‘It’s always going to be the Gospel Train:’ Central Texas community mourns loss of Sunday morning radio show host

Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 1:17 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The Central Texas Sunday radio show broadcaster of “The Gospel Train” died Tuesday, but his legacy of spreading hope to the community lives on as he passed his show down to his son.

Joe Montgomery began his Sunday broadcast in 1963. His show was six hours filled with scripture, gospel music and spreading hope to the community.

“He was doing a lot for the communities, a lot of outreach,” Montgomery’s son, Roderick “Tre” Montgomery, said. “There’s people that are sick that are shut in, they can’t get out. And he’s basically their church.”

Tre said Montgomery had many listeners all the way from Marlin to Dallas.

“A lot of times, he’d go to the grocery store and they say, ‘Hey, are you Joe on the radio?’ because they heard his voice,” he said.

As a full-time construction worker who operated heavy equipment, Montgomery would still make time to do his show on Sunday mornings. His radio engineer and producer, Van Goodall, said he never missed a Sunday show.

“If there was bad weather coming into the area, he would often times spend the night at the radio station, so he’d be there to do his show the next morning” Goodall said.

Montgomery’s son said this was his passion, and he was lucky to have found it so early in his life.

“He loved the radio station and he loved that drag line (a large crane he would use for construction) and his family,” Tre said. “You’re only here for so long, and if we could all live as vigorously as he did, we’re going to live great lives, definitely.”

Before Montgomery passed, he asked Tre to take over his Sunday show slot.

“He said, ‘You take care of the radio program for me.’ I said, ‘All right, Dad. I got you,’ Tre said. “And he knew I would take care of it.”

Now, it’s Tre on the radio instead of Joe on the radio on Sunday mornings for KRVI radio station.

“I still keep the fashion of the old gospel,” he said. “I’ll slide a song in here and there...I just try to keep up what he wanted me to do and try to keep the community uplifted.”

However, he says the show will always be his dad’s “Gospel Train.” A name Montgomery gave the show the name after the song he opened every show with. Tre said it meant he was trying to carry his listeners along providing ‘spiritual nourishment.

“I still call the program Joe on the Radio Program,” he said. “It’s always going to be the Gospel Train.”

While Montgomery’s show lives on, he will be missed by his family and his many listeners.

“All I can tell people in the community is his memories will live on, and we’ll do the best we can and just trying to keep it up,” Tre said.