That the radio is playing a tremendous part in religion today, is evident, but it is becoming more and more difficult to secure time on the air for religious broadcasts. This is not because of a reduction of such time on the part of station managers; it is caused entirely by the increasing number of large denominations that are awaking to the possibilities of radio evangelism, as well as to the many small, independent religious teachers who seek radio time.
As a denomination we were providentially directed to act when we did to secure the coast-to-coast Voice of Prophecy hook-up. Others who preceded us are reaching a large audience of regular listeners, not only in North America, but, by short wave, in many other lands of earth. The Lutheran Hour is now being broadcast on 324 stations. Information placed in our hands makes it clear that this program is reaching countries far distant from the Western Hemisphere. Listeners report from China, the Far East, Europe, Australia, and the islands of the sea. The Old Fashioned Revival Hour is broadcasting over 425 stations. This program is extending its listening public to such a degree that Mr. Fuller claims- that ninety per cent of the population of the world is in actual hearing of his program.
If this is a fact, we cannot help realizing the tremendous possibilities of the radio as an active and vital avenue for the finishing of God's work in the earth. When mission stations are closed and when the living preacher is denied personal access to men and women, the message of the radio may yet reach hearts and change lives. So far as distance is concerned, the possibilities of radio are limitless as a means of preparing the world for the coming of Christ. The language problem is the greatest difficulty that we have to face.
For what the Voice of Prophecy has been able to accomplish thus far we are deeply grateful to God. We began in January, 1942, on 89 stations. After five months of broadcasting, it is encouraging to find ourselves now, as we write, on 514 stations. We feel this to be evidence of progress. Now we are beginning to lay plans for the sending of the message over Central and South America, and as quickly as we can attend to the essential preparations necessary for so large a coverage, this program will be on the air. A commission, apart from that for North America, has been appointed by the General Conference Committee, and this body is now working out the plans for the new coverage.
Connected with a number of stations in both Central and South America are some very powerful short-wave transmitters, which will be used in our Voice of Prophecy broadcasts for that field. This will send the message over great areas of the world. Of course the languages used will be the Spanish and the Portuguese. In extending our coverage to these other lands, considerable expense is entailed, though this generally is not to be compared with the cost in the North American continent. Our Central and South American time costs will be much below our North American figures. And quite apart from short-wave facilities, we shall cover a greater area of territory. Our initial expense will be smaller, and our maintenance costs will be less, because our Voice of Prophecy staff in North America will carry much of the burden, without adding greatly to our expense.
Having launched the program in North America, we are hopeful that we shall receive such response both from our members and from the public, not merely in money, but in interest and prayers and souls saved, that we shall soon find it possible to reach a coverage not one whit less in area than other denominations are now reaching. I am personally of the opinion that if any other church or organization can employ 425 stations to sound its music and message around the world, we, with the message of truth for these closing days, should be on at least 426 stations!