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Riles is The Happy Preacher

POSTED: January 22, 2008 5:03 a.m.
“I am the voice of your choice, the first thing in the morning and the last one at night. The host with the most. The hardest working, longest working gospel announcer in all of gospeldom. I am your friend and servant. I am The Happy Preacher.”
The Rev. Johnny Warren Riles III, billed as The Happy Preacher on WTLD FM 90.5 in Jesup, is reaching the masses. Every day from 4:30 a.m., until late at night, his voice is heard across the airwaves in 14 counties.
No novice to ministry, Riles has been in the ministry for 33 years.
“I was licensed by Rev. H.G. Lanier at the age of 20,” Riles said.
He served as a pastor for 22 years. He pastored Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Hinesville, the Historic New Hope AME in Buckhead, Mt. Zion AME in Statesboro and several other churches in Georgia.  
“I have been delivered from alcohol and drugs and jail, and given an opportunity to work for the Lord. When I taught school, I gave him a piece of my time. Now, I give Him all of my efforts,” Riles said. “I have been given an opportunity to do ministry. The radio gives me the freedom to work in a lot of ministries. God has provided and delivered me to create the best radio station in Southeast Georgia.”  
“While I was in the Liberty Regional Jail, the inmates asked me to teach them Bible study because I was an ordained minister. I felt defeated and did not want to be bothered,” he said. “But I heard the voice of the Lord say, “If you are ashamed of me before men, then I will be ashamed of you before my Father.”
Riles said he begin to teach the inmates the Word in jail and from that came the breakthroughs.
“God began blessing me. I thank Sheriff Don Martin, Judge Gary Sinrich and (jail administrator) Douglas Frank,” he said.  
“My goal is to build the radio station. God has really blessed the radio station. During a nine-month period, we have gained 40 business sponsors, 47 churches and ministries, and have secured employment opportunities for 129 individuals,” Riles said.
“Our vision is to secure land and a building in three years. We plan to house a radio broadcast and technology and communication center to make CDs and DVDs, and to teach and train,” he said. The station's intent is to have at least 20 young, Christian men and women to carry on its mission.  
“Having an African-American gospel radio station that is heavily Afro centric, yet strongly Christian and Christ-centered here in southeast Georgia will prove to be one of the greatest sources of positive power for our people, in particular, and all people, in general. People do not fully realize the power of radio communication - kill communication and no Army or organization can exist or win anything,” Riles said.
WTLD provided 570 Bibles to the juvenile detention centers and provides three military units in Iraq with food, toiletries, and the newspaper on a monthly basis. The radio provides air hours to community organizations. Its broadcast features formatted programs, such as community forum, support our troops, Christian youth hour, and gives free air times for the playing of CDs by local artists.
“One day I was in Wal-Mart and was laughing. A family came up and the lady asked me if I was on the radio. When I said yes, her mother (who was blind) said, ‘I told you it was him.’ The mother said she keeps her radio on and told me I have been such a blessing to her. She said the radio was all she had; it is her joy.”
“I was humbled by her comments. All the things I have done wrong, God sent her to encourage me. When I look back and see where God has brought me, I am so grateful. I was a loud sinner; and I am not going to be a quiet saint. I was a bold sinner; and will not be a scary saint.”  
Riles attended the old Liberty County High School and is a graduate of Bradwell Institute. He also attended Prairie View A&M in Texas and Berry College in Rome. He has a bachelor's degree in pre-law and history and a master's of divinity from the Interdenominational Theology College in Atlanta. Riles was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the Army and attended the Chaplaincy School at Fort Monmouth, N.J. Additionally, he served as an educator and coach in the Liberty County School system.  
In his spare time, Riles enjoys watching sports.
“I attended college on a basketball scholarship, coached the boys' junior varsity team and served as head coach for the girls' basketball team. I also started the on-site alternative school and served as its director.
“I love to make people laugh,” he said.
Riles is the father of one son, Kevin, and one granddaughter, Madison Marie.
 

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