8 comments

  • mikec

    This would have been from 1959 sign-on into the early 60’s when KARI was a 500 watt daytimer playing country music & serving the rural population of Whatcom Co. & holiday visitors to the beach at Birch Bay. KARI was initially owned by George Wilson & partner Ostrander who also owned KRKL>KNBX>KBLE. Although they initially had a bit of religious programming, eventually more & more syndicated/paid religion would air. In the early 70’s KARI dropped the last of the country music/local programming in favor of full-time religion which continues to this day. The station was first managed & engineered by Seattle broadcaster Don Bevilacqua who would eventually have ownership & full control of KARI. Don had originally worked at KNBX also KTW when it first became commercial in the 1950’s

    • Steven Smith

      Back when I was a kid, mid-sixties on they had some of the wildest screaming preachers on Kari. Reverend Ike was one of them. He created the same kind of frenzy you got in a James Brown song. If you sent a donation, Ike mailed you an anointed prayer cloth. I sent him 50 cents and got my postage sized square of fabric in the mail, but I was suspicious of the means used to anoint it.

  • mikec

    Steven that is hilarious! KARI was my first exposure as a kid to the ranting raving preachers who always seemed to be asking for money “to keep the ministry on the air”. uh huh.

    • Steven Smith

      When I was in grade school I actually saw the real Billy James Hargis in person. He brought his Christian Crusade to Bellingham and my dad took me. Hargis’ schtick was really not religion….it was fervent 1960’s anti-communism mixed with his being a segregationist. His local talk was John Birch Society sponsored. My dad was born in the late 1800’s and remembered the Russian Revolution. He read all the anti-communist stuff of the era, that they were hiding everywhere,, and sympathized with it. But I think his involvement was mainly the Hargis event. We even shook Billy’s hand, I was probably 8 or 10 years old. Billy had his American Christian College in Tulsa and all, but he was more Joe McCarthy than Oral Roberts or the Jesus freak that Imus portrayed….although that was funny too. His was more political stump than hallelujah. Hargis’ career went up in smoke due to accusations of his molesting students, both male and female, at his college. I am glad my dad was not sold enough on Billy James to enroll me at Billy James’ personal college.

      • mikec

        I can just imagine the “education” you would have received at Hargis’ college & I’m sure it would have little to do with your salvation. Hargis’ ranting & raving was pretty typical of the politically-oriented preachers & ultra-conservative programs on both KARI & co-owned KNBX/KBLE. KARI’s owners added German & Dutch-language religious shows after discovering KLYN in Lynden programming to the “Bible Belt” regions of the Fraser Valley – notably the Abbotsford-Chilliwack area, which has a larger than average proportion of churches & religious faiths. A little quirk in Canada’s CRTC regulations prohibited religious formatted radio in Canada until the late 90’s. Stations were allowed a maximum of 1 hour on weekdays, 12 hours on Sundays, otherwise religious programs were not permitted. After Don Bevilacqua acquired full ownership of KARI/KERI he made the deliberate effort to program Christian preachers & shows aimed at metro Vancouver & the Fraser Valley. He established a sales office in White Rock BC just across the border from Blaine. Commercials that aired between religious shows or during country music blocks were mostly for businesses on the north side of the “dotted line” KARI took full advantage of the fact they could boast, for a time, being Vancouver’s ONLY full-time Christian broadcaster

        • Steven Smith

          I vaguely remember a little bit of country for an hour or two later in the afternoon on Kari in the late sixties, cannot recall the Jock’s name but he was local.

          • mikec

            Yes, by the late 60’s KARI only had morning & afternoon drive country music shows. I can’t remember the names of the DJ’s but I think Scott Campbell may have been one of the hosts of these.

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