The Mechanical Missionary

The mechanical missionary: Infrastructures of conversion and the Far East Broadcasting Company

Anderson Blanton


During his tenure as a postdoctoral scholar at the MPI, Anderson will be conducting ethnographic and archival research on the Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC), the most powerful radio station ever constructed for the purposes of Christian missionization.  With transmission equipment reclaimed from U.S. military engagements in the Pacific during WWII, this station blanketed Asia with gospel broadcasts originating from the FEBC headquarters in Manila.  A crucial aspect of this technology of missionization included the distribution of thousands of “portable missionaries,” or small mahogany radio sets that were strategically engineered only to receive the missionary broadcast.