Adventist World Radio next year will increase the frequency or length of several programs in Asia and Africa, bringing the amount of content close to previous levels before cost-cutting measures several years ago.
At a recent meeting of AWR’s board of directors, leaders approved a nearly $600,000, or 20 percent, increase in airtime budget to fund local language programming. Last year’s budget for airtime was slightly less than $3.3 million.
That move will also increase broadcast hours by about 20 percent next year, to more than 32,000 hours, up from 27,000 hours.
The action specifically increases programming for 21 languages that AWR regional directors have identified as underserved. Those languages include Amharic, Somali, Panjabi, and Urdu.
“We are very grateful to God that we are able to expand this ministry wider and wider so that more people can hear the gospel in these languages,” said AWR President Dowell Chow. “We are able to make this welcome change thanks to several years of solid financial stability.”
This latest step is part of a wider expansion of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s broadcasting in the Eastern hemisphere. In July, Hope Channel, the church’s official television network, announced investment for more programming in Africa, especially in local languages.
AWR is also planning programming and developing infrastructure for broadcasts reaching Myanmar, Bhutan and Pakistan. Officials are also expanding the capabilities of the network’s operations in Guam. There, several huge antennas broadcast programming in more than 30 languages into Asia.
The number of subscribers to AWR podcasts is also on the uptick. As of August this year, the ministry reported close to 2 million podcast subscriptions. From January to November of last year, there were more than 200 million total podcast downloads.
Adventist World Radio is the official global radio ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Its mission is to broadcast the Adventist hope in Christ to the unreached people groups of the world in their own languages. AWR’s programs can be heard in nearly 100 languages through AM/FM and shortwave radio, on demand, and podcasts at awr.org.