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Churches form cable TV network

"Values-oriented" programming will be the result of an interfaith cable television network sponsored by the LDS Church and 17 other religious organizations, it was announced this week.

VISN (Vision Interfaith Satellite Network) is operated by the not-for-profit National Interfaith Cable Coalition, with headquarters in New York City. Its programming will begin Monday, Sept. 19, with the first schedule offering a wide variety of programming from a broad range of faith groups.In addition to the LDS Church, sponsors of the cable network are from Jewish, Catholic, Protestant and other faiths.

Richard P. Lindsay, managing director of Church public communications and special affairs, said agreements have already been made with cable systems having a total of 18.4 million subscribers. That figure represents more than any other cable network has had for its initial startup, including ESPN, CNN, HBO or any of the more widely viewed networks.

"VISN will offer top-quality values-oriented programming," said Lindsay. "The programming has been prepared from a broad spectrum of viewers. Persons of faith who have not been attracted to currently available religion-oriented television will be drawn to VISN's rich mix of appropriate entertainment, music, drama and documentaries.

"The emphasis will be on faith in God and moral values. It is important to note that VISN will not be inviting donations from viewers. It is not that type of an operation."

VISN officials are exploring ways and means to provide the programs to non-cable subscribers, Lindsay said.

Initially, programming will be carried from 1 to 6 p.m. (Eastern time) Monday through Friday; from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays; and 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Plans are being made to expand the schedule, according to Lindsay.

LDS programs during the initial period will include "Love at Home" Tuesdays, 3 p.m. (Eastern time), with repeats on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m.; and "Worth of Souls" on Fridays at 1:30 p.m., with repeats on Mondays at 4 p.m.

"Love at Home" is a half-hour segment devoted to the subject of families and the challenges they face, and "Worth of Souls" will include dramatic presentations with broad appeal, Lindsay said.

The LDS programs initially provided will feature existing Church movies and other materials, he said.

Cable subscribers should check their local cable systems for specific programming details.

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