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FEBC faithfully fulfills mission to spread gospel to North Korea, other communist states

Participants cut a ribbon during a dedication service for FEBC-Korea's new transmitter site on Daebu Island off Ansan City, Gyeonggi Province, Monday. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul
Participants cut a ribbon during a dedication service for FEBC-Korea's new transmitter site on Daebu Island off Ansan City, Gyeonggi Province, Monday. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul

FEBC's radio transmitter station relocated to Daebu Island

By Park Ji-won

Far East Broadcasting Company Korea (FEBC-Korea), a faith-based radio station initially set up by Christian missionaries from the U.S., relocated its transmitter station to Daebu Island, Gyeonggi Province, from Siheung City, Gyeonggi Province on Monday to improve the quality of its broadcasts.

Since its first broadcast took place on Dec. 23, 1956, FEBC-Korea has continued its mission to spread the gospel to Asia, including North Korea, China, Russia and the Central Asian region.

To celebrate the transfer, a thanksgiving service was held at the new site, where distinguished guests including U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris; Rep. Kim Jin-pyo of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea; Dr. Billy Kim, chairman of FEBC-Korea; and Rev. Joseph Kim, came to give congratulatory remarks, sermons and prayers.

U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris listens during during a dedication service for FEBC-Korea's new transmitter site on Daebu Island off Ansan City, Gyeonggi Province, Monday. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul
U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris listens during during a dedication service for FEBC-Korea's new transmitter site on Daebu Island off Ansan City, Gyeonggi Province, Monday. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul

In a speech, Ambassador Harris stressed the importance of the station in keeping democratic values and peace in the region.

"Seventy years ago, our metal was put to the test as we fought side by side to protect those very values here on the peninsula. That fight to protect the right to determine the future path for one's own self and one's own country shaped the partnership between the United States and the Republic of Korea ... FEBC-Korea has long stood firmly on the side of democracy. For decades, it has broadcast into countries that are unfriendly to the Freedom of Speech and to the Freedom of Religion. While FEBC's expressed goal is to spread the gospel, it also has spread these shared democratic values ― values explicitly written into our respective Constitutions ― across borders, into places unwelcoming to such democratic thought, which is seen as a threat to authoritarian rule. This continues today as we work together to bring peace and prosperity to the Korean Peninsula and the greater Indo-Pacific region," he said.

"I know that this important outpost will serve as a beacon of values that all of us here today hold dear: our freedom of speech, our freedom of information, and our freedom of religion."

Starting with a quote from the Bible's book of Mark that emphasizes the importance of spreading the word of God, Rev. Joseph Kim gave a sermon that "We have witnessed that if people meet people, history is made. But if we meet God, miracles are made. I hope the transmitter can be used as a tool for God to spread the gospel to the world."

Rep. Kim Jin-pyo also delivered congratulatory remarks, saying, "I'm so overjoyed that the message of the gospel will be delivered to North Korea, China, and other Asian countries through this station… The gospel must be delivered to the ends of the earth, and this is our utmost mission. FEBC-Korea is unceasingly delivering the message of the gospel to the lands that we can't reach."

Dr. Billy Kim, chairman of FEBC-Korea, pose during a dedication service for FEBC-Korea's new transmitter site on Daebu Island off Ansan City, Gyeonggi Province, Monday. Courtesy of FEBC-Korea
Dr. Billy Kim, chairman of FEBC-Korea, pose during a dedication service for FEBC-Korea's new transmitter site on Daebu Island off Ansan City, Gyeonggi Province, Monday. Courtesy of FEBC-Korea

Dr. Billy Kim said the relocation of the transmitter will become a milestone event for the FEBC.

"For the past 64 years since it was established, the FEBC has consistently spread the gospel without being swayed by any political influence from the right or the left," Kim, also FEBC chairman, said. "I do believe the transmitter on Daebu Island will help the two Koreas achieve faith-based reunification and also become a milestone event for Christian missions in the northern region. I hope God will write great history with the stronger transmitter."

Rev. Lee Young-hoon, center, senior pastor of Yoido Full Gospel Church, prays during a dedication service for FEBC-Korea's new transmitter site on Daebu Island off Ansan City, Gyeonggi Province, Monday. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul
Rev. Lee Young-hoon, center, senior pastor of Yoido Full Gospel Church, prays during a dedication service for FEBC-Korea's new transmitter site on Daebu Island off Ansan City, Gyeonggi Province, Monday. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul

The founding staff of FEBC-Korea in this undated photo. Left is founder Tom Watson.
The founding staff of FEBC-Korea in this undated photo. Left is founder Tom Watson.

History of FEBC-Korea

American Christian missionaries are the founding fathers of the FEBC. FEBC-Korea was established when free democracy represented by the United States and the communist world led by then the Soviet Union clashed. The founders realized that broadcasting was a way to reach people in communist countries. To cut costs, the founding members built the transmitter station with bricks and other leftover materials they obtained from a nearby U.S. army base. The missionaries were able to transmit the station's first broadcast on Dec. 23, 1956.

Over the past six decades, the FEBC has been at the forefront of sending outside information to isolated countries such as North Korea. Many North Korean defectors testified that they listened to the FEBC and some were determined to escape from the North searching for freedom and knowing more about Christianity which is banned in their homeland.

As for the new location, the FEBC selected the seaside site of some 48,075 square meters in order to avoid interference from other radio waves amid a rising number of houses near the previous transmitter station so that it can continue to provide a stable radio service to its audiences. It is estimated that the service can reach an audience of 1.7 billion in Northeast Asia.

The 100kW power AM radio service on the 1188 kHz frequency is the key to widely providing a broader service in the region. The power enabled the station to provide its services in Korea as well as in neighboring countries including North Korea, three provinces in Northeast China, Russia's Far East and Japan. Its Jeju AM transmitter on the 1566kHz band has been providing services in Korean, Chinese, Russian and Japanese.

The FEBC-Korea radio transmitter station was built on mudflats in Hagik-dong, Incheon. The photo is undated.
The FEBC-Korea radio transmitter station was built on mudflats in Hagik-dong, Incheon. The photo is undated.
The increase in the transmission power didn't come overnight. It took decades to establish the radio station while facing ups and downs along with the turbulent history of the country. First, it started its radio service in Hagik-dong, Incheon, until it had to move to Nonhyun-dong, Incheon, in 1969 as the city became bigger. However, the station also had to face natural disasters and difficulties in maintaining its business; the transmitter collapsed because of a storm in November 1972, and it failed to broadcast for a short period of time due to heavy rain in July 1987. But it overcame the difficulties and ended up moving to Siheung City.

Far East Broadcasting Company Korea (FEBC-Korea)'s new transmitter site on Daebu Island, Ansan City, Gyeonggi Province Courtesy of FEBC-Korea
Far East Broadcasting Company Korea (FEBC-Korea)'s new transmitter site on Daebu Island, Ansan City, Gyeonggi Province Courtesy of FEBC-Korea



Participants cut a ribbon during a dedication service for FEBC-Korea's new transmitter site on Daebu Island off Ansan City, Gyeonggi Province, Monday. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul
Participants cut a ribbon during a dedication service for FEBC-Korea's new transmitter site on Daebu Island off Ansan City, Gyeonggi Province, Monday. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul

FEBC's radio transmitter station relocated to Daebu Island

By Park Ji-won

Far East Broadcasting Company Korea (FEBC-Korea), a faith-based radio station initially set up by Christian missionaries from the U.S., relocated its transmitter station to Daebu Island, Gyeonggi Province, from Siheung City, Gyeonggi Province on Monday to improve the quality of its broadcasts.

Since its first broadcast took place on Dec. 23, 1956, FEBC-Korea has continued its mission to spread the gospel to Asia, including North Korea, China, Russia and the Central Asian region.

To celebrate the transfer, a thanksgiving service was held at the new site, where distinguished guests including U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris; Rep. Kim Jin-pyo of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea; Dr. Billy Kim, chairman of FEBC-Korea; and Rev. Joseph Kim, came to give congratulatory remarks, sermons and prayers.

U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris listens during during a dedication service for FEBC-Korea's new transmitter site on Daebu Island off Ansan City, Gyeonggi Province, Monday. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul
U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris listens during during a dedication service for FEBC-Korea's new transmitter site on Daebu Island off Ansan City, Gyeonggi Province, Monday. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul

In a speech, Ambassador Harris stressed the importance of the station in keeping democratic values and peace in the region.

"Seventy years ago, our metal was put to the test as we fought side by side to protect those very values here on the peninsula. That fight to protect the right to determine the future path for one's own self and one's own country shaped the partnership between the United States and the Republic of Korea ... FEBC-Korea has long stood firmly on the side of democracy. For decades, it has broadcast into countries that are unfriendly to the Freedom of Speech and to the Freedom of Religion. While FEBC's expressed goal is to spread the gospel, it also has spread these shared democratic values ― values explicitly written into our respective Constitutions ― across borders, into places unwelcoming to such democratic thought, which is seen as a threat to authoritarian rule. This continues today as we work together to bring peace and prosperity to the Korean Peninsula and the greater Indo-Pacific region," he said.

"I know that this important outpost will serve as a beacon of values that all of us here today hold dear: our freedom of speech, our freedom of information, and our freedom of religion."

Starting with a quote from the Bible's book of Mark that emphasizes the importance of spreading the word of God, Rev. Joseph Kim gave a sermon that "We have witnessed that if people meet people, history is made. But if we meet God, miracles are made. I hope the transmitter can be used as a tool for God to spread the gospel to the world."

Rep. Kim Jin-pyo also delivered congratulatory remarks, saying, "I'm so overjoyed that the message of the gospel will be delivered to North Korea, China, and other Asian countries through this station… The gospel must be delivered to the ends of the earth, and this is our utmost mission. FEBC-Korea is unceasingly delivering the message of the gospel to the lands that we can't reach."

Dr. Billy Kim, chairman of FEBC-Korea, pose during a dedication service for FEBC-Korea's new transmitter site on Daebu Island off Ansan City, Gyeonggi Province, Monday. Courtesy of FEBC-Korea
Dr. Billy Kim, chairman of FEBC-Korea, pose during a dedication service for FEBC-Korea's new transmitter site on Daebu Island off Ansan City, Gyeonggi Province, Monday. Courtesy of FEBC-Korea

Dr. Billy Kim said the relocation of the transmitter will become a milestone event for the FEBC.

"For the past 64 years since it was established, the FEBC has consistently spread the gospel without being swayed by any political influence from the right or the left," Kim, also FEBC chairman, said. "I do believe the transmitter on Daebu Island will help the two Koreas achieve faith-based reunification and also become a milestone event for Christian missions in the northern region. I hope God will write great history with the stronger transmitter."

Rev. Lee Young-hoon, center, senior pastor of Yoido Full Gospel Church, prays during a dedication service for FEBC-Korea's new transmitter site on Daebu Island off Ansan City, Gyeonggi Province, Monday. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul
Rev. Lee Young-hoon, center, senior pastor of Yoido Full Gospel Church, prays during a dedication service for FEBC-Korea's new transmitter site on Daebu Island off Ansan City, Gyeonggi Province, Monday. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul

The founding staff of FEBC-Korea in this undated photo. Left is founder Tom Watson.
The founding staff of FEBC-Korea in this undated photo. Left is founder Tom Watson.

History of FEBC-Korea

American Christian missionaries are the founding fathers of the FEBC. FEBC-Korea was established when free democracy represented by the United States and the communist world led by then the Soviet Union clashed. The founders realized that broadcasting was a way to reach people in communist countries. To cut costs, the founding members built the transmitter station with bricks and other leftover materials they obtained from a nearby U.S. army base. The missionaries were able to transmit the station's first broadcast on Dec. 23, 1956.

Over the past six decades, the FEBC has been at the forefront of sending outside information to isolated countries such as North Korea. Many North Korean defectors testified that they listened to the FEBC and some were determined to escape from the North searching for freedom and knowing more about Christianity which is banned in their homeland.

As for the new location, the FEBC selected the seaside site of some 48,075 square meters in order to avoid interference from other radio waves amid a rising number of houses near the previous transmitter station so that it can continue to provide a stable radio service to its audiences. It is estimated that the service can reach an audience of 1.7 billion in Northeast Asia.

The 100kW power AM radio service on the 1188 kHz frequency is the key to widely providing a broader service in the region. The power enabled the station to provide its services in Korea as well as in neighboring countries including North Korea, three provinces in Northeast China, Russia's Far East and Japan. Its Jeju AM transmitter on the 1566kHz band has been providing services in Korean, Chinese, Russian and Japanese.

The FEBC-Korea radio transmitter station was built on mudflats in Hagik-dong, Incheon. The photo is undated.
The FEBC-Korea radio transmitter station was built on mudflats in Hagik-dong, Incheon. The photo is undated.
The increase in the transmission power didn't come overnight. It took decades to establish the radio station while facing ups and downs along with the turbulent history of the country. First, it started its radio service in Hagik-dong, Incheon, until it had to move to Nonhyun-dong, Incheon, in 1969 as the city became bigger. However, the station also had to face natural disasters and difficulties in maintaining its business; the transmitter collapsed because of a storm in November 1972, and it failed to broadcast for a short period of time due to heavy rain in July 1987. But it overcame the difficulties and ended up moving to Siheung City.

Far East Broadcasting Company Korea (FEBC-Korea)'s new transmitter site on Daebu Island, Ansan City, Gyeonggi Province Courtesy of FEBC-Korea
Far East Broadcasting Company Korea (FEBC-Korea)'s new transmitter site on Daebu Island, Ansan City, Gyeonggi Province Courtesy of FEBC-Korea



Park Ji-won jwpark@koreatimes.co.kr


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