Posted by: calloftheandes | May 16, 2011

Quichua Radio Program Producers in Ecuador Enter Digital World

After decades of hand delivering radio shows recorded on cassette to Radio Station HCJB in Quito, Ecuador, Quichua Indians who have faithfully produced the program are venturing into the digital realm with their program, El Amor que Transforma (Love that Transforms).

The program participants are evangelicals who continue to produce half-hour programs on behalf of their church at Lago San Pablo just off the Pan-American Highway near Otavalo. Many from this large congregation make artisan wares available at the indigenous market at Otavalo, a favorite stop for tourists in Ecuador.

“I think the new program embraces everything—the new life that Christ brings as well as a cultural transformation that improves things in every sense,” said Luis Santillan who oversees Quichua programming on HCJB-AM in Quito. Interviews, cultural segments and a community calendar complement a message that Jesus can change people’s lives.

María Potosí, Mercedes Castañeda and David Caluqui

In traditional Otavalo Indian dress of white embroidered blouses and long dark skirts, María Potosí and Mercedes Castañeda represented others (including Castañeda’s sister, Juana) in a recent visit to HCJB. They and David Caluqui talked to the engineering staff about recording equipment they plan to install at Divine Master of Galilee Church. The congregation is raising funds to complete this digital transition.

Caluqui, who speaks Cayambe Quichua, interpreted for Potosí and Castañeda, both native speakers of Otavalo Quichua. The two ladies described their program content during the last decades as “looking at women’s situations.”

They have encouraged harmonious relationships between spouses, and the programs have given Quichua women a voice, according to Caluqui. They also cover topics such as sound economic practices, health concerns and childcare.

File transfer protocol (FTP) does away with a required trip into Quito each week for program delivery. “They log on to the Internet, load it up on the FTP site and we download it,” said Santillan with a chuckle.

Luis Santillan

Radio programs in the Quichua language have aired regularly on Radio Station HCJB since 1941. Some 40 years later the station’s Quichua Service requested church participation in programming. Dozens of churches supplied programs, each with a unique local ambience. Just four churches continue the programming today, according to Santillan.

“Members of our congregation have heard us from the U.S.,” added Castañeda. The Quichua have fanned out from tiny Ecuador to sell their artisan work—such as ponchos, embroidered tablecloths and woven wall hangings—elsewhere in the world to in turn wire funds back to their families.

“People have heard Ecuadorian music,” Potosí recounted, adding that it has comforted listeners at great geographic distance from their families. “It has motivated them to continue growing in Jesus Christ.”

The programs aired to a wide audience via international shortwave radio until Radio Station HCJB ended those broadcasts in 2009. Presently another ministry, Vozandes Media, airs them on shortwave frequencies even as HCJB releases them on AM radio.

File photo Oct 2009. Luis Santillan, Hermann Schirmacher, Xavier Muñoz, Pablo Camuendo at base of Vozandes Media antenna tower on Mount Pichincha

Other indigenous Ecuadorian languages also air from a Vozandes Media 10,000-watt shortwave transmitter on Mount Pichincha above Quito. With production staff based in Ecuador, Vozandes Media is administrated by the HCJB Global World Office in Germany.

Changes have also occurred in the congregation at La Compañía, a church near Otavalo with several hundred members. A communications group continues to oversee the church’s radio production efforts and HCJB-AM airs the women’s program in the early-morning hours.

Holding the camera out front at arm’s length, Caluqui photographs himself and the interviewer, and together they view the instant result. To an upcoming generation of Quichua believers, the transition to the digital realm seems already complete.


  1. […] under Reach Beyond, the Horns took on a wide variety of projects. For several years Horn led the Quichua Language Service at Radio Station HCJB in Quito and coordinated the shortwave broadcasts from the station’s international transmitter […]

  2. Very good,
    saludos de Otavalo-Ecuador para todos los oyentes de programa “Amor que transforma” por hcjb. Quito. Dios ha bendecido con una señal muy importante para el mundo atravez de esta emisora radial de HCJB global.
    estamos muy contentos en el amor del Señor por esta bendición.
    Dios los bendiga. / / (Comentarios sobre la programación kichwa)

    David Caluqui
    Progr. “Amor Que Transforma”

    • Thank you very much David. Que Dios les bendiga a todos los productores de “Amor Que Transforma”. -Ralph

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