A Brief History of First Radio Parish Church of America, Established 1926
We seek the sacred in the secular through story telling. Daily Devotions is a Christian Mission that seeks to inspire faith and hope, build interfaith bridges, and recognize that deep faith and modern science are not incompatible.
We are the oldest continous religious broadcast in the nation, perhaps in the world.
The Reverend Howard O. Hough, 1926 to 1964, Our Founder
Daily Devotions was founded as First Radio Parish Church of America. Daily Devotions went on the air April 18, 1926 with Reverend Howard O. Hough on the microphone, and nine local clergy present. Raised Congregationalist and having graduated high school at the age of fourteen in Waterbury, Connecticut, Reverend Hough converted to the Advent Christian Church, and entered Boston Bible School at the age of sixteen. The starting cost in those days for the four-year course was $5.
After graduating from New England School of Theology, he served a parish in New York, did graduate studies in Boston, Massachusetts, and eventually served the Advent Christian Church of Portland, Maine. In 1925, Mr. Henry Rines, owner of The Eastland Hotel in Portland, was in the process of starting the radio station, WCSH-AM, on the top floor of his hotel, much to the dismay of his displaced guests. Rev. Hough discussed the possibilities of a weekly non-sectarian broadcast of a church service with Mr. Rines. Mr. Rines loved the idea and became a life long supporter of Daily Devotions.
The Eastland Hotel and WCSH AM Radio, Portland, Maine April 18, 1926
In his first year of radio ministry, Reverend Howard O. Hough traveled 15,000 miles visiting hospitals, nursing homes, and homes in outlaying areas. Radio broadcasts were limited to one hour on Sunday mornings from 1926 until 1932 when 8:00 AM daily services began. In 1942, Daily Devotions hired an executive director and three assistants. In those days, as in these, the Board of Trustees consisted of distinguished names, including the presidents of Bowdoin College, Bath Iron Works, Cushman Bakery, Edwards & Walker, the Governor of Maine, and of course, Henry Rines. In the early 1950’s Henry Rines introduced Portland to the new fangled technology -- television.
In 1954, Rev. Hough began TV broadcasts and continued to serve Daily Devotions on air and off until a heart attack slowed him down in 1963. Within a short period of time, TV through Daily Devotions became the dominant ministry of the Church. Daily Devotions is the longest running religious broadcast in America and is among the longest running broadcasts of any kind. Reverend Hough did it all on a starting salary of $35 weekly, ending in 1963 at $65 a week.
The Reverend Doctor Franklin Cole, 1964 to 1976
Reverend Dr. Franklin Cole came aboard in 1964. Through his efforts, Daily Devotions held services of worship in wonderful places such as ski lodges and summer resorts. We sure would like to follow in that effort! An organization called, Sermons and Pictures of Atlanta, Georgia forwarded copies from Dr. Cole’s extensive broadcast library to navy ships and armed services chaplains for their use. Back in Maine, in Scarborough, inside his grand old barn, which was decorated with his own wood sculptures, Dr. Cole conducted worship services annually. The barn’s main aisle was called the Sawdust Trail.
Financially, three fourths of the necessary support for Daily Devotions during Dr. Cole’s ministry came from within Maine, while the remainder came from friends and supporters who lived “away”. In 1975, Dr. Cole announced his impending retirement. At that time, the Board of Trustees foresaw the necessity of having adequate funds on hand during the transition to the third minister. $75,000 was raised. After the transition, the remainder of those monies became the foundation for our Endowment Fund.
The Reverend Doctor Ernest R. Case, 1976 to 1985
(Photograph to come - with his daughter, the Rev. Casey Collins, in 1996)
It was in early 1976, that the Board of Trustees first heard about the qualities of Reverend Dr. Ernest Case, who was then preaching from a Methodist Episcopal Church in Belmont, Massachusetts. After hearing Dr. Case’s apparently extemporaneous sermon on Easter morning, the Board was impressed. Although he had little broadcast experience, he proved an apt pupil under Dr. Cole, his predecessor, who accepted Dr. Case as his “apprentice”. Tape production speeded up with Dr. Case, resulting in fewer repeats being aired than in the past. A good record keeper, Dr. Case peppered his annual reports with the details of his activities, which included as many as five or six special programs broadcast each year. A 1981 report stated that he made 36 TV tapes and 24 radio tapes in addition to the specials, and officiated at five weddings and eleven funerals. Under the steady hand of Dr. Case, the news of Daily Devotions continued to spread. In the springtime of 1985, at the conclusion of the Annual Meeting, Dr. Case announced his retirement.
The Reverend Doctor David R. Glusker, 1985 to 2003
(Phtotograph - Preaching at the National Cathedral, D.C.)
The Reverend Dr. David R. Glusker, a Methodist minister serving in Augusta, joined Daily Devotions in September of 1985 and began his eighteen years of ministry with Daily Devotions becoming a trusted man and familiar face around the State of Maine. His background in hosting a cable TV show in Augusta eased his passage from a pulpit into broadcasting. “TV and Church” was the title of his doctoral dissertation.
Certainly, his advanced degree added positively to his new ministry. In his first eight years with Daily Devotions, he recorded one thousand tapes that greatly reduced the previous necessity for repeats. Meanwhile, he attended local and statewide religious meetings, which resulted in a broad acquaintance with the clergy and laity of many denominations throughout Maine. In the days before closed caption TV, Dr. Glusker reached out to the hearing-impaired community by including a sign language translator for all of his TV devotionals. Radio broadcasting, long the staple of First Radio Parish Church in its pre-TV days, continued under Dr. Glusker’s guidance, and increased to six stations that broadcasted a twenty-minute Sunday morning program. As if he was not busy enough, Dr. Glusker wrote short religious articles for newspapers. Since his retirement in the summer of 2003, Dr. Glusker has been enjoying himself by golfing and traveling the world and is a contributor to First Radio Parish Church.
The Reverend Peter Baldwin Panagore, 2003 to present
In August 2003, Rev. Peter Baldwin Panagore first began TV broadcasting on WCSH6, in Portland and WLBZ2, in Bangor. He has written and taped more than 1000 TV programs, and recorded 260 radio broadcasts. The unique ministry of Daily Devotions is seen in 100,000 homes each morning with Daily Devotions seven days a week, 365 days a year, and was built by God’s guiding hand, by the dedicated work of all the pastors, by the determination of our Board of Trustees, by the long support of WCSH6, and through the generosity of people like you. Through our combined media outreach, including commercial broadcast TV, FM radio, AM radio, email, our website, social media and our new app on mobile media – Call on Faith – we reach 50,000 souls a day. The radio broadcasts are heard weekdays throughout Maine on AM and FM stations.
*Thanks to Carleton G. Lane for his paper “A Brief History of First Radio Parish Church of America, April 26, 1994”
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