I have a friend and mentor who had a low power analog television station in Eastern Texas serving Jasper and Kirbyville and a good portion of the northern part of the Beaumont market airing Christian and local programming. Earlier in the summer of 2011, the station was forcibly removed from the air by legal threats from AT&T without compensation and more or less with a letter that said cease broadcasting or we will sue to make sure you do. All of this was legal as AT&T had “bought” the spectrum and was supposedly going to start using it.
My friend’s ministry (Grace Fellowship Church, less than 20 members) had already applied for a digital channel and was in the process of securing financing and equipment to make the transition, but had not yet been able to move forward on it when the “decree” from AT&T arrived. For the past several months he has struggled to secure financing and move forward with a “dark” station license, something that seems like an impossible task at times and my friend is a broadcast engineer with almost 40 years in the industry and as a minister.
The approximate initial cost for the transition is about $50,000 to acquire an antenna, transmission line, and transmitter for the construction of the digital facility and an additional $2000-3000 per month for operating expenses. Some of those expenses may be offset through advertising by local businesses on the station.
My question and challenge to you would be: Are you willing to support this endeavor? I know most, if not all, the people who read this will have no connection to the area and would wonder why they should do this. My answer would be how do you support you local churches and ministries or do you? This endeavor would give you the opportunity to provide a service in an area of the country that needs it. My friend would like to have as many people as possible commit to a monthly donation of $10 per month through the end of 2013, but any donation, whether a monthly pledge or one-time, large or small, will be appreciated.
If any of you feel so inclined as to donate to this cause, you can send your donations to the following address:
Grace Fellowship Church
PO Box 1048
Mauriceville, TX 77626
Be sure in the memo portion to note that your donations are for the Low Power Television Ministry. This will assure that the funds are directed towards that area. Time is of the essence here as he has until next summer to return to broadcasting or forfeit the license