A select call receiver, such as a pager, is disclosed which comprises a canned message memory. The canned message memory has canned message memory storage locations that are linked to message tag identifiers. The pager recalls and displays canned messages upon receipt of message tag identifiers. In the first embodiment, the pager provides a programming mode wherein the user of the pager can remotely program canned messages into the pager by accessing a convention paging terminal and keying numeric data into a telephone keypad. The numeric data is converted to alphanumeric data according to a mnemonic entry scheme and stored in the pager's canned message memory. In a second embodiment, the message tag identifier is also remotely programmable by the user, allowing great flexibility in the definition of the message tag identifiers.