Joni and Friends Blog

National Religious Broadcasters Induct Joni Eareckson Tada into NRB Hall of Fame

Joni Eareckson Tada, longtime ministry leader, radio host and disability advocate, has been selected to receive the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) Hall of Fame Award at the group’s annual meeting next month. Founder of the Joni and Friends International Disability Center and host of the Joni and Friends radio and television programs, Tada has a storied tenure in religious broadcasting circles, as well as in the publishing and speaking arenas. 

“I know of no better testimony of how Christ’s strength is made perfect through weakness than the life of Joni Eareckson Tada,” said Dr. Frank Wright, NRB president and CEO. “Joni has stared suffering in the face and seen the face of Christ. It is our honor and privilege to induct her into NRB’s Hall of Fame.” 

Following a paralyzing diving accident in 1967, Tada’s faith helped her to persevere and become a successful artist using her mouth to paint and draw. The publication of her story in the book “Joni” and in various media outlets led to an outpouring of response from others impacted by disability and in need of encouragement. Tada founded Joni and Friends in 1979 to fulfill this purpose and began the national inspirational daily 5-minute radio program of the same name three years later. Now four minutes in length and celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the program airs on more than 1,000 outlets and reaches one million listeners a week.

 “I am deeply humbled to be receiving this special honor, especially when I look at the distinguished Christian leaders who have been inducted,” Tada said. “I’m so grateful to the NRB executive committee, and I take this as a recommitment to continue to air ‘Joni and Friends’ radio programs which reflect solid biblical truth and Christ-centered encouragement.”

joni in her radio studioToday, Joni and Friends Radio has a new sound and contemporary style, introducing Tada’s ministry to a new generation of listeners across the United States and around the world. The shortened format, christened “Diamonds in the Dust,” has been well received and is now airing on hundreds of radio stations daily. The radio show is one of many facets of the Joni and Friends ministry that contributes to the overall mission of communicating the Gospel and equipping Christ-honoring churches worldwide to evangelize and disciple people affected by disabilities.

Tada’s message of hope in Christ is passionately delivered and powerfully received, as evidenced by the honor she was given by the NRB both in 2002 when Joni and Friends Radio was named Radio Program of the Year, and in 2010 when Diamonds in the Dust received the same recognition in the short program category. Tada was also honored personally in 2002 with the NRB’s William Ward Ayer Distinguished Service Award, given to those who exhibit excellence and integrity and make outstanding and significant contributions to the field of Christian communications. 

The quality of her radio program is just one testament to Tada’s commitment to the disability community. She has written more than 45 books on the topic of suffering and disability ministry, established both the Joni and Friends International Disability Center and the Christian Institute on Disability to accelerate training and ministry to the disability community and continues to use her role as an advocate to benefit individuals and families affected by disability.

Tada served on the National Council on Disability during the period when the Americans with Disabilities Act was adopted, making recommendations on legislation that would have a direct impact on individuals with disabilities. She also served on the Disability Advisory Committee to the U.S. State Department and continues her role as a leader regarding issues that affect the value of life, such as health care reform and stem cell research.

The Hall of Fame Award will be presented to Tada during the annual NRB convention, to be held at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville Feb. 18-21.