1970's: A humble beginning
In 1970 Dr. James Dobson's first book, Dare to Discipline, was released. Dr. Dobson and Shirley packaged up those first editions, prayed that God would use them to touch lives, and then loaded them into their little VW and took them to the post office. The book was a great success and was soon followed by Hide or Seek, What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women, and The Strong-Willed Child, all best-sellers.
Dr. Dobson's radio career began in 1977 when he launched a weekly marriage and parenting program and formed a ministry called Focus on the Family. He also created a weekend, city-wide seminar by the same name and filled large venues across the country for several years. But Dr. Dobson wanted to have more time with his own family in addition to helping others. So, the following year he recorded a film series that he called Focus on the Family which released in 1979. The response to the film series was huge and it was viewed by thousands in churches, on college campuses, and in other public venues across the country.
1980's: A decade of growth
Dr. Dobson's weekly radio program became a popular daily broadcast which aired in the U.S., Canada, and eventually throughout the world with millions of listeners. A second film series, Turn Your Heart Toward Home, was created to continue reaching out to hurting families. Dr. Dobson authored several more best-selling family help books. And the organization he started grew to include eight periodicals, book publishing and video production, children's audio drama, and outreach to women in crisis pregnancies – all under the leadership of President and Founder, Dr. James Dobson.
The influence of Dr. Dobson's best-selling books, film series, and growing media ministry attracted national attention resulting in several presidential appointments including: the White House Conferences on the Family (1981); the National Advisory Commission for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (1982-1984); the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography (1985-1986); and the Attorney General's Advisory Board on Missing and Exploited Children (1987-1988).
1990's: Ministry expansion
Under Dr. Dobson's leadership, Focus made the move from California to Colorado in 1991 with four hundred employees. Two years later, 1200 staff members settled into a beautiful 45-acre campus with a view of Pike's Peak.
Dr. Dobson's impact on the culture continued with an appointment to the Commission on Child and Family Welfare. He was also publicly recognized by an induction into the National Religious Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1991.
2000's: Positioning for the future
In 2003, one year after celebrating Focus on the Family's 25th year of ministry, Dr. Dobson stepped down from his role as President of the organization. He remained as Chairman of the Board and continued to have an impact through his daily broadcast, monthly letters, and other speaking opportunities. His ministry remained strong and continued to touch lives.
Dr. Dobson's unique ability to engage listeners over the airwaves was acknowledged on two more fronts when his Focus on the Family broadcast was named "Best Radio Talk Show" by the National Religious Broadcasters in 2006 and later inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2008.
Dr. Dobson resigned from his role as Chairman of the Board in 2009. He ended his illustrious 33-year career at Focus in February 2010, leaving the ministry in a strong position to continue nurturing and defending families around the globe.
2010 and beyond...
Dr. Dobson wasn't ready to retire when he left Focus. He knew that God had given him a mission and a message many years ago, and that God had not yet lifted that assignment from him.
Dr. Dobson felt God directing him to start a new ministry, which he did in March 2010, to continue the important work of strengthening families, speaking into the culture, and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. He called the new organization Family Talk.
The centerpiece of this new outreach is a 30-minute daily radio broadcast, " Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk," strategically designed to reach the younger generation with the Judeo-Christian worldview of the family for many years to come. In addition, Dr. Dobson uses his monthly newsletter to communicate advice to families, and the Family Talk team makes use of the worldwide web and social media to offer help and encouragement. Dr. Dobson is energized by the creation of new programs each month and the many new opportunities to help families. He continues to write, speak, and find ways to share God's message to families through the ministry of Family Talk.