Chicagoan Broadcasts To World
Allan Winters has been in radio and television for over 30 years, including ten working in various on air and off air capacities for the Christian Broadcasting Network. He left CBN in 1982, but remembers those days fondly as his responsibilities were great training for future endeavors as well being part of the growing CBN broadcast ministry in its earlier days.
Winters, who founded his own media company, Sunlite Broadcasting, over 20 years ago has its headquarters in Downtown Chicago, not far from Oprah Winfrey's studios.
A little over 10 years ago, Winters discovered the New Media which would occupy most of his attention since 1996. The internet, back then was not widely used for radio and TV broadcasts, unlike today. In fact, early internet radio (streaming media) reminded him of short-wave radio which is not suited for broadcasting music, but the promise of a new superior technology had him interested.
In the fall of 1996, Winters attended a Seminar hosted by Real Networks, now a major provider of audio and video online. Real executives said their internet radio sound quality would soon be upgraded, and when RealPlayer 3.0 was released a few weeks later, he was sufficiently convinced of the feasibility to begin work on his dream, an internet based broadcast network.
Now, in 2008 sunlite-radio.com has a devoted fan base and listeners from all over the world, 182 countries to date. "We've got quite an audience, Winters notes, " The British Broadcasting Company sent a reporter to visit and interview us in 2000 for a new series, "Christianity and Crisis" and the BBC broadcast that interview highlighting our online ministry.
Sunlite Radio began with just three music channels, but now features over 20 music channels including Classic Country, Country Gospel, Southern Gospel, Bluegrass Gospel, and Urban Gospel. The Website is located at: www.sunlite-radio.com
As to the choice of music, from the Start, Winters asked himself, " what is not on Chicago radio." and the answer was clear, Classic Country and Gospel. Finding a niche market that was not already crowded with big radio powerhouses was definitely the right way to go, Winters believes. "We can't compete, and we're not trying to compete with the major players like Clear Channel radio which owns hundreds of stations nationwide." If we stream audio that you can't hear on most commercial stations, then we have a chance."
Sunlite Radio also features many popular syndicated radio programs such as Paul Heil's "The Gospel Greats," Sunlite has a very large Gospel Greats audience, as many of them are not able to hear the program on local radio or at a convenient time.
Sunlite also features the historic broadcast, "The Old Fashioned Revival Hour" featuring Charles Fuller who was a Christian Radio Pioneer, heard by millions in the U.S. and overseas. The program has been newly edited and released for today's audience. Every week, listeners hear the powerful evangelistic messages by Dr. Fuller along with the music of the Old Fashioned Revival Hour Choir. The program's staff tells Sunlite that many of their listeners hear the broadcast online in nations around the world.
Sunlite Radio has a Tidewater Connection. It's the host for a unique channel for moms who want soothing music for their Babies. It's called Lullabye Radio , created and offered as a public service by the American Guild for Infant Survival which has its office in Virginia Beach. Scott and his wife, Eileen founded the organization years ago following the death of their daughter to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Fr. George Knab, who has relatives in Tidewater, has often preached in the area. He too has his own teaching channel on Sunlite which has been beneficial to his ministry.
Since the advent of Wi-Fi and broadband connections as well as dial-up, anyone who has a lap top, desk top computer and certain mobile devices can easily listen to Sunlite Radio, which also offers many of its programs in a podcast format which has also become popular, and has many subscribers.
Winters notes that many hobbyists, over the years have developed their own radio stations online. "Anyone who has a computer, a sound card, and audio equipment can do it," Winters admits, "but it's more than just collecting and playing music. You should be a programmer." This, of course, comes from a man who has been a disc jockey, (his career started at the same station that launched the career of "Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak) Program Director, Television Producer and TV promotions and Public Relations Director. Winters is also an ordained minister, and was Pastor of Trinity Chapel, a church that was located in the Bowers Hill area of Chesapeake.
Those years at Trinity were a source of great satisfaction and blessing he recalls.
Sunlite is truly a Global Radio station broadcasting the Gospel. The reason that the station has some commercial channels such as Country and Bluegrass music, is that "We don't just want to preach to the Choir," he added, "We want to reach those who don't have faith in the Lord," and hundreds of thousands have come to our station, to listen to Classic Country and Bluegrass. The Gospel Channels can then minister to them along with our preaching and teaching programs.
Another positive feature of Sunlite Radio is its ease of use. There are no registration forms to fill out, no cumbersome ads to wade through, the listener just clicks on the link and the music starts playing in about three seconds or less.
This year, Sunlite Radio is offering Church and Media ministries the opportunity to broadcast their audio and/or video programs on the Sunlite Network. Like the music channels, the programs will be available "On Demand," that is any time, day or night in comparison to many other Internet stations that broadcast programs at a fixed day and time, like regular radio. Tidewater ministries that are interested in this option should contact Allan Winters by,e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail: Sunlite Broadcasting, 10432 Mason Ave (office) Oak Lawn, IL 60453
As to the future, Winters is currently working on a new video service which will feature music videos and short form programs. Since more than half on internet users now have high speed access, he believes this will be a valuable addition to the ministry.