Adventist World Radio, Bangladesh
By Philip Kumar Pandey
Philip Kumar Pandey, B.A. (Bangabandhu College in Gopalgonj district under Dhaka University supervision)
First Published: January 29, 2021
The Adventist World Mission started to use radio programming to spread the Gospel in October 1971 under the name, Adventist World Radio (AWR).1 The use of radio in evangelism had been recognized as often extending the Gospel’s reach beyond boundaries, so the church leaders in Bangladesh recognized that a radio program was badly needed to broadcast in Bangla since the Bangla language has been one of the widest spoken languages in the country. The Southern-Asia Pacific Division felt that need, so plans were put in place to launch a radio program in Bangla.
The Voice of Hope, known as Ashar Bani in the Bangla language, is produced in a studio that AWR had set up for the Bangladesh Union Mission on May 18, 1992. The first Bangla program by Pastor D. P. Rema was on the air on March 23, 1993. Previously, Bangladesh did not have a studio of their own. The first Adventist Media Center in the region was in Pune, India.2
In Bangladesh, David Paul Rema, former president of Bangladesh Union Mission (BAUM) was given the responsibility to prepare the first Bangla scripts to be aired for the Adventist radio program while he was at Bangkok and Singapore because the AWR/ASIA station was in Bangkok. This responsibility was given to Edward P. Baroya when he appointed as the director of the Communication, Spirit of Prophecy, and Voice of Prophecy (VOP).3 Baroya was to be preparing Bangla radio scripts for the Adventist radio program to be aired from AWR at Guam. After two years, this responsibility was given to Isaac P. Bairagee when he was appointed as the Communication Department director and the Ministerial director of BAUM in 1991. The Adventist church in Bangladesh had not studio yet. A substantial amount was appropriated by the Global Mission to construct a recording studio. The SSD donated essential recording equipment for the studio. At the end of that year (1991), the AWR team was composed of Edward P. Baroya, director of AWR Bangladesh; Lipi Roy, secretary; Albert Adhikary and Bobby Sircar, recording technicians; Philip Kumar Pandey, scriptwriter; and Dolly Halder, office secretary. The AWR team recorded half-hour Bangla radio programs and sent them to Guam to be broadcast twice or three times a week. Later, the team started to record one-hour Bangla radio programs to be broadcast regularly four to five or six days a week. These Bangla programs were highly appreciated by thousands of Hindu and Muslim shortwave listeners in Bangladesh and around the world. The AWR Bangladesh had regular visitation programs for the people who were interested in learning more.4
The directors who played a vital role in Ashar Bani of AWR studio are the following:5
D. P. Rema (1982-1985),6 Edward P. Baroya (1990),7 Isaac P. Bairagee (1991-1992),8 Sopin Bonowaree (1993-1995),9 Sopin Bonowaree (1996), Sopin Bonowaree (1997-2001),10 Barnard A. Baidya (2002-2005),11 Milton Das (2006-2011),12 Benhamin Raksham (2012-2016),13 Milton Das (2017),14 and Dr. Liton S. Halder (2018- ).
To this date, there are 80,000 subscribers to the Ashar Bani Bangla language program of AWR, Bangladesh. Ashar Bani of AWR produces a new program every day to be broadcast from the AWR Radio transmission center. Each program is 29 minutes long. This program broadcasts via short wave and the Internet (www.awr.org). Through various topics including Health Messages, Health Awareness, General Knowledge, A Children Story, Moral Story, and Drama, Ashar Bani seeks to reach non-Adventists, especially Muslims and Hindu people.15
Das, Milton. ed. History of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Bangladesh. Dhaka: Bangladesh, Publisher, Seventh-day Adventist Church of Bangladesh, 2016.
“Media Ministry of Seventh-day Adventist Church,” last updated August 31, 2020, accessed October 5, 2020, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_ministries_of_the_Seventh-day_Adventist_Church.
Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association. Various years. https://www.adventistyearbook.org/.
“Media Ministry of Seventh-day Adventist Church,” last updated August 31, 2020, accessed October 5, 2020, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_ministries_of_the_Seventh-day_Adventist_Church.↩
Milton Das, ed., History of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Bangladesh (Dhaka: Bangladesh, Publisher, Seventh-day Adventist Church of Bangladesh, 2016), 48.↩
Seventh-day Adventist Online Yearbook 1990, 106 (https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB1990.pdf). (January 1986 to December 1990 according to the Service Record of BAUM Secretariat office.) Accessed date September 16, 2020.↩
Pastor Isaac P Bairagee, interview by author, Michigan, USA, , October 3, 2018.↩
Das, ed. History of the Seventh-day Adventist church in Bangladesh, 48.↩
Seventh-day Adventist Online Yearbook 1982, 298 (https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB1982.pdf). (January 1982 to January 1986 according to the Service Record of BAUM Secretariat Office). Accessed September 16, 2020.↩
Seventh-day Adventist Online Yearbook 1989, 104 (https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB1989.pdf). Accessed September 16, 2020.↩
Seventh-day Adventist Online Yearbook1992, 112 (https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB1992.pdf). Accessed September 16, 2020.↩
Seventh-day Adventist Online Yearbook 1995, 112 (https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB1995.pdf). Accessed September 16, 2020.↩
Seventh-day Adventist Online Yearbook 2001, 322 (https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB2001.pdf). Accessed September 16, 2020.↩
Seventh-day Adventist Online Yearbook 2005, 342 (https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB2005.pdf). Accessed September 16, 2020.↩
Seventh-day Adventist Online Yearbook 2011, 392 (https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB2011.pdf). Accessed September 16, 2020.↩
Seventh-day Adventist Online Yearbook 2016, 404 (https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB2016.pdf). Accessed September 16, 2020.↩
Seventh-day Adventist Online Yearbook 2017, 418 (https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB2017.pdf). Accessed September 16, 2020.↩
Das, ed., History of the Seventh-day Adventist church in Bangladesh, 49.↩