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Quaker radio

I've been wondering all week what Quaker radio might sound like. One theory might hold that the airwaves were full of silent worship with occasional bursts of spirit provided by solar flares until Marconi started broadcasting, but that's not quite what I have in mind.

I saw a bumper sticker a while ago for WCII, part of the Family Life Network, and was reminded of an electrician who played it constantly while working on my house. I've been listening for much of this past week. Their playlist is Christian contemporary, which seems to mix lyrics suitable for hymns with light rock, light jazz, or light country, with the occasional power ballad mixed in. It's unfortunate to me that this music seems to choose musical forms I've long felt were utterly soulless to express ideas about the soul's relationship to God, but I guess not everyone wants to hear Amazing Grace, Gotta Serve Somebody, or Hank Williams' finer religious moments - and the songs work pretty well as hymns if you remove the modern stylings.

I suspect there are some Quakers who'd be happy with FLN's offerings as Quaker radio, though I'm not sure that Prophecy Today or Focus on the Family is necessarily the non-musical programming they would choose. (There probably are some who like that programming, though I've not yet met them.) There are other Quakers who I suspect listen only to NPR, or even only to NPR stations that carry Democracy Now and Alternative Radio. I'm not sure they'd even be interested in "Quaker radio", but maybe...

It's not like I expect Quakers to start setting up radio stations, filling a whole day with Quaker-oriented programming (though some folks are podcasting as well as blogging). It's just one of those strange questions that won't quite go away - what would Quaker radio sound like?

"This is WQKR, showing you the way to the power of the Light, the seed that bruises the serpent's head..." (Yes, there is a WQKR, but it's not Quaker. No KQKR, though.)

Update: And Kwakersaur's musings on the Left Behind video game makes me wonder a bit what a Quaker video game would look like. Maybe that's going too far into different media...

Update: And now I find Northern Spirit Radio, programs produced "under the care of Eau Claire Friends Meeting".



I love the notion of Quaker radio! As I've been driving along, I've often longed for that -- a radio that would broadcast not just the superficial transitory news of the day (although some of that!) and not just the calcified Truths of the Chosen (Fundamentalist?) Few, but something more dynamic and, well, Quakerly -- reminding us of the Inner Christ, reflecting on how to make our lives richer, fuller, more involved with the world around us -- and yet also having some time for some good music. (Which for me right now, means noveau-punk and harder-core/gothic emo, with maybe some blues, garage rock and contemporary Christian thrown in -- but might not for everybody.)

I find myself wondering this too as I drive around. I listen to NPR and the NPR classical stations, but lately I have found myself more and more turning to the AM to listen to Catholic radio stations. They fill a need for me for something very sincere and open about being faithful. Even though there are many differences between my expression of faith as a Quaker and those of the people on Catholic radio, I am constantly struck by what I can only call their 'plain speech' about their faith and how that impacts their response to every issue under the sun. It has really, really made me wish that such a thing as Quaker radio did exist!


Great idea, Simon!

I tuned into a Christian (fundamentalist?) AM station the other day to hear them interpreting the latest war in Lebanon in light of Revelations and Old Testament prophecies. ~*~shudder~*~

Speaking of Democracy Now and Alternative Radio, I would like to point out that the Pacifica network and KPFA-FM in Berkeley were founded by Lewis Hill, who was either a Quaker member or attender at the time. (Unfortunately the history page at http://www.pacifica.org/about/ is not up yet.)

I know that Bob Schutz, who when died about two years ago was a member of Redwood Forest Meeting in Santa Rosa, Calif., was active with KPFA in the early days, too.

Along similar lines, I recently called for the founding of the Quaker Bus and Train Co. over at http://chrismsf.blogspot.com.

-- Chris M.

As an evangelical Friend, I would hope that a Quaker radio station would have things that public radio seems to have a great aversion to.

I sometimes listen to NPR, and they promote a certain template that's based on collectivism. The gov't should collect wealth, they seem to believe, and use it to promote their purposes, like national health care, abortion, social education, and universal religion in the vein of Wayne Dyer.

I object to all of these things, and hate that my money is confiscated, or taken from me, to go toward these causes.

I would hope that a Quaker radio station would steer clear from collectivism because the government had too much power when the first Quakers were around, and it turned out to their detriment. Ideally, a Quaker radio station would focus on Jesus Christ, and His immediacy to embrace, forgive, and nurture sinners who trust in Him.

As it stands, I much prefer AM talk radio, which seems to promote limited government, and selectively choose Christian ministers and programs on the Christian stations.

As a Liberal or Unprogrammed Quaker, I often find issues with hearing songs about Jesus dying for my sins and his blood washing me clean. It really does freak me out, but for some reason I push throught and endure the music any way. I really love the Group 4 Him and also Chris Rice. Chris sings a song about smiling for Jesus and/or finally seeing the smile of Jesus.

I guess to enjoy all music about God means that I need to practice religious tolerance. But it's worth it to enjoy learning how other people see God in the way they sing about thier faith.

- alecia

I'm a programmed quaker from Kenya - East Africa. I think it is a good thing to have a quaker radio where ideals of the Friend's Church will be evangelised to the world. After all the Vatican have a radio station and it broadcasts reach Africa. I think you should begin this project so that even us Quakers in Africa can benefit by beginning a station and sharing our programmes with yours. We the Nairobi Yearly Meeting have a proposal to begin an FM station and partnering with you friend's will be a great idea.

I just tried googling to try to find a Quaker radio station on line. I was hoping to find Christ centered teaching where the teachers are not so in love with the things of the world that they advocate killing their enemies (support the troops, etc) and the commercial sponsors don't sell things like jewelry while the radio station jingle says "Safe for the whole family". Save commercial radio is kind of like safe sex. You can have safer sex outside of marriage, but not safe enough.

It appears from your blog that i am not going to find Quaker radio, though even as i write this sentence i see in the corner of the window that the site was updated on July 9, 2006. A little outdated, guess I need to keep looking.

I think it'd be full of songs from Rise Up Singing and Jon Watts.