QUINCY -- If nothing else, the Rev. Bruce Rice feels WGCA-FM 88.5 has always been a companion for contemporary Christian radio listeners across the region.
"We play a wide variety of Christian music that appeals to a broad range of listeners," said Rice, the longtime executive director of the station.
For 31 years, WGCA has provided its familiar format while being one of the most listened-to stations in the area.
Part of the reason that has been possible is because of the annual Sharathon fundraiser.
"We have been on the air since 1987 as the region's only contemporary Christian station, and each year we ask our listeners and the community to call in and make a gift of financial support," Rice said. "Our listening community always comes through."
This year's Sharathon is scheduled Oct. 10 and 11 with the goal of raising $300,000. Only once in the station's history has WGCA not reached its Sharathon goal, which in recent years has been between $300,000 and $350,000.
Sharathon funds represent about 60 percent of the WGCA budget.
Rice thinks community involvement in Sharathon is what sets it apart from most other fundraisers. Listeners call in to share their stories of faith, and many are emotional conversations.
"We hear how God has impacted their lives and the role WGCA has played in that," Rice said. "It's always a great experience. The stories that are shared are tremendous. Sharathon is always a fun time for the listeners, staff and volunteers.
"We're excited to see what God will do during this year's fundraiser."
WGCA's community outreach also includes sponsoring a variety of community activities, including concerts that bring some of the leading names in contemporary Christian music to Quincy.
WGCA has continued to extend its impact beyond the immediate region.
"Thanks to the internet, our outreach has stretched around the world," Rice said. "We now regularly hear from listeners in at least 30 different countries."
More information on Sharathon is available by visiting wgca.org, calling 217-228-9422 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.