TRAVERSE CITY — Christopher Cox isn’t playing music for a sleeping audience when he comes on the air at midnight.
Cox, a radio host and marketing director for FUEL FM 95.9, said his listeners are the ones who need to hear his encouraging music the most.
“We’re learning that one of the most listened-to times of the day is actually overnight,” Cox said. “We find that people listening at that hour are usually, if they’re not working, up dealing with something in life.”
FUEL FM is a contemporary Christian radio station launched March 3 by Good News Media, a nonprofit company that runs WLJN 89.9, The Source AM 1400 and 1370 and the Northwest Michigan Jesus Ministry. The new station plays mostly popular Christian music, with some artists occasionally featured on non-Christian charts.
Cox said he’s happy the station found a home in the 90s frequencies because it puts FUEL FM among talk shows, easy listening and rock stations instead of just religious stations. That way listeners zooming through channels will be more likely to pause and listen.
“We wanted to reach people who are un-churched or de-churched, so we’re fortunate to be in the middle of a commercial dial,” he said.
D.C. Cavender, program director and a morning host, said FUEL FM will be the only Traverse City-based contemporary Christian station on the air, so radio hosts will be able to update the community on news like school closings. Cavender also wants to have a show featuring Michigan-based musicians and play a wider range of music than other contemporary Christian stations.
“We feel there’s a reason Pandora and Spotify are popular with people these days, because they want that wider variety of music and styles,” Cavender said. “I think we have to, as much as we can, offer them a wider base of music and artists.”
That philosophy has already paid off. Cavender and Cox both said the station is well-received.
“We’re getting a great response from the community,” Cox said. “There’s been sort of a void in this style of music in town. Unexpectedly, we’re hearing from people as young as 10 and old as 80 who seem to like the station.”