Heralding Christ Jesus’ Blessings will be 31 radio towers closer to their goal of broadcasting of the gospel to half the world after civil leaders of West Australia’s Kununurra approved the plan despite residential concerns the new radio towers would bring Muslim attacks and health problems to the area.
Mike Moore, manager of HCJB in Kununurra, said gaining approval for the 31 towers has been an agonizing process which started seven years ago when the Christian radio ministry first bought the land in Kununurra.
"(Planning approval) is not the final obstacle but we are certainly pleased that we have finally got there," Mr. Moore said.
Two years ago, similar plans prompted 800 of Kununurra’s 5550 residents to sign a petition against the project, fearing building radio towers that would broadcast Christian messages into Muslim countries would make the area a target for terrorists.
"I don't know that Islamic people are going to worry about a few radio towers in a little tiny place in outback Australia," said Wyndham-East Kimberley Shire president Barbara Johnson, who also mentioned residents had sentimental worries about the health and aesthetic implications of shortwave radio.
"If people are saying that because they're worried Christian messages will be transmitted into Muslim countries – well it really is a matter of turning your radio off if you don't like it,” she added.
Currently, there are three shortwave radio transmission towers at Kununurra that broadcast Christian-based programs to 50 million potential listeners in South-East Asia and the Pacific region.
Construction of the towers would benefit both parties. Mrs. Johnson said the $20 million construction, estimated by Moore, would provide an economic boost for Kununurra.
The 31 new towers would enable the Melbourne-based organization to expand its broadcast to reach up to 60% of the world’s population. However, the necessary land still had to be acquired from the state government but it had indicated that would occur in the near future, according to Moore.