Christians take to the air with songs of praise
Britain's first religious radio station promises 'not to beat people with a Bible'
Saturday 10 June 1995
Fears that Britain's first Christian radio station would be all folksy revivalism seemed confirmed at its press launch yesterday, when three of the presenters picked up a tambourine, a harmonica and a guitar and launched into Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind".
The last time the guitarist Sal Solo reached the radio big time, he was lead singer of the Eighties band Classix Nouveaux who had a hit with "Is it a Dream?".
A similar thought must have crossed his mind as he stared at Cindi Kent, former lead singer of the Sixties band The Settlers, warbling "How many roads must a man walk down?"
Solo, who has worked in broadcasting for decade, will present a weekend Christian music chart show when Premier goes on air in London and the South-east this afternoon. Kent, a former religious producer for Capital Radio, will front an afternoon magazine programme aimed at women, while the third member of the trio, the lead singer of Manfred Mann, Paul Jones, will lead listeners through his collection of Gospel music.
The station's programme director, Mark Seaman, says Premier will offer all the radio standards of news, current affairs, music and chat, but with a Christian twist.
A coffee-time show with phone-ins will cover issues such as health and relationships, an afternoon magazine will deal with more health, holidays and cookery, while the late night cocoa-time slot will be taking in music and showbiz guests. There will be a slice of morning worship and "In Between the Lines", an attempt to make the Bible relevant to modern life.
Premier believes the problem with current religious output is that it consigns faith to broadcasting ghettoes, placing God in a box. Faith becomes narrowly defined in terms of the Church, instead of being placed in the context of daily life. Mr Seaman explains: "People are looking for some sort of moral stance and traditional basics that we can live by." However, he adds, Premier will not preach. "We're not about hitting people over the head with a Bible."
The station's willingness to take a stance has been demonstrated by its refusal to take advertising for the National Lottery, described by Premier's chief executive, Peter Meadows, as a "national evil in conflict with the Christian ethics of the station".
Indications that this latest radio wannabe is ready to take off the gloves in the fight for listeners came this week with the announcement that it would run its own "Thought for the Day", head to head with Radio 4's daily spiritual turn on the Today programme.
The presenters of Premier's "Reflection for the Day" will include Richard Bewes and Elaine Storkey, both poached from the Radio 4 version. The slot underlines Premier's belief that a hefty bulk of its listening will come from the BBC - 37 per cent, according to the station's pre-launch research.
- 1 Chelsea victory parade mocked on Twitter as 'tens of fans' pack the streets of London
- 2 Preston fan who appeared to snatch Jermaine Beckford's shirt from eight-year-old boy identified and says: 'the truth will come out'
- 3 Johnny Depp facing 10 years in jail for illegally bringing dogs to Australia
- 4 US warned by Chinese media to stop meddling or 'war will be inevitable'
- 5 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
Johnny Depp facing 10 years in jail for illegally bringing dogs to Australia
US warned by Chinese media to stop meddling or 'war will be inevitable'
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission, Benefits, OTE £100k: SThree: ...
£32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...
£27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you a recent graduate loo...