When seeking professional life coaching content to play on air, Australia’s community radio stations are often forced to rely on American programs due to a lack of locally produced ones. While the quality of the content from overseas may be excellent, the presenters’ accents can frequently fail to engage local audiences. 

In an initiative to better connect Australian community radio stations with their listeners, the North Queensland Uniting Church has produced a series of free 60 second radio spots, called At the Top.

Paul Clark

GIVING HOPE: Rev Paul Clark, who co-wrote At The Top, a series of free 60 second radio spots, with Rev Gordon Burley after becoming weary of the negative portrayal of Christianity.

 

"It’s been a real morale builder. Wherever we go and play them, people are impressed. We’re going out and proclaiming the Good News!"

- Rev Paul Clark

At the Top was designed for a secular audience and promotes the Christian worldview. It addresses modern issues in a non-confronting, conversational way - such as how to maintain a good work/life balance and why all of us need God’s forgiveness. 

Written and produced in Queensland, At the Top promotes life in abundance and reminds all listeners that their local church exists to support them. 

The North Queensland Uniting Church also developed At the Top because they were weary of the negative portrayal of Christianity and the church by the media. 

"We had the audacious goal to not just complain, but to do something about it," says Reverend Paul Clark, minister of the Burdekin Uniting Church. Rev Clark co-wrote At the Top with Rev Gordon Burley, originally from England, who’s served as a missionary in Papua New Guinea and has over 20 years’ experience in radio and television.

"Why not aim to be a church 'at the top' of our game?" asks Rev Clark. "A church that encourages members to put Jesus 'at the top' of their lives?"

Award-winning journalist Phil Smith from ABC Radio developed the media strategy for At the Top. He focused on the twin goals of spreading the Gospel and raising the church’s profile in local communities. It was Mr Smith’s idea to write and record the one minute life coaching radio spots and donate them to North Queensland’s community radio stations. 

At the Top was initially funded by a grant from the Uniting Church Foundation, but those involved in the project are endeavouring to make it self sustaining. 

"We’ve gifted northern Queensland radio stations with a copy, but now we’re encouraging church congregations across Australia to purchase them for a tiny fee and gift them to their local radio station," explains Rev Clark. 

"They’re playing all across North Queensland, they’re running on 4TAB after the horseracing finishes, they’ve gone to other states and the church in Brisbane loved them so much they found some money to run them on 96five FM Family Radio. 

"It’s been a real morale builder. Wherever we go and play them, people are impressed. We’re going out and proclaiming the Good News!"