“Cable Viewers See Church Programs via VISN Network,” Ensign, Oct. 1990, 76
Church-produced television programs are now reaching viewers across the United States daily through the VISN interfaith cable television network. A Church program runs at least once each day on the network (commonly called “Vision”).
VISN network programs reach viewers in more than seventeen hundred cities. Programs go into the homes of more than five and one-half million cable subscribers and into more than 1.7 millon homes with satellite receiving dishes.
Three LDS programs have been airing regularly on VISN, says Bruce L. Olsen, managing director of Public Communications/Special Affairs for the Church. “Messages for a Better World” features conference and devotional talks by General Authorities, offering gospel perspectives on moral and ethical issues affecting society. “Music and the Spoken Word” features the Tabernacle Choir, with narration and a short spiritual message from Spencer Kinard. A third program, “Families Are Forever,” focuses on children, self-esteem, and family life issues, with Richard and Linda Eyre called to serve as hosts.
Another Church program, a weekly LDS worship service, was scheduled to begin on October 1. It is essentially a 28-minute LDS sacrament meeting. Videotaped at a chapel in suburban Salt Lake City, it is conducted by a bishop, Stephen D. Nadauld, called to preside during the videotaped series. It features talks by Church members and includes ward business that might be conducted in a typical LDS sacrament meeting.
The series was produced at the invitation of the VISN network and was scheduled to be broadcast during VISN’s worship service periods, when services from many faiths are aired.
The broadcasting of these shortened sacrament services is an “exciting” opportunity, Brother Olsen says, because it “gives people a chance to turn to an LDS worship service and see what we’re like.” This includes learning how the lay clergy works in the Church and how members preach and teach the gospel to each other.
Recently, eight one-minute vignettes on the Church were produced by VISN. These will be periodically inserted between VISN programs, along with vignettes on other faith groups.
In addition to the advantages of having Church programs aired nationwide, involvement in VISN “gives us the opportunity of working with and knowing wonderful leaders of other faith groups,” Brother Olsen says. Many of these leaders, after coming to know Latter-day Saints, have been outspoken in their defense of the Church when the occasion has arisen. And many Church members involved in volunteer work with VISN are forming fast friendships with people of other faiths.
Volunteers from many faiths have joined in efforts around the country to encourage local cable systems to select VISN as their religious programming. The Church is one of twenty-two different faith groups involved in founding the VISN network.