“Is radio still relevant?”
As the TWR Canada team travels across Canada, meeting with donors and speaking in churches, we often hear this question. It’s not surprising. In our technologically-advanced society, many Canadians, particularly the younger generation, don’t turn the radio on anymore. If we listen to any radio, it’s over the internet or satellite. Our local radio stations only cover a few dozen kilometres, or if we’re lucky, a city. How is that relevant or cost-effective in a time where the internet is accessible, cheap and used by almost everyone?
Our world is so diverse. Although it may not be the case in Canada today, radio remains a very effective way to reach people in some regions. Turning on a radio to listen with your family and neighbours is a treasured nightly ritual in some areas of the world. Internet, television and cell phones may be cost-prohibitive or not accessible for other reasons. In many areas of Africa, the Caribbean and some remote areas of Asia, this is reality. This is why TWR’s high-powered transmitters are located in these regions: a 450 kW signal transmitter from Bonaire focuses on the Caribbean; West Africa’s transmitter broadcasts 100 kW to over 100 million, and two 250 kW transmitters on Guam reach much of Asia.
TWR Canada remains committed to using the most appropriate media to reach people most effectively. This means radio in some areas, but in others, the internet, cell phones or even media players may be more effective. In Iran, due to the rapidly increasing number of people using the internet and the decreasing number of users and increasing costs of radio, we are preparing to stop our shortwave radio broadcasts and redirect efforts to satellite, web radio and other internet avenues. This will allow us to reach a greater number of people more effectively. In many other areas of the world, like in Canada, the internet is an easy and cost-effective way to share the gospel with many. In Quebec, our partner, Aujourd’hui l’Espoir, has an internet ministry that not only reaches French-speakers in Canada, but also reaches people in the Caribbean, Africa and Europe!
In some regions that are very closed to the gospel, it can be difficult to reach people with radio or the internet. Sometimes we bring tiny SD cards into these areas to introduce people to the gospel. SD cards can also be effective to teach people who are new Christians but don’t have access to any materials other than one or two radio programs. TWR Canada has conducted distributions among refugees, to Christian leaders in the Middle East, as well as inside and at the border of restricted-access countries.
TWR Canada has also delivered solar-powered media players to Mennonite colonies where external electricity is not allowed. We have distributed discipleship materials in closed-access countries on a normal-looking computer tablet with a cleverly hidden application. Videos have been used in urban areas to reach out to youth. The Lord continues to reveal to us ways to reach people with new technology. He will always find a way to reach those who are searching!
As technologies change, the number of possibilities of presenting the gospel to people continues to grow. Therefore, we need a wide variety of skills and people to make the most out of the media tools available.
Do you have technology skills that can be used to reach people for God? Talk to us today to explore how you can use your skills in TWR Canada’s media ministry!