For Christian young people in the central Florida area in the 1980's and early 1990's, there was a special station. It was WCIE, 91.1 FM. This station, transmitting from near Lakeland, Florida, had a signal that covered from St. Petersburg in the West to Orlando in the East. They could be heard as far North as Ocala, and almost to Sebring in the South.
WCIE's format varied between "Hot AC" and "Christian Hit Radio" - two categories of Contemporary Christian music. For young people turned off by lyrics about drugs, rebellion, and sex, Contemporary Christian music is an alternative that replaces traditional top forty and rock format radio. They depend on it daily for entertainment, and to affirm their morality and faith. Therefore, they are intensely loyal as a group of listeners and become very faithful listeners to their favorite station.
Contemporary Christian music, particularly music that is up-tempo and fun, is now experiencing the type of prejudice and unfair treatment that mainstream "secular" rock-and-roll music faced in the 1960's. There is a feeling on the part of radio station owners that "Christian Top 40" is too controversial, and will offend listeners. Meanwhile, Contemporary Christian stations (which tend to be non-profit) hold record-breaking fund drives, eclipsing the totals pledged for NPR stations. The stations themselves are proving their critics wrong, leading to one of the fastest growing radio formats in the industry.
WCIE was one of the groundbreaking stations in the field of Contemporary Christian Music. They were continually pushing the envelope of the format into more and more exciting and up-tempo music, occasionally sounding more like a true Christian rock station than an AC or CHR station. As producer of a radio show on the East Coast of Florida, I would listen to their faint signal - getting ideas for my own show! In that way, my listeners got the benefits of WCIE without ever being able to hear the station.
I thought that a groundbreaking station like WCIE deserved a tribute page, in the tradition of tribute pages to other great music stations of decades past.
|My Story, and a History of WCIE|
|The end of the line for WCIE|
|Links to other radio station tribute pages|