Christian Media Companies See Opportunities in Broadcasting

( [email protected] ) Mar 03, 2004 04:14 PM EST

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--During the annual convention of National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) in late February, many Evangelical Protestant broadcasters pledged to offer better quality programming as an alternative to mainstream outlets after waking up to the perpetuating violations of television decency.

Robert Reccord, president of the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention referred to the incident at the Super Bowl halftime show “a real wake-up call".

The NRB is an Association of Christian communicators. Workshops offered during the convention which was attended by around 6,000 media executives carried such titles as "FCC Indecency Regulations and the Broadcast of Four-Letter Words", concerning Federal Communication Commission battle with the use of the f-word by U2’s Bono; and "Christian Response to Reality TV." The subject matter presented during the convention represented what the Evangelical broadcasters have wanted to provide.

"We want to offer a new alternative," he said. "And we want it to be known we're not just for adults. We also want to reach the children. We really believe that how we look at things determines how we end up behaving," said Reccord. The alternative the Southern Baptist Convention is offering can be viewed through their 24-hour cable network, FamilyNet, reaches 31 million households.

The denomination is not alone in its efforts to protect decency on the airwaves. Other broadcasters who spoke up included media other than television.

Carol Jones Saint, whose family has operated a Christian radio station in Erie, Pa., since 1948, feels every broadcaster must take the opportunity given to them to make amends. "People are hurting, both economically and morally, and as a broadcaster I feel we have a chance to offer them hope.”

The NRB also formally called upon Congress and the FCC to crack down broadcasting indecency.

Reccord noted that many parents were not aware of the kind of material shown to youth on television, such as MTV.

Freda Crews of Spartanburg, S.C., who runs "Time For Hope", a TV show, which she described as a faith-based mental health program, reaffirmed that broadcasters need “to offer young people an alternative”. Her show is seen on about 125 stations around the country.

Although she recently refused a guest on a show about pre-marital sex because the material was too “graphic”, she believes much more is to be done in competing against secular programming.

She said, "Our work is cut out for us."