IFL Radio is the internet radio station of Immanuel First Lutheran Church in West Covina, California. Powered by Live365, the internet's leading radio service provider, we stream "words and music of praise and worship" 24 hours a day on this website, on Live365 itself, and on Facebook.
The music is a mix of independent and major-label recording artists in contemporary Christian music (CCM) and modern worship, with a major emphasis on the "indie" artists who otherwise don't get much exposure or airplay on local Christian radio. We also play classic CCM songs of the 80's and 90's from artists like Crystal Lewis, Phillips Craig and Dean, The OC Supertones and Audio Adrenaline.
The independent artists record and promote their music on their own or through small, regional record labels. Many of them freely give out MP3 downloads of their songs as part of their ministry, with no profit motive or big-money aspirations. Often this makes for a greater diversity of music styles and creative expression of worship lyrics than is heard on the big labels.
All the songs on IFL Radio's playlist are hand-picked, without regard to chart position or albums sold. The playlist is tempo-driven, with sets of more uptempo, modern worship songs leading into softer, more contemplative instrumentals and hymns.
Mason Okubo, Immanuel First's senior pastor, believes in using the internet as a means of outreach and evangelism. To that end, we have posted our Sunday sermons for download and podcast for the past few years, and expanded into videos as well. An online radio station, however, has been more of a challenge because of copyright and royalty issues with commercial music labels, and we're a small church that can't afford to pay royalty or license fees on our own.
So when IFL Radio began in the fall of 2009, it featured independent Christian artists who gave permission to download their songs at GarageBand.com, an MP3 site for indie musicians, and streamed from its Gcast radio service. When GarageBand began shutting down all its operations in early 2010, we searched for a new provider and found a new home at Live365.
IFL Radio exists primarily to provide fresh new worship music not normally heard on most Christian radio stations and to glorify our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through words and music of praise and worship, in keeping with Immanuel First's mission to share God's love, comfort and hope with all. If even just one of the songs on IFL Radio is a source of comfort and encouragement to you in your walk with the Lord or motivates you to consider making Jesus Christ your Savior and Lord, then we have accomplished our goal.
Here's the guy responsible for hand-picking the music on IFL Radio. Rich Rodriguez, Immanuel First's webmaster, is a fan of CCM and modern worship music, as well as a lover of the classic hymns of the faith that have been sung in the church for generations. He has also worked as an announcer at the student-run radio station of Chapman University, the Los Angeles Radio Reading Service, and ever so briefly at KWVE, the radio station of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.
While he is no Dick Clark or Simon Cowell when it comes to picking a good artist or a hit song, Rich selects Christian recording artists and songs of all genres, listening to and reading the lyrics to ensure they are doctrinally sound and support the historic Christian faith, especially the Lutheran churches. The tempo-driven order of IFL Radio's playlist is borrowed from the music programming done for years at commercial Top 40 and Oldies/Classic Hits radio stations.
Why not? We are always open to suggestions from our listeners and church members on singers, choirs and bands who might be a good fit for IFL Radio. For example, a member of our youth group suggested the popular Christian alternative rock band Skillet, and they've been added to our uptempo rock sets. Contact us through our Facebook page or at the email link in the left column and we'll give it a looksie.
Keep in mind that any song submitted or suggested, regardless of style or genre, must meet the theological standards described above in order to be considered.
© 2010 Immanuel First Lutheran Church