TWR engineers and their co-workers are excited to salute World Radio Day 2017 just as Titus II is set to open a new range of possibilities for the medium.
World Radio Day, observed Monday, Feb. 13, is sponsored by UNESCO in celebration of the venerable medium and its continuing significance in daily life.
“At a time of turbulence, radio provides an enduring platform to bring communities together,” Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO, said in a news release. “On the way to work, in our homes, offices and fields, in times of peace, conflict and emergencies, radio remains a crucial source of information and knowledge, spanning generations and cultures, inspiring us with the wealth of humanity’s diversity, and connecting us with the world.”
Those aims certainly strike a chord with 65-year-old international broadcaster TWR, and they’re especially fitting as the ministry helps point the way to the future in the form of a groundbreaking tablet radio. The Titus II, developed by PantronX in cooperation with the ministry, receives high-quality digital and analog broadcast signals that can be listened to like any other AM, FM or shortwave radio. But like other digital devices, the computer tablet forming the core of the Titus is operated by software, can connect to the internet, and can store and play text, audio and video files.
And TWR’s powerful transmitters also can play the role of giant wireless routers: When internet service isn’t available locally, the Titus can receive a digital signal not only containing regular radio broadcasts but also piggybacking files containing notes and outlines or other discipleship material.
“Content could be preloaded and distributed, so now you have a radio platform that can receive high-quality, clear radio transmissions, and it also has, for example, a full five years of Thru the Bible [teaching programs] in several languages of that region,” said Steve Shantz, a TWR regional vice president.
Shantz had a role in the collaboration between TWR and engineering firm PantronX. The Christian engineer who began the company caught the vision of designing a “software-defined radio” to be priced inexpensively enough to help spur the widespread adoption of Digital Radio Mondiale, a technology that allows digital signals to be carried over existing analog radio bands. Media ministries like TWR would then have an efficient and less costly way of providing DRM users with diverse gospel content.
Yet another feature is the Titus II’s ability to serve as a wireless hub. People within wireless range will be able to download files from the Titus onto their own digital devices and then share them with others.
“It’s great to be a part of the Titus II development because this piece of technology is a game changer,” Shantz said. “It not only can receive high-quality digital programming, but it can store and wirelessly distribute that content, therefore acting as a media hub. The ministry potential for this inexpensive yet robust device is definitely exciting.”