Unity’s Use of Media: Reminiscing With Rev Rosemary Fillmore Rhea

Published on: December 1, 2011

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“Back in those days, television was so new that people would watch anything that moved on the screen.” I was sitting with Rev Rosemary Fillmore Rhea in her home at Unity Village. I wanted to know more about Unity’s broadcasting days on radio and television.

In the 1950s, The Daily Word was broadcast live on television from a studio in Kansas City, Monday through Friday, at 10:55 a.m. Rosemary was the face in front of the camera. This five-minute segment aired between Romper Room and Whizzo the Clown.

The program went to syndication in November 1957, and eventually was broadcast in all major markets, with the stations giving Unity free air time. As television became more sophisticated, it became harder to find a home for free, religious, five-minute segments. As 30- and 60-second slots became the norm, the program was discontinued. Unity’s five-minute radio segment, Unity Viewpoint, suffered the same fate as the television program due to the changes in FCC (Federal Communications Commission) rules in the 1970s.

Rosemary eventually became the director of both the radio and television departments at Unity. She came up with the idea of putting the Unity message, which so appealed to people, into secular language within a 60-second timeframe. To make it irresistible to broadcasters, she wanted celebrities as the spokespeople. The Word From Unity was born in 1969. It aired first on radio and later also on television, ending up on over a thousand stations. It ended its original run in 1986.

The radio and television departments were located in the Tower at Unity Village. Rosemary would love to see the media department back there. In her mind, the Tower would be a Peace Tower, and would broadcast messages of peace to the world.

According to Rosemary, it’s important to get our message to new people. Sir John Templeton, Sr., heard Rev. Charles Neal on the radio and thus started his relationship with Unity. The Templeton Foundation has supported many projects for Unity Worldwide Ministries, especially in the areas of education, including the Transformation Experience and music.

Like her grandfather Charles, Rosemary has focused on using the media to get the Unity message out. She loves the creation of Unity Online Radio and sees it as a wonderful vehicle for spreading our teachings. She would love to see 30- and 60-second radio spots return to advertise our message and our presence.

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Bernadette Swanson

Bernadette Swanson is Communications Manager at Unity Worldwide Ministries. She works on The Path e-newsletter, Unity Leaders Journal online journal and www.UnityWorldwideMinistries.org. She is a licensed Unity teacher at Unity of Independence, Mo.

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