The idea for Roles was born while Frank Gray travelled and conducted extensive training events around the various program production centres of Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC). It soon became clear that each language service had good stories to tell about the programs they were making. These ideas needed to be shared among the others. There were also programs produced that did not fit the normal mode of evangelistic programming — or even Bible-teaching for Christians.
So in 1995 as General Program Director for FEBC, he began to list the different types of programs that were being made — not according to their format or style, but according to the various roles they played in the context of the whole.
After some refinement and consultation fourteen (14) distinct roles were isolated and these became the basis of the first Radio Programming Roles booklet that was subsequently published in 1997 co-authored by Dr. Ross James. The booklet also incorporated The Gray Matrix and the combination proved to be a useful package that became the mainstay of FEBC's Programming training.
The booklet gained in popularity and was translated in whole or in part in a variety of languages notably Chinese, Russian and Bahasa Indonesia. Other agencies also translated it into Spanish and French. Its publication on the Internet also meant that many had downloaded the material and were found to be using it freely in their own training context without our knowledge.
You can see many of these and related documents on the Downloads page .
But much has changed since the first edition. These changes have been on many fronts:
- Technology: digital technology has expanded listening options - how we listen, what we listen on, where we listen, the choices we now have, the ability to listen to radio stations via the Internet from anywhere in the world.
- De-regulation of the media has spread as totalitarian governments have gradually been replaced and media have become more democratic. This has resulted in the shift from international listening (via shortwave) to listening to local radio on FM.
- How people use media has also changed. With smart phones, iPods and PCs listening has become both more personal and more interactive
Each of these has had its impact on programming. They have also impacted the publication of this second edition. The development of the Internet, and especially broadband, has enabled this publication and the various interactive elements that come with it. It is a global publication - only limited by the extent to which the Internet is available and accessible.
As a web-based publication it is not set in time but can also move with the times and be updated accordingly. It is also hoped that it will be interactive and participatory.