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International Christian Broadcasters Records

Identifier: CN 086

Brief Description

The collection contains correspondence, audiotapes, photographs, financial reports, slides, blueprints, and memos related to the activities of International Christian Broadcasting's (originally the World Conference on Mission Radio) work to promote interest in Christian broadcasting and to support and encourage Protestant Christian radio and television broadcasters, largely engaged in evangelism. Materials include data on the International Communications Congress in Tokyo (1970), Muslim Conference (1974), and survey questionnaire for ICB's World Directory of Religious Radio and Television Broadcasting (1973). Photographs total almost 2,000 images; collection contains over 100 audio tapes. Persons featured include evangelical figures involved in religious broadcasting, such as Ben Armstrong, Eugene Berterman, Robert Bowman, Charles Fuller, Billy Graham, Clarence Jones, and Abe Thiessen, and others.


  • Created: 1937-1978
  • Other: Majority of material found within 1954-1978


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on access to or use of this collection.

Organization History

The World Conference of Missionary Radio (WCMR) grew out of a 1954 Chicago meeting called by Clarence Jones. The meeting was attended by representatives from five major world continents with specific interest in missionary radio: Chauncey Nordlund (North America), Miner B. Stearns (Europe), Robert Bowman (Asia), Abe Thiessen (Africa), and Clarence Jones (South America). WCMR was established as an interdenominational agency interested in providing assistance to the church through mass media. The group changed its name to ICB in 1964 because they were working in both radio and television. The five men on the forming committee directed ICB until 1965 when a part-time executive director, Richard Wolff, was hired. In February 1968, Abe Thiessen took over full-time leadership, followed by Richard Shumaker in 1976.

ICB stimulated Christian communicators through conferences, research projects, improvement of equipment, and technical information updates. Projects sponsored by ICB included the design, construction, and distribution of specially designed radio transmitters for the mission field; a survey of the radio audience in Aruba, particularly in regards to Radio Station PJA-6; a study of Radio Uniao; and an annual day of prayer for worldwide Christian Broadcasting. Conferences, seminars, and meetings were organized to encourage the exchange of ideas and information such as the 1970 Tokyo Congress; 1974 Muslim Conference, and 1975 Children's Television Roundtable.

Public interest and involvement in Christian broadcasting was encouraged in various ICB publications, principally the ICB Bulletin published from 1966 to 1978, originally known as Foreign Missionary Radio (1955 to 1965). Each individual membership in the organization entitled the person to a subscription to the magazine. Ten issues annually were published until 1973 when quarterly publication began. Another major publication of ICB was the Compendium of World Broadcasters, providing a survey by country of religious broadcasting.

Membership in ICB was open to regional and national radio and television organizations or commissions; Christian broadcasters, recording studios, program producers, and auxiliary organizations; or any person interested in radio and television as a medium of proclaiming the Gospel. Fees for each category varied, providing partial financial support for the organization. Supplemental income came as gifts and long-term pledges by churches and individuals. Special projects were often funded by grants obtained with matching funds.

ICB ceased its activities in 1978. Financial support for the group did not allow for the continuation of the ICB Bulletin or the maintenance of offices, equipment, and personnel. However, the board of directors as of 1980 was still in existence.

International Christian Broadcasters Conferences

  • 1958. World Conference on Missionary Radio
  • 1961. World Conference on Missionary Radio
  • 1961. World Conference on Christian Communication, 1961
  • 1967. London Conference
  • 1970. World Communications Congress
  • 1974. World Conference
  • 1975. Children's Television Roundtable
  • Extent

    31.0 Linear Feet (28 RCs, 3 DCs, 2 flat DCs, 2 card files; Audio Tapes, Filmstrips, Microfilm, Negatives, Oversize Materials, Phonograph Records, Photographs, Slides)

    Language of Materials


    Arrangement and Description

    Materials found in the International Christian Broadcasters collection date largely from the late 1960s after Abe G. Thiessen took charge as Executive Director. Earlier materials are available under the WCMR folder headings (Folders 34-15 through 35-2). These documents contain early correspondence from founders of the original organization such as Clarence Jones, Minor Sterns, and Robert Bowman. There are several photographs and negatives dating from this early period taken at the first conference on Missionary Radio held at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, June 12-14, 1958. Please consult the Photograph Location Record in this guide for details on people, places, and events depicted.

    Numerous folders are available detailing the planning, organization, and events of various conferences and congresses sponsored by ICB. The most complete is the information for the Tokyo Congress (Folders 31-1 through 32-16) held March 17-23, 1970. Information found in this series of folders includes registration materials, schedules, programs, correspondence with participants, copies of various addresses, correspondence (with airlines, travel agencies, and hotels), scrapbook, photograph album, and the published report from the Congress which included a copy of each address. Tapes were also made of many of the meetings and are described in the Audio Tape Location Record (tapes T54-T57, T62-T65, T67-T73, and T96). Details and listing of each meeting are available on the index to the tape collection. Materials from the Muslim Conference held in February 1974 are found in Folders 27-23 through 27-36. Available information includes pre-conference planning correspondence, copies of papers delivered, registrations, and plans for the conference. In 1975, ICB sponsored a Children's Television Roundtable for Christian communicators interested in developing programming for children. Materials found in Folders 11-18 to 11-26 include news clippings, participant evaluations, planning materials, and reports. Information is also available on conferences and congresses in which ICB participated such as International Congress on World Evangelization, Space Age Communications Conference, Missions Advance Research and Communication Center, Research Seminar, Ecumenical Satellite Commissions meetings, and All Africa Conference.

    ICB compiled and published data on world religious broadcasting in a compendium. Galley proofs from The World Directory are found in Folders 35-3 to 35-9. Data was collected regarding planning, funding, format, finances, and procedures and can be found in the records. The survey responses from each country are also available. Filed by country, they contain the name of each station, location, broadcasting frequency, times of programming, and types of programming. Records are available in Boxes 12, 14, 15, and 16, and Folders 1-1 to 1-3.

    The official publication of ICB was the periodical known as the ICB Bulletin. Correspondence, layouts, mailing procedures, mailing lists, copy, subscriptions, themes, and articles are found in Folders 5-28 through 5-43 and 7-4, and Boxes 8-10. Folders 22-12 to 23-51 contain numerous clippings on assorted subjects. These files were apparently used as resource materials for articles and filler in the Bulletin. Topics include video cassettes, Christian communication, computers, cross cultural communication, education and use of media, films, microwave, one-liners, satellites, television, women's file, and youth.

    Financial information may be found in various records such as bank statements in Folders 3-1 to 4-5, bookkeeping/accounting files in folders 4-16 to 5-18, check registers in Folders 11-10 to 11-17, financial reports in Folders 21-20 to 21-25, and receipt books in Folders 29-34 to 29-37. Again most of the records are found for the late 1960s and early 1970s under Abe Thiessen's directorship.

    Correspondence and receipts to members of ICB for dues and gifts are found in Folders 25-2 to 26-21. Two computer printouts of the ICB mailing list are found in Folder 6-4. Other records include membership applications, certificates, prospective membership lists, and renewals.

    A special project sponsored by ICB was the development of a transistor receiver designed especially to meet the needs of field missionaries. Blueprints, architectural designs, correspondence, research data, cabinet research, project bidders, donors, order cards, reports, specifications for production, and service manuals are examples of the records found in Folders 32-24 to 33-32. The receivers were designed, built, and distributed by the organization to missionaries in Africa and South America.

    Correspondence files comprise a large portion of the collection. General correspondence files are found in Folders 17-21 to 18-45. The files are arranged alphabetically within each year and then chronologically by date. Other correspondence files exist for organizations with whom ICB conducted business, donors to the organization, board members, and radio station. Specific correspondents include David Chao - The Lutheran Voice; David Daniell - Radio-Television education, Mexico; Gene Farrell - Missionary Tapes, Inc.; A. J. Chamberlain - Prairie Bible Institute, Alberta, BC, Canada; Paul Schumaker - Family Stations, Inc.; Philip A. Booth - Radio Worldwide, London; Thomas Duncan - Church of God of Prophecy; Howard W. Eppler - Back to the Bible Broadcast; Don R. Falkenburg - Missionary Radio, Inc.; J. E. Goodwin, Jr. - Baptist Mission, Seoul, Korea; William E. Jacobson - Emmaus Bible School, Nairobi, Kenya; Vernon K. McLellan - Sound of Youth, Wittier, CA; Slavic Gospel Association; Viggo Soggard - Voice of Peace, Chieugmai, Taiwan; Robert B. Starkey - Far East Broadcasting Company, Australia; Tom Watson Jr. - The Evangelical Alliance Mission; Timothy Yu - Hong Kong Baptist College; Shirley Burton - Pacific Union Conference of Seventh Day Adventist; Taiwan Radio Fellowship; Central Africa Broadcasting Company, Inc.; Gospel Broadcasting Mission; Latin American Mission; Christian Radio Missionary Fellowship; Mennonite Broadcasts, Inc.; Overseas Radio and Television; ELWA; West Indies Mission; Howard Payne - World Vision; Bethel College and Seminary; Ecumenical Satellite Commissions; and James Irwin-Highflight.

    Other organizational and miscellaneous materials in the collection include copies of the Monday Morning Memorandum (Folders 27-16 to 27-19). These memos were sent by the Executive Director to all Board members, keeping everyone updated on ICB activities. State department background notes on various foreign countries are found in Folders 1-34 to 2-76. They provide short sketches of each country, with population figures, climate, ethnic groups, predominant religious, and economic status. Folders 33-39 to 33-48 contain travel diaries from a trip made by Richard Wolff in 1967. Data includes discussion of people he met and radio stations he visited in this tour of Asian countries. Some preliminary contacts were made in preparation for the 1970 Tokyo Congress.

    Several types of material were removed from the collection such as slides, negatives, photographs, audio tapes, filmstrips, books, and periodicals. The audio tapes contain recordings from the missionary radio station ELWA in Liberia, speeches, ICB Annual Day of Prayer messages, sound effects, testimonies, and proceedings of an ICB Board Meeting. Please consult various location records for detailed listings.

    Custodial History

    Accessions 79-28, 79-71, 80-26

  • April 18, 1980
  • Mary Ann Buffington
  • G. Gallup
  • G. Lynch
  • S. Kouns
  • Provenance

    The materials in this collection were received by the Billy Graham Center Archives in March and July 1979, and February 1980.

    Related Materials

    The following items have been given to the Evangelism & Missions Collection of Buswell Library:


  • Annotated Bibliography of United Nation's Publications and Documents Relating to Unesco's Activities in the Field of Space Communication 1947-1974. (n.d.).
  • Audience Research in Costa Rica With Particular Reference to Radio Stations TIFC. (International Christian Broadcasters; 1966).
  • Baglo, Ferdinand Eugene. Radio Voice of the Gospel: A Decade of Performance Examined in the Light of Stated Goals and Policies. (Chicago; Lutheran School of Theology; 1972).
  • Cliffe, David Otis. A Comparison of Seven Religious Television Series. (Michigan State University; East Lansing, MI; 1970).
  • Compton, Alan. Contact to Fellowship. (Alfa Omega Publications; Mexico; n.d.).
  • Edwards, Peter. The Bravs Committee Christian Council of Ghana ACCRA Religious Broadcasting Survey. (1968).
  • ______. Literature Committee Christian Council of Ghana ACCRA Progress Report Literature Survey. (1967).
  • Engel, James F. Report, Evaluation and Strategy for Project Link Lines. (Wheaton College Graduate School; Wheaton, IL; 1974).
  • Gonderman, Linda. Exploring the Effectiveness of Missionary and Religious Broadcasting. (1971).
  • The Jonathan-Chaska Community Information System Experiments Final Report. (Chaska Information Systems, Inc.; Chaska, MN; 1973).
  • Kaiser, Rev. G. and Father J. Ritter. Illustrated Radio and Television Manual. (Radio and Television Committee; Zambia; 1967).
  • Message to Islam: Report of Study Conference on Literature, Correspondence Courses and Broadcasting in the Arab World Including Panel Discussions on Communicating the Gospel to the Muslims. (Muslim World Evangelical Literature Service; Beirut, Lebanon; 1969).
  • Mundy, Philip. 1974 Audience Evaluation for Radio Station ZGBC. (n.d.).
  • Oda, Sachiko. A Study of Radio-TV Evangelism in Japan. (International Christian Broadcasters; 1966).
  • A Planning Study to Develop a Demonstration Design for the Use of Telecommunications in Public Service Delivery. (1974).
  • Report of 1968 Conference Committee of Evangelical Missionaries to Islam. (1968).
  • Report of the Meeting on Management and Planning of New Communication Systems (Paris, 8-12 October 1973). (Unesco Publication; 1974).
  • Research From a Shopping Bag: A Summary of 400+ Informal Interviews About Children and Television in Canada. (Religious Television Associates; 1973).
  • Schmidt, Joachim. Massenmedien Als Instruments Du Mission. (University of Heidelburg; Germany; 1974).
  • Schult, D. J. The Urban Man in Monrovia. (1971).
  • Shumaker, C. Richard. ed. Children's TV Roundtable. (International Christian Broadcasters; 1975).
  • Sommerlad, E. Lloyd. National Communication Systems: Some Policy Issues and Options. (Unesco Press; Paris; 1975).
  • Study Papers: Congress On the Church's Worldwide Mission April 9-16, 1966 Wheaton, Illinois. (n.d.).
  • Trousdale, Jerry Douglas. An Analysis of Missionary Broadcasting Stations' Implementation of Selected Principles of Cross-Cultural Radio Communication. M.A. thesis, Abilene Cristian College. (Abilene, TX; 1971).
  • Unreached Peoples Directory. (International Congress on World Evangelization; 1974).

  • Bart, Leonard David. An Investigation of the Relative Comprehensibility of Print and Broadcast News as Measured by Cloze Procedure. University Microfilms, 1964.
  • Berghus, Melvin Earl. A Rhetorical Study of the Preaching of the Reverend Peter Eldersveld on the "Back to God Hour" Radio Broadcast. University Microfilms, 1964.
  • Haas, Jr., Frederick William. A Case Study of the Speech Situation Factors Involved in the Radio Preaching on the "Hour of Decision" Broadcast. University Microfilms, 1964.
  • Reed, James Richard. Interaction of Government, Private Enterprise, and Voluntary Agencies in the Development of Broadcasting in the Republic of Liberia From 1950 to 1970. An Historical and Descriptive Study. University Microfilms, n.d.
  • Robinson, Hadden William. A Study of the Audience Religious Radio and Television Broadcasts in Seven Cities Throughout the United States. University Microfilms, 1964.

    Periodicals Foreign Missionary Radio
  • Vol. 1, No. 10 - Vol. 5, No. 10, 1955-1960
  • Vol. 6, No. 1-7, 1961
  • Vol. 7, No. 1-9, 1962
  • Vol. 8, No. 2-10, 1963
  • Vol. 9, No. 1-10, 1964
  • Vol. 10, No. 1-10, 1965

    The Gospel Message
  • Vol. 85, No. 2, 1976

  • Vol. 3, No. 3, Dec 1976

    International Christian Broadcasters Bulletin
  • Jan-Jun, Sep-Dec 1966
  • Mar-Jun, Sep-Dec 1967
  • Jan-Jun, Sep-Dec 1968
  • Jan-Jun, Sep-Dec 1969
  • Jan-Jun, Sep-Dec 1970
  • Jan-Jun, Sep-Dec 1971
  • 1st - 4th quarters 1973
  • 1st - 4th quarters 1974
  • 1st, 2nd quarters 1975
  • 1st, 4th quarters 1976
  • 1st, 3rd quarters 1977
  • 1st, 2nd quarters 1978

    United Evangelical Action
  • Jan 1966
  • Title
    Collection 086 Records of the International Christian Broadcasters
    Description rules
    Describing Archives: A Content Standard
    Language of description
    Script of description
    Roman Script

    Repository Details

    Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

    501 College Avenue
    Wheaton IL 60187 US