Christian Music Broadcasters’ Pioneers: Bob Augsburg

Welcome to a series of stories about the pioneers of Contemporary Christian Music Radio. You can read some the previous stories here. Some of these pioneers started radio stations with just a few dollars to their name. Many had very little radio experience. But each had vision, a calling, and a deep passion for using Contemporary Christian Music and radio to impact their community. There was a time they were considered the rebels in the stodgy Christian industry of the time. Today, they are considered the pioneers.

Bob Augsburg – Visionary, Humility, Big Faith, Collaborator

Bob Augsburg often says, “I’m just a kid who grew up on a dairy farm.” Just like WayFM, he had humble beginnings. His family’s dairy farm was located in Naperville, Illinois,  He has fond memories of the farm. Around the age 12, his dad decided that he wanted to leave frigid Illinois weather and the tough work of being a dairy farmer and the family moved to Cape Coral Florida near Fort Myers. That was in 1964. 

After high school, Bob didn’t attend college and instead got married at very young age to his sweetheart, Felice. He found work as a mainstream radio DJ, eventually working in Charlotte and later Nashville. While in Nashville he also played drums for a trio. The band had big aspirations, but God had different plans.  

When Bob and Felice accepted Christ in 1973, that changed everything!

In 1974, Bob went to work for a Christian radio station for the first time. WWGM was owned by Crawford Broadcasting. In 1979, the couple felt called to return to Fort Myers to join WSOR radio and be closer to their parents. WSOR was a station for adults 35+, and Bob enjoyed his job, but he and Felice had a burden to see a younger audience reached. Somehow, he was able to convince the church (station) Board to allow him to block out a Saturday evening segment that would focus on youth and young adults. Within a short time, this weekend radio show was really connecting with local area youth pastors.  Soon, Christian Rock concerts started coming Southwest Florida. In 1983, while attending a Mylon LeFevre concert, Bob and Felice watched as about 150 young people went forward to give their lives to Christ. It was apparent to Felice that Contemporary Christian music was deeply touching youth. On their drive home from that concert, she said to Bob, ‘Why can’t we start a station that would play this music 24/7?”   God planted the seed in both of their hearts.

They had no idea how to start a radio station and they had no money. They were already struggling week to week, just trying to support their young family and keep their children in Christian school. “Looking back, it was a blessing in a way that we didn’t have the resources to just throw a lot of money at the problems and make them go away,” Felice says. “We had nothing but God to lean on.” After a few years of prayer and discussing the idea with other local parents and businesspeople, Bob and Felice formed a non-profit Florida Corporation called Southwest Florida Community Radio, Inc. On December 24, 1986, an FCC permit was granted. The permit allowed for the construction of a non-commercial FM radio station to serve the area with 50,000 watts. It would be one of America’s first Top 40 Christian radio stations. With little funds but great excitement and passion, Bob and the Board began raising funds and assisting with all the various projects to begin broadcasting as soon as possible. The call letters WAYJ were established with the brand name of WayFM which was derived from the scripture text in John Chapter 14 verse 6. Jesus said, “I am the “WAY”, truth and the life”. 

During those early years, Bob immediately became involved in the CCM radio industry. He valued collaboration with others and helping others. For many years, he helped stations with their Sharathon (fundraiser). He also launched Programming Plus (a monthly CD service that featured  customized listener support spots) and participated in National Christian Radio Seminar Steering Committee. (NCRS was the forerunner to CMB.)


NCRS Steering Committee 1986

On October 9, 1987, WayFM Ft Myers signed on the air. Bob was the initial Station Manager and Morning Drive host. There were 4  other staff members, (Jim Channel from Chicago who was “Captain Whamo” at WCFL in Chicago before he got saved and made the move to Christian Radio,  Steve Dees, Skipper T and Mike Shelly.)

WayFM staff at sign-on -1987

Each of the team possessed a good deal of previous experience in both secular and Christian radio and some had moved across the country to join WayFM.  (They did this knowing that the station only had 2 weeks of reserve funds to operate on!)  But all were committed to the mission and to excellence in programming knowing that the younger audience would never be attracted to a station that sounded inferior to the mainstream Pop station in town.

Oct 9, 1987- Local Pastors prayer dedication for WAYJ- WayFM/ Ft Myers

There are many stories of financial miracles from the early days of WAYJ. In the first weeks on the air, a sizable check came in the mail from woman who had received an insurance settlement. God had told her to give WayFM the money. It kept the station afloat for another month. After that surprise check, listeners dropped in almost weekly to donate to the station. Eventually, Bob and Felice held a station share-a-thon and raised enough money for another year.

“God really comes through when you need it. He gives you the faith, Bob said. “In the Bible, where Peter is walking on the water … A week later he (Peter) might have thought about it and wondered, ‘How did I do that?’, but it wasn’t him. It was the Lord.”

Felice volunteered her time and Bob took only sporadic paychecks. Still, God always provided for their family. After a few years, WayFM caught on and listenership grew. The on-air share-a-thons they held started bringing in more money and with that came an opportunity for growth. 

After just a few months, Bob remembers an evening of Bible study at home where he was reading the parable of the talents where Jesus was commending those who used their talent to increase and multiply but rebuking the one who buried  his one talent for fear of losing it. Bob was convinced that God was speaking to him through this text. The conviction was clear in Bob’s mind that WayFM was somehow supposed to multiply and become more than one outreach in Fort Myers. It was difficult to grasp at the time given that they were barely able to meet their weekly expenses at the Fort Myers station. Nevertheless, Bob shared the news with Felice and the Board and all were in favor of trusting God.

In early 1988 with this new vision to explore the possibility of starting additional stations, Bob began to look closely at Nashville, Tennessee. Bob and Felice had lived in Nashville and knew there was a need for station like WayFM. Simultaneously there were many requests from the East Coast of Florida to expand to that region. By mid-1989, they had filed an application for new stations to serve both Nashville and West Palm Beach, Florida. The Nashville FCC permit was received in 1991 and Bob began to travel back and forth from Fort Myers to Nashville to begin the process of locating studio space, raising advance funds, and speaking to churches about the plans for the upcoming station. WayFM Nashville signed on the air on March 11, 1992. Word about the new station’s arrival spread quickly. On the first day, record labels, music artists, and other people in the industry sent them more than 400 faxes welcoming them to Nashville and pledging their support. Listeners also walked in and handed them checks.  

In early 1993 a friend of Bob’s, Dusty Rhodes, of Pittsburgh, contacted Bob to see if there were any opportunities for Management. The future station planned for West Palm Beach seemed a perfect fit for Rhodes. WayFM/ West Palm Beach Florida signed on the air in November of 1993 with Dusty Rhodes as their first Station Manager. It became an instant success and was self-supporting within just two months.

Dusty Rhodes/ WayFM West Palm Beach Manager, Bob, and Board Member, Eric Rhoads

In those early years, each of the WayFM stations began to learn how to sponsor and organize large Christian music concerts and even day long music festivals. West Palm Beach quickly established themselves as a major concert sponsor utilizing outdoor venues and seeing concert attendance grow from an average of 2,000 to 8,000 in just a few years. In 2002, Nashville set an all-time attendance record of 16,000+ celebrating their 10th anniversary featuring Third Day.

In 1996, WayFM innovated again. The Christian Hit Radio Satellite Network. (CHRSN) was launched. The Network was designed to help other stations who desired to reach the youth and young adults of their respective communities but lacked the manpower or resources to operate a station in their own. The Nashville WayFM station became the “flagship” station of CHRSN where the uplink remains to this day. Several CCM stations that are thriving today were able to get started by using CHRSN to supplement their local programming. 

Over the years, more WayFM station were added.  Each with incredible stories of how God provided the opportunity and the funds.  Huntsville, Alabama in 2003 and Denver, Denver, Colorado in 2004. Etc. 

“I’m grateful that God said, “Grow.” The easy thing would have been to stop at one station,” Felice said. “Who needed more headaches, right? But God was always tossing us new opportunities and challenges. We would look back at what he already accomplished and say, ‘Let’s trust him again.’”

WayFM COO Lloyd Parker, Bob, Longtime Board Member, Joe Battaglia, and Consultant John Frost in 2008

In 2015 WayFM was able to purchase a station in Dallas, Texas. The Thomas family, who had owned the Christian music station since the 1990s, was ready to retire. They didn’t want to hand over the station to someone who might resell it to a secular group. So, they contacted WayFM and offered Bob the station at a great deal. Listenership of the station more than doubled after the WayFM format hit the Dallas airwaves in 2015.

WayFM Dallas sign on; L-R; Bob, Engineer Turbo, PD Bryan Johns, and Network Assistant PD, Steve Shore

WayFM leadership also started getting serious about developing digital platforms in 2013. According to Bob, “part of discerning what direction God wants you to go is to look at the signs of the times.” Soon, a digital team was hired. The website, was eventually created and designed to reach people who live outside the reach of WayFM radio stations.  Today, features online music streams and podcasts, videos, articles, blogs, and more.

WayFM Leadership Summit 2016 (Front Row-L-R Lloyd Parker, Faron Dice, BJ O’Neal, Matt Hahn, Ken Inlow, Bob, Judy Bailey, Tom Sullivan, Zach Boehm, Adrian Olsen. Back row L-R Jim Marshall, Paul Anthony, Tim Dukes, Zach Cochran, Thom Ewing)

Bob felt led to step down in 2017 after exactly 30 years of leading Way-FM. WAY-FM grown to 21 broadcast radio stations and multiple translators reaching over one million weekly radio listeners, and a growing digital reach over 100,000 unique digital fans.

Bob and Felice Augsburg 2017

Today, the couple has moved back to Nashville to be near their children and grandchildren. Bob still consults with the Way Media (Hope Media Group) leadership team as needed and has found a second life after radio…landscape photography – capturing beautiful scenes from the Rocky Mountains and Blue ridge mountains.

Who is a CCM Radio Pioneer that should be featured in a future article? Reach out to me at

Faron Dice has been in Christian Music Radio for almost 40 years. He is the former Chief Content Officer for WayFM, and currently loves working with radio stations and artists as National Director of Radio and Artist Engagement for OneChild.

Related posts

As if serving one community isn’t a privilege, BOOST RADIO served six in 2021. In January, BOOST reintroduced themselves to St. Louis when they moved from a translator to a full-power signal. BOOST hit the cold streets with weekly “Sweet Stops;” the first 95 listeners to show up got free treats. BOOST team members served as the official DJs for two different Polar Plunges with the Special Olympics in February; nearly $200,000 was raised from hundreds of brave swimmers. March was when BOOST grew into Chicago! To celebrate, the station delivered deep dish pizza to listeners in St Louis and Chicago. BOOST RADIO renamed April 1 to April Fuel’s Day and had DJs pop up at random gas stations in both markets to buy gas for strangers. Spring & Summer brought BOOST to Minneapolis, Portland, OR, Pittsburgh, and Fayetteville, NC. The station brought their new friends Pop Up Parties for their backyard BBQ’s and open houses. BOOST supplied food, party favors, and custom mixes for dozens of winners nationwide. During the late summer and early fall, the station partnered with Out of the Darkness for suicide prevention walks. Across all BOOST markets, nearly 10,000 walked together. During the holidays, the station teamed up with rapper Thi’sl & the Salvation Army for the Full Ride Toy Drive. BOOST listeners filled a storage locker & U Haul full of gifts for children in need. 2021 was a year BOOST hit the streets and empowered its audience to bless others in their communities.


At Hope Media Group, the passion for Christ and the city of Houston shine in its efforts to mobilize the community to do good works so that more people can experience God’s love. After Hurricane Ida, generous KSBJ and NGEN listeners raised over $276,000 with God’s Pit Crew, sending 684 KSBJ Team Help Crews to Louisiana and sponsoring the distribution of 2,711 Blessing Buckets. KSBJ listeners also provided 20,000 bottles of water for fellow Houstonians after the winter freeze, and over 2,450 KSBJ and NGEN listeners participated in our annual Blood Drive with Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center saving more than 7,000 lives. A ministry committed to prayer, KSBJ formed the Greater Houston Prayer Council (GHPC), unifying 48 prayer groups across the city with an interdenominational, multi-ethnic, and multi-generational focus. KSBJ was also a beacon of joy to the community serving 3,000 cups of Blue Bell ice cream last summer and handing out 4,175 Easter Crosses for listeners to display as a reminder that “He is Risen.” During the holiday season, 91.7 Vida Unida blessed 100 families with Thanksgiving meals, and KSBJ listeners fulfilled the Christmas wishes of 9,315 children under the care of Houston CPS in partnership with Be A Resource. Beyond loving their neighbor, caring KSBJ and NGEN listeners sponsored 1,233 Kenyan children through Compassion International. In a year of unforeseen challenges along with the enduring effects of COVID-19, Hope Media Group listeners served as the hands and feet of Jesus like never before.


KCBI shares Jesus’ love and transforming power in Dallas-Fort Worth, inviting listeners to join the station in serving the community. KCBI Outreaches blessed nearly 67,000 individuals in 2021. In February, KCBI listeners provided 25,000 bottles of water to people in DFW whose water supply had been contaminated after an unprecedented winter storm disrupted power for several days. Later that month, nearly 1,300 women gathered for KCBI’s HeartStrong Faith Conference in Dallas to worship, pray and grow. Speakers included bestselling author Margaret Feinberg, podcaster Tara-Leigh Cobble, and theologian Nika Spaulding. Through KCBI’s Summer of Service, listeners donated over 13,000 meals, along with 9,000 Bibles, to community members still struggling with the COVID pandemic. Another 350 KCBI volunteers served at local ministries on our Summer of Service Day. They assembled 1,000 Love Boxes for women facing unplanned pregnancies; prepped backpacks, sorted clothing and distributed food to those in need; and prepped nearly 2,000 shoes for kids whose parents otherwise couldn’t afford them. Thanks to listeners’ generosity, KCBI distributed more than 32,000 Bibles to Texas prisons, human trafficking ministries and humanitarian ministries in 2021. Listeners purchased sonograms for pregnancy centers, which helped save more than 5,500 babies from abortion. They provided 38,000 bottles of water, along with 500 Bibles, to victims of the devastating tornadoes that swept through Kentucky in December. And throughout 2021, listeners offered more than 21,300 prayers for requests through KCBI’s Online Prayer Center. KCBI is grateful to God for the opportunity to impact DFW and beyond with Jesus’ love and transforming power.


Life 102.5 has a heart for Madison! For the 4th year in a row, during Valentine’s season, Life 102.5 invited listeners to share the love of Jesus with children and families receiving care at the Children’s Hospital. Listeners generously provided 2,234 Lego kits for the children. Afternoon host Summer Shepherd interviewed Dr. Melissa Mork on her award-winning podcast, “No Seriously, How Do I Do This?” Their conversation inspired the station’s “Embrace Play” giveaway, supporting families’ mental health during the pandemic. Life 102.5 provided a week’s worth of experiences for listeners, including art classes, game nights, and more. Morning Show host Dave Conour joined Team World Vision and rang two full marathons to bring attention to World Vision’s efforts of providing clean water to children and families around the world, Dave’s many miles provided 260 families with clean water for life! Life 102.5’s 21st annual Shoebox Gifts for Kids drive collected more than 1500 Christmas boxes of school supplies, hygiene items, toys, and winter clothing for children in Dane County. It was the station’s largest year yet. Amanda Brooks, Morning Show co-host and host of the weekly program “Faith & Life Today” focused on giving voice to women’s health, family and children’s issues in Madison including, education, marriage and divorce, immigration, and social justice. Life 102.5 had a wonderful year of reaching families, through children, with the love of Jesus. That’s why in 2022, Life 102.5’s outreach goal is focused on helping the most vulnerable children and their families in Madison and Southern Wisconsin.


Spirit 92.9 continued its commitment of blessing the central Minnesota community through intentional service projects. As the pandemic affected another year, station listeners rose to the challenge of uplifting and encouraging those feeling loss, loneliness, or burnout. Thanks to the help of generous listeners and business partners, Spirit 92.9 raised more than $8,000 in an online tip jar that blessed the staff at 19 local restaurants returning to work full time with huge tips during the Big Tip promotion. The restaurant workers were grateful for the visibility and appreciation. Numerous area teachers nominated by their students and families received special honor at the end of the school year with flowers and $500 VISA gift cards as part of “Thank A Teacher” organized by Spirit 92.9. In the fall, Spirit 92.9 partnered with two local ministries and provided free holiday meals to the community. During the ‘More Than A Meal’ event, the station worked with community members who donated enough to provide 6,000 meals and give help to people in need. Station team members also prepared and served meals together at the local homeless mission. At Christmastime, 11 community members wrote Spirit 92.9 and shared the story of someone they believed deserved some extra joy due to personal hardships. The individuals received $1000 to bless that person during Spirit 92.9’s Share The Joy promotion. Phone calls were made to hundreds of listeners to offer prayer and encouragement. Prayer support and a personal response is offered all year long.


2022 Membership Exclusives

January – 2022 Calendar
February – Social Series for Holy Week
March – Virtual Radio Station Field Trip
April – Book
May – Mediabase Webinar
June – Surprise at Momentum
July – Exclusive Momentum Content
August – Virtual Peer Networking Gathering
September – Fall Fun Box
October – Techsurvey Webinar
November – Noisemaker Promotions Vol 2 Book
December – Christmas Surprise 

*subject to change


Jim Campbell, Founder & Network President of Radio Training Network, Inc. began his radio career in commercial radio in Tennessee in 1964.  In 1966 he moved his family to Lakeland, Florida to attend college, and upon graduation he joined the staff at First Assembly of God Church where he and the church launched in the mid 1970s the first Contemporary Christian Radio Station in the nation, WCIE-FM. The station grew in both market impression and influence not just in Lakeland, but around the country inspiring others to follow Jim’s lead. In 1989 Jim left the church and founded Radio Training Network, Inc. (RTN) and over the next 30+ years, he oversaw the acquisition and development of 40+ stations plus translators. With 130 team members, RTN stations serve the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Missouri. These stations are well recognized in their respective markets thanks to the servant leadership of the staff, aggressive marketing, and a commitment to a strong emphasis on Jesus first. At present RTN has some two million listeners each week on air and approximately the same number online.


Andrea Kleid is a 24-year veteran of radio and records. She began her career working in Christian radio at WNLT in Cincinnati, and then moved onto WAY-FM in West Palm Beach working in programming and promotions. Her next stop took her to JOY-FM in Tampa where she served as the Promotions Director. In 2004, Andrea moved to Nashville to begin her music industry career in radio promotion under Grant Hubbard at Capitol CMG. In 2008, Andrea became the Vice President of Promotion at Word Label Group where she led one of the most successful and influential radio promotion teams in the Christian music industry. Through her signature brand of honesty, passion for Christian music, and focus on relationships, Andrea developed a reputation for successfully launching new artists’ careers including for KING and COUNTRY, NEEDTOBREATHE and Francesca Battistelli. This year, Andrea celebrates her fifth year as the President of her own company, Boxer Poet. An advocate for both radio and artists, Andrea continues to zealously host conversations around further representation for women and people of color on Christian radio.


Jason Sharp has a rich history with CCM radio and leadership. His early years at WONU/Chicagoland and The Bridge/Delaware gave flight to his passion for great programming and innovative promotions. As Program Director of WCQR/Johnson City and eventually the network PD for Positive Alternative Radio, Jason’s influence grew across the industry. In 2007, Jason joined the team at Northwestern Media as Program Director and then Station Manager of KTIS, Minneapolis/St Paul. In 2015, Jason furthered his formal education and earned his master’s degree in organizational leadership. Applying his leadership knowledge and skills to work, he now serves as Senior Vice President of Broadcasting at Northwestern Media’s 23 stations in 14 markets across ten states that service 1.5 million listeners each week. Jason also served Christian Music Broadcasters, first as a charter member and eventually as the lead of CMB’s educational track at Momentum for more than ten years. He then served as the organization’s board chairman from 2017-2020. Jason continues to inspire others within Christian media toward excellence and compassion through a Christ-centered attitude, education, and practical application.


2023 Membership Exclusives

January – 2023 CMB Calendar
February – Virtual Air, Digital, Fundraising and Imaging Checks
March – CMB Case Study Webinar with Dunham+Company
April – Momentum Speaker Book
May – Virtual Peer Networking Gathering
June – Member Party at Momentum
July – Exclusive Momentum content
August – Salary Survey Results
September – Member Box
October – Techsurvey Webinar
November – Special Member Devotion
December – Christmas Gift

*subject to change


In 1972, while serving in the U.S. Air Force in Orlando, Johnny Stone dreamt of a second kind of “air force,” that of radio. He took an overnight position at WDIZ-FM, the station where Z88.3 now stands. In the past 50 years of his career, Johnny’s work and personality raised the bar for other programmers in markets ranging from New York City, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, San Diego, Tampa, Atlanta, Tucson, and Minneapolis/St. Paul. During his stint as Program Director and Morning Show host at Star 99.1 New York, his team won the NAB Crystal Radio Award and CMB Station of the Year. Presently, Johnny serves as afternoon host with his wife, Stacey, at 91.9 WGTS in Washington D.C. winner of the 2021 NAB Marconi Award for Religious Station of the Year. Owner of StoneStudios, LLC. and as a 22-year veteran in Christian media, Johnny mentored several on-air talents. Today, along with his on-air role at WGTS, he mentors college students at CMBU, teaching and modeling the belief that “you have to win in the hallways to win on the airwaves.”


Lisa Williams was called to Christian radio while praying in 1990. She walked into KCVO in Camdenton, Missouri and started on the air that same week. Over the past 32 years, Lisa served in various roles in on-air, programming, fundraising, and station management at radio stations and networks including K-LOVE, Z88.3, Star 99.1, KCVO, and KCWN. As an on-air personality, Lisa earned several number one ratings in several markets and was the recipient of three industry awards. Lisa now serves as the Network Talent Coach for Northwestern Media, owner of 23 stations in 14 markets across ten states that service 1.5 million listeners each week. While at Northwestern, Lisa hosted the nationally syndicated show Life with Lisa Williams from 2016-2021. She stepped away from the show to focus on coaching more than 90 on-air talents, encouraging and nurturing them to shine the light of Christ through excellent radio. When she’s not coaching talent, Lisa helps stations raise money for their operations. She also hosts a Facebook group for women on-air in Christian radio called GodsRadioGirls and helps facilitate their annual retreat.