Brother V.E. Howard began preaching on Arkansas radio in 1934 when radio was in its infancy. KTHS covered all of Arkansas and “all the middle states of our nation” according to his friend and fellow preacher, E. R. Harper. He produced the Gospel Hour for 25 years and in 1963 he was invited to be the English speaking preacher on World Radio overseen by the Whites Ferry Road church of Christ in West Monroe Louisiana. His broadcast and the oversight of the program were changed to the International Gospel Hour with this move. “His ability as radio speaker, his knowledge of the Bible coupled with his ability to defend the truth, is unique”, continued Harper in his forward to “35 Years, Are You Listening?”
For sixty-one years he preached via radio and was known for the question, “Are you listening?” to emphasize points or scriptures in his lessons. Many did listen and the Gospel was shared in many areas of the world. The phrase is now inscribed on his gravestone.
Howard, at the age of eighty-four in 1995, on the advice of his physicians, transferred the International Gospel Hour to Brother Winford Claiborne and the oversight of the West Fayetteville church of Christ in Fayetteville, TN. Wallace “W.E” and Dauna Skipper, who had worked with Brother Howard for many years, moved to Tennessee to continue his work as Operations Manager with IGH. At his passing in 2006, David Sain assumed those duties.
Claiborne, a popular instructor from Freed-Hardeman University, remained as the Director of the International Gospel Hour until his death on November 18, 2014. He spent the last three years in a wheelchair suffering from cancer but still continued to record programming each week. In 2013 he announced at the annual Southeast Institute of Biblical Studies lectures that Jody Apple would follow him as the third speaker of the program.
Jody worked closely with Brother Claiborne and he took over as the speaker upon Brother Claiborne’s passing and continued with the work until December 2019.
The International Gospel Hour is the second longest continuous weekly religious radio broadcast in America; the longest in churches of Christ and is heard on radio stations across the country in 30-, 15- 2 -minute and 1 -minute formats with six programs weekly.