In 1932, Rex Humbard did his first radio program on KTHS Radio, Hot Springs, Arkansas; at the age of 13. His father, Alpha Rex Emanuel Humbard, ran an orphanage and church in downtown Hot Springs. In the midst of the Great Depression, church attendance was poor and offerings for the orphanage suffered greatly. Rex did his radio program every week, singing, playing his guitar and telling the listeners about his father’s church. One year later the seats were full to capacity and the orphans had a new lease on life. From that time forward, Rex Humbard realized the power of the media and the importance of the “life changing” message contained in gospel music.
From 1945 through 1952 (during the war years), Rex and his wife, Maude Aimee, traveled to every section of the USA and Canada conducting tent crusade meetings. In each of these cities they purchased radio time and appeared daily singing gospel music and promoting the tent crusades. In 1949, Rex did his first TV show in Indianapolis, Indiana on the local CBS station. Once again, gospel music was the centerpiece of the program.
The Rex Humbard Ministry program ran from 1952 to 1985. In the early 1970’s, Time Magazine did a feature story on Rex Humbard and coined the phrase “tele-evangelist” to describe Rex. In 1999, Rex was named as “one of the 25 shapers of the 20th century” by US News and World Report because of his visionary use of the media to promote his message of hope, love and salvation. One of the most vital parts of his ministry was gospel music.
Rex Humbard died on September 21, 2007 at the age of 88.