Does Christian Radio have a Future?
October 30, 2017
With all the digital options available to listeners today, does terrestrial radio (radio that is broadcast through radio towers) have a future? After a day in the studio, we asked for a perspective from Gregg Harris, president of Thru the Bible, and Steve Shwetz, our host and Board member.
Gregg and Steve: The answer to that is an easy, “Yes! Christian radio has a future.”
Gregg: In many ways, the future of broadcast radio is like peeling an onion; there are layers of understanding of how God multiplies His message using powerful, diverse mediums. Over the last decades, digital expansions have made it easier and more cost-efficient to take God’s Word to the world. Just look at the different resources that we’re getting into people’s hands ….
Steve: Yes—I remember the days at the TTB office when you had to navigate your way around stacks of reel to reel tapes and then cassette tapes and then CD stacks. Now you can hold every single Thru the Bible program in the palm of your hand with the Bible Bus flash drive or Solar Bible Bus—or your own phone.
Gregg: In certain parts of the world, terrestrial radio is still the best way to get the Word out.
Steve: Especially in areas of spiritual oppression.
Gregg: For sure, we’ll use every avenue possible.
Steve: Even our recent trip to the Middle East taught us to be very careful about budget cuts we make to areas where we don’t think the program is well received.
Gregg: It’s true—in some areas of the world, the numbers don’t tell the whole story. There’s impact we never knew about till we sat across the table from the local broadcaster. And sometimes, God uses Thru the Bible as a station’s foundation program, allowing other, smaller ministries to continue on air.
Steve: And no matter how effective digital delivery gets, terrestrial radio will always have an audience in North America and internationally. It’s the platform for all kinds of splinter media. And when the costs go down for digital delivery, we have more funds for global outreach. It’s a win/win.
Gregg: Our view of the future is bright—“as bright as the promises of God,” as Hudson Taylor once said. Thirty years ago when Dr. McGee died, we committed this ministry to God anew to use it as long as He wanted. Today, we have tripled the number of languages and we’re getting it done (comparably speaking) in less time with less budget. That’s how we can grow exponentially in the future. Right now new digital delivery platforms are being produced. There are great things ahead. Pray for us as we work to get these ready for our growing TTB family to enjoy.
Steve: I can speak for the Board of Directors when I say that we are committed to our unique delivery of the Word of God for as long as God provides these open doors. We take people through the whole Word of God—all the Bible. God’s grace shines on us because He is glorified through this.