Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Classic Radio: Bible Story For The Children, KDKA with Rev. William A. Logan

Image of Rev. William A. Logan and four of his children
From the cover of the July 22, 1922 issue of KDKA Radio Broadcasting News.
From AmericanRadioHistory.com

For years I have tried to find out what the first Bible program in broadcasting for children was, and I may have found it. For now let's say that it is the earliest known children's Bible program. I wrote a little about this a few months ago and have pulled together more information.  In this blog edition I also have updates for the Radio and Television pages

Bible Story For The Children  [a.k.a. Children's Bible Story, Children's Bible Stories]
Children's (1922 - c. 1923, KDKA Pittsburgh)

This early program was the radio ministry of Rev. W. A. Logan. Being at the historic KDKA, the first commercial radio station, may mean it was the first children's bible program ever broadcast. Rev. William Armour Logan (1884 - 1966) was the pastor of the Alpha Lutheran Church of Turtle Creek, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He was born in Pennsylvania, the son of Scottish immigrants. He attended the Pennsylvania College at Gettysburg, earning his bachelors degree in 1910. According to the 1930 US Census his wife was Elsie May Chapman Logan, and the couple had at least 9 children. The Logan's the four eldest children, Donald, Jean, Margaret and William are the ones in the above image. According to some newspaper articles, Rev. Logan was active in concerns for Sunday School and youth ministries.

At first I was not sure if Rev. Logan started this program and if each and every Bible story broadcast was conducted by him. Thanks to the American Radio History website I was able to read the earliest newsletters of the KDKA station to learn more about this program. At first no one was credited for the broadcasts. Apparently as the program grew more popular, audiences wanted to know who was telling the stories. In the July 22, 1922 issue of KDKA's Radio Broadcasting News Logan was revealed to eager listeners as the host of the program. His name was mentioned with the program earlier in listings from the April 21st and the April 28th issue  of Radio Digest (look under Sunday, April 29).

Rev. Logan was also a regularly featured speaker on KDKA's Sunday afternoon chapel program. This researcher is still trying to discover the story behind how Logan became perhaps the first children's Bible host in broadcasting. At some point Rev. Logan submitted the idea of a Children's Bible program to the station manager. Logan would write the stories and do the program anonymously. That is until the public begged to know who he was. It would be incredible if Logan wrote scripts that still exist or if he published his stories in another medium. If anyone has any information about Rev. Logan, his life and ministries I would love to hear from you.

Find A Grave - Grave of William and Elsie Logan

Sample Broadcast Dates and Titles
The exact format and story contents of Logan's program are unknown. Below are sample episode dates and times pulled from newspapers and radio magazines. This program aired Sunday afternoons at various times between 12:00pm and 2:45pm EST. Note that broadcasts were subject to last minutes changes and radio listings may not have always reflected those changes.

1922-04-02 "The King of the Trees". (This is the earliest mention of this program I have found)

1922-04-23 "Planting Seeds in the Right Place".

1922-05-14 "A Baby Story for Mothers".

1922-05-28 "Two Boys-Two Gifts-Two Rewards".

1922-08-27 "Stumbling Blocks"

1922-10-01 "Trimmed Lamps"

1922-09-10 "Ideal Buddies"

1922-09-17 "Showing Off"

1922-10-01 "Trimmed Lamps"

1922-10-22 "Greedy Eyes"Norwich bulletin., October 21, 1922, Page 10, Image 10

1923-03-25 "The Children’s Hosanna"

1923-08-12 "An Ancient Perfume Box".  Evening star., August 12, 1923, Page 13, Image 41

1923-09-02 "The Man Who Built His Own Scaffold"Evening star., September 02, 1923, Page 9,

1923-12-16 "Christmas Dawn". (Washington, D. C.) Evening Star, December 16, 1923, Page 34.

Rediscovering Rev. Logan and this program after 95 years is very special for the year 2017. This fall will be 75th anniversary of the longest ongoing children's ministry in broadcasting, Children's Bible Hour, as well as the 30th anniversary of Focus on The Family's Adventures In Odyssey. Reflecting on how long ministers of the Gospel have reached children via storytelling media should be an inspiration for generations to come.

RED TEXT - corrections made on July 31, 2017.

This series and several new ones have been added to the Radio and Television pages. I am also trying to make these pages more visual with more images to go along with the program summaries.

End title frame from Tales From The Great Book,
 the animated series based on the long-running newspaper strip by John Lehti.

An "Apologetics & Education" page that will include ministries like Answers With Ken Ham and American Minute is in the works!