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Radio and TWR Commemorate Dual Milestones

7 March 2024

As a century of broadcasting was celebrated during World Radio Day last month, TWR fittingly observed a parallel anniversary of its own.

On the 13th February, the UNESCO-sponsored World Radio Day highlighted the roughly 10 decades during which this medium has been informing, entertaining and educating people. A little over a week later, on 22nd February, TWR (also known as Trans World Radio) marked 70 years of bringing the Gospel to listeners in their heart languages.

“Radio is a reliable form of media that touches millions of people and opens the door for ongoing ministry,” TWR President Lauren Libby said. “Whether it’s AM, FM, shortwave or satellite, TWR reaches people around the world with the truth of God’s Word.”

Libby’s words touch upon many of the strengths emphasized by the UNESCO sponsors of the day. They note that radio “gives everyone, no matter what their level of education, a chance to join in.”

“At the global level, radio remains the most widely consumed medium,” the organisation’s news release reads. “Radio continues to be one of the most trusted and used media in the world.”

TWR first took to the airwaves in 1954, broadcasting from Tangier, Morocco, to Francoist Spain, where Protestant evangelism was unwelcome. In the seven decades since, TWR expanded to reach across Europe, behind the Iron Curtain and eventually to every inhabited continent with its Gospel broadcasts. Today it also harnesses video, the internet, social media and other media to bring sound Bible teaching to the ends of the earth.

“A lot of people these days marginalize radio, but it is still the most efficient way of crossing political, ideological and geographical borders to talk directly to people,” Libby said. “There are countries that shut down the internet and deny access to their people, so we can bypass these types of barriers and broadcast the good news of Jesus, which penetrates beyond borders.”

One community being served as TWR radio – along with other media – overcomes barriers is the persecuted Hazara people group of Afghanistan. Even though the Hazaras are predominantly Muslim, there is significant antagonism between the group and the Taliban government, and many have fled the country.

Hussain Andaryas left the country many years ago, but he longed to find a way to share the story of Jesus Christ with his Hazara brothers and sisters.

“I wanted to preach to my people who are in Afghanistan,” he recalled. “I couldn’t go to Afghanistan, but at least I could preach to them through the radio.”

He has worked with TWR to produce 156 episodes of a radio programme aimed at a Hazara audience. Today Andaryas leads a satellite television and internet ministry that reaches out in multiple languages, including the Hazaras’ heart language.

Afghanistan is served by the PANI AM (or medium-wave) transmitter, an excellent example of the importance and efficacy of radio as described by Libby. TWR’s PANI (for Pakistan, Afghanistan and North India) sends out transformational programming to one of the world’s least-reached areas.