If you have lived in the River Region for some time, it is likely you have heard the name Faith Radio, perhaps tuned in for a favorite program or two and found familiarity and comfort from local voices such as Bob Crittenden. But what started out over 35 years ago as a local radio station situated behind a church in a humble building, has now garnered an audience that spans the globe.
“We began over 35 years ago in half of a portable trailer behind Frazer after a group of Christians prayed for Christian educational programs that could be aired over the radio to grow their faith and the Christian community,” explained Billy Irvin, who serves as Faith Radio’s Director of Ministry Relations.
“Since that time, God has blessed our ministry with full power radio stations in the River Region, along with Andalusia and Dothan, as well as short range radio stations in Eufaula, Sylacauga, Alexander City, Brewton, and Jemison. This network of stations allows us to cover from north Chilton County in Alabama down to northwest Florida along I-10!”
With increased use of streaming, Irvin said it is not uncommon to hear from listeners all over the nation and sometimes from the far across the globe. “Our largest coverage area comes from our internet streaming, and we hear from people all over the world. Adding our free smartphone app a few years ago made it very easy for people to listen from all over the United States and beyond,” Irvin explained.
“A few weeks ago, we heard from a listener in Connecticut. She called us wanting more information about a Bible question. She told us her whole Bible study group in Connecticut listens regularly to Faith Radio from their smartphones and tablets, and discusses the many things they hear over Faith Radio. We provide a tremendous tool for helping people grow their faith.”
Irvin related that some became loyal listeners while they were living in Alabama, and have remained faithful to the station. “Last year we had a listener call us from North Japan! They are from Elmore county, but have been in North Japan teaching on a U.S. Military base. We were blessed and encouraged when they shared, ‘Faith Radio helps keep our hearts connected back home, and our mind on things above.’”
Often, the station provides listeners with a taste of home. Irvin shares, “A listener from the state of Washington, who had moved from Graceville, Florida called us to say he had taken Faith Radio with him during his move out west. He shared, ‘We don’t have any Christian radio stations out here in Washington, but thankfully, Faith Radio’s app provides for our spiritual growth as we enjoy the preaching and uplifting music.’”
For many, Faith Radio acts as a companion on the road, ministering to listeners making journeys up and down the highways. “A listener near Dothan shared, ‘My husband is a salesman and is in his truck much of the day. He is blessed to be able to hear several of the programs between stops. He comes home at night and shares tidbits of how God is helping him to grow in his faith through your programs,’” Irvin said.
Locals remain faithful listeners and turn to the station to tune in to Bible teachings. “A listener in Montgomery summed things up this way,” said Irvin.
I love Faith Radio, it’s like being at a fabulous Christian Conference all day every day… with the outstanding combination of Bible speakers, then some great Christian music for a few hours, then back to more Bible teaching and preaching, then more music… it makes my day! I learn how to be a better Christian leader of my family, a better husband, a better parent… all the while drawing me closer into the image of Christ. The parenting programs and Biblical financial programs have been priceless in my life. They seem to always be providing Biblical guidance to the needs I have right now.
And while the audience has grown in numbers, the mission of Faith Radio has remained the same. “Faith Radio’s Mission is to serve the Christian community and strengthen the local church and family unit as we provide spiritual encouragement and a personal challenge with a Christ centered focus, through Biblical teaching, relevant information and uplifting music to the Glory of God,” said Irvin. “We want people to know and grow in their knowledge of Jesus Christ.”
New listeners can expect a mix of Christian music and programs from well-known teachers, without any commercials. “Behind each program is a ministry, with a wealth of resources to further grow your faith in Christ,” said Irvin. “Our lineup of programs includes internationally known Bible teachers, such as David Jeremiah, Charles Stanley, Tony Evans, Greg Laurie, Rick Warren, John MacArthur, Chip Ingram and many more. We have a mix of music from the latest in contemporary music to the classic hymns that grow our faith. We also produce our own programs throughout the day, which includes interviews from Christian authors and Christian leaders around the world who share Biblical insight on relevant topics and events taking place in our world today.”
With more people spending time at home, due to the pandemic, Faith Radio has grown their listenership in a number of ways.
“First, many people had a great desire to hear a recurring theme we started using at the beginning of the pandemic, Faith Over Fear. There are hundreds of verses in the Bible that remind us to not fear, God is with us, and He is in control, even when the circumstances around us seem out of control,” said Irvin.
“Throughout this pandemic we have shared much truth about how God is with us, how we should be strong and courageous, standing firm in our faith while trusting God, leaning not on our own understanding. Many told us they had to turn off the news and social media and listen to Faith Radio, which helped keep their mind on things above,”.Billy Irvin
“Second, a number of people have tuned in to know more about death. The pandemic has caused a large number of deaths, and many want to know the answer to, ‘What happens if I die from this virus?’”
“Third, as a radio ministry, we were already equipped for sharing God’s Word while social distancing. Our broadcast touches people wherever they are, isolated at home or work, and at the same time, assembling our hearts together in Christ over the airwaves or live stream.”
While listeners have shared stories of how the station has impacted their lives, there is one story that remains close to the hearts of those behind the scenes.
“One pandemic story that really touched our hearts was from a listener who lives in a nursing home. The listener reminded us, ‘Nobody has been by to visit… no school kids, no church groups, not even the preacher is allowed to come by during this isolation requirement, but Faith Radio is here in my room, providing a Christian stream of encouragement and reminder that we are not alone…God is with us!’”
Members of the community of listeners are invited to submit prayer requests and also pray for the ministry that is being carried out each day through Faith Radio.
Irvin explains, “Prayer is a huge part of our ministry work! We have a staff prayer time every weekday, and gather to pray for the requests of our listeners. We have a special place on our website for our listers to confidentially share their requests with us, and we have a list of things on our website for our listeners to pray for us.
Additionally, as we share the truth of God’s Word with our community, we ask for prayers that the message of hope and love will reach many. We also ask for prayers that God will provide for our ministry financially, and the hearts of our listeners will support our Kingdom work, as we are fully listener-supported.”
If you would like more information about Faith Radio programming and events, please visit faithradio.org where you can also subscribe to their ministry magazine and newsletter.
Katie Blair is a freelance writer who has a deep interest in sharing stories about everyday people living extraordinary lives for Christ. She lives in Wetumpka, Alabama with her husband Steve, and their dog, Rosie. She is the mom of two young adult children and serves as a children’s ministry partner with Frazer Church.