Adventist World Radio (AWR) leaders recently visited Adventist radio stations in France to provide assistance and encouragement and to exchange ideas. The visit took place on January 13 and 14, 2019.
Six radio stations in France are managed by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The stations are led by paid staff and a small army of volunteers. Radio stations are coordinated by the communication department of the French-Belgian Union (UFB) church region, under the leadership of radio manager Stephan Vincent.
“Challenges here in continental France are enormous because of the legal context and cultural reality,” said UFB communication director Pedro Torres. “Radio stations are called to follow a protocol that qualifies and quantifies the volume of broadcasting and contents.”
The visit was coordinated by Inter-European Division (EUD) communication director Corrado Cozzi and included AWR vice-president and CFO Kent Sharpe and AWR Europe liaison Vasili Makarchuk. The group visited the radio stations Le Havre, Radio Albatros, Ruan, Radio La Sentinelle, and the radio studio at the UFB headquarters.
“Thanks to the visit of AWR officers, local radio stations got new ideas and helpful tips that have worked in different countries, to advance the radio work,” Torres said.
The visit has been received very positively by the leaders of the radio stations, UFB leaders said, and it was an exchange of input that allowed AWR officers to better understand the challenges that radio stations have in the European context.
Speaking about the challenges of moving from FM to Digital (DAB+), Torres said, “My wish is to see the radio stations evolving, not only into DAB+ technology to adapt to the future but also to break through conceptual barriers and reach people with the gospel.”
Makarchuk said the visits were very positive. “It was a great pleasure and enormous blessing to meet for the first time all the dedicated radio members at Radio Albatros and Radio la Sentinelle stations. Well done!” he said.
Sharpe seconded this notion. “We just praise the Lord for the work these wonderful individuals have done, are doing, and will continue to do in the future,” he said. As the main initiative of AWR is finding ways to connect listeners to local churches, Sharpe said, it was amazing and exciting for him to hear the response from radio teams in France. They told him, “It is exactly what we want to do — to connect our listeners to local churches and help our listeners become members.”
UFB and AWR will continue to explore new and better ways to reach the people of France. "We are exploring the possibility of DAB+, more focused radio programs, intentionally inviting people to start Bible studies, health classes, family life classes, cell phone evangelism, et cetera — anything that will lead us to have contact with the listeners and the opportunity to invite them to begin Bible studies,” Sharpe said. “It is only when we all work together, and we use all of our resources towards a common goal that we will see results beyond anything we can imagine.”
UFB president Ruben de Abreu said the timing was perfect. “Today, Adventist radio in France is experiencing an important moment of opportunity, with the opening of digital frequencies and the Web. We are committed to putting all opportunities on our side to make the most of this situation and develop an Adventist presence,” he said. “It is a challenge that we wanted to take because of its crucial importance for mission.”