HCJB Ecuador receives NRB International Media Award for online, social media initiatives that have broadened audience and extended impact
ORLANDO, FL.—The world’s first Christian radio missionary station has been honored for its still-pioneering work in using new media to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.
Geoff Kooistra, Reach Beyond’s director of services in Ecuador, received the NRB (National Religious Broadcasters) International Media Award on behalf of partner HCJB Ecuador at Proclaim 17, the NRB International Christian Media Convention in Orlando, Fla.
Presented during the Media Awards Luncheon on March 2, the NRB honor is given to an organization based outside the United States that “excels in media ministry—exercising integrity and faithfulness to the cause of Christ, while demonstrating unusual effectiveness—and excels in innovative uses of electronic media in the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ in impacting the target culture.”
Founded in Quito, Ecuador, in 1931, radio station HCJB has in recent years expanded its radio broadcasting to include live streaming, exclusive online print and video content and social media interaction with listeners. The new initiatives have broadened the impact of the station known as “The Voice of the Andes,” which ranks seventh in popularity among Quito’s 50 radio stations.
Today the station’s live stream draws 17,000 monthly visitors, while a youth-focused live stream featuring music has listeners in almost 40 countries. The station’s website (www.radiohcjb.org) attracts 360,000 visitors annually. In the first six months of last year more than 600 decisions for Christ were made by visitors directed to the website, www.godlife.com.
While traditional broadcasting remains central to HCJB Ecuador’s mission, “we realized that we needed to be less radio-centric and integrate other platforms and opportunities more,” said Kooistra. “Everything works together. When we make a radio program, we need to think about the content being multi-platform. We are not just speaking on the air, but how will this work on the web and how might it be used in an article or on social media?”
Now a partner ministry of Reach Beyond operated by HCJB Ecuador since 2016, the station has broken new ground from the beginning. Originally broadcasting with a tiny 200-watt transmitter in Quito, HCJB was the world’s pioneer missionary broadcaster. It later added shortwave with signals reaching around the world in more than 20 languages at its peak. For decades, the ministry also operated both AM and FM outlets in Quito as well as an FM station in Guayaquil along with several repeater stations. While the shortwave and AM outlets have been discontinued, the FM broadcasts remain, beaming a message of hope in Christ across Ecuador.
Looking ahead, HCJB Ecuador plans to develop new avenues of communication as opportunities arise.
“The audience is going to have even more choice in the way they are going to consume content in the future,” said Kooistra, “so we’re going to have to keep our eyes open and be ready to make changes quickly as the audience changes.”
The HCJB Ecuador team in Quito—14 Ecuadorians and four missionaries–-was “very excited” to learn of the award, said Kooistra. “We feel like our efforts over the past few years to be intentional in broadening the scope of what we do are being rewarded, and it is an honor to be recognized in this way.”
Originally from Grand Rapids, Mich., Kooistra and his wife, Tammy, have served in Quito for 19 years. The couple has three children.
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Reach Beyond (www.reachbeyond.org) is a media- and medical-based evangelical ministry with operations on five continents. It spreads the gospel of Jesus via both traditional and new media, including radio broadcasts, webcasts, social media and the distribution of solar-powered radios. It also reaches out to the needy throughout its growing network of healthcare services. Today Reach Beyond has more than 1,000 staff members in over 30 countries.
Photo cutline: Geoff Kooistra, Reach Beyond’s director of services in Ecuador, received the NRB (National Religious Broadcasters) International Media Award on behalf of partner HCJB Ecuador at Proclaim 17, the NRB International Christian Media Convention in Orlando, Fla.
To schedule an interview with a Reach Beyond representative, contact:
Darin Campbell, InChrist Communications, at (512) 785-8350 or firstname.lastname@example.org