Uses and Gratifications Theory Applied to Religious Television

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Diana Orr
May 21, 2010
Ron McCullough

Uses and Gratifications Theory Applied to Religious Programming The reaction I had to the article “Why do people watch religious TV” was that I was surprised that so many people are now watching religious programming. The reason for this reaction is because you never hear anyone talking about this type of programming. Most of the time people are talking about shows they watch such as reality shows, crime shows, or movies. It is shocking to hear that social scientists and learned observers see the audience of religious programming as poor, less educated than other viewers of different types of programming. What are they saying about the viewers? Some older viewers of religious programming nay not be able to leave their homes much anymore due to health issues. These older viewers may not be able to attend church the way they did earlier in their lives, so for them watching religious programs becomes their way to worship God. Some of these viewers may also be listening to see if their values, beliefs, understanding of the bible, or morals are the same as the people they like to watch on these programs. It seems like the diversity in today’s religious programming appeals to more viewers. In the past mostly what was taught and preached was fire-and –brimstone sermons. These types of teachings may have induced fear and to some untruth of God’s word. If there is someone new to religion listening to fire-and-brimstone sermons their reaction could be such a fear that they may never want to view religious programming again, with this in mind the religious networks seen a need for diversity in their programs. New viewers could also be new to any type of religion and could be looking for information and answers. According to Rubin (1984) ritualized viewers watch television for companionship, time-consumption, and relaxation (Abelman Robert, 1987). Ritualized viewers could be people who live alone and...
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