Billy Graham Center

Interview with Paul Ernest Freed - Collection 382

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Paul Ernest Freed

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

Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)

Audio file and written transcript for T1

Brief Description.

Interview with Paul Freed about how he founded Trans World Radio in 1952, the history of the development of its administrative policies and work from that time to 1981, and about the use of radio in missionary work. Freed also discusses his childhood as the son of Christian and Missionary Alliance workers in Syria, his schooling in Jerusalem and at Wheaton College, the business he started to help pay his way through college during the Depression, his work with Youth for Christ, the beginning of Youth for Christ in Spain and how that triggered his thoughts on the use of radio for missionoutreach.

Collection 382 [May 30, 2000]
Freed, Paul Ernest; 1918-1996
Interview; 1981

1 Reel of Audio Tape


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Paul Ernest Freed was born in 1918 in Detroit, Michigan, into a Christian family and while he was still a child his family went to the Middle East as missionaries with the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church. While his parents (Ralph and Mildred Forsythe Freed) were based in Syria, Paul went to school in Jerusalem; when the family returned to Wheaton, Illinois, on furloughs, Paul attended Wheaton Academy. He graduated from Wheaton College in 1940; he had helped pay his way with a variety of entrepreneurial endeavors: selling souvenirs of the Middle East, working for Pontiac Motor Company and in steel mills in Gary, Indiana, and finally starting his own belt business, which employed other Wheaton College students.

Following his graduation from Wheaton, he obtained a Master's degree from Columbia University in 1956 and a PhD in Mass Communication from New York University in 1960. Freed was ordained by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1949. He began working for Youth For Christ (YFC) in Nyack, New York, and later in Greensboro, North Carolina. While attending the YFC Beatenburg Conference in Switzerland in 1948, he received a request to begin YFC work in Spain. Though touched by the spiritual hunger in Spain, and the need for evangelistic efforts, he was also frustrated by the restrictions put on such work by the Spanish government.

Convinced that "closed" countries like Spain could be reached through radio, he resigned from YFC in order to begin working in radio evangelism. In 1952, he founded Trans World Radio (TWR), incorporating under the laws of the state of North Carolina. The station was based in Tangiers, Morocco, and the first broadcast took place in 1954. Later TWR moved to Monaco when the Moroccan government made it impossible for them to stay in Tangiers.

Other stations were added in the years following: in Cyprus, Swaziland, Sri Lanka, Guam, and the island of Bonaire, in the Caribbean. The headquarters for Trans World Radio are in Chatham, New Jersey. At the time of this interview, Freed was still active as the head of TWR. He died after a long illness on December 1, 1996.

Scope and Content

The tape in this collection contains an oral history interview with Paul Freed, Founder of Trans World Radio, made at the Graham Center Archives on October 23, 1981, by Archivist Galen Wilson.

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 1 - side 1
00:12 Introduction
00:40 Story of how father, Ralph Freed, became interested in missions
01:27 Family's learning to 'prove God'
04:14 Lived in Middle East as child of missionaries; learned Arabic in Palestine
04:33 Parents work in Syria as missionaries with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, to 300 villages
04:57 Attending school in Jerusalem
05:24 Growth of desire to reach people with the Gospel began while accompanying father in his work as a missionary
05:50 Ability to use slingshot
06:12 Attendance at Wheaton Academy while on furlough
06:34 Return to the Middle East
06:44 Attendance at Wheaton College, 1936-1940
07:03 Other influential Wheaton College contemporaries; Billy Graham, Hudson Armerding, Ken Taylor, Bob Evans
07:19 Difficulty of making way through college during Depression
07:37 Selling souvenirs of Middle East and Holy Land
07:52 Working for Pontiac Motor Company
08:14 Working in Gary, IN, steel mills for two summers
08:26 Starting belt business on idea of Wheaton College alumnus, Willys K. Braun
09:17 Application of basic business principles helpful in later work with TWR
09:52 Selling belts through department store chains
10:24 Use of Wheaton College students for belt production
10:50 Naming belt business 'DuPage Crafts'
11:07 Wages helpful to other Wheaton College students
11:27 Attendance at Nyack Missionary Institute while maintaining belt business
12:07 Obtained Master's degree from Columbia University; PhD from New York University in Mass Communications
12:14 Work with Youth for Christ in Nyack, New York; in Greensboro, NC
13:00 YFC conference in Beatenburg, Switzerland; Billy Graham, Torrey Johnson, Oswald Smith gave Freed inspiration
13:22 Request to come to Spain
14:41 Establishing YFC in Spain
14:52 Persecution of Christians in Spain
15:07 Discussions with President Harry S Truman about political and social situation in Spain
16:34 Meeting with President Gerald R. Ford
16:39 Interests of U.S. Presidents in opinions and knowledge of Christian leaders of international matters
16:56 Perceived need to distance Presidential support and remain out of international political arena
17:39 Remaining quiet about many meetings with world leaders for benefit of TWR
18:06 Starting Spanish YFC in spite of Spain's being a 'closed' country
18:24 Frustration of having to work on a small level
18:39 Influence of work in Spain on establishment of TWR in Tangiers
19:14 Incorporation of TWR in North Carolina, 1952
19:27 Starting Christian and Missionary Alliance church in South Carolina
19:43 Resignation from YFC on faith that something more could be done to reach more people
19:49 Development of radio idea in Spain
20:18 Birth of daughter coinciding with incorporation of TWR
20:40 Ability to speak different languages; Arabic, French, German, Spanish, English
20:53 Freed given vision of the world to be reached from Spain
21:12 First broadcast of TWR from Tangiers, 1954
21:43 Story of family living in caves in Southern Spain
22:42 Description of cave dugouts; living conditions
24:00 Illness of Spanish boy's parents
24:37 Sharing Scriptures with Spanish boy
25:40 Leading Spanish boy to Christ
26:40 Turning point in Freed's life fueling desire to reach peoples
26:40 Desire to reach people far outweighs interest in radio, itself
27:42 Need to use every possible resource to reach people with the Gospel
28:37 Use of TWR to reach places where radio was only means of presenting the Gospel
29:07 Move of TWR from Tangiers to Monte Carlo; closing of Tangiers station
29:37 Present logistical dimensions of TWR
30:29 Process and strategy of selecting TWR locations
31:15 Bonaire station servicing Latin America
31:24 Thankful for work of HCJB, FUBC, ELWA and other radio stations
31:44 TWR stations around the world: Monte Carlo servicing all of Europe; Cyprus servicing Middle East from Egypt to Saudi Arabia; AM frequency broadcasts in Iran; Swaziland servicing Africa; Sri Lanka servicing India; Guam servicing China, Indonesia, and Southeast Asia
32:57 Considerations in choosing locations; geography, permits
33:27 Seeking security for transmitters among world leaders
34:07 Difficulty securing permit from Sri Lanka
34:17 Obstacles to placing a transmitter; technical matters, finances, obtaining land, permission, radio frequency
34:54 Use of public relations to obtain permission from countries
35:15 Value of TWR to countries giving permission
36:21 Discussion of various AM and shortwave frequencies around the world
39:05 Remaining true to the Word of God
37:21 Time blocks for transmission in major languages
38:07 Broadcasting policy of preaching Word of God while remaining politically uninvolved
39:04 Explanation of mother's death (Mildred Forsythe Freed) and stepmother, Norah Chambers Freed
39:48 Step-mother's radio program 'Woman to Woman' produced in Monte Carlo
40:07 Selection of Chatham, NJ for main office based on convenience of air travel out of New York
41:06 In process of building new headquarters in Chatham, NJ
41:17 Headquarters unimportant as real work is in the actual world
41:32 God's provision of young people for ministry and prayer for more youth
42:02 Sources of recruitment; individual contacts
42:37 Europe as major source of fund raising
43:10 Approaches by people willing to work with TWR
43:52 Finding God's will in your life
44:12 End of tape

Tape 1 - side 2
00:00 Recapitulation from side T1
00:20 Finding God's will for one's life
00:45 End of tape


The materials in this collection were received by the Center in October 1981, from Paul Freed.

Accession 81-120
October 12, 1988
Lannae Graham
T. Jodon
J. Nasgowitz
G. Wilson

Accession 81-120
Type of Material: Audio Tape,

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Interview with Paul E. Freed conducted for the BGC Archives by Galen R. Wilson. Recorded on October 23, 1981; reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 i.p.s. 46 minutes in length.

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Last Revised: 9/09/02
Expiration: indefinite