On Tuesday, VaShawn Mitchell graced Moody Radio’s Urban Praise greeting nearly 200 fans and music lovers to celebrate his 7th CD release “Secret Place” Live from South Africa. The meet and greet welcomed nearly 200 gospel music industry leaders, artists and fans to the campus of Moody Bible Institute where Urbanpraiseradio.org the 24 hour online gospel station is headquartered which is a ministry of Moody Radio. This is one of the many efforts spearheaded by seasoned radio personality Effie Rolfe, who is also Program Director and Operations Manager of Urban Praise. Under her leadership, Rolfe has brought some of gospel music’s A list artists including Kirk Franklin, Travis Greene, Tasha Cobbs, William Murphy, Brian Courtney Williams, Bishop Paul Morton and more to the station, students and staff. “The goal is introduce gospel music’s finest as well as broaden the musical experience at Moody Radio,” said Rolfe. For more than 25 years, she has been sharing gospel music on broadcast media throughout the Chicago land area. She trail-blazed through several radio stations before landing at AM 1390 in 1991 to replace Rev. Milton Brunson of the famed Grammy Award Thompson Community Singers. As her popularity grew, the Voice of Inspiration also filled in during WGCI FM‘s Music of Love & Inspiration. A mainstay of urban gospel music, Effie later hosted V103’s “Get Your Praise On” for 7 years while maintaining Assistant Program Director and Music Director on WGRB AM.
Denny Nugent, National Program Director of Moody Radio Network who hired Effie Rolfe spoke about the powerful Urban Praise online channel. “As Moody Radio has sought to increase its ministry outreach in this Internet age, we have looked for opportunities to create radio stations that reach new listeners using this new technology. Our parent organization, Moody Global Ministries, has an ongoing vision to reach audiences across the globe, across cultures and across generations, and our decision to launch Urban Praise perfectly fit that mission. Moody Radio reinforced its commitment to Urban Praise by bringing Effie Rolfe on staff to direct the programming, oversee the show hosts and guide the music format. Effie brought with her decades of experience in urban radio in Chicago, and given her love for the Lord and for gospel music, she has been an ideal addition to the Moody Radio team as she works with her team to guide Urban Praise into the future.”
Under her leadership, the station received Stellar Award Internet Radio Station of the Year in 2015. “I never thought I’d be blessed to work at Moody, but this was God’s plan,” shared Rolfe. The station can be heard online as well as via the free Moody Radio and Tune In Radio apps available on iTunes or Google play store. “What an honor to work with an institution whose primary mission is to win souls for Christ,” shared Rolfe.
Former Moody Radio General Manager, Roy Patterson, now Special Executive Assistant to the President’s Office of Moody Global recalls the genesis of the popular online station. “Urbanpraiseradio.org originated in a meeting with people who were basically unaware of the power of gospel music,” said Patterson who continued, “They weren’t against it, but had no idea of how this music could blatantly point people to Christ and provide hope and healing. They trusted me to gather music and lay out a format. We played the hits: vintage Shirley Caesar, stomping Kirk Franklin, irrepressible Yolanda and Fred “the worship leader” Hammond to name a few.
Initially, we were seen as the new kid on the block when it came to the Moody Radio Network. And then something amazing happen—we began to double and triple the number of listeners.” Patterson credits Gospel music and it’s unstoppable resurrection power as one of the reasons for Urban Praise’s tremendous success. “Its relatable and gives hope that no other music provides originating from a people who have been downtrodden, ridiculed and denied that still has a song that the angels can’t sing. Finally, we also have great teaching laced throughout the day from Tony Evans, Crawford Loritts, Debbie Adebayo & Singles Pleasing The Lord, Dr. Deena Marie Carr & Finance According To Your Faith and more.” The Urban Praise on-air host exclaimed, “Having Effie Rolfe as Program Director has raised the profile of the station. She brings a level of professionalism and networking that is unparalleled and is an inspiration to staff and listeners. Moody Radio is fortunate to have her insight and connections. I call her the queen of gospel radio. She is humble, yet committed to glorifying the Lord in song,” expressed Patterson.
“We have an amazing on-air team including DeAndre Patterson, Ashanti Pettaway, Karen Fletcher, Calvin Robinson, Tinakka Johnson, Cassie Blakely, Tracy Haney, Jho Rhoiney and Tara Jenkins, “ shared Rolfe. “It’s great working with believers to advance the kingdom. God has me here for a reason and the assignment is perfect.” Author of The K(N)ots Prayer Journal, Effie is also a weekly columnist for The Chicago/Gary Crusader Newspapers. Tune in weekdays from 10a to 1pm to hear her on urbanpraiseradio.org