"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 510, October 10, 2004
Voice of Prophecy 75th Anniversary
It was on October 10, 1929, that the legendary Dr. H. M. S. Richards went on the air with a daily devotional program on station KNX in Hollywood, California. This introductory series of daily broadcasts began a life long career in radio broadcasting for Dr. Richards, and this month the Voice of Prophecy is celebrating 75 years of continuous radio ministry with special programming and large public events in North America and on several other continents.
Dr. Richards was born into a pastoral family in 1894, the year in which Marconi began his first primitive experiments in sending wireless messages through the air without any form of conducting wire. He gained his education in Adventist educational institutions in Colorado and Maryland, and he served in pastoral and evangelistic ministry in Canada and California.
His introduction to radio came in the year 1920 when President Warren G. Harding, who was at the time Senator Harding, invited him to a demonstration of wireless at the Potomac River in Washington, DC. Three airplanes flying overhead were given instructions over the wireless apparatus, and they flew off in different directions. Later in that same year, the famous station KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was launched as what is honored as the first radio broadcasting station in the world.
It was in the year 1927 that Richards made his own first radio
broadcast. At the time, he was conducting a series of evangelistic
meetings in central California, and he presented a religious message
over one of the nearby mediumwave stations.
Just two years later, he was offered free air time over station KNX which was on the air at that time in Hollywood with 5 kw. on 1050 kHz. These days, station KNX is a 50 kw. giant on 1070 kHz. It is still located on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, though it is now licensed to the city of Los Angeles.
During the 1930s, the radio ministry of Dr. H. M. S. Richards grew until his program was heard state wide on network radio. Then, in 1942, his radio program, by this time identified as the "Voice of Prophecy," made its inaugural broadcast nationwide on the Mutual Broadcasting Network.
In 1944, the "Voice of Prophecy" went international, with a relay service via the Pacific coast stations in the shortwave service of the Voice of America. During this era, the same program was also heard on shortwave through the transmissions from the 50 kw. VLC, "Australia Calling," located at Shepparton in Victoria.
From this time onwards, the "Voice of Prophecy" has been heard on shortwave over many stations located in Europe, Africa, and Asia. The shortwave station that holds the record for the longest continuous relay of the Voice of Prophecy radio program was the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, with its transmitters located at Ekala, north of Colombo. The VoP, as it is known colloquially, was on the air from SLBC Colombo for a period of 39 years beginning in 1950.
As time went by, Dr. H. M. S. Richards passed the mantle of leadership in this radio ministry to his son, also known as H. M. S. Richards, and from him it was passed on to the current Director-Speaker, Lonnie Melashenko.
In an additional form of electronic outreach, the Voice of Prophecy has established an internet website at vop.com. This site averages around 1.5 million hits per month, and the highest month so far was October 2003 when 3.7 million hits were registered.
We here at Adventist World Radio honor the Voice of Prophecy radio program at its 75th anniversary, and we acknowledge with appreciation our own earliest origins which are traceable right back to this eminent radio ministry.