Refreshing 90.9 fm WFCO began broadcasting Christian radio to the Lancaster, Ohio area in 1988 in a one-room studio in the Church of God on East Main Street. It was started with just 200 watts, and broadcast for only 12 hours a day. Jim Rauch was the first and only paid employee of WFCO for its first eight years of operation. Rauch offered broadcast training classes to any volunteers who wanted to be on the air.
90.9 fm WFCO got its start as an offshoot of the church’s Christian school – the original Fairfield Christian Academy. 90.9 fm needed a name so Jim Rauch put the challenge of naming the station before the congregation of the Church of God. “Fairfield’s Christian Outreach,” that spelled out the call letters WFCO, was chosen. With the help of many volunteers and a partnership with BBN (The Bible Broadcasting Network), WFCO was able to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ across Lancaster and Fairfield County. With cassette players, cart machines, reel-to-reel tape machines and record players, WFCO broadcast national and local programs while BBN provided music and additional national programs. In the early 1990s, some additional remote equipment was added that allowed for a 24-7 broadcast. Jim Rauch continued his station management duties: training volunteers, keeping the equipment working, doing an on-air shift each day, and interacting with the network and the FCC until his retirement in 1996.
Steve Rauch followed his Uncle Jim as the next WFCO Station Manager. He continued the relationships that Jim Rauch had built through the first eight years of the ministry. A lot of changes had occurred in those first eight years, including the introduction of new technology. One of the most significant upgrades was the introduction of the first computer at 90.9 fm. The Audisk System, as it was called, allowed for the automation of much of the programming and the ability to switch between BBN and local programs. It was then that programs like Meet the Minister and other local church programs were started. Also during this time, the first live sports broadcasts were aired. Former Operations Manager JT Burcham, with help from Rick Schaffner, brought local High School sports action to the airways.
In 2002, WFCO made some major changes. The station changed format and became completely locally controlled. They also moved to new studios in downtown Lancaster in the Wilson Building at 201 South Broad Street. It was the outstanding effort, drive, and energy of the new Operations Manager, JT Burcham and the first-ever Sponsorship Representative and Sports Director, Dwayne Hurst that allowed the station to begin a new journey in the life and ministry of WFCO. During this transition, WFCO picked up the moniker “Peaceful 90.9 fm.” This name change reflected a broader musical base. By this time, programming had changed to include live coverage of events, more local programs, and the start of a public affairs program formerly known as Today in Lancaster, that now is called Community Accent. Jeff Slagell was commissioned to create a new logo for the station. That logo is a depiction of the clock tower on the City Hall building in historic downtown Lancaster, which is nearby the new studios.
The FCC granted WFCO a power increase in late 2006. Now broadcasting at 1200 watts, the signal covered all of Fairfield County…and beyond. The 90.9 fm coverage area now reaches parts of Franklin, Perry, Hocking, and Licking Counties.
In 2007, WFCO made yet another change to its name and image. Peaceful gave way to “Refreshing 90.9fm.” With this change came more new community-focused programs and some fresher music from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.
In April 2013, WFCO went to a “block” schedule with local talk programs grouped together in morning and afternoon “blocks”. All national programs were moved to a “block” in the mid-morning hours. Also at this time, the station debuted its current music format, of a unique blend of classic and contemporary Christian music, including new worship songs from the hit charts.
In Fall 2014, Refreshing 90.9fm launched a new website, refreshing909.com with expanded offerings. That was followed in March 2015, with all local “afternoon block” programs moved from the 4 p.m. hour to a block between 12:30 and 1:00 p.m .
Refreshing 90.9fm remains community focused. Each year we broadcast over 100 high school sporting events (and even some junior high and college). Local programs hosted by members of the community and live remotes are staple of WFCO’s programming schedule.
Keeping in step with technology, Refreshing 90.9fm offers live streaming of broadcasts online (also on your mobile device/tablet with the tunein app), and free downloads of locally-produced programs and local sporting events. To help continue moving Refreshing 90.9fm further into the 21st Century, we also have expanded into social networking with facebook and twitter. The mission at Refreshing 90.9fm is always to remain faithful to the “Christ-Centered & Community-Focused” message and give God the glory for all He has done and is able to do through this ministry.†