The Early Years
A Mother's Influence
Gayle Russ grew up in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky listening to WMTA. Back in those days WMTA played Country Western music. Songs like "You Are My Sunshine" and "Cool Water" were among Gayle's favorites. But then they would play a "beer drinking" song and Gayle's mother would say something like, "I wish they wouldn't do that." Little did she know her words were shaping the future of a young preacher. Gayle worked for a number of years in radio playing everything from classical to big band. While working in Evansville at a high-powered station he met stars like Merle Haggard, Tex Ritter and Buck Owens.
God was working on this young man's heart. Gayle began playing an hour of gospel music each morning during his shift at the station. He and is wife attended a good church. It was a call to preach that brought Gayle out of radio and into the gospel ministry.
Boeke Road Baptist Church
Growing and Going
In spring of 1972 Gayle and Sandra Russ were led to Evansville to start Boeke Road Baptist Church. Pictured are Gayle and Sandra along with their three children (from left to right: Tim, Shannon, and Ed). This picture was taken in the home of one of Gayle's first converts in the fall of that same year. These converts were one of the first families to join the church.
Along with church work, Gayle recorded local Christian artists. One could say that Faith Records was sort of a forerunner to Faith Music Missions. Gayle was also involved in the Tristate GMA (Gospel Music Association).
Gayle always had a vision and a desire to start a Christian radio station. Nothing was ever available, but God was still working.
Gayle Russ (front row, far left) along with a group of Pastors and Assistant Pastors in Evansville in 1978.
Boeke Road Baptist Church 1978
Sword of The Lord Conference
Inspiration for the First Recording
With a phone call to Dr. John R. Rice, the Editor of the Sword of the Lord, in 1978, Gayle Russ spearheaded the first Sword Conference in Evansville, IN. It was supported by 16 area churches and held at the Downtown Evansville Civic Center Auditorium.
Dr. Al Smith sang a song at the conference called The Whippoorwill Song. This was the first time Gayle had heard this song. Inspired by the Sword Conference and especially by the singing, Gayle decided to record the Whippoorwill song.
In 1979 Faith Music Missions recorded its very first song. This was just the beginning for Faith Music Missions. God was mightily working.
Faith Music Missions
A Trusted Source for Conservative Christian Music
Long before there was an opportunity for Gayle Russ to purchase the radio station that he had long dreamed of having so that the gospel would be proclaimed through its music and programs, God had been bringing godly men and women to Evansville to record the music you hear today on Faith Music Radio. Since recording the Whippoorwill Song in 1979 Faith Music Missions has produced over 700 recordings, and has recorded over 10,000 songs.
(Pictured) Ed Russ and David Chamberlain work together tirelessly in the studio to record Christ-honoring Gospel music here in Evansville. Click the button to learn more about recording at Faith Music Missions.
Faith Music Radio
Powerful, Positive Radio
In 2004, an opportunity came for Gayle to purchase WMTA 1380 AM in Central City, KY. This was the station Gayle listened to as a child. Within just a few months WGAB 1180 AM in Evansville became available. Faith Broadcasting International became a reality for Gayle Russ. Faith 1180 and 1380 have simulcast for over 13 years.
In 2014, Dan Wolfe joined the Faith 1180 team as the Vice President of Faith Broadcasting International and General Manger of the station. Within the next few years the station was rebranded as Faith Music Radio and began broadcasting on the FM dial at 93.1! We have truly learned that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, writes the song for the whippoorwill, He is in control and is still doing a mighty work at Faith Music Radio!
(Pictured left to right: Janice Wolfe, Dan Wolfe, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, Gayle Russ, Pastor Stephen Russ, and Ed Russ at the ribbon cutting for 93.1 FM)