Even though advertising surveys indicate that two-thirds of the Christian radio audience is female, the voices behind the microphone are overwhelmingly male.

In religious broadcasting, men have had the airwaves largely to themselves for decades, while some of the women who have had on-the-air success broke into the business after a husband gained fame in evangelical circles.

David Clark, the newly elected National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) chair, told CT at the group's annual convention in January, "As an organization, we'd love to see more women emerge in leadership and in the organization. But we're way past the glass ceiling."

Even so, only four of the thirty members of NRB's board of directors are women, and only one of the eleven people on its executive committee is female.

Clark says women are producing and hosting some of the best religious programs. "The challenge is that 65 percent of women are working, and it's difficult to target them during the day."

ENTERING THE MARKETPLACE: Women have five of the top twenty syndicated daily Christian radio programs of five minutes or less, including the most widely aired show by a female broadcaster, Mary Whelchel's Christian Working Woman. Whelchel's show is on 450 stations and is in eighth place overall. Women have had less success in syndicated daily programs of 15 minutes or longer. In that category, the most dominant broadcasts belong to long-established male figures such as James Dobson, Charles Swindoll, and Charles Stanley.

In 1984, Whelchel started hosting a program from a Chicago AM radio station that has since converted to a rock-music format. With no radio experience, she found a niche that neither the church nor Christian media had been addressing: the working woman. ...

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Christianity Today
NRB: Women Broadcasters Make Inroads, Slowly
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In the Magazine

March 3, 1997

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