Red Barn on Gaither Mountain in Arkansas

During Laura and Jaylin’s spring break, we went with a group from our church for a few days on a rather unique work opportunity on top of Gaither Mountain in the Ozarks of Arkansas, near the city of Harrison. It was just over a five hour drive away, but it was definitely worth it.

Red barn on Gaither Mountain in Arkansas

At first glance, this looks like a rather ordinary red barn on a farm somewhere. And in fact, that is what it once was, as this used to be a horse farm under the previous owners. But this is no horse farm. This is instead becoming a first-class radio facility.

There was all sorts of work to be done, both inside and out, as the property is being converted for its new use. There was brush to be cleared and burned, hay to be moved, doorknobs to be replaced, and so on.

Radio studio at Gaither Mountain

I spent most of my time inside, working in this broadcast studio to try to get some of the radio equipment set up. It was different from much of what I had done before, but I had several manuals and a few YouTube videos to help me. There were several headaches involved, mostly due to my lack of knowledge about the equipment I was working with, but I was able to get a good bit accomplished. Please forgive the orange network cables running everywhere. Those were only temporary as I was working on things, and they are all neatly run out of sight now. Perhaps I should have waited until then to take this photo.

You might notice that the banner at the left of the photo is for a station located on Tutula Island in American Samoa. That is no mistake, because this facility will be used to broadcast all the way around the world!

Gaither Mountain Studio 2-1600

This facility is for Pacific Broadcast and Churches of Christ Community Radio, and it is the work of Randy English, the missionary that our church supports in American Samoa and the South Pacific. There are several stations there in the South Pacific islands, as well as some stations here in the United States, with more on the way in both places. The Gaither Mountain facility will be the home base of operations for all of those stations, and it was interesting to be a part of the work there.

I liked this microphone photo for the depth of field using the prime lens that I have, because it creates a much different look than the fisheye lens that I used on the previous photos. But I actually did not spend any time talking into the microphones, unless you count saying, “Test, test,” over and over again to watch the little lights blink and make sure everything was working properly.

Radio sound board

I did not actually do anything with this board, with all of its faders and knobs and buttons. It was in the control room just outside of the studio pictured above, and I couldn’t resist getting a photo of it. It is actually very similar to the one that we have in our sound room at our church, except that the church board only has 16 channels, while this one obviously has many more. But this board will soon serve a purpose as well, helping in its own small way to spread the Gospel around the world. And besides, things like that are just cool to look at with all of their repeating patterns and such.

Gaither Mountain view

Unfortunately, the weather was not ideal while we were there working. It looked like this the whole time, until the day that we were leaving, of course. And although you may not be able to see it here in this photo, for much of the time there were snowflakes falling. The temperature was usually in the 20s or maybe the low 30s sometimes. Wasn’t this supposed to be a spring break trip? Where was the spring-like weather? Actually, we had experienced something similar to spring the week before, when everyone was in school. Those who were working outside, which was most of our group, were quite cold at times and always appreciative of the heat inside.

By the way, the house at the left of this photo was where I was working, as it is where the studio and recording rooms are located. While from the outside it just looks like an ordinary house, the inside is full of technology and electronic stuff, very different from what you might expect to find on a mountain top in Arkansas. In fact, if you didn’t know better, you would probably have thought that the middle photos in this post don’t have anything to do with the first and the last photos. It just goes to show you that things are not always what they seem. And it also shows that most any location can be used to spread God’s word, maybe even in ways that you would never expect!

But I count my life of no value to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace. - Acts 20:24

About the photos:

Because this was a work trip, I didn’t have much time for photos. But I did manage to get a short break, and since our room with my camera was close by, I grabbed it and got a few photos before getting back to work. Always take your camera with you on trips, even if you don’t think you will have time for photos, because you never know what you might see!

Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in Photoshop. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10
Lens: Olympus M.Zukio 25mm f1.8 and Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye Lens
Date: March 24, 2017
Location: Gaither Mountain, Harrison, Arkansas

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.