Religious Broadcasters Take Gospel Message to Further Reaches

NASHVILLE – Christian broadcasters and communicators who are meeting for the annual National Religious Broadcasters Convention this week say they are looking to expand the reach and depth of their message through new partnerships and technologies.

Inspiration Networks, one of 400 exhibitors at the convention in Nashville and the first network to provide an inspirational on-demand platform, said they have teamed up with a French Christian website to provide biblical content and programming to France.

Programs from Christian speakers such as Joyce Meyer are translated into French and placed on a portal website where viewers can also access the speaker's books and website, explained Melissa Prince, a spokeswoman for Inspiration Networks, to The Christian Post.

The project, offered through Inspiration Global, also enlisted Christian Broadcasting Network's "The 700 Club" last October.

Prince said she is thrilled that "every 90 seconds a person accepts the Lord" through watching their French programs.

For some networks, the partnerships have contributed to a line-up of rich content.

Allen Bechner, director of programming operations for NRB Network, said they are always looking for unique programming.

This year, NRB Network will add to its television schedule including the recently launched "Answers Creation Hour" by Answers in Genesis and Explorations Films, which is slated to launch later this year.

While the search for compelling content remains the central focus of many religious broadcasters, networks also recognize that technological advancement must go hand-in-hand.

Paul Crouch Jr., vice president of administration at Trinity Broadcasting Network, told The Christian Post that the network will completely switch to digital broadcasting by the beginning of next year. The new format will allow viewers to receive five channels from TBN instead of just one, he explained.

"That's something that we've been working on for six to seven years," said Crouch. "By February 2009, that transition will be complete."

He also said TBN will be providing a Hi-Def channel and building three Hi-Def studios.

The next big project for LeSEA Broadcasting Network will be short-wave transmissions to Caribbean and Central South America from South Carolina, said Peter Sumrall, president and CEO of the network.

"There seems to be a great demand for short-wave facilities going in that direction," he noted.

The NRB Exposition is dubbed as the largest marketplace dedicated to Christian media professionals. Every year, hundreds of vendors showcase their tools and services and launch new ideas that enhance media ministry to further reach the world.