Posted by: sponyak | February 2, 2008

Absence

All right, you guys know the rest of the saying about absence: Does not make the heart grow fonder. And I’ll bet you’ve already guessed that I’m not talking about intimate relationships. No, I’m referring to the lack of public presence for people who think freely outside the dictates of religion. Fox TV is a prime example. And where are the counterparts to Contemporary Christian radio? Even Sirius has a Catholic channel. Damn!

Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe there is something good and great and ungodly that I am not aware of. I hope so. But for now, my question is: Where are the Atheist radio stations? Where is the media that speaks for the atheist or skeptic or agnostic or freethinker?

It’s no wonder people fear us. They don’t know who the hell we are, so we trigger the ancient reptile section of the brain that says look out! There’s a monster hiding under the bed. Hey, we know we’re not monsters. We know we’re nice, normal, law abiding people. We know we don’t eat babies for brunch. The trouble is, they don’t.

I used to be in radio (before engineering, before writing, before art) and had what most people would consider my own show. But it wasn’t a show of my own choosing. I hosted a show based on the Program Director’s ideas, and while I came up with my own interview questions, and chose who to invite to be on the air, the theme of the program was outside my control. OK then, not OK now.

How does a new show get started? How do people convince hostile or reluctant station owners to give them a chance? This is the great unknown, and I’m hoping someone out there will have answers. If I have faith in anything, it is the brilliance, resourcefulness, skill, and talent of the members of this group and similar groups.

So here’s my thought for the day: We need to establish a media presence, in concert with the wonderful books being written by our atheist stars (Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris) and the sooner the better. Any ideas?

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Responses

  1. All right! Our first non-Michael/MarkT post in months! Welcome to the Blog Cloudbery!

    As far as media presence is concerned, I must say that I feel it is more important to have something to bring to the media that is not merely our opposition to religion. I have been evaluating our options as far as establishing a positive presence within our community (positive referring to constructive, not in terms of value), and I think that the media will come around to us once we have some infrastructure in place.

    Do not forget that we are going up against the second largest system of organization in the world; we must be precise in our execution if we hope to succeed.

    Michael

  2. Well I think the problem is that while religion is a position, atheism and skepticism are non-positions.

    Think about it this way: A Christian radio host talks about god and religion, but what does a Skeptic radio host talk about? They talk about whatever they want, just not god or religion. In this sense you can say that all non-religious programming and media is atheist or skeptic because it does not talk about god or religion.

    If what you are asking is why there are not radio programs of people bashing religion and god, I would it is because most atheists and skeptics don’t desire to push their beliefs on others, and also because their market share is too small to warrant such programing. Christians do make up 80% or so of our population. I don’t know how much ad money an atheist program would generate, and shows do cost money to produce 😉

  3. I stumbled upon this the other day:

    http://atheistempire.com/entertainment/radio.html

    Haven’t tuned in yet.

  4. The only aetheist radio show I know of is on Air America by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (Saturdays, 1-2pm). And ffrf.org has archived a few years’ worth of shows that anyone can listen to on their website. The shows are very well done…It’s a start.

  5. Many thanks for the feedback! Atheist Empire is a lovely surprise and I had no idea ffrf had a radio program. I’ll enjoy both of them. As far as having nothing to bring to the table without a belief in God, I’d have to say I disagree. Everything discussed on a Christian program is put through the filter of Christian belief, even if the subject is not directly or solely religious in nature. Take politics. Or education. I’m looking forward to listening to some of those archived programs on ffrf.org, and I’m guessing that a lot of subjects are broached through the filter of separation of church and state. As far as being ready, being prepared on all counts before seeking a media presence, there’s no such thing. Consider the couple that wants a baby. There’s always something else to do—more school, more travel, waiting for that promotion at work. The fact is, you are never completely prepared. You do the best you can, and then jump in. We may be at that point, or close to it, on the subject of bringing atheism to the table in this country.


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