Northwest NEWS

June 5, 2000

Front Page

World goes 'BANGO!' on Sunday afternoons

Bango! crew

(Left to right) Rich Romero, producer; Treesa Bangs, host and lead vocals; and Joe Monroe, head writer and actor of the BANGO! Radio Show.
Photo courtesy of Treesa Bangs.

Locally-produced radio show has a message for 'tweens'

by Lisa Allen, Valley View editor

   DUVALL--Was it a coincidence that Treesa Bangs was followed by a Fed Ex truck when she was trying to mail a package on a national holiday--a package scheduled for the next day's delivery to a Salem radio station director who would be making a crucial decision about expanding her children's radio show?

   She doesn't think so--even though she used some creative driving maneuvers to persuade the Fed Ex driver to stop. Treesa, new to Duvall at the time and unfamiliar with the area, calls it "a God thing."

   As it turned out, the Fed Ex driver not only pulled over and packaged her presentation up for delivery, but told Treesa he had kids who were looking forward to a concert to be presented by her band at their school the very next week.

   Similarly, when after two years of broadcasting from Seattle, the band wanted to move their radio show to Treesa's Duvall-area home, but had no equipment, they didn't have to wait long to get what they needed. Within two days, they had a donated check for airtime costs and a studio.

   "All that you see before you is a miracle," said Treesa, referring to the roomful of high-quality recording equipment that is used to produce The BANGO! Radio Show, a Christian radio presentation for young people airing every Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon.

   The BANGO! Radio Show, hosted by Treesa and available through Salem Radio Network, is aimed at youngsters 10 to 14--"tweens," often considered difficult to reach.

   BANGO! uses a mix of uplifting, creative, and joyful chatter using different characters, and promotes a different positive message each week. The show is interspersed with original music and interaction with the audience.

   Youngsters may participate by calling in. The show's mission is to "inspire, motivate, and equip kids to live wholeheartedly for God." BANGO! has attracted a large audience and Treesa credits the "commitment of people giving their time" to it.

   Treesa's life has always been centered around music. She has written, directed, choreographed, and toured with an original children's musical, and has sung and fronted for big band and traditional jazz bands.

   But BANGO! has its roots in the church where her husband is a pastor--the Westminster Chapel in Bellevue.

   She had always focused on music for the kids, while her husband, John, led the adult choir. Once a month, they mixed the groups, with impressive results. But it took a trip to Russia several years ago, where they performed outreach concerts, to reinforce the couple's desire to focus on Christian music for children.

   To do the concerts they wanted, they needed a band. It didn't take long before Anthony Dorrough, male lead vocalist, Randy McMillan, keyboardist, Hank Byington, drummer and vocalist, and Chris McMillan, backgound vocalist, became involved.

   The musicians brought a vast array of experience to the group. Dorrough writes songs and was part of a production team for audiovisual presentations at Washington Natural Gas; Randy McMillan was sports director for KCMS/KCIS radio for 14 years, and has been the organist for the Seattle Mariners, Super Sonics, and Thunderbirds; and Byington has 29 years of playing experience, including playing live and laying down tracks for a number of independently-produced secular and Christian recording projects.

   Then, three years into the concert ministry, Treesa says, a representative from KGNW 820 AM, one of Salem's stations in Seattle, caught one of BANGO!'s concerts. The next thing the band knew, they were being asked to create a radio show similar to the live concerts.

   Soon, producers were donating studio time, and actors and writers were volunteering. The team grew to include Rich Romero, producer, and Joe Monroe, head writer/actor. Romero was previously an on-air personality with the KidStar Radio Network. Monroe is an Allied Artist at Taproot Theatre Company.

   The Bangs' children--Leah, 12, saxophone player, Britton, 9, on drums and trumpet, and Natalie, 7, do guest spots on the show.

   Two years after the show aired on three and then four Salem stations in the Northwest, stations around the globe began to express interest in picking up the show.

   With satellite being the only means to enable other stations to air BANGO!, Treesa called Salem about the cost of leasing time, sparking an interest by the station about the rapport the show was having with kids. Treesa was asked to ship a presentation package to the station by the next morning, and that was, as Treesa says, when the Fed Ex truck came in.

   BANGO! is now available to 1,700 stations around the world via two of Salem's four satellites and to anyone online, and recently began airing on its first FM station, a station that reaches kids in Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico.

   The show is sponsored by Dr. Thomas Marxen, a Woodinville dentist, and The Journey Bookstore, also in Woodinville. It can be heard on Sundays from 4-5 p.m. in Seattle on KGNW AM 820, and in Tacoma at KKMO AM 1360. The half-hour show on Saturdays is at 8:30 a.m. on KLFE AM 1590 in Seattle and KKMO AM 1360 in Tacoma.

   Kids can call in at 1-800-955-8200. The Internet address is www.BANGO.com.