WCTN radio station has a new language, same message
Mar. 3, 2004
Janet Rather
Staff Writer

Brian Lewis/The Gazette

Young H. Kim, president and executive producer for WCTN radio station in Potomac, sits in the control booth with John Vogt, outgoing general manager at the Christian station.

The language of a Potomac broadcast is changing, but not the mission.

That was the message from John Vogt, departing general manager, morning drive host and part owner of WCTN (With Christ to Nations), the recently sold Christian radio station.

The station now broadcasts in Korean with long-time Korean radio personality Young Ho Kim as the principle voice.

"I thank God for the 25 years he's given me here. It's been great," said Vogt, 54, who signed on in 1979 to the station, located in the Cabin John Shopping Center. His last show was Monday.

The Vienna, Va., resident said he was not sure what his next professional venture would be and for now is focusing on his family. Last year, Vogt and his wife, Sara, 53, a former employee at WCTN, adopted a child, Johanna Renee, who is now 2, from China. The couple, who also has a grown son, Regis, 29, is now in the process of adopting a baby girl from Russia.

"When I walk out, I'll focus on what's next, " Vogt said. "I am off to a time of prayer. Me and my family will seek the Lord and find out what God wants."

He said he was pleased the station would remain an outlet for the Christian message.

"It's a blessing to know it will continue as a church ministry," Vogt said.

For 30 years, WCTN was a staple for listeners who enjoyed a format of contemporary Christian music; programming and commentary from Washington area clergy and church going celebrities interspersed with news, traffic and weather. Owned by Seven Locks Broadcasting Company in Potomac, WCTN was purchased Jan. 30 for $2.2 million by the WIN Radio Broadcasting Company in Forest Hills, NY.

WIN, which stands for Dr. Richard S. Yoon, an urologist and pastor of a Korean Bible Presbyterian Church in Forest Hills head "Word In Nations,"

Yoon said he formed his company specifically to purchase WCTN, so that it could serve metropolitan Washington's Korean community.

"We don't have many Korean broadcasting stations in the United States. Some can listen to English broadcast, but [others] don't know enough to understand," Yoon said.

Although she will no longer be in the listening audience, Gaithersburg resident Pam Bassett Plaisted said she is also pleased the AM 950 setting will continue to be Christian.

"That is a blessing, but I feel sad," Plaisted said. "This was one of the last homegrown stations."

A professional voice that can be heard on an assortment of national commercials, Plaisted, who worked as an announcer at WCTN in the early 1990s, said she would miss the contemporary Christian programming and the man responsible for its content.

"He was the station. He did a great job at music programming," Plaisted said. "He was not committed to a hit. It was the message. Unless he could find a passage in the Bible to back up the content of the song, he would not play it."

The primary voice listeners will now hear when tuning their radio dials to AM 950 belongs to Kim, 72, a church elder at Segaeroh Presbyterian Church in Silver Spring, president of the Washington Christian Radio System, a Korean audience targeted mission and, until Monday, a voice on WLXE, an AM radio station in Rockville. A television announcer in Korea who came to the Washington area in 1966 to work at the Voice of America, Kim started a radio ministry in 1971 broadcasting from a variety of stations around the beltway.

"I found so many Koreans here who are not receiving Jesus Christ," Kim said explaining his calling.

The Silver Spring resident said he was buying airtime from the various radio stations until Yoon purchased WCTN, so that the Korean ministry would have a permanent home.

"We were looking for a good station for spreading the word of Christ," Kim said. "Also, there are about 240,000 Korean immigrants here in Baltimore, [Washington] D.C., Southern Maryland and Northern Virginia. I want to give them shorthand for becoming good American citizens."

He said he plans to include programs about how to file taxes, on being a good neighbor and issues of the handicapped. The majority of the programming will be in Korean, but Kim said on Sundays there would be some broadcasting in English.