Who, or what, is KNLS? Everybody has a history, and ours covers the world.
Some might say our story began the day our transmitters were turned on in Anchor Point, Alaska, in July of 1983. We’d had that land for four years, and it took all that time for our engineers to figure out the best way to broadcast into the heart of China and Russia. Only shortwave—not AM, not FM—could cover such vast distances! Now we broadcast in Chinese 10 hours every day, in Russian 5 hours a day, and in English 5 hours a day. (Yes, in English—many people in Russia, China, and the Pacific Rim countries want to learn English, so they listen to our station to improve their English language skills!) So we’ve been around for 27 years.
But that’s not where we really began. The story begins in the middle of World War II. Army Lieutenant Maurice Hall was stationed near Chicago, preparing radio equipment to be shipped to a lonely Russian outpost called Yalta on the Black Sea in what is today Ukraine. The equipment was sent to make certain that President Roosevelt’s White House could receive shortwave radio messages about World War II. As he was preparing that equipment, slowly came the first stirrings of an idea: could not that same technology be used to spread—not war information, but—Good News for everyone on earth?
Thirty years later, still remembering the dream, Maurice Hall met with others who shared the vision and talked through the possibility of using shortwave technology—that same shortwave technology that Hall had used in wartime—to broadcast messages of hope and inspiration around the world. Would it work? What would it take? Could the resources be found? Who would write the programs? In what languages would they broadcast? Where would a station be built?
One early suggestion: build it in the Caribbean. A team of three was dispatched to check out possible sites—a trip that turned out to be fateful. On March 25, 1977, the private airplane they were flying exploded midair, killing two World Christian Broadcasting board members, Dr. Lowell Perry and Ken Ferguson, and their French interpreter, Hal Frazier.
Grieved as they were, surviving board members determined, with God’s help, that they would not be stopped. Plans continued, other sites were explored, and in December, 1979, a 28 hectare plot in Anchor Point, Alaska, was purchased. Preliminary engineering began in 1980, and on July 23, 1983, the new station, KNLS (the “New Life Station”) signed on for the first time.
In the beginning, writers were scattered all over the U.S. In 1989 a new Programming Center was built and dedicated in Franklin, Tennessee. State-of-the-art, soundproofed, climate-controlled recording studios are positioned inside a building that houses offices for all permanent staff members. Writers from around the world contribute to the broadcast schedule.
God has blessed the ministry beyond anyone’s expectations. We have received responses from listeners in every country of the world. In addition to the station in Alaska, a new site in Madagascar is being developed into a facility that will broadcast, via three antennae, throughout Europe and Western Asia, the Middle East (in the Arabic language), Africa, India, and even across the Atlantic to South America. Once this station is operational—with God’s help in 2011—roughly eighty percent of the people of the world will be within the sound of our broadcast voice. The world is listening.