by Shelley Nolan Freesland
Last week, Adventist World Radio's board of directors voted the ministry's 2013 budget, which includes a significant increase in shortwave airtime for the new broadcast season, at a cost of well over half a million dollars. Currently, AWR is scheduled to broadcast for 27,177 hours in 2012; next year, the schedule will expand by 5,200 hours – an increase of nearly 20 percent.
"We are able to make this welcome change thanks to several years of solid financial stability," says AWR president Dowell Chow. "In years past, we were forced to reduce the frequency of programs for some languages, due to financial constraints. We are very, very pleased that now we will be able not only to restore some of those programs, but also add new languages for some key territories."
The additional broadcasts will be spread over 21 languages – such as Amharic, Somali, Panjabi, and Urdu – for listeners in Africa and Asia. These languages were chosen in close consultation with AWR's Africa and Asia region directors, who identified the areas of most need and highest priority. In some cases, the frequency of some programs will be increased from half an hour per day to twice a day, while for other languages, the program length will be doubled from half an hour to a whole hour.
"Delivering as many programs as possible to listeners every day is the core purpose of AWR," Chow says, "and we are very grateful to God that we are able to expand this ministry wider and wider so that more people can hear the gospel in these languages."