News archive 2005

ICCTRA research shows significant commitment to religious programming on local radio in the Republic of Ireland

PRESS RELEASE

14 JULY 2005

ICCTRA RESEARCH SHOWS SIGNIFICANT COMMITMENT TO

RELIGIOUS PROGRAMMING ON LOCAL RADIO

IN THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

New research published today by the Irish Churches Council for
Television and Radio Affairs (ICCTRA) shows a significant commitment
to religious programming by local/community radio stations in the
Republic of Ireland.

The research, commissioned by ICCTRA and undertaken by Council member
Ms Brenda Drumm, Communications Officer for the Irish Bishops’ Conference,
had a response rate of 70% from 46 radio stations contacted in January
of this year.

The research shows that:
* 57% of the stations that responded have at least one religious
radio programme per week ranging in time from half an hour to one
hour in duration;
* 15% of respondents said they have no religious programming;
* many local radio stations feature a reflective Thought for the Day
slot during mainstream programmes;
* 50% of respondents said that they produce additional religious
programmes/features for Christmas, Lent and Easter each year including
the broadcasting of religious services.
* 36% of respondents said they would welcome more support from the
various Church groups in their locality in the production of religious
programming.

Commenting on the survey results Brenda Drumm said: “While these figures
are encouraging, the clear message of the survey seems to be that there
is a need for greater cooperation between local radio stations and church
representatives.

“The research also shows that ICCTRA needs to raise its own profile as
only 29% of respondents said they were aware of ICCTRA at the time the
survey questionnaire was issued. Since then ICCTRA has been in contact
with a number of local and community radio stations, it has established
a dedicated website (www.icctra.ie) and is planning a regular newsletter,
and an awards programme to encourage and acknowledge the work that is
being done in the production of religious programming on local/community
radio in the Republic of Ireland.”

Commenting on the survey the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, Dr
John Neill said: “The survey on religious broadcasting gives us an insight
into an area of broadcast programming that is uniquely important in the
role it plays in Irish society. It is important that broadcasters are
acknowledged for the effort they put into maintaining the quality of
religious programmes and that they should be encouraged to continue
exploring this aspect of content creatively as it is capable of
contributing positively to social dialogue – often having an impact
far bigger than the time allocated to such programming might suggest.”

The Chairman of the Communications Commission of the Irish Catholic
Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Joseph Duffy said: “The commitment shown
by local radio stations to religious programming is not surprising when
you consider the place of religion in the private and public lives of
people in Ireland today. The Church needs to continually find ways of
using the broadcast media in proclaiming its perennial message of peace
and reconciliation and local radio is invaluable to us in doing this.”

Brenda Drumm concluded: “The report on the survey will be circulated
to the member churches of ICCTRA, to radio stations and to other
interested parties with a view to getting their comments and suggestions
on how ICCTRA and its member churches can work to support and nurture
this specialist area of programming.”

Ends

Further information:
Martin Long 086 172 7678
Brenda Drumm 087 233 7797
Janet Maxwell 087 948 4412

Notes to Editors:

* Methodology:
– The survey was conducted between 11th and 27th January 2005.
– The 46 radio stations contacted were taken from a list of radio stations
on the BCI website in January
– The questionnaire is available as an appendix to the survey report on the
ICCTRA website

* The overall aims of the research were as follows:
– to get an overview of the number of hours ’religious’ programming
being aired on local/independent/commercial and special interest radio
stations in the Republic of Ireland;
– to identify any opportunities that might exist for the provision of
expertise/advice to stations not currently outputting religious programmes,
but who have an interest in doing so;
– to see which particular church/religious groups stations are dealing with;
– to see if stations are being supported by the member churches of ICCTRA
with the production of religious programming;
– to see what sort of profile ICCTRA has with the stations or in fact if
stations are even aware of the existence of ICCTRA.

This research represents a minimum of 26 hours of religious programming
per week on the 30 radio stations which responded to the survey. While a
number of radio stations didn’t reply to this ICCTRA survey, it is clear
from their programming schedules that some of them broadcast religious
radio programmes as part of their overall schedule.

* The objective of the Irish Churches’ Council for Television and Radio
Affairs (ICCTRA) is to provide a Council of Churches in the Republic of
Ireland which will advise and consult on their behalf with the authorities
and the broadcasting stations, at national and local levels, on matters
relating to religious broadcasting of interest or concern to the Churches.
The member Churches of ICCTRA are:
– Catholic Church
– Church of Ireland
– Methodist Church
– Presbyterian Church
– Irish Council of Churches

* A copy of the survey and its findings can be downloaded from the ICCTRA
website – www.icctra.ie

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