Life seems to have been insanely busy in the last couple of months and as such my blog has suffered somewhat – so consider this something of a catch-up! Starting with my trip to Istanbul to visit the SAT-7 TURK team.
According to wazala.org, “Turkey is known as the most unreached nation in the world” as although it is a secular state 99.8% of the population are Muslim and there is a small local church. It is often a difficult place for Christians who can be isolated and who can be subjected to persecution, and tough for those who want to learn more about Jesus. For these reasons it is great that SAT-7 TÜRK is making programs and broadcasting into the country.
At the start of the year SAT-7 appointed a new Channel Director who is bringing a fresh enthusiasm to the team – bringing on board new staff, forging new relationships with the local church, and pushing through a move to a new studio! Consequently it was important for me to visit them and meet the new team, as well as delivering some training on how to use our broadcasting systems.
During my visit we trained about 5-6 team members and introduced them to the basics as well as some more advanced functions that will save them a lot of time (like mass auto-scheduling fillers in between programs). This will be particularly important to them when they launch their new 24×7 webTV channel later this year (as right now they are only scheduling 4 hours of programming a day on the HotBird satellite). This 24×7 webTV will give the team a great opportunity to build a better relationship with their viewers – ensuring that there is always Turkish language television available when anyone turns on to the channel (today, they get 20 hours a day of Farsi programming!).
The new studio that they have just moved into will also be a great help. For the first time they will have a really great space in which to make programs, rather than being cramped into a tiny flat that really was not suitable for TV sets (you need height for the ceilings so that the lighting can work and the camera angles are good). The picture below shows the double height ceiling before the work was done to fit out the studio, with the architects plan on the right.
What is really impressive is that the team have done this with no additional budget – somehow they have squeezed their other budgets and been given a grant from a donor to make this happen – they also hope to be able to rent out the space to other broadcasters in the region to recover some of the costs. There will still be a huge amount to do, which will be challenging with our heavily constrained budgets!
You can learn more about SAT-7 TÜRK by watching this short video . . .
It was a whirlwind tour with my friend from the PARS channel, but we were well looked after by the new team and treated to some excellent Turkish food (although the dessert that contained chicken breast was not particularly to my liking!) This is an exciting, young team with lots of enthusiasm – do pray for them that they will have a great impact on their viewers and that they will bring hope to all who watch their programs.