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NAMB broadcasting reflects growth in religious programming

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Growth in the use of Southern Baptist broadcast programming reflects a national trend, according to David Clark, vice president of broadcast communications for the North American Mission Board.
“In spite of reports to the contrary, Christian broadcasting is alive and growing,” said Clark, who also serves as chairman of the National Religious Broadcasters, which released figures showing the growth.
According to an NRB release, the number of television stations carrying religious programming grew 26 percent from 1997 to 1998. In Texas alone, the number of religious TV outlets tripled, expanding from seven in 1997 to 23 in 1998. Growth in religious programming on radio stations was less dramatic, but still grew more than 2 percent, highlighted by 13 new stations in Kentucky.
“NAMB’s television documentary about Christians in NASCAR racing aired earlier this year on 99 NBC television affiliates, more than double the number of stations which normally use the documentaries,” Clark pointed out. “And the number of radio stations airing ‘The Baptist Hour’ this past year increased more than 10 percent over 1997.”
Clark said he believes the interest in Christian programming will continue to expand as low-power stations are able to increase power and with the prospects of technological advances such as digital cable.
From studios in Fort Worth, Texas, NAMB’s broadcasting group produces five weekly radio programs which are aired on 2,500 stations across the country, reaching more than 3 million adult listeners every week. The agency also provides television programming to its FamilyNet affiliates as well as to the Odyssey cable network.
More Religious Radio & TV Stations in 1998
NRB President E. Brandt Gustavson said, “The increase in the interest in Christian broadcasting attests to the hunger of the American people for something better.”
The NRB data is based on listings in its new 1999 Directory of Religious Media, available in print and on CD-ROM. The organization is based in Manassas, Va.

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  • Martin King