88-year-old radio show thrives online
‘Are you listening?
The late VE Howard was known to have posed this question on the radio program “International Gospel Hour”, an evangelistic program associated with the Churches of Christ dating back to 1934.
For 88 years, the question has been posed to listeners like Billy Boyd.
Boyd, a member of Rockliff Church of Christ in McMinnville, Tennessee, has been listening to the program for more than 60 years.
The show is one of the longest running continuous religious radio broadcasts in America. Now overseen by West Fayetteville Church of Christ in Fayetteville, Tennessee, the program has featured Jeff Archey as a speaker since 2020.
“It was a great encouragement for me to hear this kind of teaching,” Boyd said.
“For the past two years – yes, even in times of pandemic – we have embraced the blessings of our Lord and the open doors He has provided,” Archey said.
These efforts include “not just the expansion of live radio,” he said, “but internet station options, worldwide podcast providers and an addition to television broadcasting.”
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From VE Howard to Jeff Archey
During his lifetime, Howard was a businessman and writer. He was also a husband and a father. But he was best known for starting “International Gospel Hour.”
He first started preaching on the radio on station KTHS in Hot Springs, Ark., where he convinced the station manager to give him a chance to air. He immediately established a good rapport with the public.
The show made its way to other countries about 10 years later, increasing its viewership.
Howard preached on the radio for 61 years. His trademark “Are you listening?” punctuated sermon points and scriptures when he spoke.
During his lifetime, the program’s founder baptized more than 8,000 people, preached at gospel meetings across the United States, and produced books, tracts, and hymns. He died a day before his 89th birthday in 2000.
In 1995, Howard transferred program supervision to Winford Claiborne, an instructor at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee, whose favorite shows focused on Christian home and contemporary culture. In turn, Claiborne entrusted the broadcast to Jody Apple of the Southeast Institute of Biblical Studies in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 2013.
Apple has been preaching since 1978 and works at the Georgia School of Preaching and Biblical Studies in Marietta. He worked to bring the program into the digital age, including web presences and social media.
Archey took over the reins from his friend in 2020. By then the program had lost some international exposure and Archey’s challenge was to grow its audience.
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Last year, “International Gospel Hour” was picked up by Radio Victoria 93.1 FM in Noord, Aruba, and ZFKP 97.7 FM in the Cayman Islands.
Archey brought his experience with a radio station and the Gospel Broadcasting Network to this role. GBN, which is associated with the Churches of Christ, is a satellite broadcasting network.
A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Archey has preached the gospel for more than 30 years, including 17 for the East Side Church of Christ in Cleveland, Tennessee.
Archey lives in Cleveland, where he attends North Bradley Church of Christ and Union Grove Church of Christ when he is not traveling with the radio ministry.
He graduated from the former Great Commission School in Nashville and the Nashville School of Preaching and Biblical Studies in the late 1990s. He has been married to Renita for 34 years.
After Archey’s arrival, GBN formed a partnership with “International Gospel Hour” and began airing the program four times a week.
“International Gospel Hour” is now available on the web, social media, satellite, cable, YouTube and 27 podcast platforms. Its television programs – which began last year – are mostly in the southeastern United States.
Today, in 34 countries, the program “continues to grow and it continues to thrive,” Archey said. “We are very well blessed.”
Phil Sanders, a speaker for “In Search of the Lord’s Way,” a national television ministry sponsored by the Edmond Church of Christ in Oklahoma, knew the four “International Gospel Hour” speakers.
“It’s reaching people, and the reports I’m getting are that people are listening, inside and outside the church,” Sanders said. “And that makes a difference.”
Sanders added that the longevity of the “International Gospel Hour” is a testament to its success.
“You also have – because it’s been going on for so many years – tremendous loyalty and dedication to the program,” he said.
bring the truth
Debbie Claudia-Guinn first heard about one of the “International Gospel Hour” podcasts through a Facebook ad.
“It really helps your spiritual walk. And that’s what he did for me.
She now listens to the podcast on Sunday mornings before church and refers to it as her spiritual food.
Archey “knows how to bring the truth,” said Claudia-Guinn, a member of the Paulding Church of Christ in Ohio. “He doesn’t add any ingredients to the scriptures or anything like that. He is very biblical.
“It really helps your spiritual walk,” she said of the program. “And that’s what he did for me.”
Congregations wishing to use “International Gospel Hour” can get the program for free, and Jeff Archey can help churches negotiate deals with local stations. Visit internationalgospelhour.com or call (855) 444-6988.
Filed Under: Church of Christ and Gospel Broadcasting Network Radio Programs Seeking the Lord’s Way International Gospel Hour National News Partners Partners podcasts Top Stories