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radio, i Tunes, and MP3 players as “strong
competitors for Canadian ears.”
“In some cases the programming is
really good, but the business plan is not,”
says Friesen. “I often get calls from sta-
tions in crisis. One owner recently called
me wanting help to turn his operation
into a commercial station.”
A key problem, says Friesen, is that
“We’ve tried to make Christian radio a
business. The trouble is, it is not a busi-
ness. It’s a niche market. There aren’t
enough listeners to make it appealing to
a mass of advertisers. And some advertis-
ers, even if they are Christians, feel
Christian radio is too polarized.”
However, for advertisers who want to
market to Christians, Christian radio is a
great fit, says Millar. He points to recent
advertising that his station carried for a
family friendly Christian movie.
Rocket puts it concisely. “The most
significant challenge for being a Christian radio station is – being a Christian
radio station. I remember we went to a
car dealership, and they couldn’t advertise because we are a Christian station
that sings and talks about God. I wonder
if they realized that Christians also
CRTC guidelines less important
Being a clearly Christian voice has at
times led to wrangling over guidelines
established by the Canadian Radio-tele-vision and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). “The regulation with regard
to balance,” says Hunt, has sometimes
caused problems historically.
The CRTC’s Religious Broadcasting
Policy, published in 1993, states, “To attain
balance, a broadcaster need not necessarily
give equal time to each point of view. Rath-
er, the Commission expects that a variety
of points of view will be made available . . .
over a reasonable period of time.”
Current Christian broadcasters know
they can’t be theologically narrow or ag-
gressive, and so have almost no difficulty
“I think the CRTC is supportive and
fair,” says Friesen, who maintains the
regulatory body is more concerned about
David F. Dawes is a freelance writer living in Greater
the “financial viability” of applicants.
“Revenue is the big challenge” for all
Christian radio, says Friesen.
He admits he also worries sometimes
that stations will be “challenged by hu-
man rights groups.”
Bill Stevens is more optimistic. “How
we reach people may change,” he says.
“But people will always want to have a
relationship with someone who believes
what they believe – and who encourages