Portugal (MNN) — The Internet is allowing something illegal into Portugal. And Trans World Radio is the organization getting it in there.
John Summerville with TWR says, "In Portugal, it is illegal to have a Christian radio station like we're accustomed to hearing in the U.S. If you have more than two hours of Christian broadcasting, then the government mandates a whole other set of rules for that radio station, and most radio stations aren't willing to go there."
However, Internet radio allows them to have a full-time Christian radio station without the rules. Christian radio is needed in Portugal, says Summerville. "There are 308 villages in Portugal, and only 95 of those have an evangelical church. That means there are 213 towns throughout the country of Portugal that have no evangelical witness."
The difficult part of web radio is letting people know about it. Summerville says they're working on that. "A lot of it is being done by word-of-mouth at this point. Right now we're currently having 1,500 people connected for at least one hour each day. So that means the word is getting out."
TWR's web radio programming is diverse and includes teaching, talk and Christian music. "When we first started doing Christian music, we did all American Christian music because there was no evangelical Christian Portuguese music. However, that has spawned a whole generation of people who are rising up and producing their own Portuguese Christian Music."
Their ministry has two full-time and three part-time employees, plus eight volunteers who help keep the 24/7 broadcast ministry operational.
Summerville says prayer and funding are needed to help this ministry grow by "offering new and innovating programs, so that they'll be able to go to more than one web radio station. TWR is looking to raise $28,000 for this project."
TWR isn't abandoning traditional radio, Summerville says. "Radio is always going to play a part overseas because internet is not always going to be available to people. But where it is available, Trans World Radio is stepping out and going head first so that we can be leading the charge in that area."