Ancient Faith Radio seeks to deepen and enrich the faith of Orthodox Christians around the world with streaming audio programming and on-demand podcasts. We feature liturgical music from a variety of Orthodox traditions, as well as prayers, readings, lectures, and interviews.
Ancient Faith Radio is a division of Conciliar Media Ministries, which operates under the auspices of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America. However, it is a pan-Orthodox ministry and thus serves and supports all jurisdictions.
Few would guess that Ancient Faith Radio began as a humble experiment on the back porch of the Chicago home of founders John and Tonya Maddex. With John relying on his 38 years of experience in radio broadcasting the traditional way, they were not entirely sure where this project would lead them when they first streamed Orthodox music on the internet over Thanksgiving weekend in 2004. In fact, John was so new to online radio that he initially tried to listen to the music on the same computer he was streaming it from, which resulted in a cacophony of noisy reverb. He quickly acquired a second computer for listening and learned the ins and outs of internet radio. He kept the URL of these early broadcasts private, only sharing it with a few who might provide him with feedback. Eventually, however, Ancient Faith Radio was made public, and, as Tonya describes it, after taking over her dining room, the growth of the station eventually necessitated that they find a larger space in Northwestern Indiana.
John and Tonya said that it did not take long for them to realize that the radio station they were creating in their home needed to come under the guidance and accountability of Orthodox leadership, rather than being an independent venture, conducted in isolation. Thus, they met with the parish council of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, headed by Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, to introduce them to their idea and invite collaboration. With the help of volunteers from the parish, AFR was now able to broadcast devotional readings, Psalms, lives of the Saints, and other short features to go along with the music. The ministry has since merged with the well-loved publishing organization Conciliar Press, and together they became Conciliar Media Ministries, which, by the way, is a Department of the Antiochian Archdiocese but very pan-Orthodox in its books and programming.
John Maddex’s background in radio included a long career with the Moody Broadcasting Network in Chicago. After his departure from Moody in April 2007, he was able to truly devote himself to developing Ancient Faith Radio full-time. It was then that AFR expanded its programs, particularly the podcasts, adding eighteen programs that first year and now well over 40 podcasts with some of the best-known names in Orthodoxy. With so much quality material being developed, it made sense to designate one station solely for talk programs and another for Orthodox hymnography, particularly since a listener survey showed that many, tuning in during the workday, for example, might not be able to pay close attention to the podcasts at these times, but loved having Orthodox hymnography as the backdrop to their workday.
A surprisingly wide variety of listeners have grown attached to Ancient Faith Radio, both within the Orthodox Church and without. Some listeners are members of the Orthodox Church who live in isolated areas where there are no nearby parishes. These claim that Ancient Faith Radio—with its hymns, hours, scripture readings, and readings of the Saints’ lives—functions as a strong connection to the Orthodox Church in an otherwise disconnected situation. Cradle Orthodox, converts to Orthodoxy, and inquirers alike listen to expand their knowledge of the Orthodox faith through the many podcasts—both archived and current—by Orthodox priests and teachers. Parents, who spend the day at home with children, as well as men and women in the workplace, have commented on how Ancient Faith Radio transforms the time they spend engaged in the details of daily life into an opportunity for prayer, infused with peace.
This beautiful potential of Ancient Faith Radio to bring comfort and guidance to so many people in so many ways makes it truly a ministry of the entire Church worldwide.