Safe Television: A miracle for God's glory

The first in a year-long series featuring unique, inspiring ministries being done around the world

Carlos Pardeiro is president of KSBN Safe TV, Springdale, Arkansas.

Television today is not exactly family-friendly. Can caring parents sit with their children and comfortably watch TV shows without a grip on the remote control, ready to mute the sound or change channels? Now, in the United States, they can with the arrival of a family-friendly Safe TV® broadcast on Channel 9711, 24 hours a day via Sky Angel, a nationwide satellite network of values-oriented programming.

"Safe TV is the alternative that mil lions have been looking for," says Carlos Pardeiro, President/CEO of KSBN Safe TV. "Our greatest burden [is] to reach the secular mind with the gospel. Our mission [is] not necessarily to broadcast religious programs to the choir." Seven years ago Safe TV started broadcasting on the first full-power commercial television station in Adventist hands, and the accolades continue to pour in. Every year for the past six, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has proclaimed the month of May Safe Television For All Ages Day for the state of Arkansas.

Hollywood has also recognized Safe TV for Excellence In Media, and Pardeiro as producer/director for Excellence in Production, has stood alongside industry standards like Paul Harvey News, Touched By an Angel, 60 Minutes, and Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman. In fact, since its inception, Safe TV has been recognized with 24 awards.

This is not exactly the track Carlos was on at age 14 when he first showed interest in television in his native country of Uruguay. His father was an award-winning television actor, and Carlos seemed destined to follow his father's footsteps. Either that or a career as a classical guitarist or with a celebrated band that he'd organized. He wanted to become a popular entertain er, but God had a different course planned for his life.

In the early 1970s, Pardeiro was rep resenting his country in the World Championships of Surfing in Peru when he first thought about leaving South America. During the championships he met the surfer champion from Hawaii and the Hawaiian delegation and decided to move to Hawaii. The change of venue turned out to change other areas of his life, although he continued as a musical entertainer.

Glamour and fame brought a lot of temptation and a lot of misery. Early in life Carlos began to search for God, to see if God was real. The traditions of the church in which he was raised did not provide the personal relationship with Jesus that he was instinctively searching for. "I felt empty at the end of the day," recalls Pardeiro.

About that time, the drummer in his band was killed, leaving him searching more diligently for what life was all about. Two other events solidified his search. His mother sent him a Bible, and he met Nancy Griffin, Miss Nebraska Centennial Queen, who was also searching for God. In fact, while she was studying with one denomination, Pardeiro began studying the teachings of another, and read everything he could get his hands on.

At one point, Carlos watched Billy Graham make an altar call. "If You are out there, God, I want to know and I want to follow You," Pardeiro remembers saying to himself. He and his soon-to-be-wife Nancy came to the conclusion that they needed to look further for satisfying answers.

During a prolonged visit to Uruguay in 1973, Pardeiro and Nancy were married, and after months of studying were baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church because of the very personal witness of two families who devoted their time to the couple.

From then on, everything Pardeiro has been doing is to serve his Lord and the church in some way. He began as a literature evangelist in Kauai for five years and saw more than 30 people baptized.

During this time, television programming was not a concern of the Pardeiros.

He recalls, "In Hawaii, we never owned a TV, because there was no reception where we lived. The kids never saw a TV until we moved to the mainland and someone gave us one. Praise the Lord," he says, "someone stole it about a year later!"

Unfortunately, as far as Pardeiro was concerned, someone else gave them another television, and that's when he realized there was a real need for alter native programming.

"There I was sitting with my daughters watching television in our family room when some outrageous commercial suddenly appeared on the screen, as if raping the mind with some unexpected, unnecessary, cheap advertisement,"says Pardeiro. "I said out loud, 'It's not safe to watch TV anymore; we need pro grams that are safe. That's it! We need a whole TV station that is safe. We need safe TV for everyone.'"

It was 1990. The Pardeiros were living in Arkansas, and Carlos became part of a group of 30 lay persons with a vision of sharing the three angels' messages through television. The group began to pursue the acquisition of a construction permit for a low-power television station (LPTV) with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The first of many disappointments: The available frequency was awarded to another local competition.

The media group doubled their efforts to acquire another permit even though by then their numbers had depleted to about 15 people. Dis appointment two: again a competing applicant got the permit.

"We were convinced that God would find a way," says Pardeiro. "We recognized that God was leading us to a new approach in reaching millions of people in the secular world who watch television, but are not necessarily interested in religion." Then the group was reduced to nine, and eventually only to three.

It was then they learned that a full-power television frequency was available in the northwest Arkansas area, a channel which no one had ever claimed. So, the small group initiated the appropriate proceedings. Their application was approved for a full-power frequency to Springdale, Arkansas. The law provided 30 days for others to apply for the channel.

Sure enough, someone else did apply. "The same person who, a year earlier, defeated us for the LPTV application," Pardeiro recalls. So Pardeiro's group, organized as the Total Life Community Education Foundation, Inc., with Pardeiro as President/CEO, began to pray in earnest for miracle. And God made it happen—the frequency was awarded to what is now Safe TV.

Divine providence continued to be evident when plans for the tower site fell through. Rather than rent a tower, they were able to purchase another tower site plus additional acreage.

"God opened the door for us to acquire the 14 acres where the tower stands and for less than what it would have cost us to lease the tower space for five years," says Pardeiro. Soon a 6,800-square-foot facility was built through generous contributions of a missionary-minded friend and hundreds of hours of volunteer work from local builders. However, their large, wonderful, roomy building was filled with echoes because there was no money left to furnish it.

Two weeks before the scheduled opening of Safe TV, there was still no furniture in the building. Seated on an empty paint bucket in the corner of the empty office, Pardeiro continued to make calls to the Adventist Media Center in Thousand Oaks, California, for help, knowing they were moving into new, smaller facilities in Simi Valley.

Later, Media Center President Glenn Aufderhar called. "We have seen the way the Lord has blessed Safe TV and the great potential it has," he began. "And since the furniture we have here is more than we need for our new facility, and since it has been acquired through the gifts of our members, we have decided to give it to you at no charge to help you in this new, exciting ministry."

Furnished with beautiful furniture and with God-ordained plans for the future, Safe TV was launched with an open house that was attended by several dignitaries including city mayors and the Arkansas Governor. And so the programming began.

"We have enough programming to complete two or three complete channels if we needed to," says Pardeiro. "We've not had to look for the needle in a haystack, for we have found producers who want to do what's right. I believe the Lord has led us to this type of programming."

Safe TV's programming has no violence, immorality, or profanity, and its goal is to uplift God, family, and country. It aims to inspire and educate while providing good and wholesome fun. "Our strategy," says Pardeiro, "is to create an audience, win their confidence, minister to their needs, and then point them to the Savior."

Now, seven years later, the miracles continue. Soon, Sky Angel will launch their global satellite to reach the entire world, and has signed up Safe TV to be a part of their global channel lineup. But the real miracle is the lives that have been changed as a result of Safe TV

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Carlos Pardeiro is president of KSBN Safe TV, Springdale, Arkansas.

January 2004

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