Soundcast enlarging its worldwide audience
By: David Ibata
Soundcast is expanding its longstanding partnership with Trans World Radio, potentially reaching up to 21 million more English- and Spanish-speaking listeners.
“We’re buying into more packages of distribution from Trans World Radio,” said Chris Benjamin, director of production and operations. Soundcast will now be heard in all of the United Kingdom and India, and it will have a stronger presence in South Africa and the South Pacific.
Unlike in the United States, where independently owned Christian broadcasters blanket the nation and are free to carry Soundcast – made available to them free of charge as an Army outreach – overseas radio networks like TWR offer the only way Soundcast can get into many countries.
The United Kingdom, for example, is effectively closed to Christian broadcasters. Radio is highly regulated by the government, and the UK’s Broadcasting Bill regards religious station owners as “disqualified owners,” Benjamin said. TWR’s transmitter to Britain is located elsewhere.
TWR has been a Southern Territory ministry partner since 1989.
While it already had been carrying Maravillosas Palabras de Vida in the Caribbean basin and northern South America – the program airs in more than two dozen countries at 6:45 a.m. Sundays – the network recently increased the power of its Bonaire transmitter from 100,000 to 450,000 watts, and its potential audience, from 50 million to 100 million.
Under the expanded partnership agreement, TWR for the first time will carry Heartbeat and Latido to Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Argentina and an affiliated Latin American network broadcasting to hundreds of locally owned and operated stations.
TWR often positions its transmitters just offshore or across a border from the countries it’s trying to reach. Its stations bring the gospel to places like North Korea and Iran, where Christian faith can be a death sentence.
For dangerous areas like these, TWR runs a “Radios for the World” program. It distributes small radios in heavy plastic bags. They’re smuggled into hostile countries, and their recipients bury them in the ground – digging them up every night so they can listen to Christian broadcasts in secret.
“Trans World Radio is an organization that has a passion to preach the gospel around the world,” Benjamin said. “With today’s technology, there’s no reason a Third World country cannot somehow receive the gospel. And in countries where it’s illegal to own a Bible, Christian radio may be the only time people can hear Scripture.”
Soundcast’s impact is global thanks to TWR and the Southern Territory’s other radio ministry partners, Pan American Broadcasting and Reach Beyond. That’s evident in the letters continually arriving in Atlanta from overseas.
“Every month, we get a packet of letters from Ghana, Zimbabwe and other areas of northwest Africa, and when you see the number of stamps used and the handwritten letters, it’s really moving,” Benjamin said.
A listener in Zimbabwe wrote. “After listening to your radio program ‘Wonderful Words of Life’ over Radio Africa Two, my life has been totally changed. The message you air is so powerful. May the Lord richly bless you as you labour in his vineyard.”
For more information about Trans World Radio: https://www.twr.org/ To learn more about Soundcast or to listen online: https://salvationarmysoundcast.org/