Joni Eareckson Tada is celebrating 30 years on the radio this month. After founding Joni and Friends International Disability Center to minister to others affected by disability, Al Sanders and Jon Campbell of the Ambassador Advertising Agency approached Tada in 1982 about doing a radio program as a new way to deliver her messages of hope and encouragement.
Sanders founded Ambassador in 1959 to begin sharing Christian programs via radio. Joined by Campbell, who became president of the agency in 1989, the two recognized a potential audience for Joni and Friends, and presented a proposal in May 1982.
Now, 30 years and more than 7,800 programs later, Tada's messages are heard worldwide. With topics ranging beyond disability awareness to prayer, marriage, poetry and worship, the programs provide inspiration for those from all walks of life.
Originally airing as Joni and Friends Radio, the daily programs were five minutes in length and tackled wide-ranging topics, but always from a biblical perspective. The programs were recently updated with a new sound and contemporary style, introducing Joni and Friends to a new generation of listeners across the U.S. and around the world.
The one-minute shortened format, christened Diamonds in the Dust, has been well-received and is now airing on hundreds of radio stations daily, along with the new four-minute Joni and Friends program.
“I thank my Savior for the energy, breath and the insights from His Word; and, I'm looking forward to sharing more with our listeners in the months and years to come,” says Tada of the 30th anniversary milestone and her continued ability to reach audiences via Joni and Friends Radio.
Tada's message of hope in Christ is powerfully delivered and received, as evidenced by the honor she was given by the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) earlier this year when she received the NRB Hall of Fame Award for her contributions and commitment to Christian radio through the years. Previously, NRB had honored Joni and Friends Radio as Radio Program of the Year in 2002, and in 2010 Diamonds in the Dust received the same recognition in the short program category.
The radio show is one of many facets of the Joni and Friends ministry that contributes to the overall mission of communicating the gospel and equipping Christ-honoring churches worldwide to evangelize and disciple people affected by disabilities.
For more than 30 years, Joni and Friends has worked to accelerate ministry to the disability community, offering a wide array of life-affirming ministries to people with disabilities around the world. Joni and Friends does this through the Christian Institute on Disability, the International Disability Center, international radio and television programs filled with inspirational stories, Wheels for the World—which every year sees thousands of individuals receive wheelchairs and the life-giving message of the gospel—and Family Retreats, where families affected by disability learn they are not alone.