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Collection 382 Oral History Interview with Paul E. Freed

Identifier: CN 382

Scope and Contents

Oral history interview with Paul Ernest Freed (1918-1996) in which he describes the founding of Trans World Radio in 1952, the history of the development of its administrative policies and work from that time to 1981, and about the use of radio in missionary work. Other topics discussed include: Freed's childhood as the son of Christian and Missionary Alliance workers in Syria, his education in Jerusalem and at Wheaton College, the business he started to help pay his way through college during the Depression, his work with Youth for Christ, the beginning of Youth for Christ in Spain and how that triggered his thoughts on the use of radio for missionoutreach. The time period covered by the interviews is 1918-1981.

Paul Freed was interviewed by Galen Wilson on October 23, 1981 at the Billy Graham Center Archives at Wheaton College.


  • Created: 1981

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Paul Ernest Freed was born in 1918 in Detroit, Michigan, into a Christian family and while he was still a child his family went to the Middle East as missionaries with the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church. While his parents (Ralph and Mildred Forsythe Freed) were based in Syria, Paul went to school in Jerusalem; when the family returned to Wheaton, Illinois, on furloughs, Paul attended Wheaton Academy. He graduated from Wheaton College in 1940; he had helped pay his way with a variety of entrepreneurial endeavors: selling souvenirs of the Middle East, working for Pontiac Motor Company and in steel mills in Gary, Indiana, and finally starting his own belt business, which employed other Wheaton College students.

Following his graduation from Wheaton, he obtained a Master's degree from Columbia University in 1956 and a Ph D in Mass Communication from New York University in 1960. Freed was ordained by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1949. He began working for Youth For Christ (YFC) in Nyack, New York, and later in Greensboro, North Carolina. While attending the YFC Beatenburg Conference in Switzerland in 1948, he received a request to begin YFC work in Spain. Though touched by the spiritual hunger in Spain, and the need for evangelistic efforts, he was also frustrated by the restrictions put on such work by the Spanish government.

Convinced that "closed" countries like Spain could be reached through radio, he resigned from YFC in order to begin working in radio evangelism. In 1952, he founded Trans World Radio (TWR), incorporating under the laws of the state of North Carolina. The station was based in Tangiers, Morocco, and the first broadcast took place in 1954. Later TWR moved to Monaco when the Moroccan government made it impossible for them to stay in Tangiers.

Other stations were added in the years following: in Cyprus, Swaziland, Sri Lanka, Guam, and the island of Bonaire, in the Caribbean. The headquarters for Trans World Radio are in Chatham, New Jersey. At the time of this interview, Freed was still active as the head of TWR. He died after a long illness on December 1, 1996.


1.00 Audio Tape

45 Minutes

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Paul Freed in October 1981.

Accession 81-120

October 12, 1988

Lannae Graham

T. Jodon

J. Nasgowitz

G. Wilson

Collection 382 Oral History Interview with Paul E. Freed
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US