New FM radio station is voice of Black Mountain church

Barbara Hootman

A new FM radio station is being constructed within The Church of the Incarnation on Vance Avenue in Black Mountain. It will be the only local FM station in town.

“We have been granted a construction permit to build a new FM station and have started a radio station building campaign,” Rev. Deacon David Clements, director at The Church of the Incarnation” said. “Our call letters are WHSP-LP FM at 100.9 on the dial. This project is the brain child of our pastor, Father Jim Swatzell.”

The Church of the Incarnation has 30 active members, and has been located in its current site since 1994. St. James Episcopal Church built a new church and vacated the original site.

“We are a charismatic Episcopal Church, but that is the only connection that we have with the main line Episcopal Church,” Clements said.

Clements has spent most of his professional life in radio. He was with WBMS when it was located in Black Mountain, and with WWNC in Asheville for 15 years.

“Our goal is to have the station operable by summer of 2016,” Clements said. “We have raised $2,500 mostly from our congregation of the total $18,000 needed to make the station happen. We need the help of the community. We have established a GoFundMe account at”

The signal for WHSP-LP will reach east to Old Fort and west past Swannanoa.

“We plan to be a clearing house of resources for the area,” Clements said. “We will have sermons, interactive shows with the public being able to call in and a clergyman answering the questions or comments. We plan to do interviews with local government officials and we will have public service announcements. There will be weather alerts for the area, and locally produced music and contemporary Christian music targeted for the mature listener. We also plan to include some local drama productions. We will be a Christian radio station adhering to Christian principles.”

Bob McMurray, executive director of the Black Mountain-Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce, thinks the station is a good idea and beneficial for the area.

“Local FM radio stations are a growing thing,” he said. “We don’t have a local station now, so this is good for the area. Some of the low output FM stations can go online and be picked up all over the world.”

“The project requires a lot of hard work, but the world needs some light in the darkness,” Clements. “We are excited about the station.”