The station's call letters, HCJB, were chosen by the founders to reflect its ultimate purpose of "Heralding Christ Jesus' Blessings." HCJB, "The Voice of the Andes," aired its first program from Quito, Ecuador, on Dec 25, 1931.
Radio Station HCJB was the first missionary radio station in the world, as well as the first radio station in Ecuador with daily programs. The radio ministry had a rather humble beginning since there were perhaps as few as 13 radios capable of receiving its first broadcasts.
With the addition of a 10,000-watt transmitter in 1940, designed and built by Clarence Moore, Radio Station HCJB was able to send the station's English and Spanish programs far beyond Latin America. Soon the station was receiving letters from listeners around the world.
Radio Station HCJB quickly began adding programs in other major international languages. The first to be added in 1941 was Swedish programs by Ellen de Campaáa. Shortly after that, the station added Russian programs produced by Peter Deyneka Sr. and the Slavic Gospel Association. That same year, HCJB added programs in Quichua, a language spoken by indigenous groups living throughout the highlands of Ecuador and nearby countries.
By 1944, Radio Station HCJB had added broadcasts in Arabic, Czech, Dutch, French, German and Yiddish. In later years, other major languages would be added such as Portuguese and Japanese.
While a few language programs were recorded elsewhere, the vast majority of Radio Station HCJB's local and international programming was produced and aired live from the station's studios in Quito.
Radio broadcasting was the primary tool used by HCJB to share Jesus Christ, but it certainly was not the only tool. Staff members, for example, traveled throughout the country in the "Gospel Sound Truck" telling people about Jesus Christ in city squares and markets. They held evangelistic rallies and events in theaters, bullrings and large tents. Missionary staff started local Bible studies and children's programs that would grow into various local churches.