Home | Back to Wavescan Index

"Wavescan" is a weekly program for long distance radio hobbyists produced by Dr. Adrian M. Peterson, Coordinator of International Relations for Adventist World Radio. AWR carries the program over many of its stations (including shortwave). Adrian Peterson is a highly regarded DXer and radio historian, and often includes features on radio history in his program. We are reproducing those features below, with Dr. Peterson's permission and assistance.

Wavescan, October 2, 2011

40th Anniversary for Adventist World Radio

This weekend, the first weekend in the month of October 2011, the international radio world is celebrating two important anniversaries. Adventist World Radio is celebrating its 40th anniversary, and DX India is celebrating its 10th anniversary. First, we look at the AWR scene, back in the year 1971.

In those days, Dr. Allen and Mrs. Andrea Steele were located in Lisbon, Portugal, and they were appointed to commence a new shortwave service on behalf of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. The first broadcast from this fledgling radio unit was made on Friday evening, October 1, 1971, and the programming was beamed to central and eastern Europe on 9670 kHz from a 250 kW transmitter located at Radio Trans Europe in Sines, Portugal.

However, more than 40 years before the official launching of Adventist World Radio, the Adventist denomination made its first attempt at shortwave broadcasting. It was during the month of March 1928, that the young John Fetzer personally lodged a request with the Federal Radio Commission in Washington, D.C. to establish a shortwave service in association with the mediumwave station WEMC, located at Berrien Springs in Michigan. This request was denied.

Nine years later, in October 1937, the actual first broadcast on shortwave was made over a new station located in India. The station was VU7MC, located in Mysore, India, the speaker was Professor L. B. Losey, and the topic was Poultry Farming at the nearby Spicer College. At this time, station VU7MC was located in the home of its founder and it was on the air with 50 watts on 6080 kHz.

The long standing radio program, Voice of Prophecy, with the illustrious Dr. H. M. S. Richards, was also on the air shortwave from the Voice of America and from Radio Australia in broadcasts beamed to the Pacific, Asia and the Americas beginning in the year 1944. It is probable that this program was on the air for a little over a year, running into the year 1945.

It is noted in a contemporary report that the Voice of Prophecy was beamed to Alaska during this era, and that would suggest to us that it was on the air in the scheduling from shortwave station KROJ in California. VOA schedules during this era show the programming from KROJ specifically beamed to listeners in Alaska.

The VoP broadcasts from Radio Australia, or Australia Calling as this service was known at the time, were heard over the 50 kW transmitter VLC which was identified as MacArthur's station during his Pacific initiative.

It is known that that the Voice of Prophecy radio program was introduced into the Spanish and Portuguese languages in South America beginning in the year 1942. Initially, these broadcasts were on the air over several networks of local mediumwave stations.

A report published in a South American magazine in the English language in the early part of the year 1945 states that this programming was now on the air from 60 mediumwave stations, and also from 12 shortwave stations. It would seem apparent that each of the 12 shortwave stations was in fact a parallel relay from a mediumwave parent station.

On March 26, 1947, an Asian version of the Voice of Prophecy radio program was introduced over shortwave station KZRH in Manila, Philippines. At the time radio station KZRH was newly rebuilt after the Pacific War and the shortwave outlet was operating with 1 kW on 9640 kHz.

Finally, in this roundup of historic radio information, we mention the revived shortwave station in Luxembourg over there in Europe. Radio Luxembourg began the syndicated broadcast of the Voice of Prophecy on March 31, 1947, with 5 kW on 6090 kHz.