Religious broadcasting is broadcasting by religious organizations, usually with a religious message. Many religious organizations have long recorded content such as sermons and lectures, and have moved into distributing content on their Internet websites.
While this article emphasises dedicated religious broadcasters, many non-dedicated stations transmit religious programs; a state with no religious station may broadcast much religious programming.
Religious broadcasting can be funded commercially or through some sort of public broadcasting-style arrangement (religious broadcasters are often recognized as non-profit organizations). Donations from listeners and viewers, often tax-deductible, are solicited by some broadcasters.
In some countries, particularly those with an established state religion, broadcasting related to one particular religion only is allowed, or in some cases required. For example a function of the state-owned Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation is by law "to broadcast such programmes as may promote Islamic ideology, national unity and principles of democracy, freedom equality, tolerance and social justice as enunciated by Islam..." (s. 10(1)(b)).
(The distinction between radio and television broadcasters is not rigid; broadcasters in both areas may appear in the Radio or Television section in this article.)
Religious radio stations include
- Radio Maria ; International catholic radio broadcasting, founded by Erba, has branches in 55 countries around the world. Vatican Radio is its sister media.
- Buddhist Broadcasting Foundation
- Humanistische Omroep: A small broadcaster dedicated to secular Humanism.
- IKON (Interkerkelijke Omroep Nederland): A small broadcaster representing a diverse set of nine mainstream Christian churches.
- Joodse Omroep The new name of NIKmedia (Nederlands-Israëlitisch Kerkgenootschap): Dutch-Jewish broadcaster.
- NIO (Nederlandse Islamitische Omroep): Small Islamic broadcaster.
- NMO (Nederlandse Moslim Omroep): Small Islamic broadcaster, slightly more progressive than the NIO.
- OHM (Organisatie Hindoe Media): Small Hindu broadcaster.
- RKK (Rooms-Katholiek Kerkgenootschap): Small Roman Catholic broadcaster, actual programming produced by the KRO. Roman Catholic events and services on television are broadcast by the RKK.
- ZvK (Zendtijd voor Kerken): Small broadcaster that broadcasts church services from some smaller Protestant churches.
- Rhema Media encompasses three radio networks; Rhema, Life FM and Star.
- GCN Global Christian Network (broadcaster)
- CTS (Christian Television System)
- CBS (Christian Broadcasting System)
- FEBC Korea (Far East Broadcasting Company)
- PBC (Pyeonghwa/Peace Broadcasting Company) ; catholic
- BBS (Buddhist Broadcasting System)
- Cadena COPE ; Owned by Spanish Catholic Church
British broadcasting laws prohibit religious organisations, political parties, local government and trade unions from running national analogue terrestrial stations. Some religious radio stations are available in certain areas on the MW (medium wave) or VHF (FM) wavebands; others transmit using other methods, some of them nationally (such as via digital terrestrial TV broadcasting, satellite and cable).
There are five main stations, TBN UK Sky 582 and Freeview 65, Revelation TV is available on SKY Guide 581, Freesat 692 and the Roku box. God TV is available on SKY Guide 580 Premier Radio is available on MW in the London area and also nationally on DAB. United Christian Broadcasters is available in both the London and Stoke-on-Trent areas, and nationally as well via DAB
There are several UK-based radio stations which serve a genre group or locality, such as Cross Rhythms based in Stoke-on-Trent, a contemporary music station with a local FM community radio licence. Branch FM operates across West Yorkshire and is a volunteer-run community Christian radio station. Like most other local Christian stations, they also use the Internet to gain national coverage.
There are other UK-based radio channels which 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), and Refresh FM, which regularly broadcasts in Manchester for 3 or 4 weeks over the Easter period.
Also there are religious broadcasters that transmit to the UK from outside on medium wave at night (when MW signals travel much further) by buying airtime on commercial stations such as Manx Radio (from the Isle of Man) and Trans World Radio (from Monte Carlo).
Many religious radio stations transmit via terrestrial digital radio, Premier Christian Radio being just one example, and these all broadcast nationwide.
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
The most prominent religion on the radio in the United States is Christianity, particularly the evangelical sect. It has changed since its inception with a growing audience and different regulations. The audience for Christian radio has grown in the past twenty years and has a dispersed audience throughout the U.S.. The Moody Bible Institute was the first religious organization to use satellite radio to reach a larger audience than before The Moody Bible Institute was also one of the first religious broadcasting networks to receive a non-commercial educational FM license from the FCC allowing them to open other stations. Religious broadcasting in the United States is mainly the province of local or regional networks which produce programming relevant to their community, and is usually heard on stations holding non-commercial educational broadcast licenses. Although religious radio began as locally owned, because of the deregulations in the 1996 Telecommunications act it has become more consolidated with local affiliates under a national radio company. Several national networks do exist, which include;
- Air1 (secondary network from K-LOVE)
- EWTN Radio
- Family Radio
- Relevant Radio
- Salem Radio Network
- VCY America
(The distinction between radio and television broadcasters is not rigid; broadcasters in both areas may appear in the Radio or Television section in this article.)
Dove TV is a Christian television network by the Redeemed Christian Church of God (www.rccg.tv)
Ezekiel TV is a Christian television network started by Ezekiel Guti of ZAOGA Forward in Faith Ministries International (FIFMI) in 2008, based in South Africa. Most of the programming is from Zimbabwe, where ZAOGA FIFMI is headquartered. The channel broadcasts on the internet on the FIFMI Website, www.fifmi.org
- Deen TV is an Islamic TV station broadcasting to a wide range of audience interest based in South Africa. One of the Channels Directors is popular Talk Show Host Faizal Sayed of The Faizal Sayed Show.
Liberty TV (Prophet Eric SEM) is founder of Liberty Ministry International also owns Liberty TV. website,He started his miniseterial work in Mundemba of the south west province. From there, he moved on to Ndokotti, Douala, where launched his present ministry. (www.libertycm.tv)
|Yes TV||Crossroads Christian Communications||Christianity (some multi-faith)||Burlington, Ontario||Nationwide||Airs a mixture of religious and general entertainment programming.
Also available over-the-air in:
- HolyGod TV, Christian station based in France with stated mission "to evangelise people in India, Sri Lanka, Africa, Europe and other countries and plant churches"
- HOSFO TV, Christian station in France founded by Pastor Allen IKADI and is wife Josiane Ondeu through their private Christian media company group HOSFO SAS
- KTO ; TV Catholique for the Archdiocese of Paris
- NLM TV (New Living Ministries), Christian station based in France with presence in other countries
In the Middle East, Christian satellite broadcaster SAT-7 operates five channels, SAT-7 ARABIC, SAT-7 PARS (Farsi), SAT-7 KIDS (Arabic), SAT-7 PLUS (Arabic) and SAT-7 TÜRK (Turkish), which broadcast in the prominent languages of the region with more than 80% of programs made by and for people of the region. SAT-7's satellite footprints reach 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as 50 countries in Europe, with "free to air" programming. SAT7, founded in 1995, is the first and largest Christian satellite broadcast organization operating in the region. It is supported by Christian churches from a variety of denominations in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as supporters from Europe, Canada , United States , and Asia.
- Visjon Norge, a Norwegian Christian television channel that broadcasts over Scandinavia.
- Kanal 10 Norge, a Norwegian Christian television channel and branch of the Swedish Kanal 10.
A function of the state-owned Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation is by law "to broadcast such programmes as may promote Islamic ideology, national unity and principles of democracy, freedom equality, tolerance and social justice as enunciated by Islam..." (s. 10(1)(b)).
- TGRT, Turkey’s first nationwide "Islamic" television channel, est. 1993
- STV, affiliated with the Gülen movement, est. 1994
- Kanal 7
- Mesaj TV
In the UK, religious television operates differently from the US. Most religious stations transmit via direct-to-home satellite, some, are streamed live via the Internet or, like TBN, broadcast 24 hours on terrestrial Freeview. The BBC and ITV broadcast religious programmes, such as Songs of Praise and Highway, as part of their public service remit. The 2009 Ofcom report found that religious broadcasting on public service channels was watched on average for 2.3 hours per year per viewer on the main PSB channels in 2011, 2.7 hours in 2008, reducing steadily from 3.2 in 2006 and 3.6 in 2001. In 2006, 5% of viewers found religious broadcasting to be of personal importance.
In 2010, the commercial television broadcasters reduced their religious output due to poor viewing figures; at the start of the year, ITV1 planned to show one hour and Channel Five had no plans. The BBC is obliged by its licence to broadcast 110 hours per year.
Dedicated religious channels available include:
- Daystar, US network, broadcast 24 hours on terrestrial digital freeview.
- TBN, broadcast 24 hours on terrestrial freeview and Sky.
- 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.
- God's Learning Channel (GLC) broadcasts the same lineup simultaneously to the US and Europe via the Eutelsat W-2 Satellite for Direct-to-Home broadcast.
- Inspiration, US Network. Programming from around the world. Preaching. Missionary bias.
- Islam Channel. Broadcasts across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa and streamed on the Internet, and will broadcast in North America. Ruled to have breached the UK broadcasting code by airing discussions containing contentious views on violence against women and marital rape in 2008 and 2009.
- Revelation TV, in London, produce a lot of live programmes from their studios.
Religious television stations in the United States experienced growth in the 1990’s, the number of faith-based T.V. stations alone has tripled. The United States government does not regulate these networks it is instead the National Religious Broadcasters. Religious television is widely used by evangelical groups, but other religions using television broadcasting is also growing, such as Jewish groups broadcasting on the Odyssey. The audience for religious television is still mainly white, middle-class, evangelicals but, that is also changing as there is an increase in young Catholic viewers and Spanish-language religious television. There has also been a growth in the number and power of television preachers in the United States, particularly evangelical preachers, also known as televangelists. An example is Pat Robertson, who appears on the show “The 700 Club” on CBN, regularly comments on other aspects of non-religious life and has even said they separation of church and state in the United States is ‘nonsense.’
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).
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 non-commercial television networks—funded by soliciting donations—such as Daystar Television Network (operated by Marcus Lamb and Joni Lamb) and Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) (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 television (common for local congregations) or leased access channels. Religious programs are sometimes also transmitted on Sunday mornings by general commercial broadcasters not dedicated to religious programming. Religious broadcasters in the U.S. include:
- Amazing Facts Television (AFTV)
- Calvary Chapel
- Catholic Life
- Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN)
- Christian Television Network (CTN)
- Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN); founded by Mother Angelica
- Family Radio (FR)
- Familyland Television Network
- Fundamental Broadcasting Network
- GOD TV
- God's Learning Channel (GLC)
- Golden Eagle Broadcasting
- Islamic Broadcasting Network
- Jewish Life Television
- Lester Sumrall Evangelistic Association (LeSea Broadcasting)
- Living Faith Television (LFTv)
- Loma Linda Broadcasting Network (LLBN)
- New York Jewish Radio WMDI-LP - 107.9 FM Lakewood, NJ
- Peace TV In English, Urdu & Bangla languages
- Salem Media Group
- Sky Angel
- Sonlife Broadcasting Network (SBN)
- Telecare (TV channel)
- Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN)
- The TCT Network
- The Hope Channel
- The Old Path (TOP)
- The Worship Network
- Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN)
- Victory Television Network (VTN)
The UK equivalent of the NRB is the Christian Broadcasting Council, but affiliation is much less common. Additionally in the UK is the Church and Media Network, formed in 2009 as a successor to the Churches' Media Council, which states that it seeks to be a bridge between the media and the Christian community.
Christian broadcasters (but not other religions) in the U.S. are organized through the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) organization.
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; as a result more money is raised this way. However this has become more contentious as television preachers have been accused of corruption and soliciting donations for their own personal use. There used to be no advertising revenue model – the traditional method of running commercial TV in the UK – that worked for religious TV channels. The UK government's Broadcasting Act 1990 allowed ownership of broadcasting licences by religious organisations and their officers and those who controlled them in some circumstances; this had previously not been allowed.
Religious channels aimed at a UK audience could get around this previous restriction by basing themselves offshore, often in a European country that permits asking viewers for money on air. Stations may appear to be based in the UK, but actually broadcast from another country. However Ofcom since lifted the restriction, and channels with UK licences can now ask for funds on air.
The other primary method for raising funds to run religious channels is to accept paid advertising. Traveling preachers and large churches and ministries often set up a TV department filming what they do; they then buy slots on TV channels to show their programmes. Often the same programme from an organization is shown on several channels at different times as they buy slots. The vast majority of organizations which do this are US-based. In the UK this tends to make Christian TV channels appear to be US-based, as most material originates there. Some UK TV channels have invested in making programmes to complement advertising, most notably GOD TV and Revelation TV.
- Ben Armstrong (1978). Religious broadcasting sourcebook. National Religious Broadcasters. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
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- Manasa, Makweembo (2010-02-11). "TB Joshua - 21st Century Prophet In Our Midst?". Zambian Watchdog.
- Holy God Television Ministries, France: mission statement Archived 19 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
- Archived 10 December 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
- New Living Ministries. "Contact us". Retrieved 23 August 2015.
- "SAT-7 - Making God's Love Visible". Retrieved 23 August 2015.
- "The rise of "Islamic" broadcasting in Turkey". Retrieved 23 August 2015.
- Ofcom: Public Service Broadcasting, 2011
- "Public Service Broadcasting: Annual Reports". 20 March 2007. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
- "ITV will broadcast just one hour of religious programming this year". Telegraph.co.uk. 23 June 2010. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
- "Islam Channel breaches broadcasting code". Retrieved 23 August 2015.
- "Islamic Broadcasting Network - The Voice of American Muslims". Retrieved 23 August 2015.
- "New York Jewish Radio". Retrieved 23 August 2015.
- JSM Web Dept. "SonLife Broadcasting Network - Christian Television - SBN - Jimmy Swaggart Ministries". Retrieved 23 August 2015.
- "Broadcasting Act 1990". Retrieved 23 August 2015.