At the end of my sophomore year of college, I returned to my family’s home in Naperville, Illinois, and worked for the summer. I was not successful in locating a program that played Jesus music for me, although undoubtedly there was a station somewhere in the Chicago area within range of my receiver that would have provided it. But at this stage of my Christian life, it was not a high priority for me. I was back home, and while working at my summer job, I returned to enjoying music from WLS, “the Rock of Chicago”, and the DJ’s I used to hear when i was in high school.

When I returned to college again in the fall, there was again The Scott Ross Show to listen to on Sunday mornings, before and after church. But a major change had happened in my life that was destined to have a major effect on my music preferences and on my Christian growth.

My father had taken a different job that required moving my parents and my sister to live way out in California, specifically in Tustin, which is in Orange County. The west coast was a long, long way away from the midwestern U.S. where I had grown up. But I remained in college in Nebraska, and it didn’t have an effect on me until I came to my new home for Christmas break.

KYMS – 1976

I was interested in tuning through the radio dial to see what I could find in the vastness of Southern California’s broadcast offerings. And at the far right end of the FM dial, at 106.3, I discovered this amazing station with the call letters KYMS. It played teaching and ministry based Christian programming in the morning, and then in the afternoon and part of the evening it played Jesus music, similar to what I’d heard on the Scott Ross Show. But because it was a station dedicated to playing this type of music all of the time, it was a smorgasborg I had not dreamed was available anywhere. Not only did they play Jesus music, in stereo, but they did something that Scott Ross was unable to do with his nation-wide audience. They interacted with the local listeners, much like Scott had done when he started his programs on the CBN-Northeast network in New York State. The disk jockeys played the music, but they also prayed on the air for people’s needs. In fact, there was a prayer time in the afternoon specifically addressing prayer requests that had been called in during the day. In the evening there were call-in programs much like the talk-radio stations of today, either with a topic or free-form.

At the time I was getting my first listen to KYMS, it was the Christmas 1976. The on-hour identification jingle was taken from Bill & Gloria Gaither‘s Alleluia! A Praise Gathering For Believers album, specifically from the song There’s Something About That Name. I had never heard it before, and the truncated version that I heard moved me deeply. It still has the same affect on me that it did thirty years ago when I first heard it:

The on-hour station identification “jingle” in 1976 was also characteristic of the evangelistic enthusiasm of new believers belonging to the Jesus movement. It featured a brief clip of a song (singing, “Jesus is coming back!”), and then the announcer voice-over said, “It’s a new song: The Gift of 106, KYMS, Santa Ana. Call a friend now, and tell them the Good News!”

A longer version of the station identification involved a fairly long clip from the Jamie Owens‘ The Victor, followed by the jingle as the above clip:

Here are a couple of other station identification airchecks from 1976:

Other clips that ran between songs or at station identification breaks took the approach of a man-on-the-street interview, some of the airchecks asking the question, “And how do you know that Jesus is real in your life?” They would then play the recorded response from someone who had been asked this question, sometimes ending with the same encouragement to the listener to call a friend and tell that friend about Jesus.

On Saturday nights, the call-in program was “The Bible Answer Man“, hosted by Dr. Walter Martin. Also on Saturday nights was the “Maranatha! Concert”, played live from Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa.

This brief exposure to the style of KYMS and the music played had an oddly profound effect on me. It was as though I had truly been wakened up to letting the music help me express my praises to the Lord, to understand the importance of making Him the most important thing in my life. It’s hard to explain, but when I returned back to Nebraska for my spring term, I was far more focused on taping and listening to Jesus music than I had ever been before, and my interest in popular rock music plummeted.

It is entirely possible that a part of the thing that made Jesus music special was the scarcity of it. I had only what I had put on tape, the rare record I could actually purchase (not that easy to find in Omaha), and what I could hear on Sunday mornings on the Scott Ross Show.

KYMS – 1977

My next chance to hear KYMS was in August of 1977, on another visit to our new home in Tustin, California. The musical announcements on the station had changed and were more professionally produced and performed, becoming more of a true radio jingle. Rather than voicing over an existing piece of music, this music and singing was specifically created for the station:

There’s a brand new song going on
And the notes reach up to heaven
To hear, you just turn it on
Your heart will reach towards heaven
Take it to 106 (take it to 106),
KYMS
[spoken] Santa Ana

Here are some other variations on this jingle. This style ran through the remainder of 1977 and into 1978-79.

KYMS – 1977-80

During Christmas 1977 and 1978, the jingle was like this:

In 1979, the station identification was updated with the slogan was “Bringin’ A New Song:

We’re bringin’, we’re bringin’,
We’re bringin’ a new song

We’re bringin’ a new song (bringin’ a new song)
We’re singin’ a new song
He puts the song inside
When He sets you free

One oh six point three, K-Y-M-S
We’re bringin’, we’re bringin’,
We’re bringin’ a new song!

This on-the-hour station identification jingle took nearly forty seconds to deliver its message.

Jingles in 1980:

And the Christmas jingle in 1980 again made use of Andy William‘s recording of “Hark The Herald Angels Sing”:

KYMS Program Guide 1978 KYMS Program Guide 1979 KYMS Program Guide 1980

KYMS – 1982

In 1982, the “Bringin’ A New Song” theme continued, though a little updated:

We’re bringin’ a new song
Singin’ a new song
KYMS

Another change to the station announcements in 1982 was telling a lesson or story, using a clip of a current song, and ending with the jingle sung:

KYMS – 1985 and after

After 1982, my family moved away from California, and my chances to hear KYMS were significantly limited. My brother, however, had come to live there after college, found work, and stayed. So when I had opportunities to visit him, I was also able to get a little recording done from KYMS.

In 1985, the theme had changed from “Bringin’ A New Song” to “Someone You Can Turn To”:

In 1988, a song played that was something of a cross between a regular piece of music and an extended advertisement for the station. From comments on this page, it appears that this piece was written by Chris Christian, and it was sung by Doug Morris, lead singer for a band called Battlecry. This one copy seems to end before the song is completed. And from further email that I’ve exchanged, the song may have been used on some other Christian stations elsewhere in the country, with a change of the call sign and frequency.

Someone You Can Turn To
If you’re feeling lonely
And there’s no one to turn to
There’s always an answer
And it’s right in front of you

Call upon My Name
It’ll guide you in the dark
Help’s around the corner
If you’ll open up your heart

Turn to me, 106 on your dial
When you give me an ear
I will always be there
In your time and your trials

You can turn to me, 106 point 3
And all day and night
I’ll always be to you
Someone you can turn to

If you’re driving on the highway
That just never leads you home
There is someone you can turn to,
Any time you feel alone

Listen to my songs
And let them guide you in the dark
I will be a part of you
In the races of the heart
…..

From 1990, I have only one short jingle:

By 1992, the station jumped on the trend of using a slogan to refer to the station, referring less to its call letters. They chose “Eagle 106.3″, and made mention of the Interstate Broadcast System:

During its final year of operation, KYMS announcers referred to the station as “Spirit 106″, and in its final months simply as “KYMS”.[1]

KYMS ended its twenty years of Christian broadcasting in 1995, with the sale of the station to Multi-Cultural Broadcasting. The new owners converted it to multi-ethnic programming in Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese.

Next: The Larry Black Show

  1. E-mail from Rick, who did the final sign-off of the station in 1995. []

17 Responses to “KYMS”

  1. On the 1988 song for KYMS I thinks it was Chris Christain if my memory serves me correcty…

  2. WOW, Steven! What a comprehensive history of KYMS!! Great job and I really liked how the audio clips were embedded in the body of the story. It was interesting hearing the jingles that aired before I started listening (in 1980). A few minor corrections that I might add: The song used in one of the 1976 ID’s is “The Victor”, and not “The Easter Song.” (Both songs do sound similar)

    I remember when Greg Fast debuted the song “Someone To Turn To” – the full-song-length station ID. He did mention who performed the song, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Chris Christian. I had that portion of the broadcast on cassette tape, but had left it at the studios of KPZE/KEZY, Anaheim, (another Christian radio station) where I was working, and when I returned the following weekend, the tape was gone. Steven, I have various tapes of KYMS from 1980 through 1986. If you’re interested in getting a copy, let me know. I have almost an entire show of “Real Radio” from 1982, and later, when it was known as The Edge. I still have bumper stickers “Bringin’ A New Song” and “Someone To Turn To” if you are interested in getting them posted. Try http://www.streetsofgoldradio.com for some great music from the KYMS glory days.

  3. just a clarification on my previous post: KPZE (1190 AM) was a Christian talk and music station. KEZY (95.9 FM) was, at the time, a Top 40 station. Although I worked for both stations, my primary job was at KPZE. They were both in the same building (which, today, no longer exists).

  4. Paul, thanks for the detailed info. I’ve correct the mention of Jamie Owens song to The Victor, instead of The Easter Song.

  5. The final year KYMS was referred to as “Spirit 106″ then in the final months just KYMS…I was sadly the one that “signed off” KYMS…a sad night.

  6. Rick, I appreciate the additional information, and have made an addition to my history here to reflect this.

  7. A lot of great memories here! I was a DJ and Program Director at KYMS from ’76 to ’82. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of times I played those jingles. I actually was in the recording studio when one of the jingle packages was produced. John Wickham (singer, songwriter, guitar player, formerly of “The Way” and “Parable,” and father of Phil Wickham) produced the jingles at Whitefield Studios in Santa Ana. Vocals were done by Tim and Steve Archer of “The Archers.” John currently is worship pastor at Maranatha Chapel in San Diego. I see him often.

    In the early years, the architect of KYMS was the General Manager, Arnie McClatchey. He convinced the secular radio company that owned the station in 1975 (it was a failing underground rock station then) to switch to a Christian music format. He convinced them to make the change, and he became the GM when the new format started. I believe that was March of 1975. Prior to that, he had been a key on-air personality (and Program Director) at the Top 40 station KEZY AM 1190 in Anaheim. Arnie conceived the KYMS format and developed the on-air identity. It was his voice saying “The Gift of 106,” and “The message is in the music.” It was the first (or at least one of the first) Contemporary Christian Music stations in America. Arnie left the station in 1982 when I did, and now owns radio station KELP in El Paso, Texas. Arnie is one of the nicest men I’ve ever known. The man knows radio like no one I’ve ever met.

    Interesting footnote. One of the DJs who trained me when I started had been a DJ when KYMS was still secular rock. He said that the broadcast “Thru the Bible” with J. Vernon McGee was actually played on the station BEFORE it became a Christian station. It aired at 11 p.m. Well, the secular DJ on “the board” at that hour was so offended that this “religious” talk show interrupted his music program that, while Dr. McGee was teaching, the DJ would often air a tape of static at the same time — so listeners would think there was something wrong with the station. Well, as God’s sense of humor would have it, soon the static (and the DJ) were gone.

  8. When I was high-school age (1982 or so), I would tune around the dial looking for something different to listen to. That’s how I ran into KYMS. It didn’t always come in so clearly; sometimes KROQ would bleed onto it. But when I could get it, even with a little fading, I would listen for as long as I could.

    My previous experience with CCM was mostly KBRT-740, but that station played less and less music and more talk. Other Christian favorites were KFSG, KMAX and KWVE.

    I think I have a few airchecks lying around on cassettes….

    One time (late 1985?) I even called the station, and spoke to one of the DJ’s, asking about a bunch of songs.

    In late 1995, just before it changed format to Asian, KYMS started playing a few secular songs, like Mariah Carey….

  9. I have some great memories working at KYMS. I was there from 1981 to 1983. I worked with Arnie McClatchey and Dave Spiker. Arnie is one of the nicest people in radio. I used to visit the station quite often with my audition tape in hand. Arnie would listen to it and give me some good pointers. I learned a lot from him. In 1980 I went to work at KQLH San Bernardino. Arnie heard me and liked me. Arnie would always tell me that if he needed someone, he’s give me a call. I got that call in August of 1981!

    I was also there when Arnie left and so did Dave. Over the years I’ve thought a lot about KYMS. In 1991 I was hired as a fill in weekend person. I had just finished working at KOCM 103.1 Newport Beach as The Love Guy. In February 1992 I was promoted to Program Director!

    Since then I’ve worked at many secular radio stations. I even programmed KEZN in Palm Desert from 1994 to 1998. I now have an internet radio station that plays a lot of the music that was featured on KYMS. I believe it is the only station doing it this way, mixing the old with the new. If you’re a KYMS fan, you will want to listen to http://www.969litefm.com. You’ll hear The Archers, The Way, Parable, and new groups like Switchfoot. All commercial Free! [Note: As of Aug 2012 this station appears to be down]

    It’s a Live 365 Station. If you become a VIP Member you will be supporting my station and you will receive commercial free music in CD Quality.

    If KYMS meant a lot to you, like it did me, then you might want to take a trip down memory lane with me at 96.9 Lite FM

  10. Great to hear from both Dave Spiker and Dale Berg! I grew up on KYMS in Junior High and tuned-in all through High School and into college, so I felt like the station was growing along with me. I remember a time in either the late 70′s or early 80′s where Dave did a 30 second “Prophecy Update” at usually the same time each night because I recorded many of them to replay later. Dave does the announcing for Greg Laurie and Harvest Crusades now I believe, but does Arnie McClatchey still do Chuck Smith’s The Word for Today program announcements? Thanks again, I really appreciated reliving this era through this information posted here!

  11. As of July, 2010, Greg Fast is CEO of GSF Media, in Smyrna, Tennessee, a company which produces many Christian teaching programs, among other things. Their website is http://www.gsfmedia.com.

    Bob Turnbull (Music and More on KYMS in the mid 1980′s) and his wife Yvonne, own and operate their own family/couples ministry, http://www.turnbullministries.org. They live in the Palm Springs, CA area.

    I would like to know the “where are they now?” stories of former KYMS DJs Jim Coy, Bill Ewing, Jamie Mayberry, Gem O’Brien, Mark Martinez, Robin Keith, Wendy Krause, Dave Loman, Rick Green, and Jim Stofer.

  12. When my mom sold her house in Lakewood, California, I moved with her to Fullerton, California, and found KYMS. Like Steven, I was attending college in Orange County, and attending The Eagle’s Nest and later Vineyard churches. I found KYMS to be a vibrant, intense station, quickening me in my Christian walk and experience. The radio station would announce Christian activities at local parks in Orange County, and I would attend them. I moved to the Inland Empire in 1985 after graduating college, and miss KYMS greatly. God bless all who made this radio station possible.

  13. hey the guy who sang “Someone You Can Turn To” is former lead singer of Battlecry who only has one album in 1985. You got that on mp3?

  14. The writer of the song was Chris Christian. At the time singer Doug Morris was the front man in a band called Battlecry that had achieved a level of local popularity. I was the keyboard player in that band and my husband was the lead guitar player. We played a number of local hot spots and eventually signed with Greenworld records (remember Stryper?).

    Battlecry recorded a 6 song album and one of the songs, “When the Lord Comes Back”, hit top KYMS 40. The cassette version of the album included a live bootleg recording. Shortly after we did a radio interview night with Jaimee Mayberry, one of the kyms dj’s and a few album signing parties.

    Doug left the band after doing the radio theme song, with Chris’s promise of a solo career. After recording this for him (for free of course), it was our understanding that he never heard from Chris again. Doug was an amazing singer and of course it was a sad loss for our band when he left.

    An old fan started a Battlecry tribute page on myspace if anyone is interested in hearing the album or seeing more. http://www.myspace.com/battlecrytribute Someone posted the only live video footage of us on youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9cGiexXDiM Forgive the cheesy crowd shots- not sure who did that.

  15. does anyone know where one of KYMS’ DJ’s is at…..Roger Marsh?

  16. KYMS, what a station, I was breifly on the air in the late 80′s or early 90′s. I had a great time there. It was a blessing to play the music and share with the audience. It’s sad that we do not have anything like KYMS now. Anyway Roger Marsh is on KBRT AM 740. I also worked with Dale Berg (the Love Guy) on KOCM 103.1 K-Ocean I used the name Denver Rogers. KYMS is still a Christian Station in Idaho It is called 89.9 KYMS The Bridge.

  17. I hadn’t realized how long ago it was that I put a post here. My station is going strong! As of June 2013 the company that provides my server switched me to a new IP address. I decided to go ahead and kick of my new station 97 The Cross! I play four decades of CCM which includes a lot of songs KYMS used to play from 1975 through the 90′s when the station ended and became a multi-cultural station. You can listen to 97 The Cross at http://www.97thecross.com. Just click on the LISTEN LIVE button and get ready to hear 4 decades of CCM all commercial free!

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