WAY Radio’s rich history from humble beginnings as one of the first Christian radio stations in Florida continues to enrich the lives of our listeners.
Daniel Crenshaw Richardson was born in Jacksonville, Florida to Alabama transplants John and Ethel Crenshaw Richardson. He was raised on a forty-acre homestead of piney woods and swamp land just north of town in what is now called Dinsmore. His family was a Christian family and he received training in the Word of God from his youth, accepting the Lord as his Savior because of his sister Mary Ethel’s witness.
As a young man he was hungry for solid Bible food. He listened regularly to such established broadcasters as Dr. Theodore Epp, Charles Fuller, Dr. M. R. DeHaan, and Dr. J. Vernon McGee. In his thirties, with outdoor advertising as his livelihood, he conceived the idea of trading outdoor advertising sign faces for radio time on stations in the area. He purchased recording equipment and banded with a Godly group of young men who sang in a quartet and with a succession of Bible teachers who had good radio presentation. At one time there were seventeen radio stations in the Southeast carrying weekly, “The Good Tidings Broadcast”.
One day, he walked into the house and told his trusting wife Joyce, “I think I’ll start a radio station!” It took more than five years, lots of dried pea suppers, several trips to Washington, D.C. and myriad workings of the spirit of God, but the idea was finally given birth on May 28, 1960, when radio station WAYR, at 550 on the AM dial began its first broadcast day with the reading of the first chapter of John and closed with Helen Barth singing “The Road Leads Home”.
WAYR one of the first full-time Christian formatted stations in the US, and has remained faithful to its original calling of being a local ministry. It was birthed of one man’s driven response to God’s prompting, that man’s loving, supportive wife, many hours of faithful prayer by Christians in the Jacksonville area who interceded for this kind of ministry, and thousands of believers who gave of their substance to sustain it financially over the years.
In 1986, the station began to experience technical problems with the aging antenna system and there was also no land around us available for future expansion. While there was a desire to increase the power output from 1000 watts to 2500 watts, this wasn’t possible on our original 661 Blanding Blvd. site. It also became clear that the value of our property was ever increasing beyond our needs and dreams. In August of 1986, we sold the property to developers and moved over to our beautiful 70+ acre site at 2500 Russell Road in Clay County. God allowed us to purchase the land as well as equipment and facility for expansion in both the radio and church outreach ministries. At the time, we had plans for operation of the radio station, the church, a bookstore, counseling ministry, gospel literature printing outlet, and missionary home.
Dan gave his life’s effort to WAY Radio, and the Lord called him home in January of 1988, just before the new facility at 2500 Russell Road was completed. Since that time, the ministry has centered on the outreach of Christian radio and is operated through the administration of a Board of Directors. The station has since increased its power to 5000 watts during the day and added night time operation. This allows countless thousands on the First Coast to hear the preaching of the gospel 24 hours a day.
In November of 1998, WAY Radio FM was added to the ministry. Located in Brunswick, Georgia, the station is located at 90.7 on the FM dial and covers the Golden Isles of Georgia. While our AM station is largely a teaching ministry, our FM station offers the very best in contemporary Christian music. In 2003, the station’s power was increased to 14,000 watts, and now covers nearly the entire coast of Georgia.
What is ahead for WAY Radio? God willing, two radio stations that continue to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ through Bible teaching and music. We’d love to see the Lord expand the ministry to include more radio stations, but only He knows what is truly in store for this ministry in the future. Although the broadcasters, staff, and perhaps even our location may change, our message and goal of encouraging, challenging, instructing, and presenting the Lord Jesus Christ will NEVER change. We stand by our name WAY Radio, which is taken from John 14:6 where Jesus Himself says, “I am the WAY, Truth, and Life…No man comes unto the Father but by me…”