"In the army, I learned to dramatize radio programs," Johnston
said. "I created the first dramatized version with the founding
actors for the South Coast Repertory."
He had never done a voice-over for audio before.
"I had to make my own sound effects, like I did in the old radio
ways," Johnston said. "There's 10 popular versions of the audio
Bible. I've done every version and have sold over 100 million CDs and
The concept of an audio Bible is new to most people. Johnston said
technology has made it possible, allowing him to do all technical
"I can go to chapter and verse easily," Johnston said. "I add
dramatic elements, sound effects and music. It's like producing 72
hours of one-hour radio programs."
That he can put the entire Bible on one DVD astounds him. Johnston
is able to fit a lot of layers on it, including scripture and words
that people can read to follow what he is saying, as well as 60
pictures of the Holy Land.
"The exciting thing about this to me is that I wanted to bring the
cost of the Bible down so everyone could afford it," Johnston said.
"In 1989, 72 hours of the Bible on CD would sell for $250 to $280 --
now it sells for $69, and putting it on one DVD has allowed us to
come down to $29."
Johnston has other related endeavors in the works, one of which is
a PBS special. He said that he is going to talk about the origins of
the Bible as an oral work, meant to be heard.
"It's a new era, and not a lot of people know about the Bible
being available through audio," Johnston said. "People can drive to
work and listen to the Bible, and in three or four months they can
hear it in its entirety."
Another use he suggests is that the family listen while on a
vacation traveling by car. Because they are dramatized, it holds the
audience captive, he says.
"Everyone thinks it's a good idea," Johnston said. "Whether you're
Christian or not."
He did a Korean version in English and sold four times as many as
he had in previous years. His business has increased five-fold in the
last four years, Johnston said. He said that he has more than 30
different Bible products that are sold at popular bookstores and on
"It's taken me since 1982 to do all these narrations," Johnston
said. "People seem to enjoy listening to me for some reason."
After the army he and a friend from Harbor High opened up an
advertising agency from 1971 to 1991, where he honed his skills doing
voice-overs. He won an Emmy for a public TV show called "The New
Testament," which was very successful, he said.
Johnston, who likes to keep busy, is working on myriad of
projects, including a new worldwide satellite radio program and a
documentary. He works out of his studio on Newport Center Drive. His
products can be purchased on www.biblesondvd.com, ourbiblestore.com