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Call of the Orient Radio Program History

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In 1947 FEBC produced a series of 52 programs, designed for release in the USA, to promote interest in evangelism in Asia, and to introduce the new Far East Broadcasting Company itself to the public. FEBC founders John Broger and Robert Bowman narrated the program and provided vocal music and missionary stories in dramatic form. Noted director Ralph Carmichael wrote the music and led the FEBC Orchestra; Wanda Crockett provided the strong harp accents. Two recordings (38,39) were made with the orchestra direction of Milo Jameson. Also featured was the FEBC Male Quartet, with Bob Shepard, Eddie Dunn, John Olson and another local singer. The program was initially recorded in a church hall; later at the Moody Institute of Science sound stage in Santa Monica, California. According to the 1947 Financial Statement, the cost of production for all 52 15-minute programs was $2,830.

The Call of the Orient's first broadcast was aired on March 20, 1947, on KFWB, Hollywood. An immediate hit, the program was accepted for airing on a sustaining basis by many radio stations across the U.S. By year's end, the program was heard on 22 stations in eleven states. Also in 1947, the program received the "Churchill Award" from the National Religious Broadcasters of America, "for introducing the most novel techniques in Christian broadcasting."

A call of the Orient record album featuring the music of Robert Bowman, John Broger and Ralph Carmichael was produced to promote the ministry. Individual records under the heading of "MISSION MUSIC" were offered to the public to help raise funds also.

The 52 programs were circulated and replayed on stations within the U.S. for many years to come, while FEBC built up its stations in Manila. In late 1949, FEBC inaugurated its international short wave services from the Philippines as the "Call of the Orient." This identification continued in station ID's and printed schedules until the early 1960's, when FEBC's outreach extended beyond "the Orient."