Christian Radio Station Forced to Give Time to Other Faiths

July 28, 2007

Author: Jennifer Green

Source: The Ottawa Citizen

When is a Christian radio station not a Christian radio station? For the hour or so a day that it must air the views of other faiths to satisfy the CRTC's "balance" policy.

"It's ridiculous," says Bob Du Broy, vice-president of Ottawa's CHRI Christian music station. "It's like asking a rock station to play an hour of classical music." CHRI's announcers also find themselves in the bizarre situation of working for a Christian station without being able to talk much about Christianity for fear of triggering the "balance" issue.

Because CHRI 99.1 FM plays mostly music, its requirements for offsetting Christian proselytizing have been minimal at just over 30 minutes a week.

But now Mr. Du Broy wants to start a new Christian station, WORD FM, aimed at the growing radio audience older than 45, many of whom want Christian programming, but not the racket of rock music.

It would offer more than two-thirds spoken-word broadcasting with programs such as Billy Graham's Hour of Decision and James Dobson's Focus Weekend.

Religious music needn't be offset with other faiths, but the broadcast regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, does require that spoken-word programming offer differing views. However, it is up to the applicant to propose just how this would be done.