Glenn Rawson Stories and Sounds of Sunday history from Carl Watkins
In 1995, as part of our stake (parish) realignment, I met Glenn Rawson as a member of our new church ward (congregation) in Blackfoot, Idaho. He had previously taught seminary to three of our daughters Deserie Lynn, Carla Denise, and Tauna Marie, who had told us that she loved Glenn as her teacher.
I worked as an air personality and chief engineer for local radio station KLCE, which aired "Sounds of Sunday" each Sunday morning featuring religious music conducive to Sunday worship. The program was created by Jim Burgoyne, our station manager. However, we both felt that the program could be improved by adding some Gospel related messages. I would have loved to deliver those messages myself, but I lacked the resources, and I felt inappropriate as an already established 'pop music' radio personality.
The first Sunday when my wife Linda and I attended the Gospel Essentials Sunday School class in our new ward, we discovered that Glenn was our teacher. I reflected on how much Tauna enjoyed him as her seminary teacher, and that this was our opportunity to validate her opinion. Tauna was right! Glenn was truly a gifted teacher!
The next Sunday while in his class, I remembered my thought of producing Gospel messages to add to "Sounds of Sunday," and wondered if Glenn could deliver such messages. I closed my eyes and listened to him speak for a moment. I then quickly concluded that he had an expressive 'radio-friendly voice’ and he would sound great! Plus he was already rehearsed at giving such messages. I approached him after class and asked him if he would be interested. He was more than willing to participate in such a project. Furthermore, he said that he had hundreds of stories ready to use. I concluded that 'the wheel was already invented,' and Glenn would be the right person to record these.
On several occasions for over a year, Glenn and I discussed finding a good time to record. Finally, in determination, on Tuesday night, July 15, 1997, we went into the studio, offered a prayer, and using our newly acquired Audio Technica 4033 condenser microphone, I recorded his first story, "Close Enough to Touch." Glenn brought me some appropriate instrumental music on CD; I edited it to the proper length and mixed it in. As we listened to the finished track, I was overwhelmed! Glenn's recording was more polished and inspirational than anything I could have done. I felt there was a divine purpose in producing this and future stories, and I felt that a major purpose of my life was being revealed to me. A humble man, Glenn had little understanding of the impact his stories would have on listeners.
Like a brief moment in time that comes once in the thousand years, how was it possible that Glenn and I should come together to produce this? It was at the right time and in the right place, which was precipitated by Tauna's comments and our stake realignment. It was more than just a coincidence. I believe that our Father in Heaven orchestrated this.
I played the story to Jim. He was impressed too. A few days later, Glenn and I returned to the studio to produce two more stories. Jim heard them too, and then asked our program director (the late) Wayne Richards to add the stories as regular features during "Sounds of Sunday." At first I thought that we should air one story every half-hour, but Wayne directed us to produce only one story for each hour, three in rotation per Sunday. Glenn and I eagerly complied.
In retrospect, I am grateful that Wayne wanted only one story per hour. I had no idea how many stories I would eventually produce and how much time I would spend producing them. As the length of the stories increased from about 2 minutes to over 4 minutes, it would have been impossible with my limited time to maintain good quality producing twice that number.
I became resolved that this project was greater than anything I had imagined, and I envisioned the day would come when people throughout the country would hear these stories! - but I had no idea how that would happen. Internet audio distribution was not yet developed, and I didn't know where I would find the resources to upload the stories within satellite programming. Nevertheless, we faithfully archived nearly every track of every story onto mini-discs.
The stories aired for the first time August 3, 1997, and subsequent additional stories aired each Sunday thereafter. We produced 3 new stories each week for a year. As our son David was serving as a missionary in the Brazil Rio de Janeiro North Mission at that time, I felt I was serving a simultaneous mission in the production of these stories each week. I typically spent about 8 hours each Saturday producing them. Glenn’s part - voicing 3 stories - usually took less than an hour. He was a gifted first or second-take speaker most of the time. However, I'm sure he also spent a significant amount of time researching and writing them.
Music was a bigger challenge, trying to find just the right selection to embellish the mood of each story, and inaudibly editing it to the proper length. The songs that followed the stories were usually decided by Glenn as he was quite familiar with them playing them in his seminary classes each day. He actually wrote some of his stories with specific songs in mind.
By the end of July 1998 - 156 stories later - I felt both out-of-breath and excited at reaching our goal! However, the following year, we continued to produce additional new stories to replace some less impressive ones.
In 1998, John Hair of KOSY in Salt Lake City heard the stories as he was driving through southeast Idaho one Sunday. He called me, and asked if KOSY could use the stories too during their "Sounds of the Sabbath" program, which he produced. I was excited! However, Glenn had opened nearly all of the stories with the phrase "Sounds of Sunday." So I made special new edits of those stories replacing "Sounds of Sunday" with "Sounds of the Sabbath" for KOSY to air.
In 1999, at the recommendation of the new KOSY program director Paul Wilson, Duane Lund the owner of KXRQ in Vernal, Utah asked to air them too during his "Sounds of Sunday" program. We accommodated, and we also provided them for owner Doug Barton to air during his "Sounds of Sunday" program at KMTI in Manti, Utah.
During 1999, we began using the talents of our ward member Michael Leavitt and local piano teacher and high school choir director Deanne Casperson in producing instrumental tracks. They are marvelous keyboardists who have the tremendous talent to compose scores to fit the stories. All I had to do was mix in the music – no editing required.
With over 230 stories produced, on August 1, 2004 we increased the air schedule to 4 stories per Sunday. And on August 6, 2006 with over 260 stories produced, we increased the air schedule again to 5 stories per Sunday. Today we have over 400 stories produced, and have revised several older stories with new recordings of songs of improved audio and production quality.
I was encouraged by the number of stations that were airing the stories, but the only way for other stations to also air the stories was for them to be featured during a program such as "Sounds of Sunday" or "Sounds of the Sabbath." This presented a new challenge. It required a unique music library and a program director to organize it.
It also required the delivery of the program to the stations. I considered satellite delivery like other network programs. but with our limited resources, we couldn't afford it. However, in the early 2000s, recordable CDs were being introduced, which method was very affordable. So our first programs were recorded on CDRs and mailed to the stations. By 2006, MP3 internet uploading/downloading was even easier, quicker, and more affordable, which is how we distribute the program today.
In early 2004, I began production of a weekly one-hour syndication of "Sounds of Sunday" which included one Glenn Rawson Story. It began airing weekly on KBAR, Burley, Idaho and KART, Jerome, Idaho. Later it was added to KVSI, Montpelier, Idaho and KITT-FM, Soda Springs, Idaho.
In mid 2006 the syndication was added by Alan White to KACH in Preston, Idaho, and in November 2006, Matt Wheelright made BYU Radio an affiliate, which was streamed over the internet at www.byuradio.org, and was carried by DISH Network as Channel 980, and American cable network in Mesa, Arizona as Channel 97. In January 2012, I was approached by Ted Garling who was creating an internet streaming station called "Sounds of Sunday 24/7" and asked to air several of my shows continuously 7 days a week. We are pleased that today Ted is bringing "Sounds of Sunday" to an ever growing number of listeners worldwide.
January 7, 2007, we added a 1½-hour addendum to “Sounds of Sunday” which included 2 additional Glenn Rawson Stories. As a 2½-hour show, it was then added by Kent Lee to KMVX-FM (Mix-103) in Twin Falls, Idaho, and by Jim Burgoyne to KLCE in Blackfoot, Idaho where most of the stories were produced. On March 18, 2007 the addendum was increased to 4 hours allowing "Sounds of Sunday" to be configured to be any length from ½-hour to 5 hours in ½-hour increments. All 5 scheduled stories are included in the 5-hour show. Today KLCE airs "Sounds of Sunday" all 5 hours from 12N-5P after their locally produced show from 5A-12N, and Mix-103 airs "Sounds of Sunday" for 7 hours from 5A-12N, repeating two hours.
Charlie Hall, the new owner of KXRQ in Vernal, Utah later replaced his locally produced "Sounds of Sunday" with the 4.5-hour syndication following by "Music and the Spoken Word" and then the 5 hour syndication for a total of 10-hours. Keith Martindale of KVSI in Montpelier, Idaho also airs "Sounds of Sunday" for 10 hours. Sandy Mahoney later added her station KTMP in Heber, Utah as another 10-hour affiliate.
We later added one hour of "Sounds of Sunday" to Majik-101.7 in Show Low, Arizona, and then to Majik-100.7 in Safford, Arizona. Today the program airs in Show Low 6A-11A and in Safford for 8-hours 5A-1PM.
In 2012, under new management KLCE began a change to their "Sounds of Sunday" program and the Glenn Rawson Stories were added to competitor "EZ Sundays" on KQEZ EZ-Rock 106.3 in Idaho Falls (Pocatello translator 95.3),and dropped at KLCE.
This brings me back to that first night of July 15, 1997 when we produced our first story, and my vision that Glenn’s stories should someday be heard throughout America. It was becoming a reality!
We invite other stations to air "Sounds of Sunday." Since most stations would like a sponsor to air it, we are seeking local and national sponsors. Our goal is for "Sounds of Sunday" to air on radio stations throughout the English speaking world.
In January 2008, Glenn and several LDS Church historians were hired by the late Salt Lake City businessman Larry H. Miller to produce "The Joseph Smith Papers Project" television programs which aired each Sunday at 8PM Mountain Time over KJZZ - Channel 14 in Salt Lake City, and on BYU Television each Monday at 5PM and 9PM Mountain Time - DISH Network Channel 11 and DirecTV Channel 68. Today Glenn and videographer Dennis Lyman produce a half-hour television/radio program called "History of the Saints" which airs each Sunday on KSL Television and Radio in Salt Lake City, KID Television in Idaho Falls, and several other radio stations.
There is some curiosity about Glenn. What is he really like? Emphatically, Glenn is exactly as you hear him! He is not pretentious or fake. One of his passions as time permits is sunrise jogging – rain, snow, sunshine, warm or cold. He writes and researches in complete honesty every story he delivers, and he doesn’t wear headphones when he records. He is a humble man, and is actually a bit shy and uncomfortable taking praise for his work. He is at home behind a pulpit, but is reluctant to be noticed as a student of a class. At first glance, one could describe him as a scrawny little red-haired guy, but he has certainly become much more to me - as his hair approaches "flaming red" (in the words of Thomas S. Monson). I am nearly 14 years his senior, but he has become an inspiration to me, and a major part of my life has been committed toward advancing his Gospel insights. I have come to realize that this is an important mission our Father in Heaven has given to us.
Our lives have been changed over the years as we have produced the stories. I know I could never have done anything like this without Glenn, Jim’s support, and of course our Heavenly Father’s direction. I know He is real in our lives. Many listeners have expressed appreciation to us for these stories through personal conversations and feedback from our websites, and feel they have improved their lives. I can't tell you how much the stories have affected me as the producer. Often tears come to my eyes as I produce them. Glenn has a tremendous gift! I am a poor reader, and through his spoken thoughts while producing his stories, Glenn has taught me many plain and simple principles of the Gospel. His comments have increased my understanding of the Gospel, brought me closer to my Father, and committed me more intimately.
I cannot comprehend the total effect Glenn’s stories have on listeners, but I believe that all people are influenced by their friends. As listeners hear and embrace a Gospel principle, their light radiates to others. My prayer is for these stories to directly or indirectly touch countless hearts to help prepare to receive the fullness of the Gospel and/or to live by its principles – to become prepared to meet the Savior at His second coming.
To offer suggestions or to contribute your support, please contact me at email@example.com.
Producer of the "Glenn Rawson Stories" and the "Sounds of Sunday" (syndicated)
Additional Credits: A special thanks to so many wonderful people who have contributed their talents to this project over the years.
Thanks to Rachel Phelps Hanson, Becca Rammel Whyte, Sean Rammel, Jeff Rammel, Angie Herbst Mikesell, Courtney Gardner Stavros, Heidi McCombie Baxter, Mary West Hammond, Michael Severn, Brad Bowen, Mackenzie Wright Romriell, Rod Love, Ron Simmons, Tom Farnes, Michael Farnes, Michelle Cheney Christensen, Jordan Kesler, Katie Kesler Ulrich, Page Pearson, Victor Stanley, Austin Hill, Russell Virgin, Ben Clegg, Wade Egan, Sheila Walton, Damian Hall Ward, The Blackfoot High School choirs, James Hatch, Carol Jordan, Ron Simmons (Bingham County Tax Collector) Judd Erickson, Maryanne Davidson, Mary Peterson, Renee Davis, Judy Infanger, Sheri Saunders, Tauna Fell, Coralee Bird, Brianna Bird Kirkham, Bret Bagley, and Hannah Rawson (Glenn’s & Debbie’s daughter), Cristy Watkins Heinrichs (our daughter), and others I’ve failed to remember.
Thanks to Mindy Carey at KLCE for introducing me to Coralee and Brianna Bird and for bringing some great music to my attention.
Thanks to Deanne Casperson and Bonnie Egbert who also gave me some great new songs embellished by Mike Leavitt’s wonderful keyboard parts to use with the stories.
Thanks to Michael Leavitt, Deanne Casperson, and Merrill Page for their new instrumental tracks created uniquely for specific stories. And thanks to Paul Cardall, Jay Richards, Kierre Lewis, Lex de Azevedo, Merrill Jenson, Marvin Goldstein, Kurt Bestor, Michael Dowdle, Chad Barker, and so many others for the use of their instrumental music as well. Many of their recordings were as if they had written the music around Glenn’s stories, but in reality they had actually never heard them. It must have been the Spirit directing them! I can’t recall how many times I was inspired to find music from particular sources. We have never been alone in this project.
Thanks to Marilyn Archibald, Steven Archibald, Sharon Hoge, Glen Morgan, Donavan Harrington, Cindy Campbell, Alice Cannon, Cindy Felt, and many others for directing and assisting in the “Give Me Liberty” theatrical performances.
And thanks to our son David for creating and maintaining our websites, and to Brian and Rachel (Phelps) Hanson for managing the marketing of Glenn’s books and C.D.s.