I don’t know about you, but Jean and I found the Adventures in Odyssey (AIO) radio drama a real lifesaver this summer. Whenever we were on the road for a long trip, we found AIO a perfect way to entertain our boys, Trent and Troy, while also immersing them in a number of important life lessons.
The first AIO aired November 21, 1987, about two years before I joined the staff of Focus on the Family and long before we had kids. At the time of it’s inception, it was anybody’s guess whether or not a kids radio drama would capture the imagination of young listeners and develop a loyal following necessary to sustain an on-going broadcast.
We initially offered AIO on about 200 stations. Two decades later, with our 50th album collection recorded, it seems we’ve set a broadcasting record.
It turns out that AIO just passed “Gunsmoke” in total number of episodes produced. As trivia buffs know, “Gunsmoke” has been the longest-running American prime-time dramatic TV program. Ahh, but I doubt they’d know that it would take 11 days, 4 hours, and 48 minutes to listen to all of Whit, Connie, Eugene and the gang’s adventures back-to-back without taking a break.
These engaging adventures are currently aired each week on more than 2,000 stations in about thirty countries around the world. And while all of that growth is thrilling to watch, what really resonates with me are the thousands of letters from young listeners we receive. In particular this precious note makes all of the work involved writing, producing, performing, and distributing AIO worth the effort. It’s from a 14-year-old girl who’s life was changed for all of eternity while listening to “Connie Comes to Town.” She writes:
I am writing to tell you the story of how I became a Christian. Well I grew up in a Christian home and had always gone to church and have known about God, but one night I was listening to my Odyssey tapes, the one where Connie comes back from California and becomes a Christian.
I remember praying along with Connie and Whit, after I felt really good. It was cool. I couldn’t really remember all the details but I was only 10, I am now 14 years old and still a Christian. Even though I go through tough times I know God is always here to help me, and it’s all thanks to you guys who spend so much time doing this radio drama, it has really changed my life. I really appreciate all you do.
Don’t you just love that?
I know my boys are at a teachable stage in their life where they are willing to listen and learn about faith, personal integrity, and biblically-centered morals. If you have children or grandchildren, why not point them to Adventures in Odyssey.
Click to find a radio station, or listen online. To learn more about AIO, drop by the Whit’s End website. You might also want to visit the AIO store to order CDs and DVDs for the home or the next time you hit the road.
Who knows? If you’re like me, you might find yourself hooked on Adventures in Odyssey, too!