TVOM Radio Broadcasts
Looking back on 2019, what was the most daring thing you did for Christ?
Many North Koreans—not all of them Christian—risked their lives by listening to scripture over the radio. Whether it be from a countryside shack in China or a tiny apartment in the middle of Pyeongyang, North Koreans tuned into True Voice of the Martyrs (TVOM) radio in 2019. The frequency reached everyone from sex-trafficked North Korean women to powerful North Korean officials, delivering not only scripture but also sermons from persecuted Christians around the world and throughout history.
Listening to non-state sanctioned stations is always a risk for these North Koreans (whether they be in North Korea, China, or even Russia), but, as Christ himself instructed us to be “shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16), we work to negate that risk as much as possible. This means carefully—and consistently—considering which frequencies we use, what times we air, and with whom we share access information.
Shortwave And AM Radio Broadcasts
단파와 AM 라디오 방송
From the beginning, TVOM has been smuggling scripture and discipleship materials into North Korean through one of the strongest shortwave radio signals into North Korea. Although the signal is a prime target of the North Korean government (they are constantly trying new ways to jam our signal), we work with professionals who identify and circumvent their strategies. When circumvention becomes too difficult, these professionals switch the frequency, throwing officials through a loop.
Beginning in January 2018, VOMK also invested in a medium-wave radio station, owing to research indicating its popularity and effectiveness among North Koreans. (If you look at the most effective radio broadcasts into North Korea, they all augment their shortwave radio broadcasts with medium-wave radio.) This station has also faced (and overcome) several jamming attempts, though it’s more difficult for officials to jam than short-wave broadcasts. The AM radio uses the same materials as our shortwave channel—it just airs at another time.
Beginning in 2020, VOMK will start a second short-wave radio signal that broadcasts the same material at a different time. This will reach a different demographic of NK listener and will extend our reach significantly.
This past year our radio content has made its way onto other stations. We’ve been working together with “Reach Beyond,” a ministry out of Australia, to supply our materials in order for them to into North Korea on a different short-wave signal.
This means that our radio content is now being broadcast into North Korea four times a day through short-wave and medium-wave signals!
This past year, TVOM invested in a new method of resource delivery—a website whose contents are not indexed by standard search engines. The only way to find this website is to know its URL, but there’s nothing on this page to indicate it’s a discipleship source. Access to discipleship content is hidden behind a login that is only distributed to partners who can be trusted. Partners are then able to download digital copies of discipleship books, Christian movies, sermons, and writings/interviews. If police attempt to search our partners’ belongings, they can easily delete whatever they have downloaded.
Although there have been a few hacking attempts on the site, none have been successful. Further, most seem to be standard hacking attempts—attempts by average people seeking to sell information—as opposed to government-endorsed attempts.
자주 묻는 질문
What's new in NK radio ministry?
We’ve recently been updating the way in which we broadcast into NK. We learned that TV news broadcasting in NK has more of the sound of our old style broadcast but radio broadcasting in NK is using warmer personal voices these days. Our broadcast is pioneering the use of a combined NK/SK announcing corps, with NKs and SKs interacting about the Bible and the Christian faith in friendly voices. It’s very revolutionary and we think it will attract a wider range of listeners. We are also excited to be broadcasting between program segments the new NK hymns that were recorded as part of last year’s Hymnal Project. These songs were recorded in the traditional NK style and sung by former members of art performance teams in North Korea. We expect that their traditional voices will touch North Koreans’ hearts through the North Korean classical style hymns.
Listen to Amazing Grace in North Korean!
Listen to As The Deerin North Korean!
Listen to God Is So Good in North Korean!
What do we broadcast into North Korea?
Our radio broadcasts are produced by our North Korean Underground University students. In the broadcasts the students share Scripture—both in its pure form and in the North Korean-style dramas which hold such interest for our audience. They read from books on Christian persecution to help underground believers there understand why they face the challenges they do and how to bear up under them.
There are also discipleship training segments, songs (often rewritten versions of North Korean “hymns” originally designed to praise Kim Il Sung), and—for the first time this year—“live” segments where our announcers reflect on their own experiences and explain what are often the very new and foreign words and concepts of Scripture.
How many North Koreans listen to the broadcast?
There are an estimated 2 million North Koreans who tune into their illegal radios each evening.
Does the North Korean government try to block our broadcasts?
Our broadcast is the regular target of ultimately unsuccessful blocking attempts of the North Korean government. The blocking attempts are the best indicators we have of how threatening the NK regime considers our broadcast to be. One of the ways that we overcome the blocking is through our active team of engineers who do whatever it takes on a nightly basis to enable the broadcast to be heard.
It is likely that our broadcast is threatening to NK not only because it is Christian but also because it is voiced by North Koreans. Many broadcasts use South Korean voices. Not only does this make the broadcast harder for North Koreans to understand, but the regime likely considers South Korean voices of evangelism to be less threatening than North Korean voices of evangelism.
Do you have any testimonies of North Koreans listening to the radio?
JKS, a North Korean defector, shared her experience of listening to the radio while she was in North Korea, she came to South Korea in 2006. She said that she listened to the radio for 3 months with her friends just before she left the North. She said that it was quite easy to receive the gospel radio programs and other radio programs from South Korea because she lived in a border area. Here is the story of JKS’ experience of listening to the radio in North Korea:
One night, we closed the door and listened to the radio under the blanket. At the moment that I listened to the radio from South Korea, it was not only amazing but also tears pricked my eyes because of our nation’s state of division.From that point on, I kept listening to radio broadcasts from South Korea with my father. We realized that Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un and their followers are untruthful. I sometimes got furious with them.Later, after I arrived in South Korea, when I talked with my home folks, there were some people who also listened to South Korean radio broadcasts in North Korea. They said that they covered themselves with blankets and agreed that the best time for listening to the radio was from 10 pm to 2:30 am.