The radio world lost a stalwart supporter of Christian-based programming and its power to motivate and inspire with the passing of Dr. Lowell Davey.
Dr. Davey, founder and president of the listener-supported global Christian radio network Bible Broadcasting Network, passed away on Saturday Feb. 18 at the age of 83.
“Anyone who met Lowell Davey, even briefly, would describe him with the word “vision,” said Jason Padgett, BBN business manager. “For Lowell, vision meant always looking forward to new ways to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ and to teach them the Bible.”
Dr. Davey founded the BBN, which is headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., in 1968 and built it into a network of 44 full-power stations and 87 low-power translators in 31 states up and down the Eastern seaboard and into the Midwest.
“Lowell’s visionary spirit is clearly embodied in his approach to radio and internet as tools to communicate the only message that has the power to change lives forever,” Padgett said. “In 1983 when the use of satellite to broadcast was still very young, Dr. Davey viewed it as a cost-effective way to maintain the standards and integrity of our programming over a growing network of radio stations across the country. Another example of Lowell’s vision came in the late 1990s when he decided to use internet streaming to not only extend our outreach in the United States, but enabling BBN to broadcast internationally in other languages.”
The BBN not only operates AM and FM radio stations in 14 countries outside of the U.S., it also streams online programming in English and eight other languages, including Spanish, Portuguese and German.
That was one of the network’s special strengths, Dr. Davey said once during one of his regularly recorded programs known as the “Perspective” segment. The unscripted program hosted by Dr. Davey touched on the power of God’s message, but also took the time to point out life’s idiosyncrasies, like the complexity of English language and the challenges that could bring to sharing God’s message over radio.
During one of those “Perspective” broadcasts, Dr. Davey — speaking in a deeply resonating baritone voice — said that it’s not always easy translating English phrases into another language.
“Think of it. There’s no ‘egg’ in eggplant, neither is there ‘pine’ or ‘apple’ in pineapple. When the stars are out, they’re visible, but when lights are out, they’re invisible. This is the complexity of the English language.”
And yet BBN had found a meaningful way of translating Biblical messages into different languages, he said. As a result, the network was reaching a wide audience through over-the-air radio broadcasts, through streaming, and through the network’s BBN Bible Institute, which was set up to deliver online audio Bible courses in multiple languages free of charge.
“The tools of technology can literally allow us to touch our world today,” he said during that “Perspective” broadcast.
It was back in 1968 that Dr. Davey first made an offer to purchase a radio station in Norfolk, Va. “We sense the need of a quality station that is Christian-oriented and has quality music, both classical and Christian,” read the letter that BBN submitted to the station. Although that deal fell through, the network soon after was able to successfully purchase another Norfolk-area station, WYFI, and begin broadcasting in October 1971.
In a memorial posting on the BBN website, Dr. Davey’s colleagues are taking solace that he has returned to the God “he loved and served faithfully for so many decades.”
Here’s a recording from BBN concerning Dr. Davey’s passing.