OUR HISTORY

Faith comes out of hearing

(Interview with Henryk Dedo, President of Voice of the Gospel Foundation and Waldemar Kasperczak, studio manager. March, 2007)

“The Voice of the Gospel” is broadcasting more then 40 years, isn’t it? How it was on the beginning?

H.D.: Everything started on December 25th, 1965. This day Trans World Radio broadcast our first program on short waves from Monte Carlo. It was Christmas program, and actually in was first Christian program in the entire Eastern World.
Beginnings were very simple. From Waldemar Lisieski, inventor and first director of VoG, we know that the very first programs were transmission of Sunday services.
It was specific time, the sixties. There were no records with Christian music. We had to record everything on our own, to record local choirs.
Each program ... this is sort of story already ... had to be censored. The censor had to accept text and later the record of the entire program.

How was the impact of VoG on Polish society before communism collapsed?

H.D.: It’s difficult to measure this, as far as number of people, who received our programs. But we can assume, that there were hundreds of thousand people listening to our programs, looking at 12 thousands letters that our redaction was receiving each year and assuming that only part of audience decided to write to us.
Very often people were founding us by accident, searching for program called Free Europe or The Voice of America on short waves.  
We also know from Waldemar Lisieski, that some local fellowships were created basing on people listening to our programs.

What has changed from the moment VoG was established? What is Voice of the Gospel today?

H.D.: From formal point of view we became Foundation in 1996. There were a lot of changes considering radio itself. Today we have almost countless number of broadcasters on FM. Hardly anybody is listening to short waves today. When this changes were appeared we started to talk to, new created then, commercial radio stations. Right now we are cooperating with over 50 of them. Summing up, each year they broadcast more then 3 700 of our programs. From some researches we know that during only one 15 minutes long program is listening to us about 1,5 thousands people!
 
W.K.: Looking also at the production itself, I mean – the way we are producing programs today – a lot has changed in this area. Digital system totally replaced analog one. This is tremendous change.

H.D.: Type of programs we are producing now changed as well. On the beginning we were doing just programs and mentioned transmission of Sunday services. Today we are producing features, documentaries, interviews, short radio plays, radio novels.

W.K.: One thing among this changes stayed the same: desire to share the Gospel via radio waves and to give hope to radio listeners. The HOPE.

H.D.: We were thinking what is most significant characteristic of our ministry and we thing it exactly is the hope.
The hope for mother who listening to the story of another mother having problems with teenage child, addicted to drugs. About her life full of struggles, fight, this what she’s learned and how she dealt with the situation. Someone who is listening to this starts to see the way and hope for himself. It is the same with our listeners in prisons, or during preventive meetings, that we are organizing in high schools.

W.K.: 40 years ago The Voice of the Gospel programs also were bringing hope. People desperately waited for change, even simple social change. Now, living in free world, the world our society was dreaming of, people still lack the hope. And our programs give the hope. The one, that has different dimension.

Your programs received some rewords, didn’t they?

W.K.: Well... yes. One of most reworded was radio feature “The Football Fun”. It received main prize during Second National Competition of Radio Documentaries in Bydgoszcz and was honored on XIV Media Festival in Lodz.
But thinking of measure of our success, I think that no this prizes, honors measure our success, although they are significant for us, but most important is what an influence we have on general radio listener. They are having impact on human lives. In some cases – saving it. We can tell many stories about people, who made important decisions in their life having first listened to our program.
I can remember one elder man whose wife jus passed away. He lost the will to further life and decided to commit suicide. He collected all pills he had at home for that reason. But he forgot that some time earlier he had ordered audio tape with our feature. Tape came this day he planned to finish his life. It was program titled “Discussions about suffering”. He put the tape on and listened to this material. He listened to it one time, second time, and the next one... And sometimes around the 3rd a.m., being impressed by the story of so many sufferings of hero of this feature, he decided, that he would continue to live.
The life of the feature usually is short. It is broadcast once, maybe twice, sometimes is also broadcast in local stations and then it is stored in archives. But our programs lives their own lives. They are available, people can purchase them at VoG office and they are played all over the country.
We are just tools in God’s hand used to record stories of people, being changed by Him.

About whom talked Voice of the Gospel’s programs most often?

W.K.: Some of radio stations, ordering materials from us, ask that they were simple and easy to listen. But very often our programs talked about so serious, life important subjects, that they couldn’t be called “simple”. They talk about people that dealt with difficult problems with drugs, alcohol, and homelessness. Not everyone wants to listen to such stories. No matter what was the beginning of each story, they finish in optimistic way. They give hope! The final effect – meeting of our hero with God!
H.D.: And this is no scenarists’ trick – it is real life. No literature fiction – but reality! Because it can give and gives true hope! If someone else managed, and I’m in similar situation as the hero of feature was, and he started to live in different way, I can managed as well, can’t I?!

Materials you are producing have to be in proper technical quality, right? How do you deal with costs?

W.K.: Besides their adequate dramaturgy and composition, they also have to have proper technological parameters. Collecting material, studio editing, music – these everything is connected with costs. Equipment we are working on has to be very good quality. Starting from microphones cables, finishing on mixer or other tools for sound edition. These everything means – a lot of financial sources.
H.D.: Just one professional microphone, for instance, costs between 1,000 – 1,500 USD.
The documentary is most expensive radio production. Many radio stations want to propose to listeners this type of program, but they simply can’t afford it. WE are delivering it actually for free. Sometimes stations are paying as back costs of cd and shipping. In more then 90% we are handing in our programs on barter: material for radio time. So we are offering to radio stations very good, professional quality product, that costs a lot and these costs covers Foundation. Money that we receive from earlier delivered is really small, that’s why we need support from givers and sponsors.

This year you are finishing your first TV documentary, aren’t you? How did you get this idea?

H.D.: The idea was... in our dreams. Three, maybe fours year ago, being on radio seminar, we met people from Second Channel of Polish National TV, working with TV documentaries. During this seminar we started to thing of using this beautiful radio story we’ve already had recorded and made radio features out of them, and transforming them to TV documentaries. In today’s world picture is the strongest way of reaching people’s attention.
We have started to collect needed equipment and looking for financial sources for that aim. Today, we are about to finish first TV documentary, “The Gangster”. This is incredible story. It presents tremendous change of human life, that is result of deep search for meaning of the life and finding the way to God. Right now, with other team involved in TV productions, we offered to Polish National TV (the strongest, most influencing TV in Poland) project of producing 12 episode long series, under common title “Methamorfosis”.
W.K.: This type of production means much bigger costs then with the radio documentary. We well look for sponsors. Behind of cinema or tv production always stand sponsors. We hope then that we will manage to find someone, who will be interested in financial involvement in our production in exchange for placing information about him or her, about the company.  

During this year you also started with promotion activities considering The Voice of the Gospel ministry. What do you aim by that?

H.D.: We’d like to be known and recognized better by the radio listeners, even better then by people from Christian fellowships. More then 99% of our radio production is broadcast by commercial radio stations. We’d like people from evangelical churches to know our ministry, and us. That this what we are doing became really important for them. We offer them tools ready to be used in reaching others with the Gospel. We’d like other Christians to know, that there IS such a “tools case” and that they started to USE it.
Also important for us is financial involvement and support from Polish Christians. I do encourage each of you, if you fill that you are not able to share the Gospel with others in direct way – help us to present stories of people changed by the power of God’s love to hundreds, event thousands of others.
And right now, I’d like to give our words of gratefulness to all of you, who are supporting us with your prayers and money. You are the one, who are helping us in “delivering” hope and sharing with the God’s Word with those, who have never heard it.
Oswald Smith said once: "Why some people would hear the Gospel third, fourth time, while there are so many that haven’t heard it even once?"

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