You know the location well. The burgundy seats, the map of the world spread out between straight white pillars, and a beautifully attired choir and orchestra. They’re as familiar to you as the furniture in your living room. But you’re waiting for something else—a table and chair alone on the platform, and a warm baritone voice telling you where to turn in your Bible.
These are the sights and sounds of a Sunday at First Baptist Atlanta where Dr. Stanley preaches the sermons that become “In Touch With Dr. Charles Stanley” on television and radio. What you might not know is just what goes into creating those 30-minute and hour-long programs. But Ivan Wall does. As the Executive Producer of Broadcast, he’s put together Dr. Stanley’s program for nearly a decade.
“A lot of people think the broadcast is live,” Wall says, “but it actually takes weeks to get it ready.” The work begins the Monday after the sermon is recorded. One In Touch employee creates a transcript while another goes to work on the “sermon master”—a rough cut of the program that contains everything Dr. Stanley said with pauses, coughs, and other unnecessary elements removed. Next, graphics containing notes and scripture references are added, and the master file is handed off to an editor who cuts it down to the proper length. Finally, others “sweeten” the recording—brightening and balancing colors and lighting and finding the perfect audio mix. “Our team knows Dr. Stanley very well,” Wall says. “They can tell exactly what they need to do simply by looking at the placement of the microphone.”
After the program is created, it’s sent to duplication, and copies are distributed via mail to stations around the country. “Typically, our broadcasts air two to three months after they’re recorded,” Wall says. “That gives us time to make an excellent program.”
Ultimately, that’s the goal: to make something outstanding that will help lead people worldwide into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and strengthen the local church. However, Wall and his team believe their job is best described in only four words—removing barriers to communication. “We feel like Dr. Stanley has been gifted by God with the ability to teach and preach. The Holy Spirit is giving him a message, and it’s our job to make sure it comes through loud and clear.”
Read more about Ivan’s personal story in the current issue of In Touch.