Scottish religious broadcasting

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The religious establishment was fortunate that the control of broadcasting fell into the hands of John Reith, the son of a moderator of the United Free Church of Scotland. Dr Norman Maclean, moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, remarked that it was "one of the wonders of Providence that Sir John should be controlling the greatest instrument for the building up of the Kingdom of God".[1]

Far from being a threat to church attendance, listeners greatly appreciated religious broadcasting and the churches received many letters of thanks for bringing sermons into their own homes.

Dr Norman Maclean said he had listened to the broadcast services and, shutting his eyes and listening, he could not say whether the preacher was a Presbyterian, Baptist, or of any other denomination — all had the same message.[2]

Falconer appointment

In May 1945, the Reverend Ronald Falconer, minister of Trinity Church, Coatbridge, was appointed assistant religious director of broadcasting in Scotland.[3]

First church service devised specifically for television

To mark 30 years of broadcasting in Scotland — and also celebrate the first anniversary of the opening of the Kirk o' Shotts transmitter — an attempt was made, on 8 March 1953, to devise a church service specifically for television, in which the full potentialities of the medium could be explored. Hitherto, the cameras had simply filmed existing services and followed the normal church order. This broadcast from Glasgow Cathedral, however, was held in the afternoon and took place in the nave instead of the choir.[4]


  1. 'A great service: BBC's part in religious teaching', Glasgow Herald, 7 October 1927, 6.
  2. 'A great service: BBC's part in religious teaching', Glasgow Herald, 7 October 1927, 6.
  3. 'Minister's BBC post', Glasgow Herald, 28 May 1945, 3.
  4. 'Cathedral TV Experiment', Glasgow Herald, 4 February 1953, 3.