Recently, Christian Today Australia caught up with Rowan Forster, a known Christian broadcaster who worked for both Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Christian Aspirant 777 (presently known as Light FM after it obtained its broadcasting license in December 2003).
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself
A: I went to Carey Baptist School and was a dux for the humanity subjects like English and History. After graduating, I studied philosophy at the University of Melbourne. I didn’t complete my course but instead started to do menial work for the Camberwell Local Council. At the same time, I became a taxi driver. My broadcasting career began in Swan Hill where I was offered a radio announcer position. I moved to the ABC in 1978 and held numerous positions there including being a senior news reader for ABC 774 (formerly 3L0) and a sport reporter. In the same period, I also became a test broadcaster for Christian Aspirant 777.
Q: How did you become a Christian?
A: Born in a Christian household, I made a commitment to Jesus Christ after reading a book called ‘Teddy’s Button.’ I saw myself as the central character in that book who was both adventurous and a risk-taker. A mentor told the boy that the greatest adventure of all was to become a soldier in God’s Army with Jesus as the captain. This imagery appealed to me so I knelt on my bedroom floor and asked God to accept me in His army with Jesus being my captain. This army proposition might be ironic since I refused to serve the Australian army. It was during the Vietnam War where all Australians of a certain age must be drafted and those who refused would face a 2-year jail sentence. I told the magistrate I was a Christian pacifists and it was allowed under the law since it was a
conscious objection. When I was 15 my faith was consolidated with baptism at Surrey Hill Baptist Church. In this church, I delivered my first sermon. Ever since then I spoke at numerous events including at the Melbourne Prayer Breakfast in the 1990’s.
Q: What are the highlights of your broadcasting career?
A: During my time at Christian Aspirant 777, I interviewed many fascinating people. I recalled conducting an interview with both Reverend Tim Costello (CEO for Australia World Vision) and Hillsong Senior Pastor Brian Houston on the issue of the prosperity gospel, especially Houston’s book entitled ‘You need more money.’ It was a lively exchange of views. Some years later, Reverend Costello spoke in Melbourne and mentioned Pastor Houston had withdrawn his book. During this period, Costello was in periodic dialogue Houston and gave credit to Houston for moderating his view. Among the most interesting interviews were those with people whose life has been transformed by Christ conversion. These included Rob Buckingham (Senior Pastor Bayside Church), John Lockwood (currently running 2 Christian ministries which are Coaching for Result and Kingdom Builders Church) and Rabbi Harold Vallins who confessed that Jesus was Messiah and had passed away recently.
While at the ABC, there were two highlights. The first was an exclusive interview with David Hookes after he had scored 5 consecutive bowling against Tony Greig during the Centenary Test Match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Another highlight was calling (commenting) the Reserve Grade Grand Final between Fitzory and Geelong which was the curtain raiser to the famous 1989 Grand Final between Hawthorn and Geelong.
I also enjoyed a long association as a volunteer presenter with Vision Australia radio.
Q: What is your plan for the future?
A: I would like to return to some form or forms of radio broadcasting on a part-time and/or casual basis. This could include Vision Australia Radio (formerly 3RPH), Light FM, and/or ABC Radio. ]
In the meantime, I have had recent (and current) involvements and/or contacts with several agencies involved in seeking a Christian approach to social justice. I recently completed an Intensive with TEAR Australia. I also have a continuing involvement with Forge, a Christian agency which facilitates missional, incarnational and contextual methods of "doing church" outside the walls of the church building by "infiltrating" groups or communities, and promoting Kingdom values through relationship-building and hands-on involvement in local issues and activities.
I have also recently had renewed contact with David Batstone, an American university professor who is a world leader in the "Stop the Traffick" movement. One of his books is entitled "Not For Sale -- The Return of the Global Slave Trade, and How We Can Fight It." This is an area in which I aspire to become involved in ways that will make a difference.
I also continue my long-standing involvement with Camps Farthest Out (CFO), an international, interdenominational Christian movement which conducts retreats involving prayer, worship, teaching and healing. In the past I have served as CFO's Victorian Chairman for several years. In the second week of July ('09), I attended the Jubilee Regional CFO Conference in Brisbane, commemorating 50 years since CFO was founded in Australia in 1959.
Interview – Rowan Forster Christian Broadcaster
By: Sze Leng Chan
Tuesday, 7 July 2009, 15:34 (EST)
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