On Friday 1 April, Morning Devotions will celebrate its 80th anniversary, which will also mark its official position as Australia’s longest running radio programme.
And while Hope 103.2 in Sydney prepares to celebrate the incredible milestone of this devotional show and its loyal hosts over the decades, the identity of the original presenter is actually unknown.
Currently, Morning Devotions is playing on Hope 103.2 just after 9am every day.
He was born on 4BC Brisbane before Easter 1942 at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday April 1 (Good Friday was April 3) and was also known as the Counselor or Morning Interlude.
In 1949, Presbyterian minister Reverend Vernon Turner, a visionary who later launched Hope 103.2, was asked to take over as presenter of Morning Devotions – the exact date is unknown.
The original quarter-hour program consisted of a short speech, two recorded hymns and a prayer, with the format eventually being shortened to a speech and prayer lasting less than five minutes.
In 1953 Vernon moved to Sydney where he continued to record Morning Devotions on disc and sent them to 4BC. By then he had also created The Christian Broadcasting
Association, now known as Hope Media – which became the parent company of Hope 103.2 – which produced programs for commercial stations across Australia.
Morning Devotions became a daily feature on 2CBA Sydney in 1979, when Vernon launched the station now known as Hope 103.2.
Hope Media CEO Phillip Randall said Morning Devotions remains one of the most popular features on Hope 103.2 today.
“We’ve heard thousands of listeners say it’s part of their daily routine,” Randall said.
“Many listen in their car before going to their office to start work. Some said the inspiration they received helped restore broken relationships, gave new meaning to life, or
even convinced them not to end their lives.
“Some said the inspiration they received helped restore broken relationships, bring new meaning to life or even convince them not to end their lives,” – Phillip Randall, CEO of Hope Media
“It is truly life-changing radio.”
After presenting Morning Devotions for six decades, Vernon passed the baton to current presenter Major Chris Witts of the Salvation Army in June 1996.
Reverend Vernon Turner’s latest edition aired on 2CBA on August 30, 1997.
Hope Media believes there may be two records associated with this programme: the longest running program on Australian radio, and Vernon Turner being possibly the longest running producer and presenter of an Australian radio programme, having devoted nearly 48 year old at Morning Devotions.