Jones, Clarence W[esley] (1900-1986)

Missionary Radio Pioneer

Clarence_W_Jones-1945Born in Sherrard, Illinois, and a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, Jones was mentored by evangelist Paul D. Rader in the 1920s and had his first taste of radio ministry in Rader’s pioneering programs on Chicago’s first commercial station. Concerned for the evangelism of South America, he seized upon radio as the key. After a fruitless survey trip in 1928 through Venezuela, Columbia, Panama, and Cuba, which seemed to confirm his critics’ appellation “Jones’s folly,” Jones was affirmed by Reuben Larson, missionary to Ecuador, who set out to negotiate permission to broadcast from Quito. Jones played his trombone and Larson preached in Spanish for the inaugural broadcast on Christmas Day, 1931–this at a time when there were less than a score of receiving sets in all of Ecuador. Despite financial crises during the Great Depression, by 1940 radio station HCJP (Heralding Christ Jesus’ Blessings) boasted a 10,000-watt transmitter capable of delivering signals to India, New Zealand, and Russia. In 1944 Jones helped to found the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB). He retired as president of HCJB in 1970 but continued to represent the mission in North America and Europe. In 1975 he was the first recipient of the NRB’s Hall of Fame Award. He died in regiment in Largo, Florida.

Robert T. Coote, “Jones, Clarence W(esley)” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald H. Anderson (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1998), 338-339.

This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright © 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of Macmillan Reference USA, New York, NY. All rights reserved.



Jones, Clarence W. Radio: The New MissionaryChicago: Moody Bible Institute, 1946.


Benge, Janet and Geoff Benge. Clarence Jones: Mr. Radio. Christian Heroes: Than & Now. Seattle, WA: YWAM Publishing, 2005.

Neely, Lois, Come up to This Mountain: The Miracle of Clarence W. Jones and HCJB. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1980.


Detzler, Wayne A. “Jones, Clarence Wesley,” American National Biography Online, 2003.