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Religious broadcasting is broadcasting by religious organizations, usually with a religious message. In the United States, Christian organizations are by far the most widespread compared with other religions, with upwards of 1,600 television and radio stations across the country (not necessarily counting broadcast translators, though because many outlets have low power and repeat national telecasts, the difference is often hard to define). Many religious organizations have long recorded content such as sermons and lectures, and so naturally moved into distributing content on their websites. During these past couple of years, there has been an expansion to the listening or viewing of religious content delivered over the Internet.

Contents

Radio

Christian radio is very common, and can be funded either commercially or through some sort of public broadcasting-style arrangement (churches are generally recognized as non-profit organizations).

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United Kingdom

In the UK, there are currently fewer than ten radio stations that are labelled Christian (as of March 2006). British broadcasting laws prevent religious organisations from running national analogue terrestrial stations, however there are identical restrictions on political parties, local government and trade unions running such stations. Some religious radio stations are available in certain areas on the MW (medium wave) or VHF (FM) wavebands and others transmit using other methods, some of them nationally (such as via digital terrestrial TV broadcasting, satellite and cable).

There are two stations, Premier Radio is available on MW in the London area and United Christian Broadcasters is available via DAB in both the London and Stoke on Trent areas.

A number of additional UK-based radio stations exist to either serve a genre group and/or locality, such as Cross Rhythms based in Stoke On Trent which is a contemporary music station with a local FM community radio licence. Like most other local Christian stations, they also use the Internet to gain national coverage.

There are other UK-based radio channels apply for regular temporary licenses, such as Flame FM on the Wirral, Cheshire which applies for two months of local FM broadcasting per year via a Restricted Service Licence (RSL).

Also there are religious broadcasters that transmit to the UK on medium wave during night-time hours (when MW signals travel much further) by buying airtime on commercial stations such as religious programmes on Manx Radio (from the Isle of Man) or Trans World Radio (from Monte Carlo).

Although there are tight restrictions on religious groups setting up their own radio and TV stations, there is a legal requirement for the BBC and ITV to broadcast a certain amount of religious programming. Some commercial local radio stations carry a limited amount of religious programming - particularly in Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland

Television

United States

Christian television outlets in the U.S. usually broadcast in the UHF band. While there are many religious content providers for religious and faith-based television, there are few nationally recognized noncommercial networks such as Daystar Television Network (operated by Marcus Lamb and Joni Lamb) and Trinity Broadcasting Network (Operated by Paul Crouch and Jan Crouch). Unlike the larger religious network providers available to the mass public, many smaller religious organizations have a presence on cable television systems, either with their own channels (such as the 3ABN service) or by transmissions on public access (common for local congregations) or leased access channels. Sunday mornings often see religious broadcasts on regular commercial broadcasting and BBC outlets.

Some Christian broadcasters in the U.S. include:

HISTORY

Christian television programing was first broadcast in 1960 on a UHF station in Chesapeak, VA owned by Pat Robertson.

United Kingdom

In the UK, religious television operates differently from the US. No religious station has any presence on via normal terrestrial methods. Most religious stations transmit via direct-to-home satellite, some may also be streamed live via the Internet.

Some channels available include:

  • GOD TV, based in Sunderland (UK), is the longest established of the currently running TV channels on Sky in the UK, and the only one that is also on the major cable TV systems in the UK.
  • Revelation TV, in London, produce a lot of live programmes from their studios.
  • Daystar, US network. Creation videos with music. Teaching and preaching.
  • Inspiration, US Network. Programming from around the world. Preaching. Missionary bias.
  • God's Learning Channel, GLC broadcasts the same U.S. lineup simultaneously to Europe via the Eutelsat W-2 Satellite for Direct-to-Home broadcast.

Industry organizations

United States

Christian broadcasters in the U.S. are organized through the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) organization.

United Kingdom

In the UK the equivalent is the Christian Broadcasting Council, but affiliation is much less common than broadcasters are with NRB in the States.

Additionally in the UK is the Church and Media Network. This organisation was formed in 2009 (as a successor to the Churches' Media Council). It seeks to be a bridge between the media and the Christian community.

Funding

Financially, US channels tend to fare a lot better than UK based ones. The American concept of asking viewers to donate money to a channel to keep it going on air is considered more culturally acceptable than in the UK and as a result, more money is raised this way. There used to be no advertising revenue model that worked for religious TV channels in the UK - the traditional method of running commercial TV in the UK. The UK government's Broadcasting Act of 1990 legalized some religious broadcasting; prior to its existence all religious broadcasting was illegal in the United Kingdom.[1]

Religious channels aimed at a UK audience would get around this previous restriction by basing themselves offshore - such as in a European country that permits asking viewers for money on air. At present of only two stations, Revelation TV & UCB TV, are truly UK-based whilst the others may give the appearance of being UK based, but are broadcast from another country. However Ofcom have now lifted the restriction, and UK based channels can now ask for funds on air.

The other primary method for raising funds to run religious channels is to sell airtime. Traveling preachers and large churches and ministries will often set up a TV department filming what they do. They then buy slots on TV channels to show their programmes. Often you will see the same programme from an organization appearing on multiple channels at different times as they buy slots. The vast majority of organizations who do this are US based. In the UK this tends to make religious TV channels give an appearance of being US based as most material originates there. Some UK TV channels have invested in making programmes to complement the sold air time slots - most notably GOD TV and Revelation TV.

References

  1. ^ Wilson, J Peter (February 2003). "Why Christian Broadcasting is Difficult in This Country". Cross Rhythms (73). http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/articles/life/Why_Christian_Broadcasting_is_Difficult_in_This_Country/7226/p1/.  

See also

External links


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