Faith & Values Channel, a cable television network that carries several Church programs and specials, will now be known as Odyssey.
Formed by the National Interfaith Cable Coalition, of which the Church is a charter member, Odyssey is carried on some 1,500 cable systems and a satellite service. The network reaches 26 million households.According to Garry E. Hill, Odyssey president and chief executive officer, the name change is designed to ensure the continued growth of the channel by making it attractive to the broadest audience possible, while maintaining its core audience.
"The planned changes should enhance the channel's long-standing commitment to bring viewers the most diverse range of religious, faith and values-based programs on television," he added. "We believe that our new name, Odyssey, and our new tag line, `Exploring Life's Journey,' better convey the breadth of our program offerings and better meet the ever-increasing demands for programming that both inspires and entertains."
Among the many values-based programs on Odyssey are Church-produced programs. These include "Center Street," which focuses on teenagers; "Family Times," a television magazine program for today's families; "Music and the Spoken Word," the weekly Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcasts; and "LDS Worship Service," a series of programs portraying sacrament meetings in a 30-minute format.
In addition, the channel has aired several Church television specials, including "A Prophet Remembered;" "Tyler, a Real Hero;" Tabernacle Choir specials from Israel and Russia; BYU Folks Dancers; and "An Easter Dream." Past programming has also included BYU devotionals, a series called "Families Are Forever," and selected addresses from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve.
Arnold R. Augustin, media relations director for the Church's Public Affairs Department, said: "The Church's participation in the Odyssey Channel provides an opportunity to promote the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ in a variety of ways. It's also a vehicle to promote wholesome family-oriented programming that reaches millions of households in the United States at a time when a nation so desperately needs positive, uplifting programs."
Odyssey was first launched in 1988 under the name "VISN," standing for Vision Interfaith Satellite Network. The Church was among the original 12 charter members of the network, which was created to provide uplifting television viewing for people of all faiths nationwide.
In 1992, the American Christian Television System (ACTS) joined the network, resulting in the creation of the VISN/ACTS Channel. Confusion of viewers led to the name change to Faith & Values in 1993. (Please see Church News, Dec. 18, 1993.) Today, 64 religious groups participate in the network.