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Monrovian Is Modern Voice of Old Radio Program

Michael Khanchalian with an old 16-inch studio recording of the Old Fashioned Revival Hour, with the record player behind him. 

A Monrovian is the modern voice of a radio program that died in 1968... but has been revived.

The Old Fashioned Revival Hour began airing in 1937 and at one time was broadcast from the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium to a nationwide audience on the Mutual Broadcasting System, then ABC Radio Network, on more than 650 radio stations. Monrovian Michael Khanchalian said that the show was at one time better known than such popular radio adventures as The Lone Ranger and The Shadow. Then it faded, and finally died, in 1968, according to Wikipedia.

Khanchalian, the modern voice who makes brief announcements in the restored old recordings, was instrumental in reviving the Old Fashioned Revival Hour, which was started by preacher Charles Fuller, who used to fill the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium Sundays for nationwide broadcasts on the Mutual Broadcasting System. Fuller also founded Pasadena's Fuller Seminary and named it after his father, Henry.

Khanchalian's interest in old sound recordings (He restores old wax recording cylinders for archives), his interest in old radio, history, his acquaintance with a Fuller Seminary executive, and his being on the board of Christian Heritage Ministry, a group that was selling cassettes of Old Fashioned Revival Hour sermons, led the seminary to ask him to recreate the Old Fashioned Revival Hour for Fuller's fiftieth anniversary celebration.

He said a man who used to work at RCA (Radio Corporation of America) came up to him after the celebration and said, "Don't you want to get this back on the air, or what?" So, with some hesitancy, Christian Heritage Ministry decided to do just that and the program now airs on about 120 radio stations across the United States, none of which are in the Los Angeles area. Too expensive, Khanchalian said. Also, of course, it is on the Internet.

There are two versions of the program, Khanchalian said, an hour-long and half-hour version. The hour program is about two-thirds music and reading letters, and a third preaching by - mostly - Charles Fuller. In the half hour program the music and letter reading is trimmed but Fuller's message is uncut. As the program title says, it is old fashioned, and most of the audience members, Khanchalian estimates, are older people who fondly remember the broadcasts from their youth.

How long will the revived Revival Hour continue? He is not sure. His producer may retire in a few years. He said they'll just wait and find out.

If you'd like to listen to a program, here is the OFRH home page (https://www.ofrh.com/) and here are the audio recordings (https://www.ofrh.com/listen).

- Brad Haugaard

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