Radio Problems Answered

Symposium at Theological Seminary. Questions answered by Voice of Prophecy staff.

By various authors

I. I would like to know, statistically, what follow-up work is done by our local conferences when they receive names of interested listen­ers?

We send out thousands of letters to the field but get answers from only one fourth. The biggest reproach to radio evangelism is the lack of a hundred per cent co-operation from the field. Maybe it is our fault. In an effort to do something to make the field appreciate our work, we have made a great big chart and have it hanging on the wall in the Voice of Prophecy office. We put down the name of every worker in all of our ten North American unions who has reported his baptisms, so that the field will know that we appreciate the work done to follow through these interests.

The response, perhaps I should say the re­porting, is lamentable, insofar as the follow-up work is concerned. It may be much better than we know of, but we don't know about it. And so we are just left there, as it were, hold­ing the bag and feeling disappointed. If only the brethren would write to us and say, "I bap­tized Mrs. Jones the other day," or, "I found Mr. Smith about ready to join the church," or whatever the report may be. Last night on the rostrum Brother Shultz said to me: "You know, Brother Delafield, we live 'way up there on the Mohawk Trail in Massachusetts. We put a few books out in the field. The Voice of Prophecy came in, and when we were driving through there the other day we found a com­munity of sixty people interested in the message and wanting to be baptized as a result of the work of the Voice of Prophecy."

A while back a brother from San Diego came down to our studio in Los Angeles and heard one of our programs. He did not say a thing about what he had done, so we tried to find out. "Now what have you done in the field? Has the Voice of Prophecy done anything for you ?" I asked. And he answered, I baptized twenty-nine people since the beginning of the year, eighteen of whom were students of the Voice of Prophecy."

Now all through the field, and I say it sin­cerely, wherever we go, I can start a conversa­tion in any city with a Seventh-day Adventist minister and he will tell me before that conver­sation is over of some soul that has been baptized as a result of our work, and we did not know anything about it. It is a real disappoint­ment to us. I wish that the ministers would write and let us know what they are doing for us, and about these precious souls. After all, the Voice of Prophecy is the hired evangelist in every conference. When souls are baptized, they are added to the constituency of that con­ference. They begin to pay tithe and help to advance the work in that field. Why, then, if that is true, should not the local men report, since we are working for every conference and building up the work in every field ?

Yes, only one out of four reports. Only 25 per cent report back. We are glad, though, that in some fields it is 58 per cent. In some fields it is below 25 per cent, but the average is about that.  

D. A. DELAFIELD.

2. Is it ever wise to speak without having a script?

ANSWER: It depends upon the speaker and upon how much confidence he has. It is always better to have a script. That is the accepted practice everywhere. Any station appreciates it, even if you do not use it entirely. It gives great confidence. We really ought to work on our scripts, too. I once saw a man pick up a book written by one of our ministers and read that whole book on the air. It was good ma­terial, of course, and a good script. He read it over the air, but it wasn't his own.

I knew another man, a good Christian, who got a set of my talks and read them over the air and took the same name that we have. A man up in Portland who is not an Adventist took the name Voice of Prophecy and Postal Box 55, Portland, as his address. Perhaps it was innocently done, but we didn't think so. And our lawyers did not think so.

Now, you may not read entirely from your script, but have it there. Read it without being too scholastic about it. You ought to be able to read it in a talking manner. Put it into a conversational tone. It's conversation people listen to. When you go into a home, on the air, you should not go to preach, but to sit down in a chair and talk to two or three persons. You would not say, "Now, brothers and sis­ters, we are here today." You would be more likely to say, "Brother Smith, how are things going?" And you would take your Bible and give a Bible study, and it would be all right. It's going right into the home, talking to one or two people, that counts. That is the thing you have to watch for and correct, if necessary.

I cut several pages yesterday while I was on the air. No matter how we practice, the pro­gram will always vary in length. You your­self will vary your subject, and you always have to know how to chop or lengthen out, and have it right down so you can watch it to the very second. Now I should have brought a script along to show you how we prepare it physically. I use yellow paper, as it is a lot easier on the eyes. I introduced one method that is very simple, but it helps make a smooth program. The pages are numbered, of course, in the regular fashion. I have my watch there close by, and about halfway through I look at my page number, then look at the watch, and do a little mathematical calculation while read­ing.

Now I use a script that takes from sixteen to twenty pages ; I finally invented a little device which works nicely. My secretary not only numbers the pages consecutively, but on the right-hand side of each page, in figures an inch high, she numbers them backward. If there are sixteen pages in the script, she numbers them 15, 14, 13, and so on down. I have my watch there, and I know I have so many pages yet to go. This quick glance at my page and time calculation is a great help. The rate of speed varies, but 16o words a minute is about my best speed. In fact, r6o words is what has been found at some university to be the best speed for hearers to comprehend. If it is given any faster, it is hard on the hearer. I think a slower rate is better on some subjects. I have my pages typed with 16o words on each page.

Thus I read a page a minute.                 

H. M. S. R.

3. The Voice of Prophecy is a national pro­gram. It has a tremendous prestige. There is no question about it. Wouldn't it be better to have all conferences and all our advertising merged into one national program with one radio voice? Do you think it better to have our money distributed, as it obviously is, for many programs, some of which are mediocre, owing to lack of talent? Or should we not have one nationally advertised radio program, with specialized talent, well supervised?

God has given to different men radio person­alities. Some are better than others. We do not feel that everything we have should be put into one grand national broadcast. The Voice of Prophecy is not eager for that. We are go­ing ahead. We are making progress. The de­nomination is supporting us partially, but we feel there is room for the local men too.

D. A. D.

I would like to add this. This question has a lot of implications. Under such a situation men would say, "I had no chance on the air." I do not believe that any system of repression like that would work. I do not think it would be good. I believe in a fair field and no favors, and letting the program that deserves to live, live. The man who never ought to be on the air will not be there long. His friends will sup­port him for a while, but he will soon go off. We do not want to be undemocratic. Above all, the Voice of Prophecy does not want to squelch broadcasters.

There are many local broadcasters who are doing fine work. Elder Tucker has been on the air ten years and is one of the finest broad­casters of religious programs that we have. Elder Nightingale is doing a good job. Every fellow wants to go on the air, just as our preachers like to go out and preach. You know the old story on the University of Hard Knocks, told by Ralph Parlette, about the nuts in the bottle. You shake it and the big ones go to the top. A man may complain that he never had a chance. But just turn the bottle upside down again, and if he is no good he will go to the bottom again. The big ones will always come to the top. I believe that is the only way we can do.

The Lord calls some men to go on the air. When it comes to a good voice, I think the quality of voice can be overrated. If you have enthusiasm and something burning in your heart, someone will listen to you.

I believe that the field should have an oppor­tunity. But I believe that we should have a radio commission. It should not focus all its attention on the Voice of Prophecy, telling us what we should and should not do. It should tell the local broadcasters also. Some think they should title their broadcast, The Seventh-day Adventist Hour. The danger is that programs may be broadcast that are not represent­ative. I do not like such a name, because it goes out over the air representing you and me as members of the Seventh-day Adventist de­nomination.

I say that no man has a right to go on the air and take that name unless his radio scripts are read and censored by someone responsible and in authority. Over thirty men read my scripts. (That is, they receive them. I do not know whether they read them all.) If the Radio Com­mission reads all the Voice of Prophecy scripts so carefully, they also ought to censor the scripts of any broadcaster who takes the de­nominational name. Certainly his conference committee and local leaders should read his script, because it sounds as if the denomination were back of all that he says under that name. If a broadcaster takes his own name, that is a different thing, of course.

The conference committee should take a vital interest in the radio programs within the terri­tory. If conference officials sponsor and help pay for a program, they ought to work with the man who broadcasts, in editing his script and carefully supervising his program. I think our denominational leaders have a big responsibil­ity in reading my script. Here is my reason.

The denomination has to stand back of every word, which is quite a measure of accountabil­ity. It is easy for me, but might be hard for them. There should also be some control over local broadcasters who take the denominational name.                                      H. M. S. R.

4. Would it be better to have our own Sev­enth-day Adventist broadcasting station so we could broadcast all over America on this one station?

Would it be wise to have our own station? I think it would be great to have a short-wave station. Certain hours a day could be used for communicating with our mission stations. But I am not very much in favor of owning a regu­lar station. I do not think it would go very far in the first place, beyond keeping up the courage- of our workers. We would have to have a staff and a whole corps of workers, and the labor unions would be on our backs right away. All technicians would have to be union men. It would not be a station that many would listen to. You would not find many peo­ple who would tune in to a Seventh-day Ad­ventist station. You could not bting in the music and the advertisements and all the rest of it that would attract people to listen to it.

We must get on some station where millions are listening already and drive an opening wedge there. If we could buy certain stations, then turn around and sell them, reserving cer­tain hours for ourselves, that would be worth something. We would then have no more wor­ries, but would merely have to go and broad­cast. Seventh-day Adventists were once offered KNX in Hollywood for $15,000, but our people at that time saw no light in the proposition and turned it down. Later on that station sold for $1,500,000. KMPC was offered to us for $28,­000, but we did not take over that station for various reasons, though it was making a profit of $1,500 a month. Then it was sold to a man in Detroit for $14o,ocio cash. We could have purchased one of these stations, and have sold it again, reserving time for ourselves in perpe­tuity, say twice on Sunday. I think there would be great light in a station owned by our de­nomination but provisionally leased by us.

H. M. S. R.

Broadcasting Transcriptions

The General Conference Radio Commission has made available to•local broadcasters tran­scribed music that has been cleared at source on a royalty-free basis for those who use it. Three 16" double face records containing an average of ro songs, with the exception of one that has II, are produced by the King's Heralds Quartet. Each song is arranged on a separate sound track with timing on the labels. We also have available one r6" organ record Without words by our Voice of Prophecy organist, Al Avilla. These can be purchased by addressing-your request to the secretary of the Radio Commission of the General Conference, 6840 East­ern Avenue, Takoma. Park, Washington I2,. D.C., and your order will be filled from Wash­ington. The price is $5.5o for any one of the-four records or $io for any two, postpaid. The whole set of four may be obtained for $20 post­paid. List of songs furnished on request.

PAUL WICKMAN. [Secretary, North American Radio Commission.


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By various authors

January 1947

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