Washington-area Adventists Mourn the Death of Radio Station Manager
by AT News Team
Updated January 3
John Konrad, general manager of WGTS, the Christian radio station licensed to Washington Adventist University, passed away early Wednesday morning (January 2) after a short illness. The FM station is very likely the most successful Adventist media ministry in North America today, with the second largest listening audience of any Christian radio station in the United States.
Konrad became manager of WGTS in 1996 and led it through a transition from classical music and educational programming to a contemporary Christian format, as well as raising funds and installing new technology which doubled the area in which it could be heard. It grew from 10,000 weekly listeners to over 600,000. The station ranks among the top 10 of all formats in the Washington D.C. market.
Only 43 years of age, Konrad had been battling bilateral pneumonia since mid-December. He died at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore surrounded by friends and family. J. David Newman, the editor of Adventist Today and the family's pastor for many years, was with Konrad in the hospital last night. "I have known John for about thirteen years," Newman said. "He was a very gracious man and a visionary who transformed this Christian radio station from an audience of less than 7,000 to the second largest Christian radio station in America. He loved the Lord and wanted this station to be an emphatic witness for Jesus. In previous days they could take a week to reach their fund raising goals. Today it only takes two days. He will be a very hard person to replace."
“We all hoped John would recover, so needless to say, his passing has left our entire community deeply shocked and saddened,” said Pastor Rob Vandeman, chairman of the board for WGTS and executive secretary of the Columbia Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “We offer our sincerest condolences to his wife, Dawn, and ask that you keep her and our WGTS family in your prayers.”
As funeral plans become available, they will be posted on the station’s website: www.wgts919.com. The station will air a special tribute at 9 a.m. January 12.