Recent Sharathon Nets $130K for The Journey

General Manager Mike Agee (far left) mans the microphones with guest host Jon Hull while Chris Gilbreth operates the board. Photo courtesy of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

General Manager Mike Agee (far left) mans the microphones with guest host Jon Hull while Chris Gilbreth operates the board. Photo courtesy of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Once every six months, Southwestern Adventist University’s radio station, 88.3 The Journey, holds its Sharathon fundraising event. Conducted so that the station may be able to raise the necessary funds to pay for operations, the event two weeks ago was able to successfully achieve its goals, thanks to its generous and supportive listening audience.

When the event began on Tuesday, Sept. 29, the fundraising goal was $125,000. However by Friday morning, Oct. 2, mere hours before the close of Sharathon, only $95,000 had been raised. It was at this point that an individual known at The Journey as a prior giver called in and donated $12,500 as a matching challenge to the other givers. Within the last 90 minutes, the station was able to raise more than $30,000, bringing the total to $129,500.

“God is blessing the ministry of 88.3 The Journey. Our audience continues to grow and during Sharathon they pledged their support, for which I am very thankful. I’m excited about the future and can hardly wait to see what God has in store for us together,” says Michael Agee, department chair for Southwestern’s communication department and general manager of The Journey.

Sharathon was able to surpass its goal because of its listeners. Agee said that the number of weekly listeners has boomed over the past year. During the September month of 2014 the average weekly number of listeners was 32,700, but by August of 2015 this number had grown to 88,600, an increase of around 270%.

This growth is, according to Agee, “amazing, spectacular, nothing short of a miracle.” With passionate listeners behind them, the team of 20 volunteers spent Sharathon operating six phone lines from six in the morning until seven at night. Numerous kind-hearted souls brought refreshments, food, and small donations to the station to show their support, as well as to keep up the morale of those working the phones.

The money brought in through the generous donations will let The Journey operate for the next six months, as well as allow for the planning of equipment upgrades. Agee said that the hard drives that the station runs off of have been in use and spinning for the last five years and could, in theory, give out at any time. If this were to take place the station would go off air instantly. Issues like these will hopefully be resolved through the purchase of new hardware, as well as the ability to upgrade the software that is used.

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