Decade of Perseverance Pays Off
for Adventist Radio Station
decade of perseverance has paid off for a Seventh-day Adventist radio station in Vacaville, California. KASK-FM is now on the air after a 10-year struggle with local government officials over the issue of land use rights for a religious institution.
KASK began broadcasting non-commercial talk radio Thursday, July 19, from its studio on the site of the 200-member Adventist Church in Vacaville, a city of nearly 100,000 in population, located about 25 miles northeast of the San Francisco Bay Area.
"We will probably never know why it had to take so long, but we trust God is working out His plans, and will make this station a blessing to the church and community," said Alan J. Reinach, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty director for the Adventist Church's Pacific Union region in the Western United States.
A STATION IS BORN: KASK-FM’s building is located on the property of the Adventist church in Vacaville, California. The new radio station launched in July and has the potential to reach an estimated 600,000 people near the San Francisco Bay Area. [Photo: Michel Macé/Courtesy ANN]
Several church leaders and members said they felt compelled to pursue the launch of the radio ministry after Dr. Glenn Toppenberg, a local church member, found and helped secure an unclaimed frequency that engineers had overlooked in the highly competitive market. Toppenberg died of a stroke in 2004.
Toppenberg's “belief was so strong he spent personal retirement reserves to pursue what he believed to be God's will,” said Glenn Aufderhar, board chairman for KASK-FM and a former president of the Adventist Media Center in Simi Valley, California. "When doors closed he often asked friends if he was being presumptuous, but then God would open a new door that removed all doubt," Aufderhar said.
The church's case was mentioned in the U.S. Congressional Record in 2000, which stated the county was determining "what constitutes a legitimate ministry of a church" by denying "accessory use" of the property.
After several negative rulings by state and federal courts, Reinach said the final approval was aided by a previous lawsuit brought by members of a Sikh temple that had similar conflicts with the county.
"Despite the long conflict, the church established a very positive working relationship with county officials and planning department staff," Reinach said.
KASK received its final permit from Solano County in early July and now broadcasts to a potential audience of 600,000, not counting motorists on Interstate 80 passing through.
The Vacaville Adventist Church will celebrate the station's inauguration on September 8. Among the anticipated guest speakers is the director of the county's planning department.
Issues involving the use of land by religious organizations have been a continuing problem in the United States. In 2000, the Congress of the United States passed the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act that, in part, makes it easier for Churches and other religious institutions to avoid state restrictions on their property use through zoning laws.
-- Ansel Oliver, Adventist News Network/AR Staff