Religious News Network (RNN), a news syndication service of religious and social affairs, was launched by veteran sports broadcaster Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh, on Thursday 18th May in the Jesuit Communication Centre on Leeson Street.
RNN supplies over thirty local, community and hospital radio stations throughout Ireland with live and recorded news, reaction stories and features. It replaces 3R Productions, which was founded in 1990 by the current Irish Jesuit Provincial Fr. John Dardis. The service is funded by the religious congregations (CoRI) and the Church of Ireland.
According to former RTE broadcaster Eileen Good, director of the new network, ” 3R has been sending out a fortnightly CD with twelve interviews edited and ready for transmission, and we will continue that service. But our aim is to offer more immediate responses to breaking news stories relating to faith and justice issues, with live interviews from our studio here in the Jesuit Communication Centre, and to offer downloadable audio files on a much more regular basis”.
Feedback from local radio stations is strongly supportive of the RNN service, which in many cases provides a significant portion of their airtime for religious programming.
“Having worked for many years in RTE in sports, daytime features and religious affairs programmes,” says Eileen Good, “I am committed to the highest standards in broadcasting and communications. Our staff are all professionally trained, many from mainstream radio backgrounds. That’s the standard required by local radio and provided by us.”
“The local stations’ feedback to us,” she added, “indicates that topics relating to people’s daily lives are the most popular and frequently used; these include, for example, family issues, relationships, addictions, spirituality.”
This week’s CD has, among others, interviews on exam stress, saying NO to ageism with Mamo Mc Donald (well known activist for senior citizens’ rights), school retreats, World Communications Day, the voices of the ‘new Irish ‘ in the classroom, a review of Frank Mc Court’s latest book ‘Teacher Man’, and Sr. Briege Mc Kenna on the question “Is there a ‘Way’ to Pray?”
Eileen Good comments: “The service is ecumenical and there is no charge to the local radio stations. But some stations, through their diocesan funds, make an annual contribution. Our main funding, however, is declining with the decrease in religious congregations. For this reason, we are actively looking for sponsorship or donations, no matter how small, to keep going and to develop this much appreciated service which gives a voice and time to people and stories not often heard on mainstream programming. That’s why I’m particularly thrilled to have Micheal Ó Mhuircheartaigh, so closely identified with local communities all over the country to endorse and encourage our work by launching RNN, Religious News Network.”