Launched in 2009 BSP is an on-going campaign developed by FEBC to encourage its programming staff to get out of the studio and into the community. With a long history of shortwave radio dating back 60 years this has not always come easily. But with countless opportunities today for community-oriented radio in the local context this transition becomes imperative. We have found it can also be applied for shortwave in countries such as Myanmar.
The Bowman Signature Project was the focus of a resulting programming conference that FEBC held in Manila in September 2010. Out of this have come good case studies of how the principles of Incarnational Radio (i-Radio for short) have been put into practice.
The project is named after Dr. Robert H. Bowman, one of the founders of FEBC. Now in his 94th year he continues to follow FEBC with great interest and he and his family have made funds available to enable this project.
The BSP Programming Conference in Manila was the latest in FEBC's RadioFest series. It was a very rich exchange of ideas, creativity and encouragement...
Here is a sampling of what we learned about:
- For Chinese ministries it meant going to the mountain villages of Yunnan, among the Lisu people
- For Indonesia it meant launching a study project in a listener's house
- For Myanmar it meant the launch of a karaoke-based initiative that attracts young people
- In the Philippines the Puso sa Puso project was launched prior to the presidential election
- Cambodia staff presented their Well of Life project as part of their drive for offering Healing, Health and Hope to the community in Phnom Penh and surrounding areas
- Mongolian staff presented Heart Jewel a program that teaches Mongolian women practical skills for home and garden
- Takanoya described Japan as "a place where hope has died" and where there are 35,000 suicides a year. Listening to radio is dying out so new outlets are being developed through new technologies.
- Russia also suffers a similar number of suicides while 1-2 million people are now found living on the streets. Innovative talk radio is taking Good News to remote communities via satellite and Internet.
Jan Bayliss who organised the event and coordinated the project wrote the following:
FEBC Myanmar launched a Youth Karaoke program. Not what you would expect to hear on short-wave! But it captured the imaginations of young people, more than 100 of whom auditioned to be part of the program. They even held a public concert/competition and invited leading people from the Myanmar recording industry to hear the finalists. As a result FEBC Myanmar has new young listeners, many new young part-time volunteers and 2 full-time volunteers, as well as growing partnerships with many churches.
FEBC Mongolia also worked in partnership with a group of local churches and drew on expertise of several NGOs to create a series of life-skills programs and activities for the women living near their station. Guest trainers taught such things as felt making, and vegetable growing and pickling. The radio programs included short "how-to" lessons and call-in programs where women shared their experiences. Results include church volunteers trained to take interviews, local women finding new friends and learning the skills to supplement their family income.
FEBC Russia has begun a No Walls Radio endeavour where listeners meet in designated coffee shops around the city to discuss topics raised on air, and to have their voices included in the programs. Young people are also being trained in radio production skills. Where there is much hopelessness in society, this program is giving young Russians skills, confidence and opportunities to be heard, and to hear God's perspective on life.
Praise God for all these exciting developments! In 2011 we expect even more fields to join in the Bowman Signature Project.
More details available on request as appropriate.