After two and a half years “Ace & Jeff in the Afternoons” is coming to an end. The show, which aired on WJQK JQ99.3 in West Michigan, featured an energetic blend of 25-year radio veteran/musician Ace McKay and national youth speaker/entertainer Jeff Veley in a contemporary Christian music format. The two were known for their crazy humor and unique perspective on how to radiate Christ.
A Look Back
Moving from the morning show, Ace not only jumped into the afternoon seat but also into a leadership role as the station’s Program Director and Music Director. Veley, who hosted a Sunday show and was a frequent co-host on Ignite Radio, left his job working with youth in the social work field to dive deeper into radio. “One day God told me to leave my day job and trust Him in the meantime,” said Veley. “Thirty minutes after signing my resignation letter, I got an email from Ace asking me to meet at the station. I had no idea that this meeting would lead to us co-hosting an afternoon show together. That’s how God works!”
Since then “the boys”, as many call them, have shared many memories with West Michigan listeners and have invested back into their community. Outside of radio, Jeff continued to grow his bullying prevention program, speaking at schools, conferences, and music festivals across the country. Ace’s passion was worship. After seeing the need at local churches for additional musicians, he brought the Ascension Worship Network, to Grand Rapids. Ace became the Network Manager and filled in as a bass player and drummer for many churches in the area. His first recruit was Jeff, who joined as a worship leader and drummer.
It was a recent visit home to Birmingham, Alabama, that prompted Ace to move back. His father’s health struggles weighed on his heart and Ace knew that it was time to relocate closer to his parents. “We signed on for our first afternoon show knowing very little about each other. Two and a half years later I can say that I’ve gained a brother that I’m going to miss very much,” says Veley. “Ace and I have shared some of the greatest and hardest moments together both on and off-air. We’re great friends and I can guarantee that the shenanigans and support for each other will continue. We are thankful to God, Lanser Broadcasting, and West Michigan for giving us this opportunity.”
“After hearing that Ace was leaving I began praying about what was next for me,” says Veley. “All of a sudden, God opened the floodgates for me to speak in more schools through my bullying prevention program. I’ve always seen radio as simply a platform to reach more people with a message and do good. My calling is to empower youth and families. As the speaking requests rolled in and more communities requested my help, I knew that it was God’s way of telling me that a daily radio show no longer fit the schedule. Ace and I decided that it was best that we sign off together, one last time.”
A New Chapter
Ace swears that he owned this outfit first and “Twinning” was Jeff’s idea. The two joked that they share the same brain and once purchased the same shirt unintentionally.. They rarely wore it for fear that they would show up at church in matching outfits.
Ace is excited to join the team at 93.7 WDJC in Birmingham, joining Stephanie Plumb in the afternoons and taking over hosting duties as she heads out on maternity leave. “I survived the brutal winters of Indiana and Michigan and am thrilled to be back home in the South in Birmingham where I grew up,” McKay says. He smiles as he tells Jeff that he’s already lined up some church gigs as a drummer. “I look forward to building relationships with families in the area as we minister to our listeners. I’m strapping in for this amazing ride.”
Jeff will head out on his “Love Changes It All Tour” this fall reaching schools across the country and returning home to serve schools in West Michigan October 16-22. He’s also partnering with Christian artist 6th Day Made for a unique tour that is set to launch in 2018. When asked about radio Jeff says, “I’ll continue my weekly ‘Love Changes It All‘ radio features and will host station events for JQ99.3 such as concerts and remotes when I’m in town. I look forward to keeping in touch with our listeners and sharing stories of hope while on the road. Will I ever host another radio show? I really can’t say. My headphones are handy if I need them. I’ve learned not to make long-term plans. I’m not the Musician. I’m the instrument.”
Ace and Jeff wrap up their time by sharing that they were thrilled to hear that Marcia Ware Wilder, who hosts the morning news on JQ, will be covering afternoons. “Marcia will bring the same energy and passion that the afternoons have had over the last two years and we’re excited for people to get to know her better” says McKay. The two passed the baton and blessed their friend Marcia on June 29th’s afternoon broadcast.
Ace & Jeff will share a farewell show on Friday, June 30 from 2-6 pm EST to share their favorite memories and thank their listeners. You can listen at 99.3 FM in West Michigan, on the JQ99 App, or streaming online at www.jq99.com.