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The Journalists Association “Novomedia” 

"The transformation of media returns the transformation of nation"


The Novomedia Association is the all-Ukrainian non-governmental journalistic organization. It was founded in 2004 on the initiative of journalist Ruslan Kukharchuk. The Association unites Christian journalists and other creative stuff of different media in two common ways: spiritual unity and professional interests.

For today, Novomedia  Association  includes about 200 members from secular and Christian media and has representatives in the majority of regions of Ukraine. There are also members of the community in Russian Federation, USA and Canada.

Ron Harris, NRB & MEDIAlliance International: “Our goal – to help people through media to understand the hope we have in Christ”


We recorded this interview with Ron Harris in March, 2011, in Nashville, Tennessee. It was during NRB Convention. Mr. Harris well-known radio journalist for many years. Also he  occupied the position of vice-president National Religious Broadcasters and head of NRB International Committee. Mr. Harris began interesting in broadcasting as a young boy. Started working in the college radio in 1966. Since that time he has seen a lot of changes in the industry and the business. 

Also Ron Harris worked with churches in producing radio and television being as the staff member in large churches that had extensive ministry of radio and television. 

What was your position then? A producer, broadcaster, journalist or an editor? 

I was the staff person that took things produced at the church and put them out on the air. It could be music, teaching or even be a pastor’s message. Sometimes we produced our own programs. We had a small studio at church and we produced top variety of programs on one of the TV station on Sunday nights. It was interviews, music, and we shot videos in other places, such as on mission trips. It was like a small variety program, and it was very well received. We saw it as an alternative way of reaching people. And that was about 25 years ago.  So it was not a normal thing for a local church to do, but we were excited that our church was willing to do that, to be so forward thinking. 

Where did you put these programs? 

The program we produced started on one of the secular television. We bought the time to start these programs. And it got very high in ratings in our small market of about 150,000 people in North Texas. But the there were other people who found out about the program and it began airing on cable systems that certain churches would run. I think we had 10 or 12 places around the country that were showing the programs. It was not specific to just our city; it was the program that could run anywhere.   

Was it sermons or documentary, or what was that programs about? 

We had a host and co-host, much more like you see on talk shows today. We had music that we recorded in our studio with top Christian artists, and we were able to mix those into the program. We would have interviews with people which always touched upon their faith. For instance we had four men, who were in our church, they grew up together as young boys, they joined the military during World War II. All four of them were on what was known as the Bataan Death March in the South Pacific, and all four survived. Many, many people died during this War, but these four men came to our talk show to talk about how their faith sustained them during those difficult days. A family member later told us: “Our father never talked about that experience, We heard things on your program that we never heard as a family, because it was a painful experience”. But they also were able to express how God had sustained them. So there were very interesting stories that we were able to put on the air. We know God honors the preaching of His Word, but we felt it was important for viewers to see people in real life situations and exhibiting their faith and understanding how God works through us in challenges that everyone in some point will face, and to see how faithful God is. And those become the illustrations what the Sunday sermon was about. It was a great way to support the biblical teaching, and we loved doing that by working with churches. 

How often did your program run? 

We originally started it out once a month; we used all volunteers in production room. We probably had 10 or 12 people. Cameraman, director, audio.  I was the staff person who produced all of the various parts and hosted the program. We had another person, a lady in our church, who co-hosted the program with us. Though we had a lot of fun, we also set very high standards, so if the program didn’t look right we would tape portions of it until it looked right. We didn’t want to put something out that didn’t meet highest professional standards.  And as with just volunteers from the church, that was a pretty amazing thing to do. Through the years I work in radio both in secular market place and in Christian broadcasting. For 15 years I managed a Christian radio station in Dallas, Texas. We had other stations that were attached as part of our organization in other parts of Texas. I was on the air doing our morning drive program that had music, weather, sports, news and interviews. We played a lot of music and we were doing a lot of interviews, usually 5-minute interviews with authors, newsmakers, about things that were going around the world. It became time for people in the morning not to learn only about the weather and traffic, but to receive a spiritual impact in their lives on a daily basis through the music and interviews and other segments. 

How to put Christian show in secular Media now? Is it difficult comparing to 20-30 years ago? 

It’s difficult in the fact that it costs considerable amount of money. It becomes more and more expensive. Some stations won’t sell time to Christian organization during their prime time. About only one that can buy that prime time would be the Christian programming of Billy Graham. Everyone honor his ministry so much that they will sell it. Others won’t do that. Churches can buy time on Sunday. The rest of television time is too expensive for most churches to buy.

So it’s not that difficult to get time on the weekends than on the evenings? 

Not as difficult. Usually stations will have a segment on Sunday morning that they will sell for the churches. If the churches want to go beyond that they can get one minute commercial, and pastor can say one minute devotional thought, or a human needs and God’s answer to that need. 

Continuing the story about myself, I have also taught Communication at the Dallas Baptist University. And from 2008 (to 2013) I worked for the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB). In my new ministry, MEDIAlliance International, I am working all over the world, primarily finding out what Christians broadcasters are doing at the other parts of the world and looking for any ways we can help them. Sometimes it’s just encouraging them, mentoring, training, financial, assisting with getting programming and making connections with ministries that can help. And that’s been really exciting because it allows me to see what God has been doing in other parts of the World with people that He’s called out. It is not us from the USA sending missionaries out to start something, but to assist those in their own countries that God has already called. 

It’s really exacted to do that. I get to come back to the USA and talk to our Christian broadcasters here and say: “You need to be helping. God has blessed us in many, many ways. You need to connect with the station, you need to help them by training or mentoring, or become in a relationship as we call it “Sister Station”. We find the ways that US broadcasters can assist them. Fundraising is very important too, because we all need money. We know we all need that, but that’s not the first thing people ask for. They say we need training; we need strategic thinking so we can improve to reach our audience. Or like one man from Asia said yesterday, all he needs are leaders – people who can work within his country. Sometimes all we can do is just pray that God will open up the hearts of people in that country to help meet those kinds of needs.   

Does NRB (National Religious Broadcasting) produce its own product? 

NRB is an Association and our ministries who are members of the NRB association produce the programs. NRB has a TV network that was started about 5 years ago. It takes programs that others have produced and puts them on the air. We have our own network and through that network it airs those programs. The NRB Network is coming through Direct TV. Basically it reaches United States and people who subscribe to that delivered service. The name of the owner is Rupert Murdoch, he actually gave the Channel to NRB for free, after meeting with the NRB leadership. 

Is Rupert Murdoch just a commercial man or he involved in Christianity too? 

He is commercial. Some of our folks shared the Gospel with him, but I don’t know where he is spiritually, but he did understand the calling and the purpose of the Christian broadcasting. And he was willing to give us the Channel and we are grateful for that. God uses many things through many ways, and we don’t know how that happens. But it should be an encouragement for folks throughout the World. Maybe it’s not a Rupert Murdoch but God can use somebody who is not even a Christian to allow us to grow in our opportunity to share the Gospel. We don’t know why it happens, we don’t understand but He is faithful, He presents the needs. In many places we can very easily tell people that what we do, improves the quality of life in families, communities and homes. That is very true. To them there is not a spiritual connection but they do understand it’s better for us, for our families and community to be strong. So if we will ask people to help, it doesn’t matter if they are believers or not, it will improve quality of life in the families, in our homes, schools, government as people hears the Gospel of Jesus. 

Why Christian ministry has a low level in the secular mainstream media in USA and in Ukraine? Is that a personal professional problem of Christian journalists? Maybe Christians are not enough effective as journalists? 

It’s probably all of that. For many years I have taken the broadcasts side. Some Christians didn’t think that those tools of broadcasting could be used for God because media tools were used mostly for entertainment and for films, which can be bad. (The language, the story, the life style). Christians could never think that could be a tool for God. So it was not an easy thing for a young person to move into that kind of work.  That’s means that we don’t have as many committed, dedicated Christians in the secular media market. That is changing now. But can they sway over the industry? – Probably not, but they can be a shining light, an illustration of Christ in their realm, influencing their area. And we have seen that happen. Walt Disney is not a Christian Company but within that organization are dedicated Christians. And Walt Disney has produced some films that have high moral standards and some of them have Christian content. It doesn’t happen all the time but even if it happens sometimes, it is the opportunity to use those tools for Christ. The Apostle Paul says we should take all things captive for Christ. We can also apply it to us in media, capturing all technologies for Christ, whether it’s an Internet, social media, radio or TV. With all those technologies, we have an opportunity as believers to capture them, and use them for God’s goods not just the worlds goods. 

Do churches understand better the importance of Media Activity now in US and all over the World? 

I think, they do. In other parts of the World I think it’s still somewhat challenging. In every part it’s different. Some of them embrace media more. In your region of the world, for example, Romania has many radio stations and television. Bulgaria does not have so much. Russia… it depends. It becomes more challenging with the politics today. When it comes to churches, sometimes they able to see the power of the tool, sometimes they are not. I am grateful when I see young men and young women that God called out, using those communication tools to get God’s message out. Even in the secular media, to be able to write the article from the Christian perspective can be useful for reaching people with the God’s message. I think our world is not getting better and better. 

We find some areas where God’s revival will break out and people would change in a dramatic way, but overall we all are agreeing that the world is not getting better and better. I don’t think that speaks to the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the Gospel, I know it speaks to the power of the evil that is in the world. And the people are willing to allow themselves to be affected by their own pleasure than by God’s message. And the Gospel is not easy. It’s simple in its presentation but it’s very difficult to live out. So people are challenged sometimes when they see it as restrictive from what they want to do. Just on the general moral standing, people would rather do their own thing than live by God’s standards, because they think that is constraining them. When they began to understand how things really operate in our world, it is Satan and the evil that is constraining them to further evil, and they are never free as God wants for them to be free. 

Our goal to help people understand the hope we have in Christ through media and every other possible way. We share the hope that we have in Christ, the freedom that comes through Him, and the desire to live our life in a way that pleases God. And that brings us the most satisfaction. God said: “I want you to live the life that is abundant”. And I think it means abounded in joy. It doesn’t mean we will have no problems. We face them all the time and in the US, we face even more problems as never before. We see what’s going on in the Middle East. God doesn’t guarantee us an easy life, but He does guarantee that we will have a joy within us no matter what happens with the external circumstances.

Ruslan Kukharchuk, Yuliya Maruk, The Novomedia Association.