Reaching Out to Diverse Faiths, Viewers

April 9, 2007

Source: Multichannel News

Wire Service: AP

(Multichannel News) _ Religious networks increasingly are exploring ways to bridge different denominations and shifting viewer habits. As a result, programmers are looking to interfaith fare, as well as new formats.

Subscription video-on-demand service Shalom TV bills itself as a "mainstream Jewish television network." But its lineup includes inter faith programs like Faith Journal , which features Buddhist, Christian and Islamic scholars and religious leaders debating universal questions such as faith versus reason and the point at which life begins.

"There is a keen interest in inter faith dialogue toward understanding the outlook of other religions and creating a greater sense of interfaith harmony," Shalom TV president and CEO Rabbi Mark Golub said. "Much of this is driven by the rising awareness of Islam fueled [in part] by current affairs. More and more programs are now addressing this area."

That's noteworthy because it shows how faith-based networks can attract secular viewers who aren't looking for religious programming but are drawn in when seeking information about, for example, the roots of the crises in the Middle East.