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Contemporary Christian radio in Britain: A new genre on the national dial

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Only in the second decade of the twenty-first century has contemporary Christian radio appeared as a new genre in Britain, unlike the United States where it has long been a significant format. Responsibility for religious broadcasting in the United Kingdom was, for most of the twentieth century, fulfilled by the BBC. However, the gradual relaxation of broadcasting regulations since the 1980s and the introduction of Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) have provided openings for Christian radio stations, and since 2009 the United Kingdom has had two national stations broadcasting from mainland studios for the first time. This article explores recent developments in this genre, using primary research interviews with Christian radio broadcasters. It suggests that what started out as a way for Christians to evangelize and proselytize their message has become a radio service that broadcasts almost exclusively to converted believers. It also observes that the programming and scheduling of these stations closely resembles the speech-and-music-mix style of BBC Local Radio, implying an attempt to insert themselves directly into the mainstream of the radio spectrum.
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Keywords: British radio; Christian radio; radio genres; radio history; radio programming formats; religious radio

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Huddersfield

Publication date: October 1, 2015

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  • The Radio Journal is committed to high-quality, diverse research in the arena of radio and sound media, from broadcast to podcast and all in between. We look for articles that explore the production, circulation and reception of radio and creative soundwork, addressing historical and contemporary issues in sound-based journalism and media studies from a wide range of national and transnational perspectives.
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