James Dobson to Go Off the Air

Influential conservative leader James Dobson is planning to go off the air, his ministry reported Friday.

In an announcement, Focus on the Family announced Dobson's intention to remove himself as the primary radio voice of his daily radio broadcast at the end of February but made clear that the move was not prompted by health concerns.

Dobson remains "a man of health and vigor," Focus on the Family president and CEO Jim Daly reported.

"The Bible tells us that to everything there is a season – and Dr. Dobson's season at Focus on the Family has been remarkable," Daly added.

Dobson, who founded Focus on the Family, has been with the ministry's radio program since it began airing in 1977, providing daily encouragement and advice to families worldwide and speaking out on moral issues.

The 73-year-old conservative leader resigned as president of the prominent organization in 2003 and later as chairman in February of this year as part of a plan to pass on the leadership to the next generation.

"One of the common errors of founder-presidents is to hold to the reins of leadership too long, thereby preventing the next generation from being prepared for executive authority," Dobson said in a statement earlier this year.

Dobson is the latest among older conservative evangelical leaders who have let go of the reigns of their influential ministries.

Widely respected Dr. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ; Dr. Jerry Falwell, who rallied conservatives to the political arena; and Dr. D. James Kennedy, founder of Coral Ridge Ministries, are a few of those who have passed in recent years, and evangelist Dr. Billy Graham has left his evangelistic association to the leadership of his son, Franklin Graham.

Concerned about the future of the conservative Christian movement, Dobson – during Kennedy's funeral in 2007 – posed the inevitable question of who will carry on the work of defending biblical values, the unborn, the institution of marriage and traditional morality.

He expressed hope that the younger generation would heed the call.

Today, Focus on the Family's radio program reaches more than 220 million people in over 155 nations.