Above: one of WFCO's previous studios
Below: various newspaper articles on
WFCO from years past and a picture of one of our later studios
Refreshing 90.9 FM WFCO began broadcasting Christian radio to the Lancaster, Ohio area in 1988 in a one-room studio in the Church of God on E. Main Street. It was started with just 200 watts, and broadcast for only 12 hours a day. Jim Rauch was the first and only paid employee of WFCO for its first eight years of operation. Rauch offered broadcast training classes to any volunteers who wanted to be on the air.
WFCO FM got its start as an offshoot of the church's Christian school - the original Fairfield Christian Academy. 90.9 FM needed a name so Jim Rauch put the challenge of naming the station before the congregation of the Church of God. "Fairfield's Christian Outreach," that spelled out the call letters WFCO, was chosen. With the help of many volunteers and a partnership with BBN (The Bible Broadcasting Network), WFCO was able to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ across Lancaster and Fairfield County. With cassette players, cart machines, reel-to-reel tape machines and record players, WFCO broadcast national and local programs while BBN provided music and additional national programs. In the early 1990s, some additional remote equipment was added that allowed for a 24-7 broadcast. Jim Rauch continued his station management duties: training volunteers, keeping the equipment working, doing an on-air shift each day, and interacting with the network and the FCC until his retirement in 1996.
Steve Rauch followed his Uncle Jim as the next WFCO Station Manager. He continued the relationships that Jim Rauch had built through the first eight years of the ministry. A lot of changes had occurred in those first eight years, including the introduction of new technology. One of the most significant upgrades was the introduction of the first computer at 90.9 FM. The Audisk System, as it was called, allowed for the automation of much of the programming and the ability to switch between BBN and local programs. It was then that programs like Meet the Minister and other local church programs were started. Also during this time, the first live sports broadcasts were aired. Former Operations Manager JT Burcham, with help from Rick Schaffner, brought local High School sports action to the airways.
In 2002, WFCO made some major changes. The station changed
format and became completely locally controlled. They also moved to
new studios in downtown Lancaster in the Wilson Building at 201 South
Broad Street. It was the outstanding effort, drive, and energy of the
new Operations Manager, JT Burcham and the first-ever Sponsorship Representative
and Sports Director, Dwayne Hurst that allowed the station to begin
a new journey in the life and ministry of WFCO. During this transition,
WFCO picked up the moniker "Peaceful 90.9 FM." This name change reflected
a broader musical base. By this time, programming had changed to include
live coverage of events, more local programs, and the start of a public
affairs program formerly known as Today in Lancaster, that now
is called Community Accent. Jeff Slagell was commissioned to
create a new logo for the station. That logo is a depiction of the clock
tower on the City Hall building in historic downtown Lancaster, which
is nearby the new studios. The FCC granted WFCO a power increase in
late 2006. Now broadcasting at 1200 watts, the signal covered all of
Fairfield County…and beyond. The 90.9 FM coverage area now reaches parts
of Franklin, Perry, Hocking, and Licking Counties. In 2007, WFCO made
yet another change to its name and image. Peaceful gave way to "Refreshing
90.9 FM." With this change came more new community-focused programs
and some fresher music.