A turnaround radio ministry in Panama celebrates a milestone.

By November 26, 2003

Panama (HCJB/MNN)–The dedication of a new studio complex at Radio Station HOXO, HCJB World Radio’s partner ministry in Panama City, Panama, Saturday, Nov. 8, demonstrated how God can revitalize a ministry that most had left for dead 11 years earlier.

The once-dilapidated station, on the verge of shutting down in 1992 due to runaway debts and equipment failures, again has a vibrant ministry in this strategic country.

Today HOXO is a healthy outreach, on the air 24 hours daily, reaching across Panama, the “crossroads of the world” with programs in Spanish, English and Cantonese.

The ministry’s new complex has three studios–one for HOXO-AM, one for Stereo Vida-FM, and a talk studio in between.

The effort to restore the station began in 1992, where it seemed like an impossible task. The station had a debt of $60,000, and it was increasing at a rate of $3,000 a month. The equipment was also so worn out that it was off the air as much as it was on the air.

The country itself was in shambles following the downfall of dictator Manuel Noriega. Revenue from cooperating broadcasters was also down, the station’s AM and FM transmitters were in poor shape, and the building for the AM transmitter was surrounded by a slum, vulnerable to robbers and other hazards.

However, a turning point came with a 25-thousand dollar gift earmarked for the station. Shortly thereafter, the station got permission to remount their antennae on a skyscraper near the country’s airport. That broadened the signal impact, but finances were still a concern.

When HCJB World Radio announced that it had to cut back on how much money it could pump into HOXO, the all-Panamanian board went to work cutting costs and raising revenue from donations and paid programming by cooperating broadcasters.

By 1999, the station was self-sufficient financially, partly because the old AM transmitter site was sold at a high price to make room for a new highway going from the airport to Panama City.

Today, the transformation of both the city and the station makes both nearly unrecognizable. That was also cause for celebration. More than 600 people were present for the dedication, including a local pastor preached a sermon based on the angel’s message to the church in Philadelphia: “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” (Revelation 3:8).

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