Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 19, 1968
NUMBER 33, PAGE 3b,5a

The Market Place -Vs- Talk Radio

Lowell D. Williams

Every gospel preacher has at some time desired to go to the market place and confront the people where they live and work. It appears that the fanatical religious cults, along with modern western customs have ruined this type of preaching in America. The "soap-box" immediately identifies one with the fanatical cults or political extremist, thereby rendering this method of preaching almost useless. There are hundreds of gospel preachers who strongly desire to go to the marketplace, but wisdom demands that other approaches are much more effective in this generation. For this reason, I know it will thrill the hearts of many to know there is a way of reaching the masses where they live and work in a dignified and effective manner. It is the closest thing to Paul's marketplace that 1 have ever seen.

Some nine months ago. Al Bass, Barnery Cargile, and myself became involved in a unique method of preaching that has become the most exciting thing any of us ever did. We began a "talk radio program" in which the discussions are restricted to subjects of a religious nature. Talk radio is fast becoming one of America's most popular type radio programs. Some stations are converting their entire format to "telephone talk." KLIQ changed their format and jumped from an unrated station to number five in Portland, Oregon. KTW in Seattle has also enjoyed a similar success.

What is talk radio? The radio station provides a moderator and then allows the audience to call him on the telephone and discuss various problems over the air. Controversy is the spice of life in this type of program. The more controversial the moderator is, the greater success of the program.

Nine months ago we began a program where the three of us served on a panel to accept Bible questions and discuss religion with the telephone audience. From the very beginning the interest and success of the program surpassed our fondest dreams. We labored carefully and diligently, always afraid that we would do something that would ruin the program. The facts are that everything that has happened accidently has increased the interest in the program. We have the freedom to condemn false religions and just plainly state that the Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal churches are not of God and as a result will go to hell. All denominations are condemned and the one church upheld as being the only bride of Christ. Rather than driving the audience away it draws them closer. The hardhearted argue in an attempt to defend their church, and the sincere ask further questions concerning the Bible teaching of the one true way. Working on this basis the program goes from a gentle teaching medium to a controversial debate.

What are the results? This, in the final analysis, is what really counts.

1. We began the program thirty minutes a day three times per week. Within a few weeks the station wanted us to expand to five days per week and they offered to tape the program and replay it at midnight at no additional cost. We have had several people contact us who listen to this night program. One young man has been baptized as a result of it.

2. The management owns two more stations in California and they immediately made arrangements for us to contact some brethren in that area for a similar program. Last week I heard that four had been baptized in the first two weeks of their broadcast.

3. Arnold Schnabel, Bill Fain, and Jim Rury have begun a program in Portland, Oregon which is enjoying great interest. They have just set up a class this past week with two people who have contacted them. Their station is buying another station in Spokane and they intend to put a similar program on the air in that city.

4. We had three people come to us and obey the gospel directly from the radio program. Two others have been restored to the faith. Studies are now in progress with others.

5. We have had one debate over the radio with a Baptist preacher, and one public debate with the Re-organized L.D.S. church.

6. The program is talked about among all the denominations, which has turned out to be the best advertisement we have.

We would urge all preachers to check with the "talk radio station" in their respective cities. It will be amazing how enthusiastically most of them will accept the program. We know of radio managers who have heard a tape of our program and then contacted gospel preachers near them in an effort to put on a similar program. It is controversial, but that is why "talk radio" is so successful.

Since "talk radio" programs are now in the process of becoming a fad throughout the nation, it behooves all of us to take advantage of this unusual opportunity to preach the gospel. It puts the preacher in direct contact with the people, therefore it is about as close to Paul's marketplace as we can get in America today.

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