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40 Year Anniversary: The Book and The Spade Radio Program
Monday 13 February 2023
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Radio Show Wanders Biblical Archaeology Lands For 40 Years

(Fitchburg, WI) – A unique radio news program is celebrating 40 years of (virtually) wandering the Middle East, reporting on the latest discoveries and developments in biblical archaeology. The Book & The Spade (TB&TS) was first broadcast on February 14, 1983, on WNWC 102.5 FM in Madison, Wisconsin. It's currently heard on WNWC Faith Radio AM 1190/FM 104.7 and several other stations.'Forty years is biblically significant," says Gordon Govier, TB&TS host and producer. "History resonates with me and I do the show because I enjoy it. But I also believe biblical archaeology is extremely important for anyone who wants to understand the Bible."

Govier started the weekly program near the beginning of his 22-year career as WNWC news director. He'd volunteered at an excavation in Israel several years earlier, wanted to do something with that experience on radio, and invited University of Wisconsin professor Keith Schoville to join him in the project. Schoville taught biblical archaeology classes at UW-Madison, served as co-host for many years, and frequently brought professional colleagues onto the program.

The radio show continued even after a career change and departure from the radio station. He now produces it on a computer at home, often doing the interviews via Zoom. Each week he edits a new show, emails it to the radio stations that carry it, then uploads an MP3 version and a podcast XML file to his website at

A regular listener in Des Moines recently wrote: "The best thing for me is simply the connection that is reinforced between the Bible and its place in history.  We believe in things that really happened, to real people, in real places. I also appreciate both the roundup of the latest goings-on in Biblical archeology, and the behind-the-curtain view you bring, which a layman might not otherwise get from an article or news item."

Hundreds of archaeologists and Bible scholars have been interviewed on the program. His annual Top 10 list of biblical archaeology stories is featured online by Christianity Today magazine. Every few years he invites listeners to a biblical archaeology themed Israel tour to visit the sites where the important discoveries have been made. He also edits a quarterly biblical archaeology newsmagazine called ARTIFAX, in partnership with the Institute for Biblical Archaeology and the Near East Archaeological Society. It’s another way to help people keep up-to-date on the latest discoveries and developments.

"Biblical Archaeology animates the Bible," Govier says. "We understand the Bible better when we better understand the peoples and cultures, since they're chronologically and geographically far removed from us. People have a lot of theories about the Bible. Biblical archaeology gives us facts about the Bible, facts you can hold in your hand." In addition to WNWC, the program is heard on WVMO FM 98.7 in Monona, Wisconsin, and KROH FM 91.1 in Port Townsend, Washington. In 2022 his TB&TS program on an archaeological innovation, “The Wet Sifting Revolution,” won a Sevareid feature award from the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association.

The official celebration will be on February 15, 2023. The celebration will be a Zoom webinar (e.g. a live recording of the radio program) featuring Scott Stripling, the president of the Near East Archaeology Society. Persons interested in joining in the celebration (the Zoom webinar) should contact Govier at for an invitation or register online here

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