Radio Emmanuel, one of HCJB World Radio's partner stations, is on the air in Kiev, Ukraine, after five years of work and prayers, making Christian programming available to 3 million local residents for the first time. Broadcasts go out in Ukrainian and Russian, and plans are to add programming originating from the New Life Russian radio satellite network based in Moscow.
Initial response by listeners has "surpassed expectations," says Mark Irwin, director of HCJB World Radio Euro-Asia's Russia/C.I.S. sub-region. "Viktor Radin, Emmanuel's general director, reported that the station already has received thousands of calls and many visits by listeners who are thrilled with the station's programming. Many Christians have called to voice their deep appreciation for the gospel message represented in the programming, while non-Christians have also called."
Irwin added that Emmanuel Mission Director Steve Weber expressed "great pleasure to know that the station is now up and running and broadcasting the gospel of Jesus Christ to Ukraine's capital city. He and his entire team are immensely grateful for all those that have partnered with Emmanuel, including HCJB World Radio."
Emmanuel is a diverse organization focusing on television production and broadcasting. The ministry is associated with the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), the U.S.-based ministry best known for its popular program, "The 700 Club." CBN has a large ministry in Ukraine as well as much of the Commonwealth of Independent States (C.I.S.) which comprises the former Soviet states.
HCJB World Radio's Euro-Asia team has been involved with the station since the initial application for a license was submitted in 2000. "We were advising them and helping them plan for the eventual station," Irwin explains. "Once the license was granted in 2004, we got even more involved, supplying funding, providing a transmitter and other broadcasting equipment, and assisting with technical consulting and other help to start the station."
In association with HCJB World Radio's station relations program, two U.S.-based radio stations have also partnered with Radio Emmanuel to provide funds and assistance throughout the process. Staff members from World Radio Network station KBNJ in Corpus Christi, Texas, and WBNJ of Raleigh-Durham, N.C., helped with fund-raising for Emmanuel.
Several local churches in Kiev have stepped forward to assist Emmanuel with the radio ministry as well as a local counseling ministry to follow up listeners and help new Christians find local churches to attend in Kiev.
The station already has applied for more FM frequencies in other cities throughout Ukraine in order to extend the reach of Emmanuel. In addition, numerous groups have called the station to see if they can retransmit the programming locally in their cities. Emmanuel hopes to develop a network covering the country's major cities as well as some of the smaller towns.