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1959 - HCJB Television - The Window of the Andes

Ecuadorian musical artists were a popular part of HCJB-TV's programming.
HCJB-TV aired a wide variety of programming including well-known musical artists from Ecuador and Latin America.
Giff and Ginny Hartwell in the control room {standing).
Giff and Ginny Hartwell (standing) in the control room where they oversea a live televison broadcast.

 

One Man's Scrap is Another Man's Treasure

Giff Hartwell was a radio and TV technician /engineer who dreamed of using TV to share Christ on the mission field.

One day Giff heard about some television equipment that General Electric (GE) was about to scrap, so he went and made an offer to buy it. Giff would eventually purchase thousands of pounds of more television equipment at scrap prices. The GE plant gave him access to their machine shop during lunch hours, and GE engineers gave him advice and access to drawings. Seven other companies made and donated special parts.

With a total outlay of just $1,800 plus some 2,000 hrs of work, Giff was able to compile enough equipment in his garage for two TV stations. He contacted HCJB asking if the mission would be interested. The mission replied they would be, if Gif joined the mission and came to Ecuador to help start the station.  

Pioneering Missionary Television

Just as HCJB had pioneered missionary radio in 1931, the mission pioneered missionary television in 1959.  HCJB-TV "La Ventana de los Andes" (The Window of the Andes) was also the first television station to go on the air in Ecuador.

Some 250 Television sets were already in the country before HCJB aired its first broadcast. Families gathered in homes, in restaurants, or any where they could, to watch the several hours of live programming aired each night.

 
Families and friends gathered in living rooms around Quito to catch their first glimpse of television in the country.
Families and friends gathered in living rooms around Quito to catch their first glimpse of television in the country.
Billy Graham appeared on HCJB-TV during the 1962 evangelistic campaign.
Billy Graham appeared on HCJB-TV during the 1962 evangelistic campaign.

 

Operating a television station in Ecuador was challenging from the beginning. There were many delays and difficulties in getting official permissions to go on the air. The station aired regular "test" broadcasts while it waited for an official license to be granted. Interference between Ecuadorian police & military communications systems and the TV signal forced HCJB to change frequencies from channel 2 to channel 4.

But God did many wonderful things through the television station.

Well known local and international evangelists appeared on HCJB-TV including Billy Graham, Hermano Pablo and Luis Palau. A live TV telephone call-in show with Luis Palau led to a conversation that literally stopped a revolution (read more). Many people came to know the Lord and one church was started as a direct result of the station's ministry.

 

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