Radio Voice of the Gospel Archives

Access to the RVOG Archives

The RVOG Archives room was built and equipped in 1998-2000 inside the Yemisrach Dimts Communication Services [YDCS] building in Addis Ababa.

Ethiopians should contact YDCS to apply for permission to use the Archives. Applicants from other countries should seek authorisation from the Lutheran World Federation.


Alem Seged Herouy, compiler (2002). Radio Voice of the Gospel Archives (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) Catalog. Edited for the Lutheran World Federation by Mika Palo.

  • Part 2a: Filing System Section 11.01 – 11.15: Sound Archive Files Consisting of Reel Tapes with the Recordings of RVOG Religious Radio Programmes.
  • Part 2b: Filing System Section 11.16 – 11.50: Sound Archive Files Consisting of Reel Tapes with Recordings of RVOG Historical and Secular Radio Programmes.

Introduction to the RVOG Archives
(Excerpt of the Archives Catalogue, Part 2A, p. 3ff)

On 12th March 1977 Mengistu Haile Mariam’s military government […] occupied RVOG by force and nationalised it. […] In 1977 also all the RVOG archive files and audio tapes at the radio station were confiscated.

Release and reconstruction of the RVOG Archives

In 1989 Ethiopia’s Ministry of Information released most of the former RVOG’s archive files and tapes (1361 files and 8683 reel tapes) as well as music discs, books and magazines. On behalf of the LWF the Mekane Yesus Church stored the released materials. In 1997 Mr Mika Palo […] was the first researcher to visit the released RVOG Archives […]. Mr Palo’s report to the LWF on his research visit soon led to the commencement in 1998 of the Radio Voice of the Gospel Archives Project (LWF/Department for Mission and Development).

From 1998 to 2000 Mr Palo served the LWF as a Short-term Technical Consultant on three visits to Addis Ababa. Together with his Ethiopian co-worker Ms Alem Seged Herouy, a former RVOG Production Trainer and Producer highly knowledgeable about RVOG radio programmes, he sorted out, organised and catalogued all the available RVOG Archives materials.

  • Mr Palo was resonsible for organising and cataloguing the files containing handwritten, typed, mimeographed, photocopied and printed documents and publications, as well as maps, drawings, blueprints, photographs and slides (filing system Section 1-10 […]).
  • Ms Alem Seged Herouy was responsible for organising and cataloguing the sound archives (filing system Section 11 […]), i.e. reel tapes mostly with RVOG programme recordings.
Recordings missing in the original RVOG Archives

When RVOG was nationalised in March 1977 its sound archives did not contain recordings of all past RVOG broadcasts, but a selection of older tapes considered worth saving for the future as well as more recent pre-nationalisation programme tapes which had not yet been reused.

Furthermore, it must be noted that the majority of RVOG programming had in fact been produced in area studios located in the target countries. The area studios used to mail their tapes to RVOG for broadcasting, after which RVOG returned them to the area studios either to be kept or reused.

Most of the surviving archived tapes represent RVOG’s English-language programmes produced at the radio station in Addis Ababa.

Only a few samples of Amharic-language programmes produced at the separately located Yemisrach Dimts (EECMY) and Ethiopian Orthodox Mission studios in Addis Ababa are included in this tape collection. The same is true for RVOG-related area studios’ programme tapes.

Recordings destroyed in the 1990’s

As to the 8683 RVOG audio tapes received by the EECMY from Ethiopia’s Ministry of Information in 1989, unfortunately even over 5000 of them have been destroyed afterwards. This is due to the fact that they were reused for YDCS programme production purposes during several years in the 1990’s.

Question: Did RVOG return the Amharic tapes after broadcasting to Yemsirach Dimts resp. Ethiopian Orthodox Mission? Are some of these tapes still existent but stored in places other than the RVOG Archives?

Overview of Recordings in the RVOG Archives

Total number of (mostly English) tapes in the catalogue: 2354
(i.e., approx. 27% of the tapes returned by the Ministry of Eduction)

  • Part 2A of the Catalogue:
    1086 tapes (with ‘religious’ content)
  • Part 2B of the Catalogue:
    1268 tapes (with ‘secular’ content)

Examples from Catalogue 2A

Programme “Sacred Music” (Catalogue # 11.08)
90 tapes; mostly produced by Marianne Nilsson or Veronica Nyakana

Programme “I’ve got a song to sing” (11.13)
11 tapes; mostly produced by Wesley Babuba or Dick Mbodwam

Programme “Lift up your voice” (11.15)
9 tapes; pay particular attention to:

  • R/LUYY-7: [AAU Christian Students’ or Eth. Univ. Stud. Christian (?)] Fellowship Choir / Blind students from Addis Ababa / Director Jack Smith (broadcasted on 1973.09.07)
  • R/LUYY-8: African Liturgical Songs from Zaire, Uganda, Ethiopia and Cameroon (1973.08.24)

Examples from Catalogue 2B

RVOG Historical Programme Tapes (Catalogue # 11.16)
133 tapes; pay particular attention to:

  • RVOG/HIST-3: African Music (1963.05.10)
  • RVOG/HIST-25: Let’s Talk About It. Topic: Singing. Participants: S. Osebe [i.e., K. Sigurd Aasebø, supporter of EUSCF Choir?], Zemihret Bereket, Emnet [Araya], Tarekegn Madebo and Hiwot [Araya] (1968.05.02)
  • RVOG/HIST-34A: Amharic Devotions by Berhanu Deresse, Emmanuel Bereket, Menkir Esayas, Rev Badima (1965.06.03)
  • RVOG/HIST-58D: Today’s Topic: Sound of Socialist Music (1974.10.23)
  • RVOG/HIST-64B: Proclaiming Christ through Music: selection of [English] hymns and Christian songs (1976.11.04)
  • RVOG-HIST/70D: Sample programme: Ethiopian Orthodox Mission (Tigrigna) (1976.02.02)
  • RVOG/HIST-88A_88D: Sample programme: Ethiopian Orthodox Mission (Oromiffa) (1977.01f)

Programme “Family Magazine” (11.19)
77 tapes; pay particular attention to:

  • FM/28: i.a. Ethiopian Music / Mulatu Astatke (1975.08.06)
  • FM/46: Christmas in Ethiopia: Dr Emmanuel Gebre Selassie et al. (1976.01.07)
  • FM/47: i.a. Jazz Musician Cannonball Adderley (1976.01.04)

Programme “Saturday Night at Home” (11.20)
76 tapes; pay particular attention to:

  • SAT/H-34f: Singing and Playing the Organ: Ato Teshome Asseged, a blind student (1975.03.01 / 03.08)
  • SAT/H-48: i.a. African Artist Skinder Boghassian (1976.03.06)

Programme “Questions from Listeners” (11.25)
82 tapes; pay particular attention to:

  • QL/46: Questions and Criticism over RVOG’s Pop and Light Music Programmes (1976.04.23)

Programme “Understanding Music” (11.45)
30 tapes; pay particular attention to:

  • UM/6: An Introduction to Folk Music. Producer: Hugh Hudson (1972.01.17)
  • UM/7: The Place of Music in African Life. Source: Simeon Asiama, Univ. of Ghana (1972.01.24)
  • UM/8: African Music in Life, Death, Work and Play. Producer: Hugh Hudson (1972.01.31)
  • UM/9: Instrumental Resources in African Music. Source: Simeon Asiama, Univ. of Ghana (1972.02.07)
  • UM/10: Performing Groups in African Music. Producer: Hugh Hudson (1972.02.14)
  • UM/11: Ethiopian Folk Music. Producer: Hugh Hudson (1972.02.21)
  • UM/13: Ethiopian Musical Instruments. Producer: Hugh Hudson (1972.03.06)
  • UM/14-21: Jazz. Producer: Gershon Dessie (1972.03 – 07)

Samples of Music Programmes (11.49)
23 tapes; No title that explicitly mentions music from Ethiopia

RVOG Programme Exchange Tapes (11.50)
80 tapes; pay particular attention to:

  • RVOG/PE-62: Modern Sacred African Music (1966)
  • RVOG/PE-75: Work Songs (1966)