History Book


NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, April 8th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: the WORLD Radio History Book.

Seventy-five years ago this week, a group of evangelicals form an association to protect religious broadcasting.

Plus, 45 years ago, the first Major League Baseball game played indoors.

EICHER: But first, a Prussian pastor opens his first orphanage for neglected children. Here’s Paul Butler.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: In 18th and 19th century England, hundreds of thousands of families migrated to cities for work. Unsafe manufacturing conditions, poor sanitation, and widespread poverty and disease led to a spike in the number of orphans on the streets.

WHITLEY: If a child was an orphan, they would put them in the workhouse, or perhaps in the prison, to live…

Doug Whitley is a George Müller impersonator.

WHITLEY: There was no place for children. So I prayed: “Father, I think we should start an orphanage…”

On April 11th, 1836, George Müller and his wife Mary convert their rented Wilson Street home into an orphanage for 30 girls. A few months later, they open an additional home for boys and another for babies. They believe that God will provide for all their personal and ministry needs without appeals for money. Instead, they pray.

MULLER: I pray for the food that we do not have. The scriptures say to come boldly. To open wide your mouth, and he will fill it. I come boldly with a big mouth, and I ask you, God, to fill it. Even as I pray, a knock at the door. There is a man outside who says: “I have a dairy and deliveries. My axle has broken right outside your door. Do you need some milk?”

Over his lifetime, Müller records thousands of answered prayers in his diaries—his accounts later inspire many to enter “faith missions” all around the world. His orphanages not only cared for children, but they also provided education and training for trades.

Before his death at age 92, Müller helped more than 10-thousand children.

MUSIC: [Matthew West: One Less]

Next, April 12th, 1944. Some 150 evangelical broadcasters and church leaders gather in Ohio. They establish the National Religious Broadcasters Association.

PEDERSON: Well radio was pretty new in 1944, and Christians were just getting involved in building radio stations and producing nationwide programs…

Wayne Pederson is a broadcast executive. He has been associated with the NRB for more than 40 years.

PEDERSON: There was a movement among the more liberal churches to keep Christian programs off the air.

In 1943, the Federal Council of Churches, made up of mainline denominations, convinced the three national radio networks to remove all independent Christian broadcasters from the airwaves.

The council of churches argued that time slots should only be given to responsible and accountable broadcasters.

PEDERSON: So this group of evangelical broadcasters came together in 1944 to say, “We need to stand together on this to preserve the access to the airways for the gospel.”

Five years later, the NRB successfully convinced the newly formed ABC radio network to lift the ban, and the other networks followed their lead. Today, the NRB continue to lobby on behalf of Christian broadcasters, to protect access to airwaves and internet platforms.

MUSIC: [Gaither Vocal Band: I Heard It First on the Radio]

GAME SOUND: All right, here’s the lead-off batter…

And finally, April 9th, 1965. A baseball first:

GAME SOUND: At the wall, jumps. He can’t get it. It’s a Homerun! Mantle hit it…

The Houston Astros and the New York Yankees play the first indoor game in baseball history.

NEWSREEL: The shape of things to come…

The opening game of the ‘65 season occurs three days later when the Astros host the Philadelphia Phillies. The 31-million dollar dome features sophisticated environmental controls, flexible configuration for multiple sports, and a state of the art animated scoreboard.

NEWSREEL: The scoreboard is a $2 million item that’s a show in itself. The plastic ceiling makes it an all weather stadium, but already there is trouble…

Initially, players struggle to see the ball against the glass and plastic stadium roof tiles, so crews eventually have to paint them. But the reduced light ends up killing the natural grass field, leading to the creation of “AstroTurf.” The artificial grass soons spreads to sporting venues around the country. After more than 40 years, the Astrodome closed in 2008.

That’s this week’s WORLD Radio History Book. I’m Paul Butler.


(Photo/Houston Astros)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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