Radio, TV Programs Look at Social Ills in Gospel Light

“Radio, TV Programs Look at Social Ills in Gospel Light,” Ensign, Dec. 1988, 66

Radio, TV Programs Look at Social Ills in Gospel Light

A well-accepted series of public affairs radio programs and a videotaped program on the war against tobacco are helping win support for gospel-based approaches to solving social problems.

Both the radio programs and the videotaped documentary have been produced by the Church’s Public Communications/Special Affairs Department largely for non-LDS audiences whose values are compatible with those espoused by the Church.

Several of the thirteen “Times and Seasons” radio programs have already been used by dozens of radio stations across the United States. Two of the programs earned the Silver Angel award from the Los Angeles-based Religion in Media Foundation.

The radio series includes programs on religion and marriage, the influence of pornography on society and the family, gambling and lotteries, sex and morality, community service, alcohol, tobacco, religious tolerance, family violence, and drug abuse.

The “Times and Seasons” programs are produced in a documentary style and look at these issues in the context of traditional values. The way they are produced allows the programs to be broadcast as public affairs programming. Public affairs programs deal with issues of public concern but do not promote one particular religious denomination. They can, however, have a “point of view.”

The radio programs will receive nationwide distribution in the United States beginning in January.

The other Church-produced program—“Tobacco: The Winnable War”—is a 28-minute videotaped documentary featuring health experts from the United States, Canada, Australia, and Britain. It has been produced in formats that will permit use by community organizations, medical and health associations, and cable or commercial television outlets throughout the U.S. Special versions have been produced for the British Isles, Australia, and Canada as well.

The documentary takes the position that while tobacco usage is a major health problem, the fight against it can be won. It includes commentary from a dozen noted health authorities, ranging from the surgeon general of the United States to the secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Health in Australia. Included is Elder Alexander B. Morrison of Canada, who, as a widely known Canadian medical scientist, was an adviser to the World Health Organization prior to his call to the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Dr. C. Everett Koop, the U.S. surgeon general, notes that AIDS has been receiving much attention in society because of its deadly potential. But, he points out, tobacco kills as many Americans each month as AIDS has killed in seven years.

The group of experts discuss the physical, economic, and social factors that make tobacco usage a difficult problem to solve. They speak also of ways the habit can be overcome. One positive comment is made by Dr. Kenneth E. Warner, chairman of the Department of Public Health Policy and Administration at the University of Michigan. “In the developed world,” he says, “tobacco is on its way out. It’s going slowly. It’s going kicking and screaming, and it will be with us for a lot of years, but it is going.”