by John Carey Too little use is being made by the Church of the opportunities provided by the growth of local radio Fr Agnellus Andrew, director of the Church's TV and radio centre in Hatch End, Middlesex, said this week.
Fr Andrew said that most local radio stations welcomed initiatives from Christians but that many Catholics were unaware of the opportunities, for greater involvement in their community.
"Many of our people show a lack of awareness and a lack of conviction about the potential," he said. "They are not always alive to the possibilities. When the right sort of relationship has been established, there are wonderful opportunities to establish closer links with the local community."
He pointed out that there were about 75 stations either operating or being planned and that more were in the pipeline. Their religious broadcasting output averaged about two hours a week and there were also frequent news magazine programmes. Invariably they made use of a small team of volunteers to help make the religious programmes.
The TV and radio centre at Hatch End is now devoting an increasing amount of time to training people to use local radio: most of the courses are done "on location" in the particular area and are provided for both clergy and lay people, In addition the centre's general courses include a special section on local radio.
Fr Andrew said that churches should use radio as a means of becoming more closely integrated into their communities rather than trying to act as "pressure groups" or "proselytising agencies".
Ile suggested that parishes could make a start by including details of their local station's religious programmes in their weekly newsletters.
See page 7.