Christian Radio for Russia suffers setback

By August 10, 2006

Russia (MNN) — A Christian radio ministry in Russia has received a setback.

HCJB World Radio Mark Irwin says they’re primary partner in Russia received the news last week. “New Life Radio lost its privilege to be on Eutelsat W4 satellite, which is uses to distribute its programming. It’s lost that because the transponders were all purchased by the Russian government.”

While the situation appears grim, Irwin says New Life has made provisions. “New Life Radio has had to scramble to get on another satellite, Intelsat 906. But, in the mean time they’ve probably lost a lot of audience that’s been very faithful following them through the years.”

New Life Radio satellite programming is beamed into places like homes, prisons and drug rehab centers. Irwin says many listeners will have to make a choice. “If somebody is receiving a big satellite television package and New Life Radio is on that package, as was the case, and then New Life Radio goes to a totally different satellite, the listener will have to make a choice — ‘will I give up my television package so I can follow New Life Radio to a different satellite.”

New Life Radio faces an incredible challenge of reconfiguring their downlink subscribers and getting the word out about their switch to Intelsat.

In the meantime, Irwin is concerned about the future of Christian radio opportunities in Russia. “We see changes, slowly, being put into place that have the potential to curtail ministry in the very near future, so people need to be praying. Pray that the doors will open and of course the resource will be there so that opportunities won’t be missed.”

According to Irwin, HCJB is helping individuals produce programming to air on secular radio, but they’re also encouraging Russian Christians to begin seeking licenses to open full-time Christian radio stations.

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