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Radio Interview


John Summerville

Director of Special Events, Office Representation and Radio Partnerships

Tran World Radio

Cary, NC



John's Career Capsule
I joined TWR in 1988 organizing and carrying out fund raising banquets and special events for TWR.  In 2003, I was asked to spearhead a new department called Office Representation, where we have a team of people who phone everyone who makes a donation to TWR.  In 2004, I helped launch another new department called Radio Partnerships. 


1. Personally how do you keep the ministry in the “business”? 

One of my key areas of responsibility is to develop partnerships between great US-based Christian radio stations and networks with TWR.  Our goal is to motivate people who listen faithfully to local radio to begin to see beyond their own backyard.  So often people see what the Lord is doing in their own life and in the life of their own church but we want them to see the utter most parts of the earth. 

Radio partnering with international radio is a hand-in-glove fit.  And that’s because radio is a powerful tool for the gospel and the Lord is using TWR to mentor pastors, to disciple new believers, to train lay leaders, to teach Sunday School teachers, and to share Christ with those who have never heard His name. 


2. Tell us about TWR…its mission, purpose, etc

The purpose of TWR is to assist the church to fulfill the command of Jesus Christ to make disciples of all peoples, and to do so by using and making available mass media to proclaim the gospel of salvation to as many people as possible, to instruct believers in biblical doctrine and daily Christlike living, and to model our message through our corporate and cooperative relationships.


3. Tell us about the global reach of TWR.

TWR utilizes 2,800 AM, FM, shortwave, satellite, cable, and the internet outlets to air over 200 languages worldwide. Letters, emails, telephone calls, and personal visits pour in each year from 160 countries. 


4. How has technology changed or affected TWR?

During the 1990s, radio itself became much more efficient.  What took 30 families to run a radio station on the island of Bonaire now takes 5 missionary families. In the current decade, communications advances continue to keep TWR exploring new methods of delivery.  An internet proposal from our Asian office just crossed my desk, and it is projecting that with our current growth, by the year 2010, TWR web sites in Asia will be receiving 24 million hits per month and more than 600,000 audio files will be downloaded monthly just from China!


5. How can Christian radio stations get involved with TWR?

Partnering with TWR takes on many different forms. Running our TWR Today radio spots is one form.  These free PSAs are a snapshot of what God is doing around the world and can be downloaded off our TWR ftp site.  A second and deeper partnership involves taking your radio station GM to see one of our TWR locations firsthand so that the radio station can catch a vision of what God is doing and eventually adopt TWR as their missions project.  Missions projects have included building an FM network in Malawi, retrofitting a studio in the Dominican Republic, building a studio in Mozambique, and installing a transmitter in Bolivia. Our projects include distributing radios to Gypsies in Eastern Europe, to house church pastors in China, and to believers in N. Korea and Indonesia. We have partnered with some of the largest Christian stations and networks to the small “mom & pop” Christian stations.  The common goal is to serve Christ together and to fulfill His Great Commission. 


6. What do you require for a station to be associated with TWR?

A love for our Lord Jesus Christ is the top priority. We are looking for stations whose hearts beat for reaching men, women, boys and girls with message of hope, truth, and reconciliation in Christ. 


7. What are the benefits for a station being associated with TWR?

If a station is looking for accolades or awards, then partnering with TWR will never win them for you in this world.  But if your station wants to impact whole villages, whole countries, or perhaps even whole continents for Jesus Christ, a small investment from your listeners can bring the good news to people who may have never have heard our Savior’s precious name. 


8. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing TWR today?

TWR has been facing tremendous spiritual warfare in Africa where we are establishing a new transmitting site in the country of Benin.  Two of our staff members holding critical leadership roles died of natural causes this summer, one of our missionary families was car-jacked, kidnapped and released, and yet another family contracted TB. 


9. What are the goals of TWR in 2008?

We are looking to do a major redesign of in 2008, and with our current president announcing last week that he was stepping down, our board of directors will be forming a search committee. 


10. Where do you see TWR in 5 years? 

In China, 10 times more people use the internet than listen to shortwave.  Internet use in the Middle East is increasing exponentially. Even in Africa, web use is rising quickly. With these new trends, TWR will expand our cyber-outreach. As more people get connected to the internet, there is a huge potential for TWR to provide programming content in our 200 languages. 

Shortwave listenership will continue to decrease but it won’t completely disappear. TWR will expand localization with AM and FM.  Where local radio doesn’t exist, TWR will distribute pre-loaded devices like the Mega-Voice, an economical, self-contained content vehicle similar to an MP3 player. 



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