June 22, 2010

Adventist World Radio


n 1971 Adventist World Radio (AWR) began airing programs for the first time from a rented shortwave station in Portugal. The main focus was to carry the gospel into Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. Shortwave signals travel thousands of miles, penetrating deep into restricted areas that otherwise would not be reached.

Later the Adventist Church decided to build its own shortwave station on the island of Guam. In 1987 broadcasts began from KSDA-SW, covering the entire Pacific Rim: North and South Korea, Japan, China, and other neighboring countries. Today AWR’s ministry spans the globe through:

  • Shortwave coverage of Europe, Asia, and Africa in approximately 80 languages via AWR’s Guam station and leased transmitters in various locations (see map);
  • More than 1,700 local AM/FM stations that carry AWR programming;
  • Internet podcasts in more than 100 languages.

By carrying the Advent message of hope to the unreached people groups of the world in their own languages, AWR is filling a unique role in the church’s global outreach efforts. Radio has the power to:

  • Enter forbidden or remote territories, bypassing government boundaries, geographic obstacles, and hostile neighbors to bring the gospel directly into people’s homes and hearts;
  • Cover areas where the church has limited or no resources or workers, sharing God’s love with whole villages through a single small radio;
  • Serve the millions of people around the world who are unable to read.
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Exciting Growth

AWR’s operations have continued to expand in the five years since the 2010 General Conference session in several ways:

  • New shortwave and podcast languages: Albanian, Armenian, Batak, Dzongkha, Georgian, Gujarati, Hassaniya, Isaan, Kok Borok, Meitei, Oriya, Tibetan, and six new languages in Myanmar. Of special interest is Dzongkha, the language widely spoken in Bhutan. After AWR had spent several years looking for a radio speaker, the Lord provided not one but two young adults who were trained and are now working on production at an undisclosed location near the Bhutanese border.
  • New or reconditioned studios and stations in Argentina, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Samoa, Serbia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Taiwan, Tanzania, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay, and Vietnam, among others.
  • Renewed emphasis on China: 10 hours of programming a day in Mandarin, plus programs in Min Nam, Cantonese, and Uyghur via shortwave radio and podcasts. The main studio employs a full-time pastor to nurture listeners via e-mail, video chat, and instant messaging.
  • Completion of a major Guam station upgrade.

Specialized Outreach

AWR provides content in select languages on self-contained digital audio players called MegaVoice Ambassadors or Envoys. They are preloaded with up to 500 hours of recordings, including portions of the Bible, sermons, Bible studies, stories, health messages, other topics of community interest, and hymns.Sona, who lives in a remote Nepali village on the Chinese border, learned about Jesus by listening to an AWR radio program in her own language. She hopes to attend teacher training in India and return to her village to work for God.

These players have been distributed among the Huichol indigenous people of the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico, the Yemba-speaking Bamileke people of Cameroon, as well as Nepal, Myanmar, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and others.

Flourishing FM Activity

In 2011 AWR embarked on a pilot project to air Telugu programs in Hyderabad, India. After several months of negotiations, permission was obtained to air programs on an FM network under the scrutinizing eye of the Indian regulatory entity.

More languages and cities were steadily added. Today these programs can be heard by nearly 17 million people in seven languages, covering 15 major cities and 300 towns. This successful outreach has just expanded again, to the Maldives islands, Andaman Islands, and Kashmir.

Elsewhere in Asia there is a growing number of stations now spreading the message in their communities, including Australia, East Timor, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, and Thailand.

In South America about 200 AWR affiliate FM stations cover every country except Colombia, where it has not been possible to acquire a license. In Central America and the Caribbean scores of AWR affiliate stations air the gospel in Spanish, English, French, and Creole.

Several new FM stations were developed in Africa during the past five years, and today the number stands at more than 20 in sub-Saharan Africa. License applications have been submitted in additional countries, and producers who have already been trained are eager to get on the air. The challenging territories of North Africa are also hearing the gospel through FM, thanks to a partnership with the Spanish Union of Churches.

Thriving Digital World

The ever-expanding online world has made it possible to reach new groups of listeners, from big-city residents to migrant workers. AWR’s podcasts—in more than 100 languages, through awr.org and iTunes—are serving listeners where we do not traditionally broadcast, including North America. Churches and members are also using the podcasts as a valuable tool for ministering to their foreign-language neighbors and communities.

AWR’s analytics show more than 9 million daily podcast downloads; the top languages are Mandarin, Arabic, Amharic, and French.

Stronger Than Ever

AWR is greatly blessed with committed supporters, strategic partnerships, and demonstrable results. Building on these strengths and looking to God for guidance, the next five years will bring even more opportunities:

  • Preparations are being made to build or expand FM station networks or purchase airtime on local radio in several countries.
  • Broadcasts in 25 additional languages are planned, bringing its total number of languages to more than 100.
  • In critical mission areas, purchased airtime will be increased for 17 current languages.

To learn more about Adventist World Radio, go to awr.org.