I. What is the Best Time to Have the Broadcast?
That would all depend on where you are located and the type of program you are going to put on. And, of course, the question that governs this problem is, What time can I secure ? We usually have to take what we can get. I have had and still do have an early Sunday morning broadcast, a late evening broadcast on Saturday and Sunday nights, and an early afternoon broadcast. I believe I get more response from the early afternoon broadcast. It may be due to the type of program we have tried to put on. We call it "The Quiet Hour," and we try to make our program conform to that idea.
I have not had much experience broadcasting during the early evening hour, because it comes at a much higher rate in a large city over an extensive station. We did have a broadcast for about six months at an early evening hour, but I do not know that we received any more mail from that broadcast than we did from the other broadcasts. It was a different kind of program—we put it on after the pattern of the Seth Parker plan, except with an Adventist background. A group of eight or ten of us would theoretically meet at a home, and we would study the Bible together and sing. It was popular, but we ran into a bit of criticism from certain ones of our people because we assumed fictitious names. I was "Uncle Jim," and the group usually met at my home. We went over the various points of doctrine with the neighbors. It was a neighborhood gathering once a week. We thought best to discontinue it, although there is great possibility in a well-conducted program of that kind.
2. Do You Ask for Contributions Over the Air? If not, How Do You Get an Offering?
The stations do not wish to have a religious broadcaster stress finances. We have never done so in an outstanding way. However, we do refer to our broadcast as being made possible by the liberalities of our appreciative friends in Radioland. We seldom go farther than that. Occasionally in our prayer we ask God to bless the people who by their gifts are making the broadcast possible. We pray that it will be able to continue and that liberality will be shown by those who are blessed with this world's goods.
I presume our chief method of discussing finances is through the four-page monthly paper that we publish, called The Quiet Hour Echoes. Although at first we mimeographed it and sent it to our entire mailing list, now we print it. In this little paper we have a section in which we tell of our needs, hopes, and aspirations.
3. How Do You Get People to Write In?
This is important, of course. You must get them to write, or you will never get an offering and you will never know whom you are helping; hence we watch this closely. Most frequently, of course, we offer our correspondents the lecture of the day. By this I do not mean that we offer it every time, because we are on the air eight times a week over the Portland station. But if we have an outstanding subject, we do offer it to them.
Another method we use in getting names is to have a book review once in a while and advertise some of our twenty-five-cent books and some of our bound volumes of sermons. True and-false Bible quizzes which we run once a week for three or four months, bring in a great many names. People are interested in quizzes of all kinds. Ours are simple Bible questions, answered by T or F (true or false).
Also we have had Bible contests. Some of the contests have drawn large numbers of people, with as many as 1,800 taking part in them. This plan brings us a large number of names, but it takes much work to prepare a questionnaire that really makes people study, and study the things we want them to study. Although it requires a great deal of work to grade all the papers, we believe it is worthwhile.
In order to get names we have offered certain inducements such as copies of poems, pictures of Christ, and charts for reading the Bible through. Occasionally we offer a book as a special feature on some special occasion. Perhaps our outstanding offer is to put those on our mailing list who care to receive our little paper, which contains the choice poems and other interesting features which we stress on our broadcast.
We have never launched a correspondence Bible course, but we have given a Bible study in each issue of our little publication, Quiet Hour Echoes, and it has covered the message back and forth systematically. Of course, we have emphasized this as we have made our announcements over the air.
4. Do You Use Local Musical Talent, or Transcriptions?
We have usually had a gospel singer with us. Once in a great while, however, we have used some local talent.
5. How Many Times a Week Should One Be on the Air, and for How Long?
That all depends on how much money you have, and how much you can get in. I have been broadcasting every day for four years over a local station. Our idea is to keep sowing the seed and constantly reaping it through our Bible instructors, through the Sunday night meetings, and at the regular church service. We have large numbers of visitors every Sabbath at our services. It seems to me that if one is able to carry the burden of the work and can afford a daily broadcast, it is a fine thing. Of course, it is a real task now in wartime, because we have to write every word we say and submit it twenty-four hours ahead of time.
6. What Is Your Order of Subject Presentation?
I usually introduce the doctrines about as I would in an evangelistic meeting. I have taken one series through and called it "The Great Doctrines of the Bible." And again I have gone through and called it "The Faith of Jesus"—what Jesus taught. I have also given a verseby-verse study of the book of Revelation, and of course that gave opportunity to restate practically every fundamental of Bible teaching. Broadcasting every day, I was six months in covering the book.
Then, of course, in daily broadcasting one has opportunity to give more of the practical and spiritual phases of Christian life. I have gone through most of "Steps to Christ," "The Desire of Ages," "Mount of Blessing," and "Prophets and Kings," and now I am going through "Acts of the Apostles." I have given special chapters of the Psalms as a series. Then for months at a time we run a series on questions that the people send in, and endeavor to answer them. I do not know of anything that we have done that has been more fruitful, or has been received more favorably, than the answering of questions.
7. Do You Write Out Your Prayers and Announcements?
When I began broadcasting, I wrote out the prayers and announcements till I became more accustomed to broadcasting, and then I did not find it necessary. But it is well to stay with the written copy. Now, of course, according to wartime regulations every word of prayer and every announcement has to be written out.
8. How Much Help Do You Require from the Conference to Operate a Radio Program?
For the last four and one-half years we have not needed any help from the conference. By that I mean that we have been able to pay for all our radio time, for printing our paper, and for all our supplies ; in fact, for all our expenses. But, of course, we have not taken care of all the salaries, because our singer in the past has been in charge of a church or two, and I have been pastor of a church, and the radio has just been an extra responsibility. We also support the Quiet Hour Reading Room,* a fine feature which is giving a good deal of publicity to Seventh-day Adventists and their work. It has been a means of many contacts, and we are reaping fruitage from it.
9. Do Our Own People in the District or Local Church Make Pledges for this Work?
As we go from place to place in rally meetings, we ask them to co-operate in making the broadcasts possible. It is real work, of course. No one can make radio pay who does not work at it. We have to hold rally meetings and keep on the job constantly getting the people to pledge. We do not ask for big pledges. We ask for only fifty cents to a dollar a month. Some, of course, give more.
10. Do You Answer Questions by Letter or Over the Air?
We answer questions in both ways.
11. Do You Ever Mention any of your Listeners by Name over the Air?
We used to sometimes, but we do not care for the plan. Now, of course, with wartime measures on, we are forbidden to do that.
12. What Files Do You Keep of Interests, Contributors, etc?
We keep a complete file of all who write in. First we put them in a file for sending them Our publication, Quiet Hour Echoes. We make notation in this file of any question or manifest interest, or of any offering sent in.
We use different colored cards. If they have merely written in, we put the name on a white card with a notation of what they have requested. If their correspondence reveals interest in our message, we finally put them on a green card. When their questions reveal an interest in the distinctive points of our faith, we put them on an orange card. It is interesting to look back over the cards we have kept on certain names through the years, and see how much they have contributed, and how much literature we have sent them on various phases of the message.
Quiet Hour Prayer League
Perhaps I should mention another factor that has proved helpful. We have organized a Quiet Hour Prayer League. Every now and then we make announcements about this prayer league, asking those who believe in prayer and who will give themselves to prayer to join us in praying for definite things. Once a month we send out to the prayer league members the requests that have come in through the mail for special prayer. It is remarkable to observe the blessing that has come and the striking answers to prayers. We report this to the members through league letters.
We make many contacts with the people of the city through our radio ministry. I recently preached the funeral sermon of a Catholic man who rejected the overtures of his priest, and insisted that "The Quiet Hour" minister preach his funeral. It was rather unusual, but it shows that the constant sowing of the seed is reaching all types of people. Eternity alone will reveal the results of the seed sown in this broadcast method.
* See January, 1942, Ministry, page 2.