An international radio ministry is marking 70 years of proclaiming the gospel to some of the farthest corners of the world.
Far East Broadcasting Company started with a radio station in the Philippines seven decades ago. Since that time, the ministry says it has expanded to almost 150 transmitters and stations that can reach some three billion people, with a focus on those with little or no access to the gospel.
"What defines us," says, Ed Cannon, who serves as president and CEO, "is that the one thing that we always do for the last 70 years, and will until the Lord returns, we communicate the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ on whatever media platform people are using."
The ministry began with Bob Bowman and John Broger, students at Southern California Bible College who shared a vision for radio ministry. Their first ministry outreach was China, where the effort to spread the gospel tangled with the rise of communism, and mission work on the ground ended in 1948.
Moving to the Philippines, the first Far East broadcast aired in that country on June 4, 1948, reaching back into China that same year.
On its website, Far East says its broadcasts are heard in 113 languages and 49 countries.
More than 2.6 million listeners contacted the California-based ministry last year.
While the ministry is expanding its influence through streaming and social media, many people don't have access to those newer platforms.
"Many of those people are still listening on short-wave radio," Cannon says. "And in some of the new countries we're getting in --- Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine, for example --- the platform that is the most popular is FM radio."
The response, in fact, is "tremendous" when Far East launches an FM station, he says.
So radio is alive and well, he tells OneNewsNow, and remains a key to their mission.