Patrick Barkham meets Britain's first televangelist | World news | The Guardian
Sporting a silvery thatch of hair that miraculously thickened shortly after he took up Christian broadcasting, year-old Howard Conder reads. UCB 2 Presenters. Songs for worship & words of wisdom. The very best praise and worship music and faith-fuelling songs, together with practical Bible-based. Vision Christian Radio is Australia's national Christian radio broadcaster, delivering a mix of adult contemporary Christian music, news and talk. Warnings Against DIY Drug Testing Kits Core Beliefs · History · How We Operate · Name Change · Meet The Team · Asia/Pacific Outreach · The UCB Global Family.
Sporting a silvery thatch of hair that miraculously thickened shortly after he took up Christian broadcasting, year-old Howard Conder reads the Sun's front page on Robbie Williams. His wife, Lesley, nods. Sorry, I'm giving a bit of a plug for the Bible this morning.
For the past four years, the Conders have broadcast from a tiny jumble of a studio a minute - and light years - away from the sleek, amoral television companies of Soho and Charlotte Street.
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When not presenting - although sometimes they do these things while they are on live telly as well - Howard and Lesley direct, produce graphics, answer the telephone, book guests and order equipment. They are helped by their four children, the youngest of whom, Bethany, 11, has her own show, R Kidz, and a youthful staff of Shunned by mainstream advertisers and barred by Ofcom from raising funds on air, the Conders have scrimped and saved and remortgaged their house to keep on broadcasting.
Now all that has changed. Despite the opposition of the Church of England, which fears the "potential for exploiting viewers' sensitivities", Howard Conder's lonely lobbying has paid off: Ofcom has amended its regulations to allow Revelation TV to ask for money on air.
Interview: David Taviner head of radio development, United Christian Broadcasters
Is this the birth of British televangelism? Will well-fed pastors coerce money out of Brassic of Bolton while happy-clappy hordes charm cheques from Gullible of Guildford? It was 18 years ago that the Lord told Howard Conder to spread God's word via the medium of television. Conder was a raffish former drummer and producer who worked for Brian Epstein, the Beatles' manager, and "had the privilege" to audition the Bee Gees.
After spending the 80s in America, he heard God speak, reformed his rock'n'roll ways and, eventually, returned to Britain on a mission to create a Christian television channel.
Meet Simon Tuck | United Christian Broadcasters
When his bank manager asked for his business plan, he responded: Howard, with a studded leather belt between blue shirt and jeans, and Lesley, wearing a comfortable jumper, have arrived seconds before their They are not sure if they've got all their newspapers. And Lesley has a cough. Luckily, life on screen is calmer than off it.
Howard and Lesley begin their morning show by discussing Revelation's fourth birthday. One contains a video message, so Howard holds his laptop up to the camera and plays it: Today, people watch TV like never before. Premier leads on important campaigns: ACT campaign in to safeguard religious education in schools; the Safetynet campaign in to protect children from online pornography; and the Not for Sale campaign, which did important work on the Modern Slavery Bill.
I am very grateful to the right hon. He is being very generous and is making an excellent speech. Gentleman is absolutely right.
- 'The show is like a coffee morning in slow motion'
- Interview: David Taviner head of radio development, United Christian Broadcasters
- Meet Simon Tuck
Last week, Premier started to ask its listeners to write in with their support. I am told that 2, to 3, a day have been writing in since then. Let me just read what one of them said, which very much echoes the hon.
I am registered disabled, with M. Premier helps me to connect and engage with my faith and feel part of a wider community. The first is due to take place on 14 June, and has been backed by the Communities Secretary. Gentleman is absolutely right that Premier is very important indeed for many of its listeners.
Gentleman is being very gracious. On the impact that Premier has across the whole of the United Kingdom, I just wanted to make the point that in Northern Ireland those who listen to Premier Christian Radio enjoy it.
Culturally and regionally, it brings us all together to enjoy programmes we all take great pleasure in. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for making that point. There are currently 14 stations on Digital One: The other 11 stations focus predominantly on music in varying proportions. The inclusion of yet another music channel at the expense of Premier would clearly harm the aim of appealing to a variety of listeners and tastes.
There is a trend of losing speech-based stations from Digital One. A number of stations were there but are not any longer: All of those were on Digital One but have now gone.
Against that disappointing pattern, the enforced removal of Premier looks even less defensible. Premier provides its listeners with a valued opportunity to connect to their faith, and to reflect from that starting point on what is happening in the world and on current affairs. If a request is to be made to replace Premier with a pop music station—it has not been made yet—Ofcom should reject it. I am very much hoping that the Minister will agree. It is a great pleasure to respond to the right hon.
Member for East Ham Stephen Timmswho made his case in a characteristically forthright, clear and brief manner, getting all the right points across as succinctly as possible. I shall try to follow his lead. I am also grateful for the contributions from my hon. Member for Strangford Jim Shannonwho has contributed to many debates in which I have taken part.
It might sound like I am going off topic, but I hope that as I speak it will become clear why I wish to talk generally about digital radio. As the right hon. Gentleman made clear, Premier Christian Radio is now available in Northern Ireland thanks to digital radio.
I was interested to hear him talk about the postcard campaign that Premier Christian listeners might undertake to save their radio station.
I hope that we can turn this army to another purpose, because I hope that they will work with me to promote the virtues of digital radio. As he mentioned, I have been a great supporter of digital radio precisely because it promotes diversity in broadcasting.
The BBC, a laudable institution, dominates the radio airwaves, with something like two thirds of listening, and digital broadcasting is a great opportunity for a much wider platform of voices to be heard, which is why his points about whether we should have another pop music station or preserve Premier Christian Radio were so well made.
It is also possible to listen to Premier Christian Radio in the car. Two thirds of new cars now have digital radios fitted as standard, although we need to do more to get cheaper car conversion kits for those of us who drive an older make of vehicle.
That is all because of our digital radio action plan pushing out key improvements in digital radio infrastructure. There are several successful digital radio music stations that have shown how viable this platform is.
For example, Radio 6 Music was another station threatened with closure, not by being thrown off the mux it was broadcasting on, but by the decision of BBC bureaucrats. It might interest the right hon.
Gentleman mentioned pop music stations. Before concentrating on the virtues of Premier Christian Radio, it is worth saying that pop music stations do also have some virtues. Absolute 80s draws 1. There is further good news for those devoted to these new digital radio stations.
I have given the Minister a free rein, but, in fairness, I think there are a few Members here who would like him to concentrate on the debate. All this good news is welcome, but the debate is more about Premier Christian Radio than the success of pop stations. I take your point, Mr Deputy Speaker. Gentleman said, Premier Christian Radio started broadcasting on D1 in We are in a period of transition—I will come to that in a minute—but there is an opportunity for Premier Christian Radio arising from our announcement of another national multiplex—the imaginatively name D2, to go alongside the equally imaginatively named D1.
The good news is that Premier Christian Radio is part of both bidding consortiums for D2. So Premier Christian Radio should and, I expect, will have a great future when the D2 multiplex is launched, which we expect to take place in the spring of Now, let us get back to where we were with Premier Christian Radio on D1.
It had a five-year contract, which was due to end at Christmas, as the right hon. That was extended until the end of March. Since Christmas, additional capacity has become available on D1. As either my hon. Member for South West Devon or the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed mentioned, there have been discussions with Premier about taking up this capacity.
Those were on commercial terms, but in order to take up that capacity, Premier Christian Radio would have to transmit on D1 until Clearly, if Premier Christian Radio wants to move to D2 in mid, it does not want to have a slot on D1 that runs until Furthermore, the D1 slot on offer is at 80 kilobits rather than the 64 kilobits that Premier, primarily a speech service, uses at the moment.
These are important matters. Technically, I should not intervene in these discussions, which are commercial, so it is not for me to influence them, but this is an important radio station—one I support wholeheartedly—and I spoke to its managing director, Peter Kerridge, this afternoon to ascertain the situation.
I hope a solution can be found.
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I am pleased with some of the progress made. As I understand it, Arqiva is going to see if it can re-purpose some other spare capacity on D1 to create a 64 kilobit stream for Premier Christian to take over.
For that to work, there would need to be some give and take on all sides.