Radio Broadcasts

The Young People’s Church of the Air Radio Broadcasts (Sundays, 1931-1949)

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The radio broadcasts listed here were transcribed from recordings of the original live Young People’s Church of the Air broadcast which began on one Philadelphia station in 1931 and ran every Sunday continuously for eighteen years, eventually airing on up to 375 stations across the nation. In 1942 Percy Crawford signed with the Mutual Broadcasting System which made his program readily accessible to millions of listeners in most major cities. During the war years, the broadcast was sent “around the world” on eleven short wave radio stations so that (as he said) our service men and women and those in foreign fields might listen. The series ended in 1949 when Percy took the radio program onto national television.

The broadcasts (below) dating from 1945-1947 are of historical significance because they allow us to experience directly the actual radio services of one of the leading “youth evangelists” of the 1930s and 1940s (before the Billy Graham era), when mass evangelism was taking place over the air waves instead of in large stadiums and outdoor venues, and tens of thousands were coming to Christ by kneeling in front of their radio sets rather than walking down the aisle and standing at the altar. It was lively programs like these that helped to reenergize the evangelical/fundamentalist movement, and keep the spirit of revivalism alive.

Percy Crawford was a dynamic preacher with a special gift for winning converts. But it is hard to imagine that his 7 minute sermons, culminating in an “invitation” to accept Christ, would have been as effective as they were without the 20 minutes of music that preceded them. The musical programs of these broadcasts were created by his wife and lifelong partner-in-ministry, Ruth Crawford, whose soft, sensitive touch at the piano perfectly complemented Percy’s hard-driving, rapid-fire delivery from the pulpit.

It was the musical portion of the program that made Percy’s radio broadcast stand out from the many other evangelistic and Bible-study programs that were available to listeners on any given Sunday during this era. Ruth was a consummate artist—pianist, accompanist, and arranger. She produced the music for the Y.P.C.A. broadcasts practically singlehandedly—recruiting and assembling the talented young vocalists and instrumentalists, arranging most of the music for them, and putting together each individual program, usually centering it around some theme such as the cross, the gift of salvation, joy, heaven, Jesus as friend, comforter, savior.

Over the years, the program evolved into a rich assemblage of musicians including a male quartet, brass quartet, girls trio, men’s chorus, and various instrumentalists (harp and violin were most prominent). She recruited singers and players from local churches and from the many individuals, trained and untrained, that attended Percy’s Christian college, The King’s College, or passed through the Pinebrook Bible Conference.

The male quartet that was part of Percy and Ruth’s team and traveled with them to their evangelistic meetings were the mainstay of the broadcasts. Ruth formed several outstanding quartets over the years, but the one that you will hear on these recordings, and which sang together through most of the 1940s—first tenor Alan Forbes, lead tenor Ray Pritz, baritone Ken Brown, and bass Joe Springer, was certainly one of the very best. The quartet sang the opening gospel tune and the final number that prepared listeners’ hearts for Percy’s convicting sermons; and in between they did moving solos and duets in turn, and took the lead in Ruth’s lovely medleys performed by the entire cast.

Through her distinctive style of gospel music—warm, flowing, melodious—and her creative programming that featured dedicated, highly-talented musicians performing a rich blend of traditional hymns and newly-minted songs, Ruth attracted a faithful following of listeners who tuned in week after week to share in these moving, uplifting services, and hear the gospel message presented in song.

April 30, 1944

  • This world is not my home
  • More about Jesus
  • The theme of my song
  • The hollow of His hand
  • I want to go to heaven when I die
  • Medley
  • Jesus shall reign
  • Ye must be born again

May 21, 1944

  • Rolled away
  • O could I speak the matchless worth
  • A memory
  • When they ring the golden bells
  • I’m on the faith line
  • Christ alone
  • O love that wilt not let me go
  • When you know my Jesus

June 30, 1944

  • The homecoming week
  • Conquering now and still to conquer
  • Nearer and dearer
  • Hallelujah what a Savior
  • I haven’t words to tell
  • God has said it, I believe it
  • Out of the depths
  • King’s College victory march
  • When the golden bells of heaven call

October 29, 1944

  • My burden rolled away
  • What a wonderful Savior
  • Are ye able
  • Jesus said that whosoever will
  • If Christ should come
  • Come Thou Almighty King
  • Jesus died and paid it

November 5, 1944

  • Redeemed
  • God will take care of you
  • No one ever cared for me like Jesus
  • Oh He’s done so much for me
  • Ere you left your room this morning
  • Ring the bells of heaven
  • I am trusting Thee

November 12, 1944

  • Glory in my soul
  • I know whom I have believed
  • Yes there’s one
  • Every day with Jesus
  • Medley – The Lord hath need of me – Am I a soldier – The good fight of faith
  • Jesus shall reign
  • Oh what a wonderful Savior

December 10, 1944

  • I’m on the battlefield
  • There is a fountain
  • Jesus medley
  • Constantly abiding
  • Until then
  • I gave my life for Thee
  • Somebody’s knockin’ at your door

December 24, 1944

  • O little town of Bethlehem
  • O holy night
  • While shepherds watched their flocks
  • Christmas song
  • Unto us a child is born
  • Manger medley
  • Song to tune of Bring a torch
  • Baby Jesus
  • We three kings
  • I have seen His star
  • Thou didst leave Thy throne

Partial program 1, undated, ca. 1944

  • Living for Jesus
  • Victory through grace
  • Some sweet day
  • In the garden
  • Only  a touch

Partial Program 2, undated, ca. 1944

  • He is mine
  • Great God of wonders
  • There was a great calm
  • God’s tomorrow

Partial program 3, undated, ca. 1944

  • We’ll understand it better by and by
  • Sound the battle cry
  • O sweet wonder
  • The glory song
  • Hand in hand with Jesus
  • Count your blessings

Partial program 4, undated, ca. 1944

  • Redeemed
  • Stand up for Jesus
  • Are you able
  • Spirit of the living God
  • Behold I stand at the door and knock
  • The Christ of Calvary

Partial program 5, undated, ca. 1944

  • The dearest friend I  ever had
  • Are ye able
  • Things are different now
  • Christ is not a disappointment
  • I haven’t words to tell of the love of Jesus
  • From every stormy wind that blows

Partial program 6, undated, ca. 1944

  • O happy day
  • Sail on
  • The sinner and the song
  • Throw out the lifeline
  • Ready am I
  • He lifted me

January 7, 1945

  • While I’m in His care
  • O happy day
  • Medley – Safe am I – In the hollow of His hand
  • Bless be the tie that binds
  • Christ for me
  • Son of my soul
  • He’s looking on you

March 11, 1945

  • Hallelujah He’s mine
  • O day of rest and gladness
  • Glorious things of Thee are spoken
  • Nearer my God to thee
  • O what a wonder
  • Christ is not a disappointment
  • Leaning on the everlasting arms
  • Drifting

March 18, 1945

  • Heaven right down here
  • The sweet by and by
  • Holy is what the angels sing
  • The pearly white city
  • I want to go to heaven when I die
  • The  nearer the sweeter
  • When we all get to heaven
  • Home sweet home

March 25, 1945

  • Jubilee
  • Will Jesus find us waiting
  • When He shall come
  • One day
  • I’m going up
  • Sometimes
  • Hold the fort
  • In a moment

April 8, 1945

  • A meeting in the air
  • Is it the crowning day
  • Christ returneth
  • He is coming again
  • By and by when Jesus comes
  • When morning dawns
  • They’ll be no dark valleys when Jesus comes back
  • Coming suddenly coming soon

May 13, 1945

  • Gloryland
  • Speak my Lord
  • When God speaks
  • Jesus keep me near the cross
  • Surrender
  • Shall we gather at the river

May 27, 1945

  • Blessed be the name
  • Take the name of Jesus with you
  • I know a name
  • Beneath the cross of Jesus
  • Joy great joy
  • The stranger of Galilee
  • Hymn
  • My mother’s prayers have followed me

June 24, 1945

  • The touch of His hand on mine
  • Does Jesus care
  • No one ever cared for me like Jesus
  • Living for Jesus
  • Hallelujah I’m saved
  • Heartaches
  • Son of my soul
  • Close to Thee

July 1, 1945

  • Yes He did
  • The church is one foundation
  • Jesus the Son of God
  • Sweet hour of prayer
  • Wings as eagles
  • I surrender all
  • Revive us again
  • Shall we meet beyond the river

July 8, 1945

  • Lord take away my stony heart
  • Life’s railway to heaven
  • Only glory by and by
  • My Jesus I love Thee
  • Lord lay some soul upon my heart
  • Out of the depths
  • Jesus the very thought of Thee
  • I’ll be a friend to Jesus

July 15, 1945

  • While I’m in His care
  • Still sweeter every day
  • I need Thee every hour
  • Into my heart
  • On the victory’s side
  • I am satisfied with Jesus
  • Until
  • Jesus calls us over the tumult
  • Jesus paid it all

July 29, 1945

  • At the foot of the cross
  • I know whom I have believed
  • God understands
  • Jesus is all the world to me
  • Christ for me
  • Let them ever shout for joy
  • Sometime
  • An evening prayer
  • He’s looking on you

August 19, 1945

  • Glory in my soul
  • King’s College victory march
  • Jesus lover of my soul
  • For you I am praying
  • Christ is leading me
  • God bless our boys
  • Memory
  • Holy ghost with light divine
  • What will you do with Jesus

September 2, 1945

  • All hail the power of Jesus name
  • V is for victory
  • Patriotic melody
  • Ain’t gonna study war no more
  • The doxology
  • Song of praises
  • Medley – Simply by trusting – Living on the victory’s side – On to victory
  • Sweet peace the gift of God’s love
  • Peace perfect peace

September 16, 1945

  • Yes He did
  • Praise Him
  • Precious hiding place
  • Under His wings
  • On the victorys side
  • What will you do with my Jesus
  • Son of my soul
  • What is He worth to you

October 7, 1945

  • Beulah land
  • Even me
  • Someday when the shadows flee away
  • He walks before me
  • He walks before me – everyone
  • I surrender all
  • I love Him I do
  • After awhile

October 28, 1945

  • I want to go where Jesus is
  • No not one
  • Medley – No not one – Yes there’s one
  • What a friend we have in Jesus
  • Cheer up ye saints of God
  • Beneath the cross of Jesus
  • Bless be the tie that binds
  • Shall we meet beyond the river

November 18, 1945

  • Only a touch of Thy hand
  • The touch of His hand on mine
  • Safe am I
  • His nail-pierced hand
  • Put your hand in the hand of Jesus
  • Take my hand precious Lord
  • He holds my hand
  • Could I have held His nail-pierced hands

November 25, 1945

  • His eye is on the sparrow
  • You cannot hide from God
  • I saw one hanging on a tree
  • I will guide thee with my eye
  • Fix your eyes on Jesus
  • My Father watches over me
  • I will guide thee
  • Turn your eyes upon Jesus

December 2, 1945

  • When we look on His face
  • Face to face
  • Show me Thy face
  • I shall see Him face to face
  • I have seen the face of Jesus
  • When I see the face of Jesus
  • Oh the wonderful face of Jesus

December 9, 1945

  • I heard the voice of Jesus
  • Jesus calls us
  • When God speaks
  • In the garden
  • Oh I love to  hear His voice
  • Speak my Lord
  • Jesus is tenderly calling
  • Calling today

January 6, 1946

  • Jesus is ever the same
  • Crown Him with many crowns
  • All hail the power of Jesus’ name
  • What a friend
  • Everyday with Jesus
  • Breathing the wind of God
  • Does Jesus care
  • God will take care of you

January 20, 1946

  • At the cross
  • When He cometh
  • Raise me Jesus to Thy bosom
  • In the heart of Eventide
  • I won’t yield to Satan
  • There’s no disappointment in Jesus
  • No not one
  • Oh the love of Jesus

January 27, 1946

  • He died for me
  • The unveiled Christ
  • Jesus whispers
  • At the cross
  • Joy
  • What will you do with my Jesus
  • Come to Jesus

February 10, 1946

  • No not one
  • Christ first
  • Christ first – Kings Singers
  • Peace medley
  • There’s not a single heartache
  • God’s word medley
  • Only one drop of Jesus’ blood
  • Showers
  • Come to His cross

March 3, 1946

  • Sit down and rest a little while
  • This is like heaven to me
  • In the hollow of His hand
  • Out of the depths
  • Christ is coming
  • I builded on the rock of God
  • Thou didst leave Thy throne

April 7, 1946

  • Leave it with Him
  • God’s free grace
  • My life I give is Your all on the altar
  • Tis because of Calvary
  • I am satisfied
  • Listening at the heart’s door
  • I am hiding in Christ
  • Lord give me a burden for the lost

April 14, 1946

  • Jesus has loved me
  • He brought me up
  • Jesus Jesus how I love Him / Trust in the Lord
  • Til the world see Christ in me
  • How can I be afraid
  • Alone with the master
  • There’s peace in my heart today
  • God’s army roams

April 21, 1946

  • Leave it with Him
  • God’s free grace
  • My life I give is Your all on the altar
  • Tis because of Calvary
  • My life I give/Is your all on the altar?
  • I am satisfied
  • Listening at the heart’s door
  • I am hiding in Christ
  • Lord give me a burden for the lost

April 28, 1946

  • Jesus has loved me
  • He brought me up
  • Jesus Jesus how I love Him / Trust in the Lord
  • Til the world see Christ in me
  • How can I be afraid
  • Alone with the master
  • There’s peace in my heart today
  • God’s army roams

June 9, 1946

  • Jesus loves even me
  • Jesus loves me
  • Tell me the story of Jesus
  • Savior like a shepherd lead us
  • Jesus wants me for a sunbeam
  • This little light of mine
  • Jewels
  • Bring them in

June 9*, 1946

  • The meeting in the air
  • Is it the crowning day
  • Christ returneth
  • One day
  • By and by when Jesus comes
  • Coming suddenly
  • They’ll be no dark valleys
  • No dark valleys
  • In a moment

June 16, 1946

  • Shine
  • Crown Him with many crowns – God of our fathers
  • Things are different now medley
  • Jesus Thy blood and righteousness
  • God’s word medley
  • Who knows
  • Brass quartet
  • Let the lower lights be burning

June 16*, 1946

  • Since Jesus laid His love on me
  • Come Thou almighty King
  • All hail the power of Jesus name
  • He died for me
  • After all He’s done for me
  • A memory
  • I would be true
  • Calling today

June 23, 1946

  • Lord take away my stoney heart
  • Holy holy holy
  • Medley – when He calls me – Speak my Lord
  • Be like Jesus
  • O say but I’m glad
  • After the shadows
  • Brass quartet
  • Sun of my soul
  • My living Lord is He

June 30, 1946

  • Fire song
  • Praise Him
  • All that I need medley
  • Hallelujah what a savior
  • Jesus satisfies me
  • I want my life to tell for Jesus
  • In the garden
  • I walk with the king
  • I am trusting Thee Lord Jesus

July 7, 1946

  • The dearest friend
  • I know whom I have believed
  • Walk with Jesus medley
  • Swing low sweet chariot
  • What the world needs is Jesus
  • Hallelu Hallelujah
  • Saved
  • Guide me O Thou great Jehovah
  • I want my life to tell for Jesus

July 14, 1946

  • The old account
  • I’ve moved over into Canaan land
  • Rose of Sharon medley
  • I know whom I have believed
  • It’s the right way
  • We’ll march with the Red White and Blue
  • How do I know
  • Great is Thy faithfulness
  • Shall You shall I

August 4, 1946

  • Revive us again
  • A shelter in a time of storm
  • Oh how I love Him
  • Must Jesus bear the cross alone
  • Showers
  • Jesus and others and you
  • My Jesus I love Thee
  • My anchor holds

August 11, 1946

  • He took my sins away
  • Does Jesus care
  • No one ever cared for me like Jesus
  • Comfort for sorrow
  • Majestic sweetness sits enthroned
  • I am satisfied with Jesus
  • The way
  • Life’s railway to heaven
  • What is He worth to you

September 15, 1946

  • He abides
  • Fill me now
  • Spirit of the living God / His heart was broken
  • Lord possess me
  • Holy Ghost with light divine
  • Jesus
  • Praise Him
  • An evening prayer
  • Holy Spirit faithful guide

September 22, 1946

  • Good morning to heaven
  • When we all get to heaven
  • Just beyond the river
  • Safe in the arms of Jesus
  • I want to go to heaven when I die
  • No night there
  • Goodnight and good morning
  • Coming home at twilight

September 29, 1946

  • Hold the fort
  • Does Jesus care
  • Jesus cares medley
  • God will take care of you
  • He cares for his own
  • When I felt His touch of love
  • O sacred head now wounded
  • Jesus I come

October 6, 1946

  • Honey in the rock
  • A mighty fortress is our God
  • Mercy medley
  • Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
  • Every day with Jesus
  • Onward Christian soldiers
  • Brass quartet
  • I want my life to tell for Jesus

October 13, 1946

  • He took my sins away
  • In the hollow of His hand
  • All the way my Savior leads me Dorothy Johnson and Ken Brown
  • Precious Jesus/Just a Closer Walk
  • Christ for me
  • Stand up for Jesus
  • Beyond the sunset

October 20, 1946

  • Love found a way
  • Come Thou almighty king
  • Jesus is dearer than all to me
  • Jesus has saved me
  • He keeps me singing
  • Christ is coming back again
  • Overshadowed
  • Rock of ages
  • I heard the voice of Jesus say

October 27, 1946

  • Fire song
  • Let us crown Him
  • Memories
  • Heaven
  • Showers
  • Wonderful grace of Jesus
  • His love is wonderful
  • Brass quartet
  • I am amazed

January 19, 1947

  • When I see the blood
  • Saved by the blood
  • For all my sin
  • Ere you left your room this morning
  • There is power in the blood
  • Only one drop of Jesus blood
  • There is a fountain
  • The depths of Jesus love

June 1, 1947

  • Shine
  • Guide me O Thou great Jehovah
  • My hope is built
  • Spirit of God descend upon my heart
  • Constantly
  • What will you do with Jesus
  • Brass quartet
  • Sometime

June 8, 1947

  • O happy day
  • A mighty fortress is our God
  • Higher ground
  • My Jesus I love
  • I’m on my way
  • Christ is not a disappointment
  • Spirit of God descend upon my heart
  • Somebody’s knocking at my door

June 15, 1947

  • He took my sins away
  • Great God of wonders
  • After medley
  • What a friend
  • Great day glad day
  • We shall see His lovely face
  • Brass quartet
  • He lifted me

June 22, 1947

  • Over in the glory land
  • The church is one foundation
  • I need Thee
  • In my heart there rings a melody
  • Hallelujah I’m saved
  • Sweet hour of prayer
  • Sun of my soul
  • Living for Jesus O what peace

June 29, 1947

  • I want to go where Jesus is
  • I’ve moved over into Canaan land
  • Rest medley
  • Still sweeter every day
  • Hallelu
  • Great day
  • Decide for Jesus
  • Break thou the bread of life
  • Holy savior

July 6, 1947

  • Praise His holy name
  • O Master let me walk with me
  • He leadeth me
  • Lead medley
  • I know whom I have believed
  • Showers
  • V is for victory
  • Majestic sweetness sits enthroned
  • Conquering now and still to conquer
  • Jesus keeps me

July 13, 1947

  • Lord take away my stoney heart
  • Beneath the cross of Jesus
  • With Him medley
  • Kings College victory march
  • My song shall be of Jesus
  • The Mountain Brook song
  • God knows best
  • True hearted whole hearted
  • All that thrills my soul is Jesus

July 20, 1947

  • Glory in my soul
  • Crown Him with many crowns
  • He set me singing
  • Life’s railway to heaven
  • I’m so glad that Jesus came
  • Onward Christian soldiers
  • What shall I give Thee master
  • God of our fathers
  • Jesus calls us

July 27, 1947

  • Yes He did
  • Why should He love me so
  • I was there when it happened
  • When I see the blood
  • Life is a symphony
  • Jesus and others and you
  • My yesterday
  • Brass quartet
  • The wondrous story
For more about the radio broadcasts and Ruth’s role in the Y.P.C.A. ministry, see Dan Crawford, A Thirst for Souls: The Life of Evangelist Percy B. Crawford (1902-1960), (Susquehanna University Press, 2010), especially pp. 141-143, 168-169, 235-236, 241-242.