Local Christian radio station seeks return to airwaves following Masonic Temple fire


WTLL 98.9 FM The Vine Station Manager Farris Wilhite.

By Staff Report

The only locally operated Christian radio station left in Zanesville lost its ability to broadcast earlier this month, but many are determined to bring it back.

When the historic Masonic Temple caught fire, it not only took with it priceless artifacts, irreplaceable artwork and many businesses, but also the transmitter for WTLL 98.9 FM The Vine.

For far too many, the blaze has forced continuity plans that those who utilized the building thought would never be necessary. For the station, whose office is located along Maple Avenue, it’s how to get their broadcast back on the airways with the loss of the tower which had sat atop the 7-story building.

When The Vine relocated its transmitter to the Mason Temple roughly two years ago, according to Station Manager Farris Wilhite, they invested in new equipment.

“We never thought we’d have to replace it,” Wilhite remarked about the Four Bay FM Antenna which sat on top of the roof of the building. “We really were making an investment in the community.”

The station, which started as a broadcast for the Calvary Chapel in Zanesville, evolved over the years to become a ‘Christian Community Radio Station,’ that appealed to all those in the various local churches.

Broadcasting multiple major ministries, Christian Music, children’s sermons and community events, Wilhite explained, the station grew to be enjoyed by many throughout the listening area.

When he received the call that the building was on fire, Wilhite recalled that he was in disbelief.

“I was quite stunned. You know that building had been there almost 130 years,” Wilhite said. “I guess you just never think of that, you know.”

Since their studio is along Maple Avenue, Wilhite explained that they are still able to broadcast online, but are actively seeking a means to get the station back to the airwaves, which would likely involve leasing or building a tower.

Such solutions could prove costly for the non-profit operation, but Wilhite, citing Christian resiliency, said they will find a way.

In the meantime, followers can listen from around the world online at their website: 989thevine.org where donations are also welcomed.