Faribault Community Television – FCTV). We also added a YouTube channel, uploading our recorded services to allow for viewing 24/7/365 by anyone in the world!
2016 saw us adding live streaming capability. This has opened up our services to allow people to watch our services no matter where they are. Our viewership continues to increase.
And now in 2017, we’ve replaced our first Panasonic camera purchased in 1998 with a new High-Def camera. We’re now recording and streaming in high-definition as well as still providing DVDs to the nursing homes and local cable (FCTV).
So where do we see ourselves in the future? Next year we begin our 70th year of broadcasting on KDHL radio. We also will be in our 30+ years of our video services on local cable. And we’ll be in our 2nd year of streaming live.
The future is bright! We want to get the word out to as many people as we can!
Please let us know if you have any suggestions on how we can improve our broadcasts and services. You can get us at firstname.lastname@example.org.