In 1923 – just three years after the first radio broadcast in the United States – the first Seventh-day Adventist radio station was set up, at Emmanuel Missionary College in Michigan. By the 1930s, H.M.S. Richards Sr. had begun his pioneering radio work with The Voice of Prophecy, and over the next several decades, Adventists in a wide variety of countries embraced radio evangelism. To address the challenge of reaching people in the Communist countries of Europe, the Church took a leap of faith in 1971 to establish its largest single initiative in international broadcasting. From that first broadcast, Adventist World Radio has continued to broadcast the voice of hope for 40 years to the unreached people groups of the world in their own languages.
October 1, 1971 – The Seventh-day Adventist Church begins leasing shortwave airtime in Portugal, and Adventist World Radio comes into existence. Programs are broadcast to Europe and the USSR in 10 languages for 12 hours/week.
1975 – AWR is broadcasting in 20 languages.
1976 – Programs broadcast in 10 languages in Southern Asia from Sri Lanka become part of AWR, known as AWR Asia.
1979 – Spanish broadcasts begin from Guatemala using a 10 kW shortwave transmitter to Central and South America.
1983 – The first broadcasts for AWR Africa begin in English and French for one hour a day, with time leased from Africa One, Gabon.
1985 – AWR builds a 2.5 kW shortwave station in Forli, Italy, and begins broadcasts to Europe and North Africa in Arabic and French. The station continues to operate until 2001.
1985 – AWR Latin America's headquarters open in Alajuela, Costa Rica, with regular broadcasts to Central and South America. The region was later renamed "AWR Americas."
1985 – AWR receives an offering from the General Conference Session, to launch a major initiative for broadcasts that will reach China. Construction begins on a shortwave station on the island of Guam, in the Pacific Ocean.
1987 – Two 100 kW transmitters go into service on Guam with two curtain antennas and >300-foot towers, broadcasting in 11 languages to all of Asia. Two additional transmitters and two antennas were added in subsequent years. The station was rededicated in 2005 after a multi-phase modernization project, upgrading its service to 3.5 billion potential listeners in Asia.
1992 – Transmission in nine languages begins for 22 hours/day to Asia from Novosibirsk, Russia. These programs were the first Christian broadcasts to originate from within Russia after the fall of communism.
1994 – Broadcasts in Arabic, Dyula, Kiswahili, English and French for Africa are begun from leased transmitters in Slovakia and Germany.
1995 – AWR begins sponsoring broadcasts in the Ukraine and Russia on national networks over more than 900 stations.
1996 – By its 25th anniversary, AWR is broadcasting in 45 languages, surpassing both the Voice of America and the British Broadcasting Corporation.
1996 – Broadcasts to Iran and Iraq begin from Yerevan, Armenia, on a medium-wave transmitter for 10.5 hours/week. Other programs are broadcast to the Balkans and West Africa from a station in Germany.
1998 – Broadcasts begin from leased stations in Meyerton, South Africa, and Madagascar, with daily programs in Kiswahili, Somali, Malagasy, English, and French.
1998 – AWR launches the "Voice of Hope" Spanish Satellite Radio Network in the Americas region to expand its mission in the Americas by providing a program service to local radio stations, from Chile to Puerto Rico.
2001 – After AWR's plans for building a shortwave station in Argenta, Italy, are overturned, AWR is able to lease airtime on a powerful station in the United Arab Emirates and begins broadcasting 18 hours/day to the Middle East, Central Asia, and East Africa.
2004 – AWR redefines its target area priorities and closes its AWR Americas region office. Radio ministry continues through the South American Division's media center in Brazil, which did not exist when AWR first began its work in the area.
2005 – AWR's English Language Service, which had been offering programs for English-speaking listeners worldwide for 11 years, is shifted from a central studio in England to a regional model, with English programs produced locally in Africa and Asia.
2007 – AWR launches a pilot project to distribute MegaVoice Ambassadors, solar audio players that hold up to 160 hours of recordings. The first devices are delivered to Bible workers in South Sudan; more Ambassadors are supplied to other countries in subsequent years.
2008/9 – With new programs in Thai, Lao, and Hmong, AWR achieves complete coverage of southeast Asia.
2010 – AWR moves to a new generation of broadcasting by launching a comprehensive podcasting service. All AWR programs, in all of its languages, are available online to listeners worldwide.