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IN THE SPIRIT: Turn your radio on to 'The Chris Dawes Show'

Over the past 13 years, Chris Dawes has composed, directed and staged eight full-length musicals in his hometown of Grand Forks. If you saw "Touched by the Master's Hand" "On Earth As It Is In Heaven," "God With Us" and the other five, you are am...

Over the past 13 years, Chris Dawes has composed, directed and staged eight full-length musicals in his hometown of Grand Forks.

If you saw "Touched by the Master's Hand" "On Earth As It Is In Heaven," "God With Us" and the other five, you are among Chris' thousands of audience members.

Now, he's reaching people in a brand-new way on Christian radio.

Tune in to be blessed just like you were at his musicals.

"The Chris Dawes Show," a blend of corn, comedy, commentary and music is heard from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturdays on 104.9 FM, which comes to Grand Forks via a translator from Q107 FM in Fosston, Minn.

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In July, Q107 leased the former KVLY television tower at 914 Third Ave. N., which gives the station a much higher quality and stronger signal. People at the station then decided it was time to invest more in its Grand Forks audience and looked for a local person to do a show from here.

"I liked the idea as long as it could be different than what currently is offered on Christian radio," he says. "We agreed that I would do a show that was prerecorded because the money needed to build a ministation in town has not been raised yet. We need people to buy in to the idea that it is now officially a Grand Forks station, as well as get support from this area. We needed to start somewhere and that's what this Saturday show is about. Eventually, they want me on from 4 to 6 p.m. every day, broadcasting from a place here in town that is visible."

If you do not know Chris, it's my pleasure to introduce him to you:

He's been the youth and music pastor at Valley Christian Center for 17 years and a credentialed minister with the Assemblies of God denomination for 10 years. Last fall, he also began leading the Sunday morning contemporary service in First Presbyterian Church.

This radio gig is simply icing on Chris' ministry cake.

"I'm enjoying it," he says. "My problem is that I like to outdo myself each week and raise the bar higher for each show. That can get tough. My wife, Emily, kids me, asking, 'Does everything you do have to be a major production?' She's right, but I don't know how to do things halfway."

The show is a continuous mix with many ideas stemming from Chris' experience as a youth pastor and skits he's written over the years that were used only once or twice.

"It feels good to take them out of the files and dust them off and allow them to be used again," he says.

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The radio show features Chris playing many characters.

"All are me doing impersonations of characters I made up or famous people," Chris says. "There was one skit that I had two friends help with called "Philosophooey." Jonathan Scholberg and James Stakelin were the other two voices in that skit, but everything else is by yours truly."

Chris spends hours recording the show with one microphone and a computer. The songs he plays are off CDs of Christian artists.

"I have my computer in a little closet in my basement," Chris says. "I record there during the night hours after my wife and three little children are asleep. If they do wake up and listen, they might think there are a bunch of people in the basement, all taking turns talking, one at a time. The fact that I literally record this show in a closet has led me to joke on the air about having multiple employees, a large complex where the studio is housed calling it CDS (Chris Dawes Show) as though it were this big network like CBS and having professional musicians on staff who do all the musical segments. But, it's really all me."

Today's show will be Chris' seventh, and the station is getting more sponsors all the time.

"I'm looking forward to working with local businesses to give them interesting and unique advertising," Chris says. "I'm told that the audience is growing fast, and there is a good 'buzz' about what's happening."

Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor should call Catherine Reimer at (218) 791-4013 or e-mail her at catherine@Q107fmcom.

"Christian or not, I think there will be something for them enjoy," Chris says. "To my knowledge there is no other show on Christian radio in general that has this flavor. Grand Cities people can call this their own because I am a 'hometown boy.' I'm interested in providing this hopefully as a huge encouragement to those in our community.

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"Obviously, I am praying that people who are not people of faith, and perhaps are even sour on the idea of Christianity or religion of any kind will listen and see things from a fresh perspective and be enriched and maybe even transformed by the path it may direct them to walk down again, or for the first time."

I know where my dial will be at 4 this afternoon on 104.9 FM for "The Chris Dawes Show."

Dunavan is a Herald columnist. Reach her at (218) 773-9521 or naomiinthespirit@aol.com .

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