Religious Talk Radio: Is it Growing in the U.S?

Today, a growing number of stations are syndicating ‘religious radio’, or an emphasis where ‘day time’ radio focuses on Christianity, geared toward a conservative Christian audience.

Why is this? Are consumers more religious today? Is the base more proactive in its ability to listen and support this genre?

History of Religious Radio

If you listened to radio as a focal point of your entertainment growing up, many people did, you’d have heard at least one local radio hour based on the bible, the main book for Christianity. The life of religious radio and art of using the tool to draw more people to Christ began over 60 years ago.

Pastors like Billy Graham, who created “The Hour of Decision” show for the Los Angeles Area in 1949, set a precedent for other prominent pastors and clergy to follow suit; he saw the power of radio to develop his ministry.

Graham’s media promoted his ministry, a crusade that converted many to Christianity and reignited tent ministries, a term started in the 19th/C where traveling ministers visited small American towns to preach the Gospel.

While many in the community discouraged media use and rejected popular entertainment, Graham showed the benefits through his increasingly popular radio ministry. The program eventually syndicated, reaching ministries in New York and other places on the east coast. His wit and foresight, along with keen understanding that radio was a powerful too to communicate Christian values, launched and set the foundation for religious radio as we know today.

Radio as a Conversion Tool

Not only did Graham have the wit to see how radio could benefit his followers, but the formula could be copied in many different genres. No longer was religious radio simply a lecture from the pulpit, it could be used in news and day time talk developed as a result.

Organizations sprung up from other denominations, even other religions saw the potential, where directors understood the power for those who could listen from afar and hear the message.

Billy Graham played a major role in the early history of religious radio. But today’s leaders in the industry have found an even more powerful and succinct opportunity-through conservative news-to relay their message.

Religious Radio Today-Who’s Behind it?

There is a spectrum of religious organizations who have developed religious radio to an art form. Organizations that have been around for three or more decades, like Pat Robertson’s “The 700 Club”, even “Trinity Broadcasting” started in the late 1970’s primarily on small, local television and flourishing to include radio as part of its ministry. These producers understood the art of drama, offering those who listen human interest stories based in religious beliefs, missionary updates and talks on all subjects related to the ‘good book’, the Bible.

The movement took a dip in popularity, from Bill Graham’s time, when many leaders in the industry were caught in scandal, decreasing public trust and creating the perception that the industry was fanatical.

In the late 1980s especially, the movement and listener-ship took an all-time low dip, propagating many AM and FM religious stations off air or to a lower wattage amount. This large decrease, from its hey day of over 1,300 stations between 1980-1987, was a wake up call for the industry.

They needed a positive re-invention, fast.

Enter Talk Radio

The conservative base, as well as Catholic base, though smaller in recent years, was still vital and active. Producers knew this and conservative news was becoming an increasingly sought after medium, with the rising popularity of secular cable news, like CNN.

The art of talk was important. They needed good pundits, who relayed the conservative message, in a way that would compel their base.

Pundits, like Sean Hannity, who got his start early in life, starting in 1989 climbing the ladder rungs of conservative radio (and television), and eventually hitting national syndication by 2001, were the answer.

People like Hannity, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and on the more incendiary end, people like Michael Savage, bolstered the conservative community, giving voice to an underlying sense of disenfranchisement and conviction in increasingly ‘dangerous’ secular spin on conservative beliefs.

The formula’s taken off and it won’t be declining any time soon.

Future of Religious Radio in the U.S.

To date, there are again more than 1,600 Christian broadcast. stations in the U.S. alone. There are many reasons, too, that point to the growth and stability of this format:

The ideological divide is never more prominent in the U.S. today, giving credence to the fact that religious radio is part of that equation.
The Catholic base has been refortified, with greater secular popularity for Pope Francis.
The formula works, but online presence increases exposure, too

Pope Francis is the most popular Pope since Pope John Paul II, in 30 years. Catholic ministry, also included in religious radio, is a grown subset of evangelical radio. And again, religious radio now includes online radio, with an ever growing number of pod casts and daily shows.


Religious radio is on the rise, with more online radio options, and more religious station broadcasting than ever before. Its rising because influential conservative talk show hosts, the most popular Pope in years, and better access in key, target markets — all are converging to help it grow.

How – and Why – To Choose Kid’s Online And Radio Music

In today’s technology driven world, children are influenced by many devices, from the newest tablet to traditional television. The media has fiercely latched onto technology by offering an array of children’s music. Turn on a basic AM/FM radio, tune in to satellite radio or stream Internet radio to find dedicated kids’ music channels. These vast choices are incredibly influential and important to child development, both mentally and physically.

Age-Appropriate Music

In the past, parents and caregivers had to be extremely careful about turning on the radio for fear of an inappropriate song. Today’s radio outlets have specific channels for children’s tunes. As long as the channel isn’t changed, it’s virtually impossible to hear an offensive song. Older children can be given a set of channels to browse through under supervision. With approved channels in hand, children have a sense of independence as they find their favorite songs. Fostering trust and independence as children grow older are important concepts for the adult years. Online and radio music provide several outlets for these concepts to flourish.

The Advertising Component

Regardless of the genre, kids’ channels will have advertising. Although this may be frustrating, the advertisers’ goals are not covering ages one to 100. In fact, ads are targeted toward children and adults for educational and social games, for example. You may hear about a new app, game or toy that could enhance your favorite child’s life through these ads. If you want to avoid them, try purchasing an online or radio subscription. When you pay for specific channels, businesses often omit the ads to a certain degree. Leaning on ads for business income is the main reason you hear them so often. Even radio and online channels must make a profit.

Choose Several Outlets

Leaning on radio tunes to lighten a daycare or home environment is a smart choice, but mix up the channels as much as possible. Try educational songs in the morning to catch children when they’re fresh. Even the musical genre should be altered, such as switching from jazz to classical. Loosen up the children with silly songs from favorite television shows or movies. With so many online and radio channels to choose from, children have an almost endless array of song types. You could even add in a foreign language song to make the children think on a larger level than just their neighborhood.

Helping The Developing Brain

Children’s minds are emerging in the early years as they make new connections every day. Their actual brain cells are forming neural pathways for more complex cognitive functions later in life. Scientists have discovered that musical interludes throughout the day typically increase neural connections, allowing them to learn more at a faster rate than without songs. Parents can even start online and radio music while they are pregnant. Fetuses are aware of rhythms and beats, giving them a head start in brain development before birth. Continue playing songs throughout young childhood to watch them blossom. From simple tunes to complicated classical songs, you are the child’s first teacher.

Brings Kids Together

If you subscribe or simply listen to free radio, set goals for children when they are in groups. For example, ask them to listen to a song and talk about it afterward. These games are fun, but also provide a level of socialization as discussions create friendships and good times. Songs can be silly to generate more conversation for younger children, for example. After the song is discussed, children discover their likes and dislikes, along with learning about their friends’ interests. Use different tunes each day to create a social atmosphere that encourages public speaking and communication.

Songs And Learning

Search for a radio or online station that has educational songs. There are plenty of tunes that discuss animals, elements, numbers and letters. Ask children in a group atmosphere to sing along or create their own song based on what they just heard. Learning needs to be fun to be effective, allowing children to build a strong basis for future school success. Asking if a cow says “moo” or reciting the alphabet are simple ways to engage youngsters. Online and radio stations may even have songs you’ve never heard before, but are wonderful additions to daily listening.

Physicality And Games

Children need to be physical throughout the day. It increases their motor skills and lets off steam. Songs played continually throughout a musical chair game, for example, are perfect ways to introduce new tunes. Online radio is perfect for these games because of their short advertisements. Select a new genre each day while children wiggle, dance and jump around. Along with staying physically healthy, they learn about rhythm in the body and how to move with a song. Even offer child-friendly instruments to the group, giving them the opportunity to play along with the songs. Their minds expand with new experiences that only enhance their schooling in later life.

Turn on the satellite, AM/FM or online radio to browse the channel selections today. There are literally dozens of stations for every age group. You’ll find songs that encourage friendships, self-esteem and fun every day.


Caregivers have many choices when it comes to kids’ tunes filtered through different radio outlets. They choose from age-appropriate songs that educate or entertain, depending on immediate needs. Children’s brains use rhythms to form connections in early life, contributing greatly to future success and creativity. By forming healthy social groups, based on musical tastes, kids grow on an intellectual level.

Top Family and Christian Radio Stations in the USA

The mission of family broadcasting is to provide a haven of comfort in an anti-faith, secular world. It is designed to contact and share positive, spiritual messages with even more people at home and in their cars using technology and the Internet. The impact of worship being presented on the air that includes inspirational and electrifying Christian artists and bands, life lessons and down home conversation is why the following Christian radio programs are in the top list that have huge followings across the country:

1. K-Love

A fun morning show, heart-warming stories and great talk shows that features community events planned around local stations and helps listeners contact larger ministries. The music selection is a well balanced mix of various artists without the typical heavy rotation that often dominates mainstream programs. Plus, K-Love always has a free song available each week for download on iTunes!

2. WFSH 104.7 FM – Atlanta

The Fish based out of Atlanta is integrated with many businesses and offers many discounts and deals. The Fish’s music targets the younger crowd and they actively run a program called “Happy Meal Heroes”, which awards and rewards some of Atlanta’s youngest volunteers. Their website and programs provide many opportunities to ‘spread some liove’ in the community while playing great music.

3. Air1

As one of the larger air broadcasts in the country, with stations in 41 states, Airl plays a generous variety of music and provides great tidbits of information about the songs they play. Some songs are a bit more edgy, but they do play a lot of popular, mainstream Christian music and is supported by donations.

4. WGTS 91.9 FM – Washington D.C.

One listener commented that they really came to liove Christian music by listening to WGTS 91.9 FM. Based in Maryland, they promote the “Golden Rule” principal with their Drive-thru Difference program, that encourages patrons to pay for the orders behind them while visiting a drive thru. WGTS 91.9 FM has a diverse crew of DJ’s on board that deliver a well-rounded broadcasting that listeners can connect with and listen to while playing the latest Christian hits.

5. Moody

The network of Moody stations reach a broad range of listeners across the country. They have six different radio stations online that all focus on something slightly different. With that being said, listeners have a ‘buffet’ of faith-based selections to choose from and meditate on.

6. American Family Radio

With 180 stations in 40 states across the country, American Family plays upbeat, mainstream Christian music and has a strong military presence with their Military Biblestick program. Online streaming programs include Urban Family Communications, AFR Talk Audio Live, AFR Inspirational LIVE and AFR Talk LIVE that provide spiritual insight on modern topics.

7. 94.9 KLTY – Texas

Everything about 94.9 KLTY oozes a family-friendly vibe, including their Family-Friendly Morning Show and Family-Fun Five @ Five programs. They play a variety of music, from older favorites from Michael W. Smith and Switchfoot to newer artists like Francesca Battistelli, Sidewalk Prophets and Matt Maher.

8. Smile FM- Michigan

Smile FM, (coined the “positive hit music” of Michigan), play a variety of old and new music hits. They even have a jolly mascot named “Giggles” for children to laugh and play with and are known for supporting wholesome events in the community. Smile FM also supports up and coming artists throughout Michigan (plus other states) and many local missions. There is an online prayer forum that helps people in dire need to submit requests and allows people to share a prayer for those in need.

9. plays heavier Christian rock music and is exclusively streamed across the Internet. You can listen to radio news wherever you have access to the Internet, so it’s a great pick for when listeners are on the go. Artists they play include Submission Red, The Wedding, Audio Adrenaline, Skillet, Project 86, The Protest, POD, Awaken, Nine Lashes and We As Human.

10. The Message

The Message on channel 63 aired (listeners must have a subscription with Sirius XM Radio) plays mainstream contemporary Christian music and also has interviews and talks with musicians and pastors. The three biggest programs they offer are The Message: Changing Tracks, AMPED! and Sunday Praise.

11. EWTN network

Launched as a Catholic network in 1981, EWTN works around the clock to bring devout listeners the best in religious and family programming spun from a Catholic viewpoint in English and Spanish. The majority of the network’s programming is original (80 percent) and provides real-time coverage of church events, exciting children’s animation, inspiring talk shows, thought-provoking documentaries and exclusive teaching series that is totally funded by donations.


The spiritual relationship between the individual, with God and with Jesus Christ is now being delivered via digital ad media. DJs and guests alike can spread the news of living for God instead of self, recognizing and avoiding sin in its many forms and living a life of self-sacrifice as did Jesus Christ in our tech-era.

On-the-air faith programs diligently work to promote wholesome ad media to sway the hearts and minds of people who are constantly being influenced by shocking, controversial and immoral mainstream lifestyles. For those who get tired of constantly switching channels to protect themselves from the various vices of society, there are still plenty of existing Christian-based programs out there who choose to openly express their beliefs and moral values with others.