Venerable Protestant radio program expands Web presence

February 17, 2009

The Atlanta-based weekly ecumenical radio program "Day1" has launched a redesigned and expanded website, the Alliance for Christian Media has announced.

"Day1," originally called "The Protestant Hour," began broadcasting in 1945. "This is a program that has been a mainstay of religious broadcasting through radio for 65 years," said the Rev. Canon Louis C. "Skip" Schueddig, president of the Alliance for Christian Media, in an interview.

Then as now, the program features leading preachers from a variety of Protestant denominations. Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preached on the February 8 broadcast.

"Attentive to shifts in new media, we are focusing on the Internet as much as on our long-standing radio network," Schueddig said. Visitors to the site can listen to podcasts of sermons, view video conversations with the preachers -- including with Jefferts Schori -- download transcripts and watch video clips.

Plans are underway to build social networking and blogging opportunities to help listeners connect. "We're trying to build an interactive community for like-spirited people who come to the site and find their curiosity awakened. We serve people, regardless of whether they have a denominational home, who seek intelligent inquiry," Schueddig said. "Top Topics" on the site include forgiveness, healing and relationships.

Increasingly, churches utilize the Day1 site to expand their social networks and to open themselves to ideas and people outside their denomination, he said. "Churches have tended to use their sites as silos without realizing we're all related. Because we represent the collaboration of six denominations, we can connect churches in new ways in the service of our shared mission: proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ," said Schueddig.

One of Alliance's recent initiatives is aggressively using techniques to bring visitors to the Day1 site. Much of its content is uploaded to the You Tube video posting site in part so viewers will find their way to Day1 – an example of "viral marketing."

"Searchability is key, so we can be found through Google, tags, You Tube, all the ways the web is being used," said Schueddig.

Next on the Alliance's priority list is raising funds to restore and digitize five decades of audio, video, and film materials for posting on the website.

--The Rev. Lisa B. Hamilton is correspondent for Provinces I, II, III and IV. She is based in Venice, Florida and Sandisfield, Massachusetts.

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