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GODTEL Productions Recording
During 1982 and 1983, Brother June began to visualize an expansion of GODTEL’s music ministry, as well as a source of much-needed additional income for GODTEL Ministries, by the creation of a recording studio, which would be housed at GODTEL/Nacogdoches. However, the finances were not forthcoming for this project, although several people designated offerings for the construction/equipping of it.

Several years ago, Brother June felt that God was leading him to record some of his music so that others might enjoy it and also that they may continually be ministered to through it. In late 1983, he checked into the possibility of recording an album at various studios in the East Texas area. The least expensive estimate was in the neighborhood of $10,000. Needless to say, the project was shelved for a while.

Meanwhile, Brother June and former GODTEL/Nacogdoches Mission Director, Mike Jones, converted a backroom on the first floor of the mission into a rehearsal room. They soundproofed it as much as possible and converted an unused bathroom into a small “control room” (minus plumbing, of course!). A small, consumer-type, reel-to-reel tape recorder was purchased, and the seed was planted for a “home-grown” studio.

In March of 1984, Rick Smith moved to Nacogdoches and began looking for a job. He visited GODTEL to find out what it was all about and talked a while with Brother Mike. For the previous six years, Rick had worked in television production and had experience with audio recording techniques. Brother Mike shared with him the dream of having a recording studio at GODTEL. Rick did not know this then, but that conversation was about to bring a big change in his life. At the beginning of May, Rick joined the staff of GODTEL Ministries. Initially, he was hired to operate the sound equipment at concerts. Eventually, he became the recording engineer.

Brother June felt that it would not be good stewardship to spend $10,000 making an album somewhere else when he could spend an equivalent amount on equipment and record it here. After much prayer, Brother June repaid GODTEL all of the money that had been designated for the studio, bought all the equipment GODTEL had purchased with funds designated for the studio, and set out to complete the construction and equipping of a quality sound recording studio. He and Nancy used their own money, in addition to personal bank loans, to construct and equip the eight-track studio.

The studio was established with a three-fold purpose in mind. First, it would provide a more economical way to get the Gentry Family’s music out to the public, as more and more people were requesting it.

Second, it was seen as another means of generating income to operate GODTEL Ministries. Please understand that no money donated to GODTEL Ministries has ever been used for the recording studio unless specifically designated for that purpose.Quite to the contrary, studio profits are used to supplement the mission’s general operating funds after studio expenses are met.

Third, the studio would provide an opportunity for other Gospel musicians in the area to record their music at an affordable price. Only a handful of full-time Gospel musicians make a lot of money in the business. The vast majorities are more likely to be “weekend” musicians – the housewife who sings a special at your church or the college student working his way through school.

Brother June has since donated the studio, including his equity in it, to GODTEL Ministries. The studio abandoned its ability to operate when Rick Smith left employment at GODTEL Ministries. In January of 2001 the studio was reopened by the new studio engineer, Brother Joseph Delgado. The studio was digitally updated with digital mixing boards and computer equipment, which allows it to compete with the modern recording market. Brother Joseph helped the CD ministry begin by transferring previously recorded cassette tapes of the Gentry Family’s music to the CD format. The studio remained active for a year and a half, but Brother Joseph left GODTEL’s employment in December 2002. As a result, GODTEL Productions is currently in the process of moving from the Nacogdoches location to the Livingston facility.

Once the move of the equipment was completed, however, there was still no-one to operate it, and so it sat in the Mission on the Hill facility in Livingston inoperable for several years. In August of 2006, after having completed a summer of office work in Livingston, Joshua Gentry (June and Nancy’s youngest, or “last kid”) was hired as the studio’s new engineer. His only experience at that time was from singing on the other side of the process, and what he had learned of sound while studying cinematography at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches. Revisiting the CDs, he was able to update the sound quality and artwork, which had never really been redone when the tapes started being converted to CD. Additionally, some very old recordings from the early days were recovered, mastered, and released on CD in February 2007. They were still unable to create a new soundproofed room, but the isolated building and its relatively quiet location provided for a descent place to record.
Presently, most of the old analogue equipment still is not put back together properly, but the digital equipment is functioning nicely. The studio is up and running, and Brother June is looking for an opportunity to record a new album, which should see release sometime in 2007 or 2008 at the very latest.

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