Oasis Radio is a media institution of the Central Malagasy Conference, headquartered in Antananarivo, Madagascar.
Developments that Led to the Establishment of the Radio Station
The evolution of new information technology and the desire to accomplish the church’s mission motivated not only the administrators of the Central Malagasy Conference but also the lay members of the conference to establish a radio station called Oasis Radio. They became aware that the classical methods of evangelism were limited when it came to reaching people in remote and isolated areas and people who were not open to personal contacts with literature evangelists and attending evangelistic meetings. The idea of using radio had come in 1997 during a spiritual nurture planning meeting led by Pastor Jean André Razafiarison in Andoharano Ankazobe district. The participants became convinced that radio ministry can give a new boost to evangelism.1 Radio could reach the 3,349 million inhabitants of Analamanga area.
The lay members of the Ambohidroa Miray district led by Pastor Rabearison also recognized the potential of radio evangelism. A committee presided by brother Rabelahy was created to promote the establishment of an FM radio. In 1998 the Adventist members of the Ambohidroa Miray District approved the recommendations of the committee and the Ambohidroa Miray district began their radio broadcasting. At that time, the FM radio was called “Radio Akon’ny Filazantsara” (“Radio Echo of the Gospel”). Its headquarters was at the Adventist Church of Ambohidratrimo. The radio ministry was supported through the church members’ offerings and donations.2
Founding of the Oasis Radio
Meanwhile, the Central Malagasy Conference also made progress in trying to establish its own radio station. The conference President Jean André Razafiarison and Sir Henry Andriamparany received a radio operating license from the Madagascar government’s Ministry of Communication. The conference leaders named the radio station Oasis Radio, with FM 106.4 as its frequency. The Oasis Radio station was established in Soamanandrariny, in the Indian Ocean Union Mission compound. It began its operations in 1999, under the leadership of Henri Andriamparany, who was the Central Malagasy Conference Communication director. Crispin Andriamihaingo was Oasis Radio’s first director. The official inauguration was done March 2, 2000. Oasis Radio operated at its station in Soamanadrariny until it was moved to the Central Malagasy Conference campus in Antananarivo in 2010.
Initially, church members supported the radio installation project by giving offerings. However, more money was needed to maintain the radio station. Pastor Paulo Leitao, the president of the Indian Ocean Union Mission at that time, found a foreign sponsor, Dr. Milton Alfonso,3 who supported the acquisition of a 1000-watt new emitter and donated several other equipment.4 The operations of the Oasis Radio are under the communication department of the Central Malagasy Conference.
Historical Role of the Oasis Radio Station
Nicknamed the “Air Army,” the radio broadcasts its programs every day from 4:45 a.m. to 22:00 p.m. The radio has four service departments that include production, animation, technical and editorial services. On March 2, 2010, Oasis Radio celebrated its 10th anniversary. During this event, the first stone for the new communication building was laid in the Central Malagasy Conference courtyard in the Antananarivo city.5 In about a year later, on May 12, 2011, the new building was inaugurated. The first program was aired from the new studio on June 29, 2011, in the presence of the Union Mission president, the board members, the administrators of the Central Malagasy Conference, the conference employees and other interested listeners.
The Oasis Radio covers a 150-kilometer radius around Antananarivo, the Madagascar’s capital. The conference later installer extensions of Oasis Radio in its four regions. The first extension was the Radio Oasis Toamasina which was inaugurated on May 29, 2010. The Oasis Radio Alaotra Mangoro, located in Ambatondrazaka, was inaugurated on September 24, 2010.6
Currently (in 2019), Antsirabe, Faratsiho, Tsiroanomandidy, Mahajanga, Toliara, Fianarantsoa, Antsiranana and Mananara have authorization to operate as extensions of the Oasis Radio station in Antananarivo. The main themes of the radio programs are evangelism, education, health promotion and human development. Some famous programs are the Bible study program “Sabatry ny fanahy” (“Sword of the Spirit”) and the health program “Tiako ho salama ianao” (“I want you to be healthy”).
Impacts of Oasis Radio Broadcasts
Although it is very hard to measure the impact of Radio Oasis, some baptisms and new churches are directly tied to its ministry. In 2002, a new Adventist congregation was established in Morafeno Vohilena in the Anjozorobe district.7 Many of its members were introduced to the Adventist message through Oasis Radio. In 2011, Nanohazana Church was established in Ambohibary district. In Ambatotsipihina in the Faratsiho district, two people were baptized in 2018. One family was baptized at Faratsiho church in February 2019. This was the first baptism conducted by Pastor Fanomezantsoa Aina Nirina Rakotoarimanana in this district.8 The family testified that they were convinced to follow the truth by listening to the spiritual programs through Oasis Radio. In Antsirabe, another family of five members started attending the Adventist church.
Outlook of Oasis Radio
The future plans for Oasis Radio include covering other areas in the region of Analamanga through the Bible study programs “Ala sarona” (“Discovery”), “Fanantenana ho anao” (Hope for You) and “Antso avo maika” (“Urgent Call”). Oasis Radio staff also hope to preach the gospel through camp meetings, seminars and distributing tracts.9 In addition, there are plans to establish radio listening clubs.10
Central Malagasy Conference Constituency Meeting. Reports for 2002, 2011, 2014 and 2017. Central Malagasy Conference archives, Antananarivo, Madagascar.
Johnny Tianasoa and Razafiarison Jean André, interview by the authors, 2019.↩
Video presentation at the Radio Oasis anniversary on March 2, 2019 in Ambohidratrimo Adventist Church.↩
Dino Rakotoniarivo, interview by Vonona Rakotondratsimba, Oasis Radio, Antananarivo, May 7, 2019.↩
Rakotobe Andriafenomanana, Central Malagasy Conference Constituency meeting, 2002 Report, Antananarivo, page 125, paragraph 5.↩
Rakotobe Andriafenomanana, Central Malagasy Conference Constituency meeting, 2011 Report, Antananarivo, page 80, paragraphs 2 and 3.↩
A report made by Vonona Rakotondratsimba and Dino Rakotoniarivo in Vohilena in 2002 from interviewing Pastor Raharijaona Haja.↩
Head Elder, interview by Vonona Rakotondratsimba, May 3, 2019, Faratsiho.↩
Lydia Rakotondrasalama, Central Malagasy Conference Constituency meeting, 2017 Report, Antananarivo, page 41.↩