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Church of God International minister’s
Religious Hardtalk expands to TV
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Church of God International minister’s
Religious Hardtalk expands to TV
By Basil Walters

A version of this article appeared in The Jamaica Observer newspaper March 20. This version is printed here by permission. Mr. Boyne is pastor of the Church of God International in Jamaica and a frequent contributor of articles to The Journal.

KINGSTON, Jamaica—Veteran award-winning journalist Ian Boyne has broken new ground with his trailblazing Religious Hardtalk radio program.

The two-year old radio talk show debuted on television on March 25.

With the successful appeal of Religious Hardtalk to radio audiences, Mr. Boyne decided the time had come to broaden the program’s fan base, especially since many people are in church when it is aired on radio.

"I had for long known, though," he says, "that this show would do very well on TV. I knew that this program was going to be a winner in terms of audience appeal. The survey shows that Religious Hardtalk has a listenership of 120,000 at that time on a Sunday.

"The thing about positioning this program, in terms of Jamaican media, is that it [the broadcasting industry] has not traditionally given any prominence to religion." However, he hastened to add, "so what RJR [94 FM] did two years ago by giving us a slot right after the midday news on Sundays, a traditional spot for news analyses, public-affairs discussions, was very significant indeed."

But don’t be fooled by the title Religious Hardtalk. It is not a gospel program in the conventional sense. It’s a hardnosed journalism talk show that seeks answers to probing questions from a religious perspective.


"What I want to create is the same sort of hardnosed journalistic coverage of religion that you have for politics, public affairs and the economy," explains Mr. Boyne, a former religion writer for the defunct Jamaica Daily News who now writes on religion for The Gleaner.

"But we have wanted to reach a number of church people who are in service between 12 midday and 2 p.m.

"We catch a number of the Pentecostals, because some of them belong to churches that have two services. Some go to church early in the morning, so we catch some of those.

"And, of course, we catch the mainstream people like the Anglicans and the Catholics who have early services. But we want to go more into the really deep religious and fundamentalist market. And the TV will help us to do that."

This is an innovation for the local media in that it’s the first time a radio program has been seen on television.

Mr. Boyne explains that he was pushing for a repeat broadcast of Religious Hardtalk on radio but credits journalist Gary Allen for coming up with the idea for the program to be aired on television.

"It’s the same program I am doing for radio; it’s not a second taping," Mr. Boyne reveals. "And it will come on radio first, then on TV that same week. That is the concept."

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