Billy Graham Center

Interview with Alan Travers - Collection 190

[Note: What follows is a description of the documents in this collection which are available for use at BGC Archives in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. The actual documents are not, in most cases, available online, only this description of them. Nor are they available for sale or rent. Some or all of this colleciton can be borrowed ]

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Alan Travers

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)

Brief Description.
Two interviews about Travers' work with Trans World Radio, from 1959 to 1981, and the use of radio in missionary work. Travers discusses the history of TWR; technical and administrative details and policy of the organization; the locations of its stations throughout the world; how the staff members function in the stations and relate to the countries which they serve; how the German branch of TWR (Evangeliums Rundfunk) was started and how it functions within the structure of TWR. Interviews were recorded on 10/23/81 and11/23/81.

Collection 190 [March 23, 2000]
Travers, Alan
Interview; 1981

2 Reels of Audio Tape


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Before joining Trans World Radio, Travers had attended Barrington College and been Pastor of the Osterville Baptist Church, on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. While a college student, he had thought about the possibility of joining radio station HCJB in South America. He was introduced to the work of Trans World Radio through John Haut, co-founder of Northeastern Bible College, and after having TWR missionaries speak in his church, Travers decided to join the work.

Alan Travers joined the staff of Trans World Radio in 1959 as the Deputation Secretary. In 1970, he became New England Representative for the organization; in 1976, he assumed the position of Director of Public Relations; and in 1980, he became Minister-at-Large for the world-wide staff of TWR. At the time of the interviews, Travers worked for Trans World Radio.

Scope and Content

Alan Travers was interviewed by Galen Wilson on October 23 and November 23, 1981 at the office of the Archives. Travers discusses the founding, operation and ministry of Trans World Radio, and his role in the organization; sprinkled throughout the interviews are technical descriptions of frequency use and am, fm and shortwave broadcasting. The time period covered by the interviews in from 1959 to 1981. Time elapsed in minutes and seconds is noted in the margin to the left of the topics discussed. The index is keyed to a cassette copy of the interview, not the reel-to-reel original.

Tape T1 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:05 Introduction to interview on October 23, 1981.
00:30 Summary of activities as administrator with Trans World Radio (TWR): Morocco, Monte Carlo, United States, travel and observations.
07:15 TWR policy on staff participation in local churches or forming expatriate congregations: Bonaire, Monte Carlo, Guam, Swaziland, Sri Lanka. Government restrictions on evangelism in Monte Carlo.
10:30 Circumstances leading to joining and stationing with TWR.
15:15 Description of TWR broadcasting methods, goals and impact: target audiences, evangelism and nurture of Christians, religious liberty and witness in Czechoslovakia.
24:15 Broadcast sites, frequencies, range of signals, languages.
29:45 Preferred use of indigenous broadcasters.
32:15 Programming: secular, music, educational. Accommodating needs and tastes of audiences. Copyright complications.
37:00 Automation of studios and libraries.
39:00 Efforts to be culturally sensitive: language, indigenous music.
40:45 Paul Freed, the origins and early development of TWR; its philosophy of cultural sensitivity; vision for work in Spain; consultation with President Truman, first broadcast, film (Banderilla) on conditions in Spain.
44:00 End of side 1.

Tape T1 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:05 Overlap from side 1.
01:45 Continuation on early history of TWR. Move from Tangier to Monte Carlo.
05:00 Monte Carlo station: operation, arrangements, advantages to Monte Carlo.
08:00 Reactions to broadcasting and the Gospel: government opposition, philosophy on political and controversial issues, among Muslims (especially in Egypt), Science of the Bible program, psychology of radio listening.
15:15 Technical aspects and Dr. Muggleton.
19:00 God's provision: personnel, finances and operating costs, arrangements.
23:45 Relationships and cooperation: other stations, evangelical churches.
27:15 Translation of American messages (J. Vernon McGee) into culturally appropriate form.
29:30 Finances: cost sharing with American broadcasters, impact of broadcasting in non-English languages, support base.
36:15 Focus on reaching audiences with limited or no exposure to the Gospel, impact of broadcasting in the Soviet Union and South America.
42:15 Future goals for organizational and programming growth.
44:15 Conservatism of TWR compared with other evangelical broadcasters, fundamentalist label.
46:15 End of side 2.

Tape T1 - side 3
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:05 Overlap from side 2.
02:30 Continuation on characterization of TWR as conservative and fundamentalist, policy on not broadcasting charismatic messages.
05:15 End of side 3 and interview.

Tape T2 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:45 Introduction to interview on November 23, 1981.
01:00 Evangeliums Rundfunk: communications branch of German Evangelical Alliance (GEA). Broadcasting environment in Europe, Herman Schulte, composition of GEA, exclusion of German charismatics.
06:45 Move to Monte Carlo: role of European evangelicals (particularly GEA and Schulte), financial backing, ongoing relationship.
15:00 Evangeliums Rundfunk: origin, participation of clergy, Horst Marquardt (background in Nazism, communism, broadcasting), leaders and activities.
21:45 German support of other TWR branches throughout the world, expertise and innovations.
27:15 Broadcast sites for different stations and transmitter use, branch activities.
29:45 Sources of TWR finances, Canadian support.
32:30 Canadian branch: support, projects, staff, comparison with US branch.
36:15 TWR administration: centralization in US, personnel (particularly Ewart Hodgins and Ted Bleich).
41:45 Expansion of TWR in southern Africa, background on northern Africa's broadcasting coverage by ELWA in Liberia, invitation by church leaders and missionaries (Africa Evangelical Fellowship), investigating possibilities.
46:15 End of side 1 (continued on side 2).

Tape T2 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:05 Overlap from side 1.
01:30 Continuation on establishing broadcasting in southern Africa. Selection of Swaziland, rejecting South Africa from consideration due to apartheid, negotiations with and attitudes of Swaziland's King Sobhuza.
07:15 Broadcasting to China: based from Swaziland, correspondence in response, language, teaching English, government response, rationale.
12:00 Station in Guam (KQWG): licensing from the FCC and obtaining US military clearance, contribution during typhoon, effectiveness.
21:45 Sri Lanka superpower station: targeting India, impact of presence of station to national recognition, preliminary consideration of Thailand and Nepal, negotiations with Sri Lankan government.
33:00 Cyprus station: uninterrupted broadcasting and neutrality during the 1974 hostilities, evangelistic impact on the Middle East.
38:00 Arrangements with governments: negotiations, Paul Freed's role and skill in negotiating agreements.
40:30 Paul Freed's role in TWR: administrative structure, ongoing involvement, anticipation of his retirement, administrative style, contact with staff throughout the world.
46:00 End of side 2.

Tape T2 - side 3
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:05 Overlap from side 2.
01:30 Continuation on Freed's role and oversight in TWR, international traveling,
04:15 End of tape and interview.


The materials in this collection were received by the Center on October 23 and November 23, 1981, from Alan Travers.

Accession 81-119, 81-135
October 12, 1988
Lannae Graham
T. Jodon
J. Nasgowitz
G. Wilson

May 3, 1990
Paul A. Ericksen

Accession 81-119, 81-135
Type of Material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Reel-to-reel 3-3/4, approximately 90 minutes (1 hour, 30 minutes), one side only. Interview of Alan Travers by Galen Wilson on October 23, 1981. Discussion of the founding and early history of Trans World Radio, Travers' role in the organization, it's broadcasting and programming philosophy, finances, effectiveness and TWR's founder, Paul Freed.

T2 - Reel-to-reel 3-3/4, approximately 95 minutes (1 hour, 35 minutes), one side only. Interview of Alan Travers by Galen Wilson on November 23, 1981. Discussion of Paul Freed, Evangeliums Rundfunk (German sister company), TWR's Canadian branch, and it's stations in Monte Carlo, Swaziland, Guam, and Cyprus.

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Last Revised: 9/05/02
Expiration: indefinite