The approval last week of cable and satellite broadcast of Seventh-day Adventist Church television programming in Ukraine marks the first time a Protestant broadcaster has received a broadcast license in the Eastern European country.
The license, granted by Ukraine’s National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting, authorizes Hope Channel Ukraine to broadcast nationwide on 600 cable networks. Network officials say a 24/7 satellite channel is expected to launch in November.
“This is a major development for our church in Ukraine,” said Brad Thorp, Hope Channel president.
Network officials requested a broadcast license twice before the council granted approval. Previously, Hope Channel Ukraine programs aired on cable channels operated by other broadcasters in the country.
With the license, Hope Channel Ukraine can potentially “reach three out of every four persons in Ukraine,” Hope Channel Ukraine Director Vacheslav Demyan said in a press release from the network.
“Imagine what this will mean for God’s work here.”
Prior to the approval, national regulations prevented any religious broadcaster from obtaining a broadcast license, said Oleg Kostyuk, a Hope Channel program host at the network’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.
“There are no Protestant television channels in Ukraine. But there will be one now,” said Kostyuk, a native Ukrainian. “This is not just good news; this is a major and miraculous breakthrough,” he added.
According to the press release, Ukraine’s National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting considers Hope Channel Ukraine an “educational-religious” broadcaster.
Hope Channel Ukraine is expected to broadcast Bible lessons and programs on healthy living, music and lifestyle, as well as programs for children, young people and families. Network officials say Hope Channel Ukraine will broadcast 18 hours of programming in Ukrainian per day, with an additional six hours of content in other languages spoken in the region.
More than 60,000 Adventists worship in some 900 Adventist churches in Ukraine. The church also operates a college, English language school, publishing house and the Voice of Hope Media Center in Kiev.