Duane McKey, an advocate of member-based evangelism who has long been involved in global outreach for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, has been named president of Adventist World Radio (AWR), the movement's global radio outreach.
McKey came to the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in 2015 director of the world church's Sabbath School and Personal Ministries department, as well as assistant to the president for Total Member Involvement. He previously served as a vice president of the church's Southwestern Union in the North American Division. A former president of the Arizona Conference, McKey has often been found engaged in overseas evangelistic campaigns. In 2016, McKey was coordinator for a nationwide outreach in Rwanda, where more than 100,000 were baptized.
McKey succeeds Dowell Chow, who has been AWR president since 2011, following six years as financial vice president for the broadcasting group.
"AWR is wonderful," McKey told Adventist Review. "They have 100 million downloads of their podcasts a month. My interest with that and with shortwave broadcasts, is to connect the interests of the people with our local churches."
As such, he said, his AWR work will be supported by his continued association with the Total Member Involvement program: "My love is TMI, and this is a part of that, and an extension of that. We can reach people all over the world, where the church is and the church isn't, so that we can introduce people to Jesus in the end."
From its first broadcast more than 40 years ago, AWR has been carrying the voice of hope to the unreached people groups of the world in their own languages.
Chow is retiring in January, 2017, after 50 years of service to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in a variety of roles and countries. Before his service at AWR, he served in positions ranging from chief financial officer/treasurer of the Columbia Union Conference in Maryland, president of the New Jersey Conference, and stewardship, trust services, and ministerial director, to that of a senior pastor in Puerto Rico, and mission secretary/treasurer and Book & Bible house administrator in Venezuela. During his years of service, Chow was an active member of multiple boards, including Washington Adventist University, Adventist Health, Washington Adventist Hospital, and additional health entities in New Jersey.
“Serving the church through Adventist World Radio has been a privilege. It is a thrill to see the gospel commission being played out in the world, assisted by the ministry of AWR," Chow said. "I would like to express special gratitude to our faithful supporters. Brighter days are still ahead, and it is my prayer that under the leadership of our new president, AWR will grow and continue to be a blessing to world."
During his years with AWR, Chow was a tireless traveler. He hiked across mountains in Mexico to deliver audio players to isolated tribal villagers, baptized new Adventists in a muddy pit in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, verified FM signals in the Canary Islands, helped train new producers for Bhutan, and more.
Under his leadership, AWR’s active broadcasts – heard via shortwave, AM/FM, and podcasts – grew by more than a dozen languages, including Dzongkha, Tibetan, Yemba, and Oriya. At last count, AWR’s daily podcast downloads had reached 18 million. Chow spearheaded the negotiations for the first Adventist FM broadcasts in India (which now serve millions of listeners in 22 major cities). He was thrilled to see plans for four production studios in mainland China become reality. He had a passion for the people of North Africa, and worked closely with the Spanish Union of Churches Conference on FM broadcasts that would serve listeners in multiple colloquial languages.
AWR senior vice president Greg Scott said Chow would be missed, and remembered. "It has been an honor and a privilege to serve with Dowell, as God has used him in a powerful way," Scott said. "As he and his wife, Heidi, move on to the next phase of their life, we truly wish them all the best and pray for God’s richest blessings upon them."
From its first broadcast more than 40 years ago, AWR has been carrying the voice of hope to the unreached people groups of the world in their own languages. Initially, the church leased shortwave airtime in Portugal, and programs were broadcast to Europe and the USSR in 10 languages for 12 hours a week. Today, AWR utilizes shortwave radio, national radio networks, local FM stations, on demand, podcasts, and solar audio players with pre-loaded content to provide content in 100 "heart languages" of people around the world.
With reporting from Shelley Nolan Freesland, AWR Communication Director