WOSM Maintains Local Commitment During Hurricane

A radio station known as "The Gospel Giant" became a lifeline of information during Hurricane Katrina. WOSM Radio in Jackson County stayed on the air throughout the storm.

The family owned station has always focused on the local community. And that was especially evident during and after Katrina.

"President's Day. A celebration time here at WOSM," said Margaret Cooper, in her familiar German accent.

The "Gospel Giant" celebrates its 35th anniversary this month. Christian music fills the airwaves, along with an emphasis on community.

"To me, that's broadcasting. Being local," says Charles Cooper.

Station owners Charles and Margaret Cooper say serving the community is the primary responsibility. Hurricane Katrina brought out the best in that commitment. WOSM stayed on the air through the storm.

"When we were about to run out of gas, we put out a clarion call over the air that we needed propane fuel. And our Blossman driver happened to hear it and delivered propane fuel about an hour before we ran out," Charles Cooper recalled.

"WOSM Newstime is 12:04. 57 degrees and cloudy at 103.1," said newsman Noah Britt.

Britt recalls being a vital link for listeners right after the storm.

"They couldn't get a hold of their children that lived in Biloxi in an apartment on the beach. And I was able to get a hold of them that way. And they were thankful the day after the hurricane to find out their child was still alive," Britt recalled.

"This goes back to 1969. Hurricane Camille," said Charles Cooper, pointing to a black and white picture of WGCM Radio in Gulfport.

Cooper was chief engineer at WGCM when Camille knocked a tower into the station. He understands the critical need to keep a station on the air when storms threaten.

"We've lost two towers in prior storms. And by God's grace we didn't lose a tower in this storm," he said.

That allowed WOSM to shine, keeping its commitment to community.