Changes in shortwave radio expand ministry.

By May 1, 2006

Ecuador (MNN)–Radio Station HCJB, the Voice of the Andes, is closing a chapter in its history.

Saturday, May 6 is the last day the team will air English-language broadcasts on international shortwave radio from Ecuador.

English was one of the first two languages, along with Spanish, to air when the station began broadcasting in Quito on December 25, 1931.

The change could be considered a narrowing of focus in a ministry that’s also moving toward teaching English as a second language.

The move is “taking some of the resources that we’ve been using on the broadcasts and focusing that into English-as-a-second-language (ESL) things”, so says Station Director Doug Weber.

Through their radio programs, teams share the gospel in a language listeners can understand, helping them to impact their communities.

A good example of that is their “Spotlight” program. It’s a key tool used in ESL, because it moves at a pace that learners can follow. The speaking rate is clocked at 90 words per minute, a more comfortable pace than the average rate of 125-150 words a minute.

The program, produced by FEBA Radio and Words of Hope, has also led to a new path of outreach. Listeners have an opportunity to practice speaking English at the Spotlight Listener’s Club in Quito.

Groups gather to hear “Spotlight,” then divide into small conversation groups headed by native English speakers who guide the conversation and aid people in expressing themselves in English.

The club continues to morph into spin-off ministries, and interest is growing, with more than 2,200 people now receiving scripts via e-mail.

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