Radio Church Keeps The Faith

A weekly radio programme of Christian worship is still going strong after 87 years.

Whether OAR FM Dunedin’s Radio Church listeners are people confined to home, travellers, are in aged care facilities and hospital, or anyone else who cannot attend a church service, there is something for everyone.

The roster of hosts for the weekly programme includes Methodist, Anglican, Presbyterian, Catholic and Seventh-Day Adventist ministries.

The programme and podcast also provides an opportunity for students to lead a service, through Student Christian Movement Aotearoa.

Radio Church is New Zealand’s longest-running radio show. Originally titled Radio Church of the Helping Hand when it first aired on 9 April 1934 from Dunedin station 4ZM, the programme was the initiative of Dunedin Central Methodist Mission superintendent Reverend Leslie Bourneman Neale, known to his thousands of dedicated listeners as “Uncle Leslie”.

Having lived in the pre-wireless era, Rev Neale was fascinated with broadcasting and soon attracted a huge unseen congregation to his programme of music, poems, prayers and talk.

More recently, the programme has played an important role in keeping people connected to their faith and the wider community of worshipers.

As one listener put it in a recent telephone message, “Thank you so much for Radio Church during lockdown. I don’t have Zoom so it has been very important for me.”

Radio Church airs on Sundays at 8.30am on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. Podcasts are available from, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts.

Photo: Home worship: Holy Name parish’s Amy Armstrong and Jim Devlin take their turn presenting Radio Church on OAR FM.