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Vernon Baker Dies

Built more than 20 stations, founded Positive Alternative Radio

Vernon Baker is dead.

According to an obituary from Positive Alternative Radio, Dr. Vernon H. Baker was 88. He died July 11.

“In 1954, Vernon Baker launched the first radio station in Blacksburg Virginia, WBCR. He went on to build 20 more commercial station in the Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky.”

He and his wife Virginia also founded the nonprofit Positive Alternative Radio Inc., an umbrella organization for seven Christian stations operating on 20 full-power signals and dozens of translators covering central and southwest Virginia, southern and northern West Virginia, much of North Carolina, eastern Tennessee and stations in Kentucky and Ohio.

“Vernon Baker grew up during the Depression on farms in Tennessee, where he learned the value of hard work and education. World War II drew him to the Navy, where he served as an electronics officer for in the Pacific Theater,” the obituary continued.

“He was most involved in the development of sonar systems for the Navy. After the war, he earned undergraduate degrees from the University of Tennessee (Electrical Engineering and Agricultural Engineering), as well as graduate degrees from Michigan State University (M.S. and Ph.D.).”

The couple started a family and eventually moved to Blacksburg, Va., where Baker joined the faculty at Virginia Tech as a research professor in agricultural processing. After a career as a professor and research engineer, he decided to follow a passion for radio and instincts as an entrepreneur.

“One of the many framed diplomas and certifications which he most enjoyed showing people was his Certification as a Professional Engineer, issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia. His certificate: Number 4.”

Baker, the organization said, “viewed their non-profit enterprise as a way to give back some of the blessings the Lord has bestowed upon them.”