If there isn’t a car in front of the Glory 1330 radio studio on Cleveland Highway, that doesn’t mean no one is there.
It just means Mike Wofford, who pretty much runs the radio station by himself, was dropped off by his wife, Janet, or daughter, Lilly. And it’s not because he really wants to be driven to work; it’s because he is legally blind.
On the dial: WGTJ, AM-1330, FM-97.9
On the Web: www.wgtjradio.com
“I have a disease called retinitis pigmentosa, which is a hereditary disorder that causes your retinas to basically go away,” said Wofford, president of the corporation and general manager of the station. “It’s not like it’s totally dark. To me, it’s just a gray blur that I see.”
Yet he still runs the Christian radio station based in Gainesville and has since 1998, when his company bought and rebranded it.
WGTJ, known as Glory 1330, has solely been an AM station since it started, but just recently it started broadcasting an FM signal at 97.9 after the Federal Communications Commission added a FM translator to the station’s tower in an effort to make AM stations more competitive through a project called AM Revitalization.
“We try to be like any other secular station,” Wofford said. “But at the same time, we broadcast Christian music and programming from that standpoint.”
Hitting the FM airwaves has long been a dream of Wofford’s. He’s been involved in every part of the station since its inception and is the only full-time employee. There are some part-time friends that help out, but Wofford said he’s there himself six days a week.
And he doesn’t just run it. He’s actually on the air during the day and provides color commentary at sporting events in the evening. He used to do play-by-play, but handed that off to some of the part-timers as the years went on.
“I have to visualize everything in my mind,” Wofford said. “But when I started Glory 1330 here in 1998, I went ahead and said ‘OK, I can’t do play-by-play. I’ve got friends who can do this.’”
He’s grown accustomed to the adjustments and accommodations he’s created for himself at the station. Since he can’t even see his hand in front of his face, he has to rely on his memory and lights to make sure everything goes over smoothly.
“Everything has to be organized for me so I know where everything is,” Wofford said. “And I’m very blessed with a good memory to know where things are. And then I have computers here that do a lot for me. I don’t use a mouse, I do everything with the keyboard and I’ve got accessibility software that talks back to me and lets me know what’s on the computer screen.”
And when it comes to the color commentary, he can’t see what’s happening on the field or court. He has to rely on his partner — listening to him very intently — to be able to explain what’s happening. He has to rely on experience, too, which he has in abundance.
Now that Glory 1330 has the potential of reaching a much wider audience through FM, Wofford is looking forward to what’s to come for the station. He doesn’t want to stop what he does anytime soon, and plans on riding it out as long as he can.
“I’ve been blessed a lot to be able to do what I do here,” Wofford said. “I’m just looking forward to continuing to serve the community here at the station.”