Biblical Radio Dramas/Storytelling ProgramsLast Updated: 07/16/2017
RED Text indicates the latest updates or corrections.
I plan to continuously update this page. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if any of the information on this page is inaccurate, to list your ministry, or if you do not want your ministry or program listed on this web page.
This page is divided into Two Sections:
I. Dramatized Programs Still Broadcast Over The Air In The United States
II. Network Dramas From The Golden Age Of Radio, 1922 - 1962.
Dramatic Programs Still Broadcast Over The Air in the United States.The following are broadcast series created and designed to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ that are currently on the air over AM or FM stations in the continental United States. Dates for a few series may refer to the beginning of the founding ministry and not the broadcast premiere date. These programs are listed in chronological order.
BBN - Bible Broadcasting Network
FBN - Fundamental Broadcasting Network
Children’s Bible Hour (Daily Story Time) Children’s (1942 - present)
Fun half-hour series of songs, games and stories with real children. Airs today in reruns each Saturday with some up to date comments from longtime host “Uncle Charlie” Vander Meer, perhaps the nicest voice in radio. The second longest running children’s radio program in history and the longest of any medium in North America. Monday thru Friday (Daily Story Time) broadcasts are heard in some areas as the second half of BBN’s Captain’s Club. www.keysforkids.org
Stories of Great Christians. Biographical dramas (1946 - 1990)
Moody Radio classic series of 61 biographies totaling 1,351 episodes, of pastors, missionaries, industrialists, scientists, and thinkers. Still in demand, still on the air. Famous lives portrayed include Rev. Peter Marshall, Rose Warner, and George Washington Carver.
Heard on BBN stations Monday - Friday 5:15pm EST.
Your Story Hour. Children’s (1949 - present).
Dramatized stories for children that currently air on 1,000 stations in America, 3,000 worldwide.
Unshackled. True-life dramas (October 7, 1950 - present) 3200+ episodes.
Longest running broadcast radio drama in history! Heard in several languages and nations. Still recorded in front of a studio audience from Pacific Garden Ministries, “The Old Lighthouse” in Chicago, Illinois. Presents true life stories of men and women dealing with issues ranging from alcoholism to mental depression whose lives were “unshackled” by the love of Christ. Visit www.unshackled.org to find a local radio station or hear archived episodes. Episodes that deal with more mature content are given a parental advisory at the beginning.
Unshackled 65th Anniversary blog article
Children’s Bible Club. Children’s (1954 - present)
A story and song radio ministry started by a minister’s wife in South Carolina. Heard on 50+ stations in America plus a few internationally. Broadcast on Saturdays mornings on FBN. stations.
Ranger Bill: Warrior of the Woodland. Juvenile Adventure (1954 - c. 1961)
ABC Radio’s The Silver Eagle (1951-1955), about a Northwestern Mountie, was supposedly radio’s last juvenile adventure program, but this series by Moody Radio has its legion of fans from over the past sixty years. The adventures of a forest ranger, his ward and many loyal friends. Fine children's radio which is still heard on many American radio stations. Airs weekday afternoons on some FBN stations.
The Bible In Living Sound. (1964 - present)
450 dramatized stories from the Bible, usually presented in half hours for some radio markets. (More information coming soon) Check for local listings.
Heard on FBN Stations Mon - Fri. 12:05pm EST.
Captain’s Club. Children’s (1979 – present)
Five day a week ministry of Ken and Dot Sparks, who play Captain Chester Peake, and the club’s secretary Miss Sparkle. Riddles, and Bible quizzes alternate between Paul Collins’ “Sugar Creek Gang” stories, and Daily Story Time with Uncle Charlie. There is something unmistakably charming about the Sparks as they talk to the youngsters.
BBN. Mon-Fri, 4:00pm EST.
BBN Schedule Page for Captain's Club
Tinyberg Tales. Narrated stories (1985-1993)
Storytelling series, based on the stories of minister Robert “Bob” Hastings (not to be confused with the late golden age radio actor Bob Hastings), about a small town of citizens who use faith in their daily lives.
Heard nationally on BBN stations Sat. 11:00 am, 10:30pm EST.
Adventures in Odyssey. Family (1987 - present) 700+ episodes
Family comedy/adventure series that is the second most popular Bible-based program in America, with over 1.5 million listeners per week. Fun for kids and adults, with beloved characters John Avery Whitaker, Connie, Eugene and many more. Heard in numerous stations throughout the U.S. and available on CD in select Christian bookstores. A ministry of Focus On The Family.
Children's Music Room. Music. (c. 1991 - present).
You are invited to sit in the "Beanbag Chair of Honor" as announcer Mike Dize and Bogus Personage host a wonderful assortment of Christian children's music. A hallmark of Saturday mornings on BBN for the young and young at heart.
9:25am - 9:45am EST (following the Children's Bible Hour and before Patch The Pirate) & c. 10:25am to 11:00am EST (following Adventures in Odyssey).
Patch the Pirate (The Adventures of Patch The Pirate, Sing-Along With Patch The Pirate)
(1995 - present) Children’s Musical Adventure
Fun musical adventure serial that went from 45 stations to over 450, making it the third largest children’s religious outreach according to the National Association of Religious Broadcasters. Geared toward grades 2nd to 5th but good for all ages. Also heard in the Bahamas and South Africa. Airs in many stations on Saturday mornings.
Paws & Tales
(2001 - present)
The children's radio ministry of Chuck Swindoll. Heard on over 450 stations.
Kids Corner. The radio children's ministry of Back to God Ministries International.
Focus On The Family Radio Theater. ( - present) - www.focusonthefamily.com/radio-theatre.aspx
Daily Bible Reading With Alexander Scourby [various titles]. (??? - present)
Scourby completed these famous recordings for the American Society For The Blind between 1949 and 1953. I would like to know when these recordings began to appear on radio.
Some of the following programs were not produced by a Christian ministry, but may have still had a theological consultant to review scripts and content, while others were genuinely made with the intent of encouraging Bible study and are listed together here as a growing record of the history of Biblical dramas and storytelling with Christian themes in American broadcasting.
Radio Dramas From The Golden Age of Radio (c. 1922 - c. 1962)
Children's Bible Story [Children's Bible Stories, Bible Story For The Children] - Children's (1922 - c. 1923 ??, KDKA Pittsburgh)
An early radio ministry of Rev. W. A. Logan of the Alpha Lutheran Church of Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania. Being at the historic KDKA station may mean it was the first children's bible program every broadcast. It is unknown if Rev. Logan started this program and if every KDKA Bible story broadcast was conducted by him.
How Granny Told The Bible Stories - Children's (October 19, 1924 - c. 1925, WDAK Philadelphia; WLIT 1925).
The program was most likely based on the 1921 children's book of the same name by Eleanor Herr Boyd. The program aired over two Philadelphia stations. It was hosted or narrated by "Dream Daddy" Harry Ehrhart, one of radio's earliest children's "uncles" over WDAR - LIT on alternate Sundays. The station was later renamed WLIT in favor of the Lit Brothers who were co-owners of station. Interestingly today WLIT is WFIL "Philadelphia Christian Radio" AND the call letters WDAR now belong to a FM contemporary Christian station in Darlington, South Carolina.
Bible Stories For Young People – Children’s (1924 WBBR, Buffalo NY)
The exact contents of this program are unknown except that it was hosted by a woman named Mrs. J. F. Stephenson.
|Two kiddie records from Aunt Theresa's KYB Club. From the Author's Collection.|
KYB Club [Aunt Theresa’s KYB Club] Children’s (WMBI, 1926 – 1971)
The Know Your Bible Club was the long running children’s ministry from the pioneering Moody Bible Institute radio station in Chicago. Hosting for the program continued with "Aunt Theresa" Worman beginning in 1933. By the late 1960s it had become the longest running program in American broadcasting. Worman was also the author of several children's books and devotionals. A number of Bible song records (above) were released from the series.
Article from the Chicago Tribune about the KYB Club
Shnay, Jerry. "Crystal Set Radio Era Lingers On". Chicago Tribune. February 20, 1969, pg. 85.
More information is needed from radio logs and histories. KTBI is usually sited as the first all-Christian radio station in history. If so then the "Aunt Martha" program may have been the first children's ministry from an Christian broadcasting station. Aunt Martha aired Sunday through Thursdays and Saturdays from 7:15pm to 8:00pm and Fridays an hour earlier.
|Rare paperback cover for Bible Dramas by William Ford Manley. From the Author's Collection.|
Biblical Dramas - religious dramas (1927 - 1929, NBC)
Uncle Fred's Biola Children's Club - Children's (c. 1928 - 19??, KTBI Los Angeles)
Morning time (8:00am daily) program from Biola University's historic radio station. A possible replacement for the Aunt Martha program.
Immortal Dramas - religious dramas (1935, NBC)
Well received series of Bible dramas that were sponsored by Montgomery Ward. This series only ran for thirteen weeks and some review articles from the time suggest that it was a faithful adaption of select Bible stories. No episodes exist today, but the program is well researched.
Bible Dramas - religious dramas (1935, WMAQ)
This was a series of 18 presentations by the Chicago Bible Society. Each episode was narrated by Bill Hay, who at the time was the nation's most familiar announcer for his work on Amos 'n' Andy.
Immortal Stories From The Book of Books (a.k.a. The Sunday Players) - (c. 1935 - c. 1942 ?, syn.). This was a widely syndicated series of Bible dramas by the "Sunday Players" of Los Angeles, California or the "Sunday Players of Hollywood". Trade magazine ads suggest this program was available for broadcast into the late 1940s. Its wide syndication may be the likely reason why some episodes have survived in archives.
Audio Clips from the Recorded Sound Archives of Florida Atlantic University Libraries:
Immortal Stories from the Book of Books - Crossing the Red Sea
The Light of The World - daytime soap opera (!)/religious drama. (1940 - 1950, CBS).
Yes, in a decade where over 40 soaps operas could air in single week there was one based on the Bible! It was a hit with audiences and clergy during its run and adapted mostly stories from the Old Testament. Various actors appeared in various roles. The most famous announcer was Bret Morrison (The Shadow). Like most radio soap operas episodes are very scarce. The special V-E Day episode (6/6/1944) is enjoyable. Sponsored by General Mills.
Children's Chapel - children's (c. 1941 WBEN)
Children's radio series hosted by a woman named Hilary Kuhl.
Chaplain Jim, U.S.A. - daytime/soap opera. (April 2, 1942 - June 30, 1946, NBC, MBS)
The story of a young military chaplain during World War II, sponsored by the United States War Department. At least one episode is known to exist.
Bill Hay Reads The Bible - (1942 - ?? KHJ, KMPC [now KSPN] Los Angeles)
Bill Hay the former announcer of the Amos 'n' Andy program did this series from Los Angeles. Some sources say that he actually began on the air Bible readings over WMAQ Chicago in 1928 when the Amos 'n Andy program aired from their offices. Also heard over the Mutual Radio Network.
Uncle Win's Bible Hour - children's (1943 - c. mid 1960s).
Radio ministry of the Rev. Winfield "Uncle Win" Ruelke, founder of the Children's Bible Fellowship of New York. Rev. Ruelke started a television ministry in 1953.
The Story of The Bible (c. 1946) religious dramas.
Sometimes confused with “The Light of The World”, this is a good radio program of unknown origin, with a single episode circulating around the internet, and also posted in my original Family Bible Media Collection site. The Narrator is George Haskins.
Story of The Bible - September 24, 1946
Sole surviving episode of a radio drama based on the Old Testament. Episode depicts the stories of Cain & Abel, and Noah's Ark.
The Greatest Story Ever Told [Radio series] religious dramas (1947 - 1956, ABC),
Successful radio drama adopted from the Gospels by Guideposts editor Fulton Oursler. Creative liberties were taken in every aspect except for Jesus, who spoke word for word exactly what was in the Bible, voiced by actor Warren Parker. This program was also adapted into a novel, a handful of now forgotten early 1950s TV specials and a curious big screen epic in 1965 directed by George Stevens with Max Von Sydow as Christ. The radio program was sponsored by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, who reverently, were only referred to in the beginning of each broadcast.
Greatest Story Ever Told, The. December 14, 1947. "Go And Be Counted"
Third in a five part series from the ABC radio drama series which told the story of the birth of Christ. Sponsored by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.
Heartbeat Theater. (syn. March 1956 - January 1985)
Series of radio dramas produced by the Salvation Army. Downloadable from various websites. I've seen transcription discs of this series on Ebay several times and have no doubt collectors are purchasing and digitizing more episodes of this series.