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WMHR: Christian station still thrives after 40 years

Glenn Burdick, Clayton Roberts and a host of other men brought to life WMHR in 1969 after exploring seeds of opportunity for a Christian radio station in the Syracuse area. Burdick, a businessman, and Roberts, an engineer at General Electric, led the mission that the non-denominational station continues to celebrate 40 years later.

Mars Hill Network, the name chosen by the original board of directors, refers to a Bible passage specifically from the King James Version. Mars Hill is the name given for the public forum outside Athens, Greece where the apostle Paul preached to the Stoics and the Epicureans.

The station's charge is similar to St. Paul's: To preach the gospel of Christ.

"That's forefront," said station manager Wayne Taylor. "But [our mission] is also to encourage believers; encourage them to get involved with the local church. We are not a church. We know that."

Christian broadcasting also helps meet the daily needs of people.

"They can't be in church all the time," Taylor said. "They might need a spiritual lift and we have programs to do that, music that does that."

National shows comprise 60 percent of programming delivered by satellite; the other 40 percent is music.

Local listeners can call in live to the station's headquarters on Makyes Road during Open Mic Live which is broadcast at 8 p.m. Friday nights. The show features guest speakers including pastors, authors and people who work in community services; phone lines typically open up for discussion to deal with the specific topic of the week.

Off the air, however, Taylor said questions have a common theme: People ask for advice to help their family situations.

"So often, callers call because they have hurts in their family or they have real problems going on somewhere in their lives," he said. "And they ask a question that pertains to them, or where they can get help." Taylor said staff and callers will pray together over the phone and letters, too, arrive by the dozens, usually to thank the station for its longtime ministry.

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