Our History

The UNSHACKLED radio program began under the leadership of Pacific Garden Mission's Superintendent Harry Saulnier. Harry yearned to reach the masses for Christ and earnestly prayed about the possibility of a radio program.

For a short time in 1945, Harry had a 15 minute program called "Doorway to Heaven" on station WAIT. On this program, Harry often related the true stories of individuals who had been saved at Pacific Garden Mission. This opportunity fueled Harry's desire to continue sharing testimonies of changed lives using the popular radio drama format of the day.

Thus, on September 23rd 1950, the first UNSHACKLED recording session was scheduled. The script was written by John Gillies, who worked at WMBI in Chicago. Clear channel radio giant WGN agreed to air the program. This first program was about the famous Billy Sunday -- Chicago baseball player turned evangelist.

Harry Saulnier

Taking Steps Forward

Following the success of the first program, Gillies passed the directing and writing duties on to Eugenia Price, a successful and established radio writer.

With her dedication to quality, the program progressed with a style that was highly esteemed in both secular and religious radio circles. Not only did the quality of the program exceed expectation, but its audience was continuing to grow as well and lives were impacted.

One of those lives was that of Jack O'Dell, a professed agnostic and struggling alcoholic whose drinking habit had nearly destroyed his promising radio career. In 1953, Genie Price hired Jack to play a role in an UNSHACKLED program. After the recording session, Jack began thinking about this "God who can change lives." As he reflected on his own life, he recognized his sin and came before God in repentance. And Jack himself was UNSHACKLED!

Eugenia Price
Jack O'Dell

Leadership History

In 1955, Genie Price felt God leading her in a new direction, so Jack Odell assumed leadership of the program. He served as director, writer, and announcer for almost four decades. Just prior to Jack's death in 1991, Bob O'Donnell, a long-time UNSHACKLED actor and close friend to Jack, took the reins as director and announcer. At that time, Kennetha Gaebler began writing for UNSHACKLED, producing over 700 scripts during her 18-year employment.

In October 2007, Pacific Garden Mission moved to its current facility on South Canal Street, and UNSHACKLED moved with it. O’Donnell then announced his retirement on December 15th.

At that time, Flossie McNeill stepped in and served as the ministry director of UNSHACKLED until June of 2016, when Timothy Gregory assumed leadership of the program. He still serves as the announcer and director.