Toronto radio talk show host Michael Coren has made the jump to television. It wasn’t that difficult, because the format is largely the same – discussing current events with guests and taking listeners’ telephone calls. For those who enjoy his radio show, don’t worry, he’ll continue doing that on a nightly basis, too.
Michael Coren Live, which premiered during the first week of October on the Crossroads Television System, is a lively show featuring guests who discuss the issues of the day. Coren is still with Toronto’s CFRB radio, 1010 on the AM dial. His radio show airs from 7:30 to 9 p.m. and the one-hour TV program begins at 10:30.
Viewers are invited to call in and ask questions or give comments. Each show features an issue or person. Recent issues that were examined included homosexuality, anti-Semitism, euthanasia, gun control, animal liberation and anti-Christian art.
Coren told The Interim that many of the first shows will be issue oriented, but there will also be guests who come to talk about their writings or work. “Good people come in if they merit it,” he says, noting he will not have someone on just because he or she has written a book or is an evangelist.
In the first week the show was on the air, Coren hosted Ravi Zacharias, author of numerous books, who discussed Christianity in general. U.S. televangelist Pat Robertson (of the 700 Club) is also booked to be on the show.
On Fridays, there is a round-table discussion (usually for half an hour). Joining Coren, who moderates, is evangelist and Christian activist Ken Campbell, and various journalists and politicians. The politicians are local, provincial and federal (Tom Wappell and Dan McTeague have been on), and journalists include the likes of the Toronto Sun’s Jean Sonmor (who will be on two out of every four weeks) and Linda Williamson.
Coren was approached by CTS last year, before the station got its licence from the CRTC, and while the Christian TV station was still in the planning stages. Coren wanted a show “not fundamentally dissimilar from the radio show.”
But there are differences. For example, there is no “Corenucopia,” a feature that opens his radio show and briefly looks at the events of the day, with Coren’s comments about them. The television show might have a short monologue, but other than that, there is much less of Coren. “There will always be at least one other person,” he says.
Coren says he has a vocation “to indulge in popular communications … to take serious issues and look at them with wit, to be entertaining and informative.” He wants viewers to see representatives from all sides – Christian and non-Christian, left and right – so “we know where they come from.”
That said, Coren is definitely coming from a traditional Christian position. “People who are pro-life and for traditional Christian virtues,” says Coren, “can look at the show and say, ‘Wow, at last a person is with us.'”
Although the show is part of the CRTC’s mandated 20 hours of non-Christian programming (or “balanced programming”), the show is implicitly Christian.
Coren sees his show as “an incredibly well-armed battleship in the middle of the enemy fleet and ready to take them on.” He says he is not competing with Vision TV (another religious network), but with all the major shows.
“We’re taking on the culture,” he says.