chapter  8
15 Pages

Church of the Air: Roman Catholics, Religious Programming and Regulation in Canadian Broadcasting, 1918–2008

ByMark McGowan

This chapter explores the contours of the relationship between religious groups and the development and regulation of radio and television in Canada in any appreciable detail. Catholics provided challenges to restrictions upon religious broadcasting when Canadian markets became open to cable services and digital television options. In Quebec, because the overwhelming majority of listeners to francophone radio were Roman Catholic, the Catholic Church had far greater influence on programming both overtly and implicitly. The experience of the Catholic Church in the realm of broadcasting in both official languages illustrates the Canadian state's growing pre-occupation with providing balance and equity between competing religious views in the public sphere, and the state's increased effort to shed ties with any specific religious group. American broadcasters and Catholics saw the situation differently. Dumont claimed that Sheen's program was educational, not religious. The digital television and pay-per-view world of the 1990s and early 2000s has changed the landscape of religious television broadcasting for Catholics.