Audio Communications Track Consultation Report

July 21-22, 1997
United Kingdom

ATTENDEES: John Ball (UBS), Andrew Bowker (WEC), John Garside (FEBA), George Gera (IMB), Rhiannon Gibson (SIL), Maurice & Martha Glover (SIM), Alistair Macdonald (PRM), Durk Meijer (SIL), David Lewis (Consultant), Allan Starling (GR), Ed Young (LRI).

THE AD2000 MOVEMENT: Explanation and Report: Allan Starling (ACT Coordinator) gave a description of the AD2000 & Beyond Movement, and the Audio Communications Track (ACT), as well as a report on the GOWE'97 meetings in Pretoria. More information on the above can be seen on the Internet Web pages http://www.ad2000.org/ and<> http://users.aol.com/ad2000act The ACT (Audio Communications Track) is a catalyst group. It brings together those organizations that produce vernacular cassettes and provide associated services and equipment. It also seeks to sell to the missions community the concept of using audio communication.

THE AIMS OF THE ACT ARE:

  1. To help mobilize prayer for those still waiting to hear the Gospel in their language as well as for the goals and objectives of this Task Force.
  2. To assist in identifying those unreached people groups that can best be reached by audio communication methods.
  3. To encourage and facilitate greater cooperation among audio resource networks/ministries to enhance the effectiveness of existing audio materials.
  4. To encourage the formation of partnerships between ministries for cross pollenization and to help eliminate duplication of limited audio resources.
  5. To encourage the use of audio communication materials and techniques to better achieve existing strategy goals for training and evangelism.
  6. To provide: (a) Consultation and training in the effective planning, production and use of audio materials. (b) Information on available audio materials for evangelism and Christian nurture.
  7. To assist the National Initiatives of AD2000 and Beyond in the motivation, recruitment and training of teams who will be able to produce audio recordings and/or teach others how to plan, produce, and use audio materials.

GCOWE'97 provided an opportunity for telling the 1,100 African National Initiatives delegates about Audio Communication. 350 either took copies of the Audio Resource Guide, or gave their names for more information. However there was no opportunity given to talk to the rest of the 4,000 delegates who were divided into 9 different consultations such as executives from missions, business, seminaries, etc. This consultation underscored the fact that we have a long way to go in making known the critical need for, and availability of, audio communications materials and services.

INTERFACE WITH OTHER TRACKS: It was pointed out that Audio Communication is only one aspect of Media, and that is should be used in conjunction with other media. The question was raised as to why we don't have one track for all media. Allan is working on some ideas for meeting together with leaders of the different media related task forces and networks. However this will be more profitable once we get our act together and have something to show the others. There is value in Cooperation at all levels, and it is important to see the small picture as well as the large picture. We work very closely together within our specific organizations. At the other end of the spectrum, we meet together in large conferences like GCOWE'97 with 4,000 delegates from a wide variety of backgrounds. The ACT brings together a number of ministries with very similar (but not identical) goals relating to audio. The radio and translation groups have similar objectives. Now that these alliances have been formed, the next logical step seems to be to find a way for similar tracks to meet.

AUDIO COMMUNICATION AWARENESS: We defined audio communications tools as vernacular audio recordings of evangelistic messages, Scripture, basic Christian teachings and ethnic music, which can be used on audio cassettes, video, films, or radio, in conjunction with other related media. These recordings do not necessarily require reading skills in their production, distribution or use. We see the great need for audio communication in the face of rising global illiteracy. It was pointed out that conflicts stop schooling and disrupt education. We discussed the idea of unitedly promoting the CONCEPT of using audio Communications as distinct from each organization advertising its products and services. (Both valid). One of the challenges is to show that literacy is a valid communication tool, but so is audio communications. They need not be in opposition, but are complementary. The message is all important. After that we must choose the most appropriate means of communication for the specific target culture. We therefore recognized the need for a number of paradigm shifts:

  1. From a 'product' focus to a 'customer' focus;
  2. From 'non-print media' (negative term) to 'vernacular media';
  3. From audio OR literacy to appropriate media

Ways that ACT can help promote "Audio Communications Awareness" include: *Audio Resource Guide, *Audio Resource Database, *Audio Awareness Video, *Audio Awareness Seminars, *Audio Communications Surveys, *Mailing List.

AUDIO RESOURCE GUIDE (ARG): This small publication includes information about audio communications products and services available from approximately a dozen ministries. It shows types of recordings (evangelism, Scripture, etc.) types of training, and types of equipment. In addition to names and addresses, the present edition gives a short description of each organization, and a description of products and services available. There are also some short paragraphs inside the covers briefly answering the following questions: "Why Audio Communication?", "What is available?", "Where can I get it?", "How to use it?", "About ACT", and "Joining ACT". This is currently on the web address http://users.aol.com/ad2000act.<> It was felt that it would be more helpful (user friendly) for the readers if we could start by helping them to define their particular audio communications needs, then pointing them to a particular resource. This concept is being worked on. It was suggested that a separate flyer could be inserted for use in different countries showing local addresses. (At present, all the addresses shown are in the USA.) It was suggested that we really need a MEDIA Resource Guide. This is beyond the scope of this Track. However, after we get our next edition of the ARG out, we will have something to show the other related tracks, and this could perhaps be a catalyst to producing this larger guide. Distributing the guide: We have a mailing list of pastors and missionaries from the two GCOWE meetings in Korea and South Africa. What else?

AUDIO RESOURCE DATABASE: Ideally, this database should have information on all peoples and languages, the types of audio resources available for that group, and the source. This database could be used to help in advising other ministries about what types of resources are available, as well as to help those who are producing recordings to know what has, or has not been done. Data Sources: Gospel Recordings and the Forum of Bible Agencies have databases detailing their own resources. The "World By 2000" radio group has data on the Web about broadcasts, but we are not sure about what recordings are available in other than broadcast form. This could be an untapped source. SIL does not have a centralized database for recordings made of languages they have translated. It may have to be compiled by contacting each of their fields.

Existing/Proposed Databases: Should we start our own database, piggyback on an existing one, or do both? John Gilbert of SBC International Mission Board has a database on each country of the world., detailing names of peoples, languages, populations etc. It also shows translation status, Jesus Film status, and "AUDIO" At present, the only data under "audio" is an indication if Gospel Recordings has made a recording in that language. John is willing to expand this column to include sources and types of recordings. The PIN group has a database. There are probably a number of others too. Some questions are: Who needs to have this data at their fingertips? How will we keep this data updated? If we utilize the SBC database how often can receive updates?

AUDIO AWARENESS VIDEO: The need for this type of video was brought up at both the GCOWE and UK meetings. Purpose of Video: It should be motivational in nature, but also pointing viewers to where they can get more specific help and information about Audio Communications. Use of Video: Johan Combrink and Ross Campbell plan to hold seminars throughout Africa. The video could be shown at these seminars. John Robb of Unreached Peoples could be approached about using the video. It could be shown in Bible Schools and in Mission Orientation Courses. We should brainstorm on other uses. Length of Video: It was suggested that two versions (7 min. and 20 min.) could be produced. These would be on the same video cassette, so the appropriate on could be shown. Production of Video: Durk Meijer offered to put together a pilot. Allan will check on footage which was being put together for GCOWE'97. This was abandoned at the last minute because of equipment failure. John Garside offered to check UK colleges/universities for production possibilities. Several others have leads on available footage. Allan will also check with another contact who may be able to shoot new footage on location.

AUDIO AWARENESS SEMINARS: Not much was discussed at the meeting. Again, Media Awareness was suggested as a larger field. Be that as it may, people need help in choosing and using the right materials, and ideas of how they can use different media together with audio resources. It was pointed out that in most cases, manuals have limited value because most people are not motivated to use them. They are more likely to attend a seminar or course where they can get hands-on help. Andrew Bowker will look at possibilities for an Audio Awareness information pack that could be given/sold at meetings. The problem is finding personnel to teach these courses.

AUDIO COMMUNICATIONS SURVEYS: In preparation for the African National Initiatives conference at GCOWE'97, surveys were sent to each national coordinator. Only a few were returned. Is it worth pursuing this?

MAILING LISTS: There are two basic lists: (a) List of Potential Audio Resource Users: The names of 250 GCOWE'97 delegates who requested information will be added to the growing list of key people worldwide who want to use audio resources. We can also add to this, AD2000 national coordinators and leaders of other AD2000 tracks. Perhaps an occasional newsletter can be sent out to this list keeping them informed as new resources become available. (b) List of Audio Resource Providers: This is obviously a smaller (but growing) list. As most of them have access to email, we can use this medium to keep them informed of latest developments in the Audio Communications Field.

PARTNERSHIPS: Allan will explore the potential for partnerships with Phil Butler of Interdev.

LINKS ON THE NET: AD2000 Web page (http://www.ad2000.org/) has links to ACT.<> The ACT Web page (http://users.aol.com/ad2000act) has links to<> *AD2000 & Beyond Movement *Audio Resource Guide *ACT section of AD2000 Handbook *ACT members web pages and *email addresses. A private page is available for "in-house" information which is not ready for public viewing. Address is http://users.aol.com/ad2000act/bluayes

FUTURE ACTION: Several offered to help with various phases of follow up of the meetings. Thanks for being willing. Allan will contact you. He will also be discussing with GR the extent of his future participation with ACT. He would value your opinion on whether it is profitable to put full time into this venture. Another Europe meeting will be considered in a year or 18 months. The winter is cheaper for travel. We could have it just before or after EMA meets. Another possibility is at the time of the GRN meeting in Europe. There are also possibilities of a consultation for North Africa and the Middle East with the Arabic Media Convention and the North Africa Partnership, but these should be separate from a European meeting.

Respectfully submitted,
Allan Starling, Coordinator

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