People have more ways of communicating and consuming media today than ever before, from video chat or text messages to customized smartphone apps. These tools are catchy and innovative, but the ever-increasing variety can also be a bit overwhelming for the church, as we try to ensure that our message of hope is getting through to as many people as possible.
At Adventist World Radio (AWR), a key part of the ministry’s planning process is determining which methods of broadcasting its more than 100 languages are best suited for different audiences or locations. Several years ago, this led to the early adoption of Internet podcasts. (On iTunes, AWR offers content in more languages than any other provider.) At the same time, AWR continues to invest significant resources in traditional media, which serve millions of impoverished or remote listeners.
AWR’s latest service may appear old-school, but it is
filling a definite need for people who are out of range of
its radio broadcasts and also unable to access podcasts. “Call-to-listen” gives people the opportunity to dial a localaccess
phone number from their landline or basic mobile
phone, and hear a full AWR program in selected languages.
The service does not require a smartphone or app, and
uses voice minutes rather than data plans.
“Working with AudioNow—the world’s leading call-tolisten
provider—fits within our core mission to broadcast
to the hardest-to-reach people groups of the world in their
own languages,” says Dowell Chow, AWR president. “Now,
diaspora groups can be connected to AWR programs with
just a simple telephone call.”
AWR’s call-to-listen service is currently available in
the United States, Australia, and Mexico, where the most
popular AWR languages each have their own assigned
phone number. More countries will be added over time; the
updated lists can be found at awr.org/call-to-listen/.
Shelley Nolan Freesland is Adventist World Radio communication
director at the General Conference world headquarters