Theodore Kalogeropoulos sits outside an Athens bookstore, sipping coffee on a sun-warmed morning. His voice, deep and soothing, fits his natural gift of storytelling. He recounts how years ago he stood on the edge of a forest in northern Greece with his mentor, looking toward a remote village. Both men, involved in newly allowed radio ministry, began to weep. Once nearly inaccessible, the people there, through radio, were now receiving the good news of Jesus Christ.
Theodore, the Greek voice of In Touch With Dr. Charles Stanley, remembers the day when it would have been illegal to broadcast the program. Before the mid-1980s, the Greek government had a monopoly on all media outlets. Daring citizens, unwilling to submit to the suppression of information, started pirate radio stations. Theodore said they would set up antennas throughout Athens, camouflaging the wire with clothes as if hung out to dry. And when a policeman showed up, they would just move the equipment.
Now many of those so-called pirates are the legal owners of radio stations. And that same indomitable spirit comes in handy, Theodore says, when In Touch faces opposition. Some influential people, offended by the evangelical nature of the program, have tried to get it off the air. But the station owners, though not Christians themselves, love it and refuse to be swayed.
Public feedback is significant—though sometimes rare—because in Theodore’s words, “Greeks are stoic and skeptical.” One man called to praise In Touch, and in the course of the conversation, it was discovered he learned about it from his neighbor, an atheist. “I’ve been listening to a program on the radio a few months now, and it’s wonderful,” the friend said. “I love it.”
Theodore mentions the time his team received a call from a panicked truck driver. The man—a regular listener—said the program had been a good companion while he’s on the road. “Why did you remove it?” he asked. Turns out the driver had just lost the signal. They reassured him: In Touch is here to stay.
Despite advances in technology, Theodore believes radio has a staying power that can’t be underestimated. He remains thankful for the support from In Touch’s American audience, which helps keep it on the air worldwide. “Many Greeks are listening to the program and they need it,” he said. “They need it desperately.”
Photograph by Gary S. Chapman