90.9 FM The Light (WQLU) is a Top 40 College Christian music station located on the campus of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. In addition to music programming, The Light also broadcasts news programs and sports, including Liberty University Athletics. It is our mission to reach our listeners with the Gospel of Jesus Christ while training the next generation of broadcasters that will go out and impact the world.
WQLU is the student-run radio station at Liberty University with a long, and somewhat miraculous, history. The station began with a student magazine fund drive in the early days of what was then Liberty Baptist College. Starting with $1,000 raised through the drive, the station began operations in February 1980 as WLBU, Liberty's first radio station.
For more than ten years it operated at 550 on the AM radio dial and reached only one or two dormitories on the campus through closed circuit communications. As the campus grew and more and more dormitories were built it became clear that expansion of the station was needed in order to reach the growing off-campus student population.
On October 8, 1992, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted Liberty University a permit for a 100 watt station at the frequency of 90.9 FM. The station then chose as their call letters WWMC, (Wall-to-Wall-MusiC), but was more commonly called C-91. The station could then be heard by listeners in Lynchburg and as far away as Roanoke, VA--45 miles away.
C-91 began broadcasting at 10:15 in the morning on February 1, 1993 following a dedication ceremony at Liberty University's convocation service. The station was the only Contemporary Christian station in central Virginia for several years. Because students weren't able to operate the station 24 hours a day, WWMC went off the air at midnight. A Christian music network from Boston was used to fill the hours overnight.
Then tragedy struck. In June 1993, a fire destroyed the transmitters for both C-91 and WTLU television at the antenna site on Liberty Mountain. The stations remained off the air until August when repairs were finally made.
In December 1993, a Contemporary Christian network, The Word In Music, helped C-91 to fill the hours when student DJ's were not available.
In the spring of 2015, the station changed its call letters to WQLU. The new call sign was selected to help listeners more readily connect the station to Liberty University, and to provide a new marketing identity for the station.
In August 1995, the station added a new suffix to their name, "The Light." This was chosen as a symbol of the station's desire to shine the Light of God's love throughout Central Virginia. Philemon 1:6 was chosen as the station's theme verse: "that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus." (NKJV)
In the summer of 1999, the station switched its network affiliation to Christian Hit Radio giving it an upbeat, Top-40 sound. With this move, the station appealed more to the area's growing high school and college audience. Later in 2000, a significant donation from retired Liberty faculty member Ann Wharton and her husband, Jim, made independent station operation possible 24/7. This, for the first time, gave the station a consistent overall "sound" day and night year 'round including semester breaks and summer months when the student staff were away.
The station then held its first Light-a-thon fundraiser in 2002 and the listener contributions received allowed the station to further automate programming. In the summer of 2003, The Light changed from using a satellite service to being fully automated locally. This allowed the station to play a college style of music all day. Thus, C-91 became 90.9 FM The Light, which we remain today.
In the early 2000's, The Light added several specialty programs, including Liberty Church Services, an Urban Show, a Top-30 Program, Sports Talk, Political Talk, a counseling program and much more. In 2004, those programs were extended to other genres such as Classical music and Gospel.