Broadcasters/Central and South America

From Tsunamihelp


HCJB World Radio

HCJB World Radio is working with local partners to establish Christian FM stations in two areas of Indonesia affected by the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami that inundated coastlines, killing more than 160,000 people and leaving more than 1 million homeless.

John Brewer, director of HCJB World Radio's Southeast Asia subregion, said partner DiscipleMAKER is rushing to put the two stations on the air after receiving permission from local officials. The stations will help disseminate important information to survivors while sharing the gospel message.

"Studios will be a problem," Brewer said. "In one of the areas they plan to rent a house to start with -- maybe build later. Initially, they will just put a simple antenna on a 20-foot piece of pipe. It would take too long to get a permanent tower into these areas at this point. In the other tsunami-affected area they plan to build a studio at a cost of $10,000. There are not enough structures in the area left to rent one." The two stations are in addition to five others that were being planned for Indonesia this year. "As a result, there is no budget for the stations in the tsunami areas -- just an unprecedented opportunity."

Equipment is being shipped this week from the HCJB World Radio Engineering Center in Elkhart, Ind. "I don't have an exact on-air date, but they were given three weeks to go on the air, and I expect they will be broadcasting within two weeks," Brewer said.

Local people are already in place to run the stations as HCJB World Radio recently held three radio training courses for DiscipleMAKER in Indonesia -- each with 15 to 20 students. "The main language on these stations will be Indonesian," Brewer added. The stations will feature programming contextualized for a predominantly Muslim audience, including music, educational information, news and public service announcements.

"Airtime will be available to assist the government with communicating relief information to the people," Brewer said. "The disaster resulted in a lack of communication and the need to restore these services, including radio broadcasts. I think this situation has opened the door to allow us to help set up these two Christian radio stations in Muslim areas that might not have allowed us under normal circumstances."

Meanwhile, "The Voice of the Great Southland," HCJB World Radio-Australia's shortwave station in Kununurra, continues broadcasting programs across the region to encourage survivors.

"We carried special programming in the early days after the tsunami, and we continue to broadcast information and news," said Asia Pacific Director Dennis Adams. "We will do more as we assess the ongoing need."

Mission leaders continue to assess the situation, looking for ways to best help the people. "In each subregion affected we may need to go into those areas and meet with pastors and church leaders to get a better understanding of how we can assist them practically as well as in the ongoing task of evangelism," Adams said. "Our compassion is strong for the people of God, and we do want to do all we can to encourage them as they rebuild their lives and their ministries. I believe these are days of unprecedented opportunity, and we need the wisdom of God to know how best to respond." (HCJB World Radio)