Jay Hildebrandt recording a segment for his new radio show Sunday Blessings, which will air Sundays on KLCE 97.3 FM from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com
IDAHO FALLS – With script in-hand, Jay Hildebrandt begins recording as he stands behind the mic and introduces himself as the host of a new radio program.
On Sunday May 7, Sunday Blessings will launch on KLCE 97.3 FM. It will air from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. and provide inspirational content for listeners. Hildebrandt tells EastIdahoNews.com the program is designed to have “inspirational and uplifting music to set the tone for personal and family worship.”
“Music will be the primary focus for Sunday Blessings, but we’ll also intersperse some messages and inspirational thoughts (throughout the day),” Hildebrandt says.
Each message will last two to three minutes and will be focused around the music. As the host, Hildebrandt will provide some of his experiences for listeners, but he’s also looking forward to including the experiences of other people in the community.
Over the last several weeks, Hildebrandt, Classy 97 Program Director Josh Tielor and other members of the programming team have spent hours listening to thousands of songs to help determine the right blend and mix for the show. It will include artists like The Tabernacle Choir and Hilary Weeks, as well as Nik Day, Madilyn Paige, Jenny Oaks Baker and others.
The show will also include music from contemporary Christian artists and local singers and musicians. It will feature interviews with artists and the “faith-promoting experiences behind their songs.”
“The songs will be familiar to those who have listened to this type of program before, but with some different twists,” he says. “We want this program to speak to a general Christian audience.”
Sunday Blessings will replace The Sounds of Sunday, a syndicated show that’s been a key part of Sunday programming on Classy 97 for decades.
Bill Fuerst, the general manager for Riverbend Communications, which owns Classy 97, called Hildebrandt into his office last fall to offer him the job of hosting the show. One of the reasons Hildebrandt was selected is because of his long career in broadcasting.
Many people remember Hildebrandt as a local TV news anchor. He covered many different stories over the years, including the flood of 1997. One of his favorite projects was Wednesday’s Child, a weekly segment that highlighted local foster kids wanting to be adopted.
Hildebrandt retired from TV news in 2019 after 40 years, but radio is where Hildebrandt’s broadcasting career began. He started making public service announcements as a 12-year-old boy in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he grew up.
Jay Hildebrandt, right, as a 12-year-old boy doing public service announcements for a radio station in Wisconsin. | Courtesy Jay Hildebrandt
“They needed a juvenile voice for the Wisconsin Council of Safety to do public service announcements. They asked me to do that, and so several times a year I would go into a radio station and I would read these public service announcements.”
Years later, during his senior year of college at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, Hildebrandt worked as an announcer for KBYU.
Hildebrandt working at KBYU as a senior in college | Courtesy Jay Hildebrandt
Hildebrandt is delighted to be back in radio again and he’s excited about hosting Sunday Blessings because it combines three of his passions — faith, music and broadcasting.
He hopes people enjoy listening as much as he enjoys putting it together.
“For me, this has been a special experience because I’ve been forced to focus on … faith-promoting experiences I’ve had (over the years). I need to come up with 150 of these over the next year for this program,” he says. “I hope the spirit I’ve gained as I’ve been doing this will somehow be conveyed to the listeners.”
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