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Is Anybody Listening?

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© FEBC International 2012

Introduction

 

what is radio good for in our contemporary world? And how might it possibly help today's Church in its mission to the world?  Where might radio fit in?

There is nothing unusual in talking about roles. As individuals we each play a variety of roles in the course of a normal week — father, mother, son, daughter,  brother, sister, employee, supervisor, friend, neighbour, etc. Each of these involves a different relationship and a different style of behaviour and vocabulary.

And generally we are able to switch from one role to another without consciously thinking about it. One person — but many roles to play.

Radio is also like that, playing a variety of roles rather than just one. As a medium it is extremely versatile and lends itself very well to a wide variety of applications.

But how well do we understand that? And how well do we utilise the enormous scope that radio potentially offers?

This book aims to unpack these questions. By so doing it will expand the reader's mind to see wider horizons of possibility. Some of it will be theory, but hopefully the greatest sources of inspiration will be through learning from what others are successfully doing.

Chapter 1 is the flagship for this book as it looks at what each of these roles is about — and where we can find living examples of these roles in operation today, by giving practical examples. The underlying role is that of Service. Many broadcasting operations in the early days of radio were described as a "broadcast service" because their main objective was to serve the public. So this is nothing new -- but it is good to be reminded of. Each of the roles defined needs to be seen as Service being unpacked. Serving is an attitude that we demonstrate to our listener.

But this book covers a scope wider than roles alone. This is because we cannot talk about roles without ultimately getting into related issues...

Chapter 2 provides us with a framework for understanding how the various roles inter-relate and why we need to apply roles appropriately. The Gray Matrix helps us better understand how people are on a spiritual pilgrimage and how we need to come alongside them on that pilgrimage.

In Chapter 3 on The Message we unpack what it is that we need to be saying — what our "product" consists of. What is the Good News and how do we understand its various dimensions especially as we understand the medium of radio and why people listen?

Chapter 4 zooms in on a new emphasis we are focusing on - Incarnational Radio. It basically means taking the radio program out of the studio and into the streets, villages, offices, and homes. It means giving the microphone to our listener to hear what they want to talk about, what their concerns are and how we can serve them better.

Finding Answers (chapter 5) is all about the importance of audience research and shows how it helps keep us in touch with the real world, with our feet on the ground and — more important — in touch with our listener.

Using New Technology (chapter 6) explores the impact the new Internet and mobile phone technologies have on broadcasting and how they may be used to enhance the broadcast medium.

We see all these chapters working to complement each other as part of a complete package and have tried to keep it concise and focused so that it does not become too large and bulky. One of the selling points of the first edition (1996) was its compactness, and although this is larger in size and more comprehensive we have attempted to not sacrifice this feature.