Sunday, September 2, 2012
Christian Television Station on the Air in Malawi
By Ralph Kurtenbach and Harold Goerzen of HCJB Global
Special to ASSIST News Service
LILONGWE, MALAWI (ANS) -- Imagine using what looks something like a metal ruler to transmit Christian television programs.
In 2012 Malawian authorities granted just four TV permits from a field of 40 applicants. The frequency regulatory agency issued one of those licenses to the school, which first received official recognition in the small East African country in 1991.
ABC also operates campuses and accompanying broadcast facilities in Liberia and Uganda. In Yekepa, Liberia, ABC University received a license for radio broadcasting in short order. In some African countries the licensing process can take months, or even years, but the broadcasting license request by ABC’s Liberia campus was granted in just three weeks in early 2011.
In all three countries, national staff and HCJB Global engineers collaborated on setting up the initial broadcast facilities. Additionally, the mission’s media specialists have given ongoing university-level instruction to communicators and journalists in Liberia and now Malawi.
Patrick McGuire of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Ken Van Prooyen of Grand Rapids, Mich., rounded out the team. Conference calls helped them determine the best equipment to fit ABC’s budget, then order it and await its safe arrival in Lilongwe.
“Dwight’s training and degrees are all in TV-related areas,” said Lind’s wife, Susie, who has ministered in Cape Town, South Africa. “In fact, he had taught TV skills to college students at the mission’s Christian Center of Communications (CCC) in Quito, Ecuador, since its inception.”
As the Linds considered Heck’s offer, Susie said questions emerged like, “Could he take time so close to retirement for a trip so far away?” and “Would he remember enough after 12 years of doing other things?”
But the niggling doubts that maybe he was “too rusty” were brushed aside by their faith in God. At Susie’s encouragement that Dwight grasp the opportunity before him, he set about translating an instructional manual he’d composed decades earlier in Spanish. He finished the translation in time for the team’s Aug. 1 departure for Malawi.
McGuire’s expertise in television and Van Prooyen’s experience in broadcast systems proved vital during the group’s three-week visit at ABC. Then, with just a week left before the government’s Aug. 16 deadline to be on the air, the four men made McGyver-like adaptations to the equipment on hand.
“Because of technical problems with the video equipment that didn’t quite jibe with the country’s PAL video system, we either had audio with a black-and-white picture or beautiful color and no audio,” Dwight explained. “The government had the same problem when they first put a TV station on the air 10 years ago.”
“We opted for color and no audio with a crawl at the bottom of the screen, but we were on the air as required by the government,” he continued.
Again facing limitations, he was amazed, nonetheless, at how quickly the Africans could manage hands-on experience and assignments. “Without being able to have access to Speed Edit, they improvised and produced six video clips on trial versions of Pro-Vegas Video Editor downloaded on their own laptops,” said Susie.
Since its founding in 1976, African Bible College has been training Christian leaders by providing university-level education across the continent. The ministry opened campuses in 1978 (Liberia, reopened in 2008), 1991 (Malawi) and 2005 (Uganda).
Sources: HCJB Global, www.africanbiblecolleges.org
Ralph Kurtenbach and Harold Goerzen are writers with HCJB Global (www.hcjb.org)
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