The history of WLVF is truly an amazing one. It all started in January 1971. Pastor Mickey Carter began to broadcast a Bible question and answer time for fifteen minutes each Sunday morning on a small AM station in Haines City. He continued this for three years. In 1973 Pastor Carter began broadcasting the morning worship service of the Landmark Baptist Church and this continued through the seventies
In the early eighties the AM station sold out to what Pastor Carter terms a group of “hippies” . The new management painted the building in halloween colors and tried to turn it into a pornographic radio station. After listening to Pastor Carter’s broadcast for three weeks, the new manager paid him a visit. The man told Pastor that he couldn’t legally say they didn’t want Landmark’s broadcast on the station, but that there was going to be a 500% increase in price. Of course, this would make it impossible to continue the radio program. The manager told Pastor he had just one more Sunday before the price increase…
The next Sunday morning Pastor Carter announced that this would be his last Sunday on the radio and he told the congregation the circumstances behind it. “God’s in charge,” he reminded them, “and if God wanted to, He could give us that radio station.” Pastor now confesses he doesn’t know what possessed him to say that, but it proved to be a prophecy that would come true.
Shortly after Landmark discontinued its broadcast, the little AM station began to fail. They fell out of favor with the community, and were forced to close their doors. The weeds began to grow and the building fell into disrepair. Pastor Carter investigated the possibility of buying the station, but found that there was a split between the owners and the whole situation was stalemated in court. A new member of Landmark Baptist Church came to Dr. Carter and expressed his desire for the Pastor to go back on the air. “I can’t,” Pastor Carter replied, “It’s tied up in court.” The member wasn’t dissuaded. He began to do some investigative work himself, worked out the legal problems, bought the radio station with his own money, and gave it to the church outright. Pastor Carter’s statement became a reality!
On April 6, 1986, WLVF (We’re Landmark’s Voice of Faith) began to broadcast at 930 on the AM dial. In 1990 the 90.3 FM frequency was added, and Gospel 90.3 became a favorite in Central Florida.
It wasn’t all downhill from there, however. A brand new AM station in Haines City began to broadcast the very same day WLVF debuted 90.3 FM . In addition, another local station, WGTO in Winter Haven, the most powerful broadcast in central Florida, changed its format from secular to Christian around the same time. People began to doubt whether Landmark could continue broadcasting. After all, who would buy commercials from WLVF when they could advertise on the most powerful station in Central Florida? Pastor Carter, undaunted, declared that the local church would support its own ministries. Time and again, that statement proved to be true.
At the onset, WLVF’s new FM station struggled financially. Still, Pastor Carter was determined to stay true to God’s Word, regardless of the cost. He strove to keep it “clean from heretics.” He says, “The other station had every heretic in the book broadcasting on their station, but it killed their audience.” God blessed Pastor’s faithfulness to the Book and provided the necessary funds through the generosity of His people. In contrast, the other two stations, who depended solely on income from commercials, experienced financial difficulties, and eventually went belly-up.
The mid 1980s brought a big storm which blew down the AM towers. Pastor Carter changed into his work clothes, and he, along with several members of the Landmark staff, went out to rebuild them. Through a lot of hard work and danger (a cement truck almost turned over as they poured the cement for the foundation of the towers) the towers were repaired and broadcasting continued.
July 30th through August 1st of 1997 brought the first Restorathon. This is an annual 3-day event when Gospel 90.3 asks for support from their listeners. The first Restorathon took place in conjunction with another big change for WLVF. The broadcast studios were moved from 110 Scenic Highway to the newly renovated headquarters of Landmark Baptist College in the Old Polk Hotel, an historical site in Central Florida. The new facilities included a much larger broadcast studio, a production room, office space for several employees, and several new pieces of equipment. God has blessed this move tremendously.
In August of 2001, Gospel 90.3 began to broadcast worldwide on the internet at gospel903.com. This was done, in part, to enable many of our winter residents to listen year-round. It also provides an excellent source of good music for the missionaries supported by Landmark Baptist Church, most of whom do not have a conservative gospel radio station in their field of service.
The history of Gospel 90.3 can be summed up in the words of the song that Pastor Carter originally used in his first preaching broadcasts, a song that can still be heard introducing the Landmark Hour each day , “Without Him I could do nothing.”