"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." Romans 10:17 (NIV)
Beginning in 2000, for the first time ever, the government began issuing private licenses to individuals and organizations interested in owning and operating radio and TV broadcasting stations in Kenya.
It's hard to travel throughout the continents and not have access to AM and FM radio stations ranging in genre from contemporary Christian, gospel, and easy listening to country, rock, pop, hip hop, and jazz. At present, approximately 2 million people in the Greater Kericho area in the western highlands of Kenya are living with almost no access to Christian radio. There are no Christian stations broadcasting directly from Kericho, and although the area has limited access to radio and television stations from other parts of the country, reception is often poor.
In response to this need and as part of their ongoing push to create new outreach ministries, World Gospel Mission (WGM) and Africa Gospel Church (AGC) are planning to build a Christian FM broadcast radio station in Kericho, Kenya. The permit has been obtained, a frequency has been allocated, and fundraising has begun to expand Radio Injili, AGC's small recording studio, into Injili Broadcast Station.
The station will be governed by a board of directors selected from members of AGC. The change in policy and the creation of IBS 103.7 FM will give AGC the freedom to tailor programming to the unique local audience of Kericho. Such programming will continue to be produced by Radio Injili and will include spiritual helps, public service announcements, education and entertainment news, and community health and development information particularly associated with AIDS/HIV awareness and prevention.
"A tremendous opportunity has come for AGC to own and operate its own radio station," began WGM missionary Doug Adkins. "For over 40 years, AGC and WGM have been working together to spread the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ by use of radio in Kenya. Radio Injili has been presenting the Gospel by producing programs in several languages that were then broadcast by the government network free of charge. These programs have had a big impact on the hearts and lives of many people throughout Kenya. However, the government recently began charging for airtime, and it has become difficult for the church to pay for airing programs."
AGC is also planning to partner with other local Christian ministries as a forum for the production of programs that have the potential to impact broader audiences. Such ministry partners may include: Biblia Husema, a radio broadcasting ministry in Nairobi; Heralding Christ Jesus Blessings, a mission organization involved in mass media ministries; Jesus Is Lord Ministry, a radio broadcasting ministry in Nakuru; Sauti Ya Rehema, a broadcasting ministry in Eldoret; and Trans World Radio, a mission organization involved in mass media ministries.
"Radio Injili and AGC are very grateful for the many years the government of Kenya has provided a venue for presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but it is now time for AGC to have its own FM broadcasting station," Doug stated. "This new radio station will give the church the chance to create a greater number of wholesome programs with the Christian message, and it will also enable the station and the church to have closer and more direct contact with the listening audience."
The station's transmission site will be in Chepsir, along the Kericho-Mau Summit road. This strategic location, which is near three major highway intersections, gives the station the potential to reach many people traveling these roads, and the power of the transmission should allow the station to be heard in many parts of Kenya in addition to areas in Uganda and Tanzania.
"Everyone who lives in or passes through the listening area will have the opportunity to hear the message of salvation and respond to the love of God," Doug emphasized. "I believe we must act immediately. If we do not, we will miss a great opportunity to have a big impact on the hearts and lives of many people."
Broadcasting through IBS 103.7 FM will begin as soon as transmitting equipment is purchased and set up. While AGC will provide for the station's operating funds through Radio Sunday offerings, donations, and the selling of air and studio time and CDs and cassettes, WGM will help raise capital development funds in addition to supplying construction labor through Men With Vision work teams. Engineers from several other organizations have also already offered to set up the broadcasting equipment and give technical help and advice.