A 65-Year History
TWR’s first-ever broadcast aired from Tangier in Northern Africa on February 22, 1954. In a press release, TWR says this first broadcast reached across “the Strait of Gibraltar to Span, where Protestants were a vanishingly small minority” facing governmental bans on evangelism and even discrimination.
Then, when Morocco gained its independence and Tangier was reunited with the country, TWR was asked to leave. The organization moved to Monte Carlo and shared a facility with Radio Monte Carlo. During the day, Radio Monte Carlo when to work, and at night TWR took over. It was here where TWR really began to have a global influence.
Ten years after the first broadcast, TWR was reaching most of Europe and expanding further into the world. Through radio, the ministry slipped into areas no Christian worker could, like the Iron Curtain. Radio has a way of providing information regardless of governmental regulations. It has been key in TWR sharing God’s Word across the globe, expanding to the ends of the earth.
“We’re still in broadcast. We have 21 transmitting locations around the globe, high power transmitters of anywhere from 200,000 to 500,000 to a million wats. We talk [to] a potential listening audience on the air of 4.2 billion people each and every day. Then globally, digitally, we talk to about 40,000-50,000 people on our app, TWR 360, every day,” President and CEO of TWR, Lauren Libby says.
TWR broadcasts in 230 languages in 190 countries with an average audience age of 16 to 18-year-olds and up. This means the organization is reaching every country on this planet apart from six. Plus, it’s reaching multiple generations through cross-platform promoting via radio, social media, print, digital media, apps, and more.
Even with the vast reach TWR has today, what continues to lead the ministry to say, “this is God” is not the number of people reached, but the individual stories of these people.
“I was with a young couple in Northern Syria about a year and a half ago who had just come into a relationship with Jesus Christ as a result of listening on the radio and listening to some children’s drama that had been distributed into the refugee camps. And then you begin to look at others…it’s an individual life, one at a time,” Libby says.
“People don’t come into the Kingdom in groups. They come in one at a time and they’re affected and our goal’s to help them meet the closest friend they’ve ever had, when they finally meet Jesus face to face.”
Libby says as technology shifts and morphs, the ministry is trying to adjust, too. For example, TWR is experimenting in what it could look like to broadcast via short-wave or medium-wave via digital means transmitting into a receiver. Plus, as technology shifts, more opportunities tend to open.
However, TWR’s 65-year journey has not been traveled alone. Many people have come alongside this work over the years.
“We’d just like to say thank you to everyone who’s co-labored with TWR with your time, talent, and treasure for the last 65 years. From one little tiny radio station in Tangier to touching 4.2 billion people every day. That is an absolute miracle and God has used hundreds of thousands of people to be involved in making that happen,” Libby says.
“It hasn’t happened because of one person, two people, it’s been a group effort of the body of Christ and we’re so grateful to everyone who’s had a part in that.”
Pray for TWR’s continued ability to reach people with the good news of Jesus Christ. Pray TWR’s work helps disciple and grow believers across the world, that the ministry’s content would impact hearts and glorify God.
Some clarification about TWR Tangier era; In the 1950’s there were three commercial broadcast stations licensed by the International Zone of Tangier. Those were (brand names) Radio Africa, Radio Tanger and Pan American Radio. TWR (Voice of Tangier then) “hired airtime” from Radio Tanger. The fourth broadcaster was VOA. Morocco gained independence in 1956 and had then also control of Tangier. The existing broadcasters were given time to operate until the end of 1959. So, Voice of Tangier (TWR) stopped broadcasting from Tangier in the end of 1959. As we all know, VOA was of course granted permission to continue after that 1959 deadline.
Jari Savolainen, Finland