In December 1993, Chris Coppernoll, Johnny Hale and Mike Becht sat down for a conversation. Mike and Johnny were staff members at WAYJ (the original Way-FM) in Ft. Myers, FL. Chris was a faithful station volunteer who was preparing to move to Nashville, TN. Mike was soon to leave Florida and head back to his native Southern Indiana to start an audio/video production company. Seemingly from nowhere, Chris asked the question, “What is it that Christian radio needs?” The answer from Mike and Johnny was reflexive and simple, “We need to know more about the artists. Our listeners do not know who these artists are. We need more artist interviews.” That fateful question planted a seed that grew into what is now Soul2Soul.
The first goal was modest: would 25 stations be interested in a long-form (60 minute) interview program filled with music and stories from the biggest artists of the day? If so, then we would start down this road by faith. We attended Gospel Music Week in April of 1994 to unveil the concept and find out if this idea had any merit. Did it ever!
Soul2Soul was launched the first weekend of August 1994 on more than 100 stations! Chris Coppernoll handled the interviews in Nashville. Mike Becht and his team in Indiana produced the show, and Johnny Hale was the original program host based in Florida. Our first guest was Bonnie Keen of First Call. In the years since Soul2Soul has spoken with more than 500 different Christian artists, authors, athletes and pastors. Now as we approach our 25th year of broadcasting, Soul2Soul is heard on more than 700 outlets in more than 44 countries worldwide. Johnny Hale moved to a new position in Las Vegas and left the show in 1997. Chris Coppernoll followed the leading of God to the pastorate in Upper New York state and retired in 2010. Mike Becht continues the mission to bring the artists closer to their fans and to give each artist an opportunity to “tell their story.”
Mike Becht is an executive producer and host at Soul2Soul. He also serves as the senior pastor at New Life Assembly in Scottsburg, IN. His love for Christ has helped him connect with some amazing artists over the years to help share stories and songs through God.