Our experience in the Pacific Union has demonstrated the fact that broadcasting the message by radio is one of the greatest and most prolific sources of contact, not only with the rank and file of the people, but with people in the upper strata of society as well, who ofttimes would not be reached by a public effort no matter where it was conducted. For over three years now the Pacific Union Conference has been conducting radio work over a network of sixteen stations, known as the Mutual System. This network covers the States of California and Arizona. We have received scores and scores of letters from people of means and standing in the different cities of California, who have expressed themselves very definitely in appreciation of the work that is being done.
Elder H. M. S. Richards is the one in charge of the work. He does the broadcasting under the name, "Voice of Prophecy." Associated with him are Elder and Mrs. Howard Curran, and a male quartet called the King's Heralds. The office work is in the charge of Brother Clarence Mattison, with two or three helpers. We have a regular Voice of Prophecy office. We turned over our union committee room to this radio work for an office about three years ago, and it is used exclusively for that.
An annual budget covers the broadcast time. salaries, and mailing expense incident to the sending of personal letters, general letters, and literature. This amounts to approximately $40,000 annually, Three of the California conferences make a yearly appropriation of $1,600 each, and one makes an appropriation of $2,100. With the appropriations made by the local conferences and the union conference appropriation, together with the donations received from the broadcasts, the budget was more than balanced this past year. Thirty thousand of the forty thousand dollars needed is returned through donations received from the public, and the returns are growing steadily.
In return for this, the conferences are given the services of the Voice of Prophecy company to conduct a public effort yearly in rotation while carrying on their regular radio program. These efforts have been very productive in souls won to the truth. In one effort held in Lodi, 260 were baptized. In an effort just recently closed in North Hollywood, more than too were baptized. Last fall an effort in Phoenix netted well above 550. These efforts are held continuously, and there are usually about three major efforts a year.
The broadcasts are held twice a week, on Sunday. The first is a fifteen-minute broadcast in the morning, from 9:00 to 9:15. The evening broadcast is for thirty minutes, from 9:15 to 9:45. It immediately follows the nine o'clock news broadcast on the same station, and is the best period obtainable. Our files show literally thousands and thousands of letters from people who express their appreciation for thd spiritual help which they have received from this broadcast. Hundreds of backslidden Adventists have been reclaimed, and others have found their way into regular membership in our churches as a result of this first contact with the truth by hearing it preached over the air.
The announcing is all done under the name of the Voice of Prophecy. Names of individuals do not enter into it at all. The correspondence is usually just signed, "The Voice of Prophecy." We have the name copyrighted. Elder Richards makes announcements every Sunday, usually at the nine o'clock broadcast in the morning. He makes mention of the meeting which he himself is holding, and invites the people to attend. He also announces other evangelistic efforts being held, recommending to the listeners living in each section to visit the meetings being conducted there. He thus advertises the meetings of other evangelists scattered all through the States of California and Arizona.
Recently the owner of a large station, not located in California and not a member of the Mutual' System, voluntarily told the manager of the Mutual System that he considered the Voice of Prophecy program the finest religious program being released from any station. Elder Richards fully covers the message in his broadcasts. He preaches it just as straight as he would preach it from the pulpit, omitting only a few questions that are of a controversial nature, such as the mark of the beast and similar topics. These he announces in a guarded way, inviting the people to come to his tabernacle when he will preach on that particular subject. He preaches fully on the Sabbath question and the state of the dead.
Recently I received a registered letter from Brother Mattison, enclosing several documents from an organization known as the Broadcast Listeners' Association of America., Inc., with offices in Los Angeles, Hollywood, New York, Washington, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Portland, and San Francisco. I understand that this organization has between thirty and forty thousand members located in different parts of the States. Their purpose is to listen to different types of broadcasts, give counsel where counsel should be given, and then at certain times take a poll of their membership as to the most outstanding program being broadcast in the different classes. One document that I received is a signed copy of a set of resolutions adopted on January 2, 1940. This has to do with the Blue Ribbon Award and Certificate of Merit (see cut) awarded to the Voice of Prophecy, after a poll of their entire membership as to the most outstanding continuous religious program broadcast anywhere in the United States during the year 1939. It read:
Broadcast Listeners' Association of America
January 2, I940 Los Angeles
Whereas, there is a definite move on the part of the Broadcast Listeners' Association of America, Inc., its membership and radio listeners in general, to combat off-color radio programs and to suppress such programs that tend to glorify crime and the criminal; and.
Whereas, the membership of the Broadcast Listeners' Association of America, Inc., have gone on record for the encouragement of programs of a religious nature; and,
Whereas, the attention of this committee has been called to the radio program known as the "VOICE OF PROPHECY" released over a network of Mutual Broadcasting System stations, on the Pacific coast ; and,
Whereas, after due investigation and reviewing the program "Voice of Prophecy" for the required time as set forth in the rules covering the awarding of our CERTIFICATE of MERIT to programs of the religious type:
NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, that the radio program "VOICE OF PROPHECY" and its narrator, Dr. H. M. S. Richards, be AWARDED the CERTIFICATE of MERIT and SEAL OF APPROVAL for the year I940, for programs of its class.
Broadcast Listeners' Association of America
[Signed] Oliver M. Hickey,
Chairman, National Radio Award Committee
[Signed] Jack Packer, Managing Director of B.L.A. of A. and Radio Board of Review
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the Radio Board of Review and the National Radio Award Committee, Broadcast Listeners' Association of America, Inc„ January 2, 1940, and is entered in the minutes of said board and committee.
In a letter signed by Mr. Oliver M. Hickey, executive secretary, he states that in addition to the Certificate of Merit, they have also issued a citation for outstanding service in the interests of radio listeners. This award and citation came as a distinct surprise to us, but naturally we feel thankful to the Lord that the programs given by the Voice of Prophecy were of such high quality as to attract the attention of an organization like the Broadcast Listeners' Association of America. It demonstrates beyond any question that the programs given from week to week are dignified, and yet are simple and helpful, and that they reach the ears and hearts of many thinking men and women within the radius of the broadcast.