The Digital Ways of the Lord | Radio

Religious radio stations are trying to fit into this digital shift and do well.

In a studio in an old school converted into a church in the Vanier district of Ottawa, Fiston Kalambay opens his microphone and enters the airwaves.

Fiston Kalambay, president and founder of Radio Vie Nouvelle.Photo: Radio-Canada / Georges-Étienne Nadon Tessier

It was there that he established the headquarters of Radio Vie Nouvelle, one of two Christian radio stations in the region. The president and founder of the only French-speaking Christian station left his job with the federal government in 2016 to take care of his project full-time.

He is aware that religious radio stations will have to adapt to today’s realities to attract young believers. If you don’t, you disappear from the market. It’s a trend that you really have to follow, he said. However, he admits that he has not yet started to do so for lack of resources.

The traditional radio format has already proven itself. No matter what happens, people always end up [écouter la radio]. »

A quote from Fiston Kalambay, president and founder of Radio Vie Nouvelle
A woman leaning in the door frame of a recording studio.

Care Baldwin, host at CHRI-FM.Photo: Radio-Canada / Georges-Étienne Nadon Tessier

A little further on, the studio of CHRI-FM – the other religious station in the federal capital – has taken up residence in an industrial sector of the city. The media aims to be a source of inspiration for the Christian community in the region and encourages believers to live their spirituality by broadcasting religious music. Care Baldwin, 37, a homecoming facilitator and director of promotions, has worked there for 16 years.

She grew up with the radio station, much like some listeners. Families come to see us and the children tell us: “I am 20 years old and you are the only station I have listened to since I was born.” We have grown with our audience and our audience has grown with usshe explained to us.

Among these young people, some decide to get involved in the Christian radio project. This is the case of Rachel Adjeleian, 24 years old and freshly graduated from the University of Ottawa. She is CHRI’s youngest host and believes the station’s content speaks to young people like her.

The station also launched its own mobile application in 2013, in order to get closer to its young audience.

A woman in a recording studio.

Rachel Adjeleian, in the CHRI-FM studio.Photo: Radio-Canada / Georges-Étienne Nadon Tessier

Patrick White observes and analyzes the media ecosystem, which has been changing rapidly since the arrival of digital technology. For this journalism professor at the School of Media at the University of Quebec in Montreal, to see young adults, like Care and Rachel, carrying religious radio stations at arm’s length bodes well for the future of these.

However, he believes that radio stations will have to continue to adapt according to the age of their audience if they want to remain in the media portrait, particularly through continuous broadcasting. You have to think of many formats […] Content must be different and personalizedhe recalls.

They are the same age, but Benoît Rochon and Rachel Adjeleian have a very different vision of religious media. She has decided to get involved in radio, and is more critical of the future of traditional religious media. It has definitely turned its sights to digital content, on demand.

Why listen to the radio when you can choose what you want to listen to? I think it’s obsolete. It’s no longer worth the radio. »

A quote from Benoit Rochon

For Benoît, technology is synonymous with culture and spirituality for the new generation of believers. Living their faith necessarily goes digital because that’s how they can communicate and that’s how they know how to communicatehe said.

Like evenings at church, the web allows this community of young practitioners to come together and share their faith, but now these conversations go beyond the boundaries of the parish.

A church under a starry sky.

The parish of Sainte-Marie d’Orléans under a starry sky.Photo: Radio-Canada / Michel Aspirot

The Digital Ways of the Lord |