NOME, ALASKA (April 6, 2017) — KICY radio, a ministry of Alaska Conference, shares the gospel around the world, but in 1999 it reached only a handful of villages. It also was roughly $1 million in debt and in danger of closing.
That’s when the conference and the ECC asked Dennis Weidler to consider taking the job as the station’s general manager. At the time Weidler lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he had his own advertising business and a studio where he did voice-overs for major clients such as Coca-Cola. It would seem ridiculous to make the switch. But he and his wife, Candace, agreed to at least go and see the work.
While they were impressed with the people they met in Nome, the couple figured they would not take the job. It was, after all, a community of only 3,500 people and 550 miles from the nearest road system.
But as they prayed about it in the coming days, the Weidlers realized their hearts were still back in Nome with the people they had met. Their kindness and commitment to the gospel sold Dennis. So did Candace, who told him that if he didn’t take the position he would be disobeying God.
“You can’t argue with that,” he says.
Next month, Dennis will retire and leave behind a station that has been transformed during the 18 years he has been there. In that time, KICY has gone from broadcasting with a low-power signal that reached a small radius to broadcasting with a 50,000-watt Clear Channel signal throughout a vast portion of Alaska and in far east of Russia in the Russian language. People around the world can listen via the internet to the AM and FM broadcasts. The station also paid off its debt and is financially stable.
“It has been a wonderful, blessed journey,” Dennis says. “We are leaving with a great deal more than we brought.”
Conference superintendent Curtis Ivanoff says, “Dennis’s energy, vision, and can-do spirit, coupled with his belief that radio can effectively serve to encourage and edify the body of Christ, has helped to guide KICY to a season of fruitfulness. We thank God for the Weidlers and the gift they have been to the body of Christ and the ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church in Alaska.”
“Dennis was the right person at the right time for the Arctic Broadcasting Association—which operates KICY and the radio station,” says Rob Hall, vice president of real-estate services for National Covenant Properties and who previously served as a board member of ABA and continues to serve as an adviser. “His strong but quiet leadership style helped to further stabilize the station and staff after a very tumultuous time. He will be missed, but his contributions will ensure that radio station KICY will live on for years to come.”
Hall adds that while Dennis’s visionary leadership was key to the station’s turnaround, his other gifts also were crucial. “He is an excellent engineer and fundraiser, but probably his biggest gift is his servant heart. He served not only the radio station, but also Nome Covenant Church, the community of Nome, and countless churches and communities throughout Western Alaska. Dennis is the epitome of a humble, obedient follower of Christ.”
The Weidlers will move to Homer, Alaska, which does have roads. Among other things, Dennis expects to set up a studio in his basement and build up his voice-over business again. He also expects to continue to search in new ministry opportunities.