Broadcasting Pioneer Takes a New Path

by Marketing Services - Cedarville, OH

Paul Gathany has always struck me as a man of character and vision. He has fervently kept his eyes on building up the body of Christ through radio, and with that vehicle God has used Paul to change the lives of thousands of people.
–Dr. Bill Brown, President of Cedarville University

Dr. Brown’s assessment of CDR Radio’s retiring general manager is on the mark. Paul Gathany ’63 is a visionary with a passion to share the gospel. As a pastor’s son, Paul came to Cedarville in 1959 with an interest in radio that started when he was involved in broadcasting his father’s church services. At Cedarville, Paul’s interest became a shared passion with classmate David Jeremiah ’63. Together they began to pursue their vision to use the undeveloped FM radio medium to reach the world with biblical teaching and music.

Paul and David were still students when they founded CDR Radio, a move blessed by Dr. James T. Jeremiah (David’s father and Cedarville’s president at the time) along with Dr. John Reed, the chairman of the speech department. Broadcasting began in 1962 on the third floor of the administration building with only 11.6 watts. Some 45 years later, the flagship station has its own building on campus and now operates at 30,000 watts. Listeners across the world enjoy the CDR Radio Network, The PATH®, which is broadcast in 36 counties throughout Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky and through The PATH® Worldwide at

The original purpose of WCDR was to be a training laboratory. In the process of building the radio lab and obtaining the broadcasting license, Paul became acquainted with a gifted engineer named Charlie Shaw. That acquaintance grew into a friendship over many years until Charlie’s death. Paul recollected, “He mentored me in dealing with FCC licensure and a multitude of technical issues in broadcasting. I credit him with giving me the foundation that allowed us to move forward with what is now known as the CDR Radio Network.”

The trustee decision to move from a student lab to a listener-supported broadcast ministry in the early 1970s ushered in a sea of change. Without an increased budget, that change meant the network would require fundraising activities. With the growth of CDR Radio into a broadcasting network, the mission also grew “… to help listeners understand the Word of God and understand the world in the light of the Word of God, while redeeming the time.”

Paul’s management kept CDR on the cutting edge of technology. Following the installation of digital automation in 1994, CDR inaugurated satellite uplink to expand its reach and became the CDR Radio Network in 1995. In 1999, CDR Radio Network was branded as “The PATH.” Along with translator and satellite expansions, a major milestone has been the expansion into The PATH Worldwide radio via the Internet. By visiting, alumni and listeners around the world can enjoy Cedarville University’s chapel broadcasts and follow Yellow Jacket basketball games, as well as enjoy special coverage of conferences and events not often available through any other medium.

Looking back at the changes and challenges of starting a broadcast ministry, Paul says there have been many special times during his years of service. “What rises to the top,” he said, “is the joy that comes from the knowledge that listeners have come to Christ and experienced spiritual growth.”

Broadcasting is all about relationships, and that is something Paul does not take for granted. He appreciates the ministry partners who provide the insightful teaching heard on The PATH and the business partners who faithfully support the network. The PATH staff hears daily from listeners who are thankful for what Paul and David started more than four decades ago. Those letters, e-mails, and phone calls mean a lot to a man who has poured his life into a challenging and rewarding ministry.

Paul says he also appreciates the staff he supervises. “Working with people who enjoy having fun and yet are serious about the mission has been a wonderful experience,” he noted. “The dedication of staff has been the reason for any success achieved.” And like the network’s reach, The PATH staff has grown. No longer two, there are now 27 full- and part-time employees, several of whom are alumni: Chad Bresson ’86, Eric Johnson ’91, Keith Hamer ’96, Brian Brock ’03, Emily Macdonald Bonsell ’03, Randy Lewis ’03, and Jennifer Kordic Rost ’07.

When he leaves The PATH, Paul plans to spend more time with his wife, Marceil, their children, Todd ’91, Kari ’93, and Erin Gathany May ’01, and their grandchildren. Never one to slow down, Paul added, “I hope to do more fishing and woodworking and want to be active in service opportunities.” He will also stay busy as a member of the Brazilian Evangelistic Association Board and his local church deacon board. God’s Great Outdoors, an outreach ministry to outdoorsmen, has invited him to serve on their board as well.

While he won’t be watching the clock and juggling the multiple responsibilities that define the life of a broadcaster, Paul says he will be supporting The PATH. And wherever his travels and journeys take him he’ll be listening — online or on the radio. Leaving a passion in which he has invested all of his professional life, this visionary and servant of God believes there are great days ahead for the radio network and the University.
In a farewell letter to partners with The PATH, Paul summarized his closing thoughts by saying:

… I am grateful to Cedarville University for their support as together we have endeavored to serve listeners by extending the impact of the University beyond the boundaries of the physical campus. God has given seasons of increase evidenced by decisions that have been made to follow Christ. So many friends have expressed the value received via the ministry of God’s Word. Even though the audience is not physically visible when we are speaking with them on the radio, there has been a strong bond with listeners. This relationship grows as we have understood the life issues that confront families and individuals every day. I have counted it a privilege to have been included in your life via the wonderful ministry tool of Christian broadcasting.

As Paul enters this new season, our prayer for him and his family is, “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul” (Psalm 143:8).