September 23, 2006 07:10PM
I have been pondering the same question, and have come up with a few points:

1. Being Scoba-approved is good, don't want to open it up to any wacko's. But why not also include Scooch? Including Syrian O and Coptic O would only nearly double the viewer base. They would be interested in watching a lot of EO programming anyways, but running a few of their programs as well would be a big plus. They would advertise the airing of their program in their churches, online boards, etc. It would also bridge a lot of the current misunderstandings and misconceptions EO and OO have about eachother.

2. The major cost of EWTN and TBN is production and airing costs. So I ask, what's wrong with a religious channel showing commercials? I don't know much about advertising, but there should be a way to specify to the contracted advertising agency "sin-free" commercials only, no dating sites, porn, alcohol, etc. This is the rule for national broadcasting channels anyways.

I don't know about everyone else, but when I turn on the tv I fully expect to see commercials. They give me time to go to the bathroom, get a drink, talk to friends, etc. I would not be disturbed if after watching the Life of St. Antony I got an ad for the latest Swiffer product. Ads don't have to be as frequent as Saturday morning cartoons or anything but sheesh, even the History channel has commercials nowadays. A few ads in between programming would go a long way to making the venture self supporting, and we won't even have to sell miracle spring water!

Also, there is no reason to do in-house production. Every religious channel has Mr. and Mrs. Talk Show. Most of these are very poorly done anyways (Mother Angelina comes to mind, God bless her soul). Any news or program annoucements can be done via on-screen text with background music. Sky News in Europe relies on this for over half their news, its cheap and easy, and hard to make cheesy. No reason to pay for nice-looking talking heads, elaborate sets, multiple camera crews or photography editors.

3. Programming can be very varied, which will pull in even a non-Orthodox audience sometimes. There are a lot of videos done on obscure Russian/Greek/Romanian monasteries, a quick upgrade of quality and the addition of English subtitles, and these would be quite airable. They would be unique, new, and appeal to the average non-Orthodox traveller and geography enthusiast as well. In the same idea, parts of Greek national tv can be contracted out, like showing Holy Week services from the Church of the Resurrection from years gone by, with some banners to explain what is going on, and again, it would have a non-Orthodox appeal as well.

4. I like what has done in showing a various amount of programming from different sources. For a cable channel I imagine that one could ask the various Orthodox publishers for permission to use their relevent material, with the stipulation that during and after the show viewers were shown the way they could buy that material direct from the publisher. Its free programmiing material, and the publisher is turn gets free advertising. It's a win-win situation, and also gives the non-Orthodox viewer a place to go to for more Orthodox material if they are interested.

I have a lot more random ideas, but those are the main ones. Yes, it would have to have a good deal of "start-up" money to get it off the ground, but with the inclusion of a few commercial advertisements and intelligent programming which avoids costly in-house production, I believe it could be entirely viable and self-supporting. Once it becomes self-supporting then it can branch out into the production arena and do cooler stuff.

When I was in europe I saw a cable station devoted to a camera mounted on the front of a train in Germany, so all you saw was a conductors view of Germany, not exciting at all, unless you really like trains I suppose. But production costs was really low (the camera on the front of the train) and ran a few ads, so they were self-supporting. What I am saying is that an Orthodox cable station doesn't have to come out of the starting gate as a slick 10 million dollar station, it's simply not going to work. Programming and technical quality needs to be as high as possible, yes, but it doesn't need the snazzy "extras" of a Time Warner station. If a cable station devoted to running down train tracks can exist, so can an Orthodox cable station, as long as it is kept within its sustainable parameters.

Anyways, yes, there should be an Orthodox cable station. I would love to see expand that direction. But it can't exist in the same way EWTN and TBN exists. It would have to be far more basic. But seeing how much public sentiment is against the types of things that TBN does to exist, I can't say that thats a bad thing!
Subject Author Posted

Why not an Orthodox Cable Station?

Eric Iliff February 26, 2003 07:40PM

Re: Why not an Orthodox Cable Station?

Sarah September 23, 2006 07:10PM