Media and Mission in the Inland Empire
What drives radio personalities from the comfort of a Northwest spring to the heat and humidity of Cambodia?
Following the lead of H.M.S. Richards, radio pioneer and minister, dedicated Adventist missionaries have sprung to the challenge of using radio technology to spread the gospel in response to the Great Commission of Jesus, both worldwide and locally in the mission fields of America.
From talk and interview formats of LifeTalk and Three Angels' Broadcasting Network radio, to contemporary Christian music stations, local Northwest communities are being changed through radio. According to George Barna, statistical researcher, up to 25 percent of Christian radio's audience label themselves non-Christians—quite a mission field.
Radio broadcasting has long provided a powerful influence within the Inland Empire and beyond.
KGTS–FM began as a small classical station on the campus of Walla Walla University in 1963. Today KGTS is an affiliate of the Christian-music-based Positive Life Radio network, which is an outgrowth of the station's own development. Positive Life Radio network serves more than 100,000 listeners through four full-power primary stations, one low-power FM station, 13 translators throughout Washington, Idaho and Oregon, as well as an additional 30,000 via the worldwide Netcast at www.plr.org. The Spokane affiliate station, KEEH, alone ministers to an audience of 57,000 unique weekly listeners, and along with sister Positive Life Radio stations, KPLW in Wenatchee (Wash.) and KYPL in Yakima (Wash.), has been ranked within the top 30 non-commercial religious stations in America.1
KEEH has made building bridges in the community a ministry focus. For instance, each month pastors of other denominations are invited into KEEH's studio to pre-record the Good News Bible verses of the week and to meet the staff. Each pastor leaves with a leather gift copy of the book Steps to Christ.
A Wider Purpose
Beyond the Inland Empire, other Northwest Adventist radio stations, including the three-time Dove award-winning KTSY, covering the Boise, Idaho market, and KACS, which provided critical information for flood-stricken people within its Chehalis/Centralia (Wash.) core listening area, have become important community links for the church's mission.
Recently, Positive Life Radio's annual Rice for Cambodia campaign received listener donations allowing the purchase of enough rice to feed a city the size of Yakima (70,000 people) for an entire month. Kevin Krueger, station general manager, traveled to the Asian rice paddies, sharing life-sustaining rice along with eternal life-sustaining scripture tracts.
Louie Giglio, author and popular speaker, fine-tunes this idea of the Christian's personal mission statement: "Within each of us is God-wired uniqueness, something that makes us feel more alive than breath itself... But it's not enough to simply do what makes us feel alive. We must exploit our uniqueness in a way that broadcasts Jesus, the one name the world cannot live without."
Adventists throughout the Northwest and beyond have a great opportunity to extend their personal mission to supporting and praying for the ministry of Christian radio as it helps listeners come alive for Christ in the Northwest and around the world.
1(Copyright Arbitron, Inc., estimate only, Fall 2007, average quarter hour share.)
"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."