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Historical Timeline

A look at the first 30 years of Focus on the Family

"For the past 30 years, for every stage of family life, Focus on the Family has been there."
– Jim Daly, president and CEO


March 26 – Family psychologist Dr. James Dobson’s first Focus on the Family radio broadcast, titled Let’s Get Acquainted, airs as a weekly family advice program

June – Focus on the Family incorporates as a non-profit organization with a staff of one in addition to Dr. Dobson


September – "Focus on the Family" film series is recorded at Trinity University in San Antonio; the 1979 September seven-part series, released by Word Publishing, is eventually viewed by more than 90 million people worldwide


March 31 – Focus on the Family 15-minute daily radio broadcast premiers; it airs in addition to the 25-minute weekly broadcast

June – 100th radio station carries the broadcast

August – Dr. Dobson is appointed to the White House Conferences on the Family


June – Tribute to Focus on the Family by U.S. House of Representatives recorded in the Congressional Record

August – Focus staff is consolidated in one building in Arcadia, California, and the staff grows to 34

Nov. 2 – Daily Focus on the Family broadcast expands to 30 minutes


Dr. Dobson is appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the National Advisory Commission for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (1982-1984)


January – Focus on the Family daily radio program goes worldwide via satellite

July – First edition of Focus on the Family magazine, a publication featuring practical advice about family relationships, is released

December – Focus breaks ground on a new headquarters in Arcadia, Calif., in the first structure designed and built for the ministry


November – The United States Army appoints Dr. Dobson to advise on matters concerning soldiers and their families

July – Focus on the Family’s first international office opens in Canada

November – The 90-second James Dobson Family Commentary begins airing on radio stations nationwide


March – The film series Turn Your Heart Toward Home is taped in front of 16,000 people in Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum (viewed to date by an estimated 40 million worldwide)

May – Dr. Dobson accepts appointment to Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography (1985-1986)

Dec. 14 – The first 60-minute Weekend radio broadcast airs to recap the week’s Focus on the Family radio programs


April – Focus on the Family begins making booklets and other print resources available to crisis pregnancy centers; more than 1,500 centers nationwide respond

May – Focus on the Family magazine tops one million in circulation

June – Focus on the Family book publishing division launches


First Focus films, Twice Pardoned and A Winnable War, released on video

Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. magazines for kids launch

Crisis Pregnancy Ministry starts (now Pregnancy Resource Ministry)

Attorney General Edwin Meese appoints Dr. Dobson to the Attorney General’s Advisory Board on Missing and Exploited Children (1987-1988)

September – Focus on the Family moves from Arcadia to Pomona, Calif. with a staff of approximately 450

November – A board of physicians to advise Focus on the Family on medical issues, called the Physicians Resource Council, is formed

Adventures in Odyssey, a half-hour audio-theatre production that ignites the imagination of children ages 6 to 12, premiers


January – Debut of Family News in Focus, a radio program featuring news reporting on current issues affecting the family

February – Enfoque a la Familia, a Spanish radio broadcast, debuts on 12 stations in the U.S., Guatemala, and Costa Rica

October – Family Research Council partners with Focus on the Family


April – Focus on the Family presents first Generation at Risk seminar to warn parents and youth of the danger of sex and violence in the media

March – Focus on the Family releases first McGee and Me video for children with Tyndale House


March – Brio and Breakaway magazines for teen girls and boys first editions

July – Parental Guidance entertainment reviews published (later becomes Plugged In entertainment reviews carried online and in a monthly newsletter)


February – Dr. Dobson inducted into the National Religious Broadcasters Hall of Fame

August – Focus on the Family moves to Colorado Springs, Colo. with a staff of about 400 employees

Adventures in Odyssey children’s radio drama transitions to a daily format; first Adventures in Odyssey home video released

November – First Focus on the Family radio broadcast in Russia


Dr. Dobson Answers Your Questions syndicated column starts in newspapers around the country


August – Focus on the Family Australia opens

September – Focus on the Family moves into new headquarters on 45-acre campus in Colorado Springs, Colo. with 1,200 employees

November – Focus on the Family sponsors first Physicians Conference to professionally strengthen and spiritually equip medical doctors and their spouses

Focus on the Family Southern Africa opens (later becomes Focus on the Family Africa)


January – Sen. Bob Dole appoints Dr. Dobson to serve on the Commission on Child and Family Welfare


January – Focus on the Family Indonesia opens

July – Focus on the Family Korea opens

September – Focus on the Family Institute for college juniors and seniors opens its doors


April – Focus on the Family Taiwan opens


March – Focus on the Family celebrates 20th anniversary

July – Official Focus on the Family Web site is launched

August – Focus on the Family Malaysia opens


September –Boundless webzine for college students debuts

Focus on the Family Costa Rica opens


January – Focus on the Family New Zealand opens


April – One millionth visitor welcomed to Focus on the Family headquarters and welcome center


January – National Bike Ride for the Family begins; ends with the Colorado ride in conjunction with Focus' 25th Anniversary in July 2002

August – Focus on the Family Egypt opens

December – Focus on the Family Singapore opens


November – Focus on the Family Ireland opens


January – Focus on Your Child newsletter, audio journal and Web site launch to provide parents with age-specific resources

May – Don Hodel becomes president of Focus on the Family, Dr. Dobson becomes Chairman of the Board


June – Focus releases Last Chance Detectives radio series for children

October – Focus on the Family-produced radio programs exceed 5,000 stations in 155 countries with an estimated global audience of 220 million


January – Focus on the Family joins the Tsunami relief effort

February – Jim Daly becomes president of Focus on the Family

Option Ultrasound™ debuts with placement of services in Clinton, Iowa

June – Plugged In Web site reaches one million visitors monthly

August – Focus on the Family launches, a Web site for college students

September – Focus on the Family joins relief effort for victims of Hurricane Katrina


February – Focus on the Family broadcast named "best radio talk show" by National Religious Broadcasters

March – Focus announces the 200th placement of ultrasound services through the Option Ultrasound™ program

November – Cry of the Orphan™ Initiative is launched with the goal of encouraging adoption


Podcasts of Focus on the Family broadcasts launched

March 26 – 30th Anniversary of Focus on the Family


November – Focus launches our community effort called Wait No More® to raise awareness of and recruit families for kids in foster care; the program will go on to receive national recognition from Congressional subcommittee, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and others.

Reaching more than 220 million people in 155 nations, Focus on the Family is a Christian nonprofit organization dedicated to serving, strengthening and defending families worldwide. Founded in 1977, Focus on the Family provides practical tools, spiritual resources and emotional support to families at every stage of life. Focus on the Family is online at

MEDIA NOTE: Visit for media materials (including high-resolution downloadable photos and graphics) and for interview contact informaion.

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