In Ukraine, Adventist Church is first Protestant broadcaster to receive license
Kiev, Ukraine—The approval last week of a cable and satellite broadcast of Seventh-day Adventist Church television programming in Ukraine marks the first time a Protestant broadcaster has received a broadcast license in the eastern European country. Set for launch in November, a new 24-7 Adventist-run satellite channel in Ukraine is expected to potentially reach 75 percent of the country’s population.
The license, granted by Ukraine’s National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting, authorizes Hope Channel Ukraine to broadcast nationwide on 600 cable networks.
“This is a major development for our church in Ukraine,” said Brad Thorp, Hope Channel president. Previously, Hope Channel Ukraine programs aired on cable channels operated by other broadcasters in the country. With the license, Hope Channel Ukraine can potentially “reach three out of every four persons in Ukraine,” Hope Channel Ukraine Director Vacheslav Demyan said in a press release from the network.
Prior to the approval, national regulations prevented any religious broadcaster from obtaining a broadcast license, said Oleg Kostyuk, a Hope Channel headquarters program host and native Ukrainian. “There [have been] no Protestant television channels in Ukraine. But there will be one now,” said Kostyuk. “This is not just good news; this is a major and miraculous breakthrough.”
According to the press release, Ukraine’s National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting considers Hope Channel Ukraine an educational-religious broadcaster. Hope Channel Ukraine expects to broadcast Bible lessons and programs on healthy living, music, and lifestyle as well as programs for children, young people, and families. Network officials say Hope Channel Ukraine will broadcast 18 hours of programming in Ukrainian per day, with an additional six hours of content in other languages spoken in the region. [ANN staff]
In newest country, radio ministry coming soon
Juba, South Sudan—Shipping Jcontainers here in Juba don’t just hold transported goods; they are also used as homes and offices. Even some entire hotel complexes are constructed out of the large steel boxes. In a few months, the Seventh-day Adventist Church plans to launch a radio ministry from a beige container recently installed on the compound of its local field office. The ministry, in development since 2006 at the prompting of a pastor, is meant to connect with a community where traditional outreach is not possible, church leaders say.
“We are committed to share the Word of God with people in this community,” said Alumai Dominic, a lay member and chair of the committee overseeing the project. “This message isn’t [otherwise] reaching the people outside of Juba. We’ll be able to reach other communities.”
Years ago, the committee requested a radio frequency from the government and was pleasantly surprised to receive four. They named their flagship frequency 94.0 Salvation FM. The ministry plans to offer programs about the gospel, health, family, and youth issues. Programs will be broadcast in local languages, including Bari, Juba Arabic, Dinka, Muro, Shiluk, and Zende.
The upcoming radio ministry was the brainchild of Fulgensio Okayo, a retired pastor who, in 2006, issued the challenge of starting a radio ministry. “People here really want to hear from the Word of God. If we use radio we can reach them,” he said. Members quickly bought into the idea and contributed to the project.
Studio equipment has been purchased, eight volunteers are being trained to staff the operation, and a 30-meter mast has been assembled next to the container capable of broadcasting to an eight-kilometer radius. Later, an antenna will be constructed on a hill outside of town, capable of reaching the entire capital city of some 350,000 people.
Still, another 50,000 South Sudanese pounds—or US$11,400 is needed to launch the ministry, said James Yangi, the committee’s treasurer. He estimates a broadcast launch in about three months after more contributions trickle in. Some subscribers are already committed to regularly contribute for ongoing costs once the ministry begins. Yangi said other local members will likely contribute later once they see progress and get excited about the project. [Ansel Oliver/ANN. Steven Bina also contributed to this story]