Posted by: calloftheandes | February 27, 2015

Satellite Delivery of Spanish Radio Programs Ends, Shifts to Online Distribution

alas-hcjb2An Ecuador-based Christian radio network has shifted to an Internet-only delivery model, replacing the Spanish-language programming that had been available to radio stations in the Americas via the satellite network known as ALAS-HCJB.

In step with today’s fast-changing communications technology, ALAS-HCJB in Quito concluded 20 years of service on Dec. 31, 2014, with a one-hour commemorative program. It featured former and present staff members along with words of appreciation from partners at some of the network’s 50 stations.

“We have been here from the beginning,” said Pedro Ferreira, director of Pacífico Comunicaciones in Lima, Peru. “During those years [ALAS-HCJB] has been a great blessing to the whole Latin American continent.” ALAS stands for América Latina via Satélite (Latin America via Satellite).

Managers of other affiliates documented in email notes the network’s value to their stations. “Music programs such as Un Nuevo Canto (A New Song) and Especialísimo (Extra Special) help us complement our night schedule with music and high-quality programs,” wrote Marcos Romero of KNOG, one of the stations in Inspiracom (formerly World Radio Network) in Nogales, Ariz.

“ALAS contributes to our programming with 15-minute teaching programs that are trustworthy and easy to download.” He specifically mentioned programs such as Spanish-language versions of The Hour of Reformation, Family Life Today, Defining Moments, A Sure Hope and Your Story Hour as well as Cruzada con Luis Palau (Crusade with Luis Palau), a program originating in Spanish.

alasHCJB-1“Ciudad Médica (Medical City) is one of the favorite programs for our listeners because it informs, educates and helps to remove the myths in topics of hygiene, sexuality, health, family and so on,” wrote Cory Kroeker, programming director at Radio Mensajero (Messenger Radio) in Tres Palmas, Paraguay.

Production of many such programs is continuing at Radio Station HCJB in Quito under the umbrella of HCJB Producciones. “There is a ministry [TWR] that continues to work in this field of distribution and together with us they did just what we did,” said Duval Rueda, who serves as production director for programming for HCJB-FM and AM. Rueda was interviewed on the final satellite-released broadcast.

Meeting together with ALAS-HCJB affiliates, the two media ministries agreed that TWR would distribute programs via the Internet that ALAS-HCJB had released on satellite. Rueda said Radio Station HCJB “no longer will deliver programs as a scheduled radio format, but each program individually can be downloaded” by stations with Internet access.

TWR and Reach Beyond (formerly HCJB Global) have a relationship going back decades. In 1985, for example, the two missions and others such as FEBC, FEBA Radio, IBRA Radio and SIM launched a collaborative effort to research and air languages to groups worldwide that didn’t yet have access to gospel broadcasts. The campaign was called World by 2000 (later renamed World by Radio).

Dairo Rubio

Dairo Rubio

However, in 1993 a meeting to forge a joint mission effort on Christian broadcasting via satellite in Latin America found the missionaries greeting each other warily, according to Reach Beyond retiree Horace Easterling of Ft. Mill, S.C.

Easterling’s account is included in the book, En las Alas de Fe (On the Wings of Faith), authored by Dairo Rubio and released in the year of the network’s 10th anniversary – 2004. Rubio has been a longtime host of the ALAS-HCJB program Especialísimo.

“When they opened up and shared their fears [about us], we of the HCJB group began to laugh because most of us would have liked to say the same about them,” said Easterling. “In that moment, the walls of separation began falling and we left that meeting with a totally different attitude.”

Horace Easterling

Horace Easterling

The two missions jointly operated the network for several years until Reach Beyond was given sole responsibility in late 2001. The network later became known as ALAS-HCJB.

Easterling also wrote that the dream to reach Spanish-speakers in the Western Hemisphere with the gospel was envisioned by Tom Fulghum, a Reach Beyond retiree now living in Arizona. A letter penned by Fulghum in the 1970s expressing the hope of a Christian satellite network was, “written, but not taken into account at that time, just saved,” according to Easterling.

“But it’s interesting to see how the things we’ve done in the last years have followed the plan of that letter to a ‘T’.” During the early development, hopes faded, however, for a nonreligious programming channel that would help pay for costs incurred in keeping the Christian programming track afloat. Attempts at contracting with a U.S.-based network had to be scuttled after things did not work out.

Also featured on the Dec. 31 commemorative program was David Russell of Elkhart, Ind., who traveled Latin America and to Spain, installing satellite downlink equipment for affiliates. He now directs SonSet Solutions (formerly HCJB Global Technology Center).

Pointing to a bittersweet end to a fruitful period of ministry, Russell deemed his time with ALAS-HCJB “an incredible joy to meet people at many radio stations with a tremendous desire to offer high-quality programming to audiences that would serve a wide variety of needs.”americodish

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Responses

  1. […] recounted how a pastor answering the listener helpline at a Bolivian affiliate station of the Spanish-language satellite radio network, ALAS (América Latina vía Satélite), received a call from a teenager in distress. “It took several […]

  2. […] Radio Station HCJB with public service announcements as well as nightly interviews hosted by Pastor Dairo Rubio (one of the organizers) beginning a few weeks ahead of the […]


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