Sight Magazine – Christian Radio Has Major Positive Impact on Society in Australia, Report Says

Sydney, Australia

Christian radio has a major positive impact on Australian society, with new data showing that 1.8 million people tune in every week – a third of them have no religious beliefs or follow a religion other than Christianity.

The social impact of Christian radio in Australia report discovered that Christian radio was a source of personal growth for listeners, seen as a shared and trusted experience for families, and a vehicle for positive social impact in society.

GRAPHIC: Courtesy of McCrindle Research.

The report, commissioned by Christian Media and Arts Australia, found that listeners tuned in for an average of nine hours per week.

A total of 4,609 people responded to the survey from March 19 to April 26 across Australia by McCrindle Research.

Mark McCrindle, director of McCrindle, said when they reached out to listeners to find out more about them, they found that 77 percent of them said their faith or spirituality was central to their lives, but one in four said that by listening to Christian radio their spirituality was not the main driving force in their lives.

“You have a diverse listener base, and that’s what’s fascinating,” he said.

Sixty-two percent of those polled had Christian beliefs, 12 percent had “other” religious beliefs and 21 percent said they had no religious beliefs, according to the report.
He said the research revealed four key impacts, including that Christian radio was a source of growth for individuals, families and communities.

“We would expect Christian radio to grow people spiritually … but what’s remarkable is how [it] has helped people grow relational and intellectually, ”he said.

There was not much difference in the primary audience demographic, with Baby Boomers (33%), Gen X (33%), and Gen Y (23%) the primary audience, with those aged 76 and over (three percent) tuning less often than Gen Z (six percent).

“Half of young listeners (aged 18-26) – Generation Z – say that listening to Christian radio has helped them socially. And for a generation vulnerable to isolation and disconnection, having them participate in listening to Christian radio and being made aware of the connection opportunities for them – well, that highlights this great benefit of building community and to have an impact on individuals, ”he said.

The second impact was that it was a shared and trusted experience for families.

Christian radio graphic2

GRAPHIC: Courtesy of McCrindle Research.

The majority of listeners (63%) said Christian radio had a positive impact on their family. Part of the reason was that the content was seen as trustworthy and appropriate, as well as the teaching of morals and values.

“A key proportion of all listeners are families with dependent children. Seventy-six percent of all listeners are parents and 41 percent of them are parents who live with dependent children.

The third impact was on Christian radio’s ability to mobilize community bonds and inspire volunteerism that has helped “build the social fabric of our communities and this nation,” McCrindle said.

“One respondent said, ‘Because I live in a small rural community, you are involved in almost everything that happens. Listening to my radio station reminds me of how important it is to help our community. ‘ It is remarkable – that listening to Christian radio does not just fill the time of a commute, it is not purely for entertainment; it has impacts, it equips them, it supports their community volunteering, it engages and promotes this support.

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Data showed that three in four listeners volunteered in at least one community, political, charitable, or religious group, 49 percent of which were leaders of a community organization.

“We know from the national census that 19% of Australians volunteer, that’s just under one in five; here we have three out of four [Christian radio listeners] volunteering, ”McCrindle said.

The fourth main feature of the research was that it was a “valuable source of uplifting content and unheard opinions about others. [mainstream] stations ”.

“What’s important to a healthy media landscape is a diverse one … Ninety-two percent of Christian radio listeners strongly or somewhat agree that maintaining the presence of Christian radio is important to Australian society. “

Stephen O’Doherty, president of Hope Media in Sydney and also a board member of CMAA, said Christian media tries to motivate people with Christian values ​​and gospel truth, and for them to to serve, to love their neighbor and to do good works in the world.

“This survey is the first time that we have measured the social engagement of people who are part of our weekly audience,” he told an online forum to launch the results on Nov. 18.

An example of the impact a Christian radio station has had on its community is 99.9 Live FM from Townsville in the far north of Queensland, where devastating flooding wreaked havoc in 2019.

Live FM was also part of a “Team Townsville” cooperative event in the aftermath of the floods, joining City Council, Townsville’s combined churches and YWAM (Youth with a Mission) visiting more than 17,000 households to verify households and help connect them to services.

The station provided aerial coverage, live social media updates, showcased the work of volunteers, and set up a call center to connect those needing help as they cleaned up and were rebuilding.

“We really love listening to Live FM, and especially during the flooding period the updates were invaluable,” said one listener.