Saber rattling in the Middle East isn’t stopping Christian television

By May 12, 2006

Middle East (MNN) — Iran has thumbed its nose at the world about its nuclear program. The government also continues its threats against Israel and other nations, keeping tensions high in the region. This is just one nation, where Christian television programming is being sent via satellite, and there are no plans to stop — especially as they approach their 10th anniversary.

SAT-7, Christian satellite television for the Middle East and North Africa, will celebrate its 10th anniversary May 31st. SAT-7’s U-S Executive Director Debbie Brink says many are watching. “We know we have between five and seven million viewers on a regular basis. That’s how many people are willing to admit that they’re watching SAT-7, in an area of the world where a lot of people would find it risky. And so, we believe there are far more who are watching.” Brink says the mail response is also increasing.

Brink tells MNN that this isn’t the typical evangelistic outreach, the 24/7 programming is for one specific group of people. “We are talking to Christians from the broadcast. We are very clear about what it means to be a Christian. Our research shows that probably 70-percent of the responses that we get are coming from a non-Christian background and they are almost eavesdropping on the conversation that we’re having with Christians in the region and many are responding.”

With so much unrest and uncertainty in the region, it appears people are looking for answers, says Brink.

While SAT-7 celebrates 10 years, they’re not looking back. Growth is planned in several areas, Brink says. “One is to spin-off our children’s programming, As Sanabel, and we want to start a whole channel just for children, 24 hours a day. And then, the second one would be to spin off our Farsi (Persian) and Turkish broadcasts.” Brink hopes to begin making those changes by November.

In the mean time, SAT-7 will be airing a special live anniversary broadcast May 31st, the day SAT-7 went on the air in the Middle East with just 2 hours of programming per week. A U-S celebration will take place October 4-6 in California.

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