Kintronic Labs president Tom King has been overseeing efforts to prepare TWR antennas on Bonaire for the upcoming signal expansion, the result of the $3.8 million Power Up project.
Tom King was bored.
It was 1996, and for the first time, the company that King is president of, Kintronic Labs, had its own display stand at the International Broadcasting convention in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, the stand was in one of the worst spots in the exhibition hall, and traffic was nonexistent.
“Lord, bring some folks around,” he prayed.
Eventually, two men came by looking for the exit. King glimpsed the familiar ministry name “TWR” on their ID badges, and he introduced himself to Werner Kroemer and Helmut Menzel. He told them that Kintronic wanted to help Christian radio stations, and the two TWR veterans sat down and related their efforts to reach Central Asia with the gospel.
“Not long after that conversation, I traveled with Helmut Menzel to the station [that broadcasts to Central Asia],” King said. “We slept in the same room, where it was so cold that there was still some snow in the corner of the room! It never melted the whole time we were there. They had old Russian heaters.”
It was the start of fruitful and continuing relationship between Kintronic, a leader in the design and manufacture of AM broadcast antenna systems, and TWR. In mid-July 2017, King was on Bonaire to oversee the tuning of the antennas as part of the Power Up project, which is more than quadrupling the transmitter’s wattage and doubling the station’s potential audience across Latin America and the Caribbean.
“The new signal will provide a city-grade signal in to places like Havana, Cuba, which means the signal will be as strong as a local FM station,” said King, who holds degrees in electrical engineering. “A lot more people are going to have access to Christian radio as result of this power upgrade. We hope that new churches will be established and that Cuban leaders will hear the good news of Jesus Christ and come to faith in Christ and see the whole country transformed.”
King’s work for TWR has taken to many parts of the world. In addition to Western Asia and Bonaire, he’s been involved in projects in Estonia, West Africa and Sri Lanka. While in Sri Lanka, he traveled north to India, where the significance of Christian broadcasting was deeply impressed upon him by the sight of shelves packed with thousands of letters from TWR listeners.
And who better to have working on your AM facilities than the man who not only has authored many technical papers on the medium and received a National Association of Broadcasters engineering award but also is an outspoken advocate for the revitalization of AM broadcasting. His late father, Louis, who founded Kintronic, also won the NAB award.
“Think of countries where there is no access to Wi-Fi, where people just do not have the money to subscribe or where the media is controlled,” he said. “Radio is free. Radio is trustworthy. … Computer programs can be hacked and changed.”
Never mind, he adds, AM has unique characteristics that enable its signals to be bounced off the atmosphere “to distant countries where there is no Christian message available.”
Talk for a few minutes with Tom King, and his twin passions are likely to be revealed: the value of AM radio and its power to be used in reaching the world for Christ.
“Only in heaven will we know how radio has impacted the lives of people,” he said. “We should never forget that there is a spiritual battle against Christian radio stations. Satan is doing everything he can to prevent this work from succeeding. For that reason, it is very important to pray for these projects.”