FT. LAUDERDALE, FLA. -- The creation of a new interfaith religious cable television network was announced here during the annual meeting of the North American Broadcast Section of the World Association of Christian Communicators last month.
Vision Interfaith Satellite Network (VISN) is a coalition of several mainline Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox traditions, scheduled to begin operating June 1, with eight hours of programming a day.
David Ochoa, associate general secretary of interpretation of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, has been named coordinator of VISN.
VISN will carry the familiar format of TV worship, preaching and music. But according to the Rev. Bernard Bonnot, a Roman Catholic priest active in the media, the network also will carry interfaith films and shows on current social issues. Entertainment programming faithful to moral-ethical precepts of participating groups will be included in the broadcast lineup, Bonnot said.
The idea for the religious network began when Telecommunications Inc. approached Bonnot about a cooperative venture of mainline groups to replace evangelical TV programs.
Nelson Price, an United Methodist Communications executive, explained that the TCI executives "perceived a vacuum, a real lack of representation of mainline religious viewpoints in television." He attributed the absence to an aversion to asking for money on the air. Price said start-up costs for the operation will be about $2 million.
The network will be supported by the cable industry, foundation, corporations, denominations, individuals and advertising. Denominations participating are the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Salvation Army, the Episcopal Church, the Mennonite Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church, the Reformed Church and the Roman Catholic Church.