Christians take to the air with songs of praise

Britain's first religious radio station promises 'not to beat people with a Bible'

RHYS WILLIAMS

Media Correspondent

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea