The BYU channel is a television station managed by Brigham Young University. Therefore, the channel’s programing features specials and television shows created by the school in addition to a number of national programs and reality shows. BYU television also airs presentations made by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints along with workout programs and the university’s sporting events.
The History of BYU Television
The concept of BYU television began in 1995 with a joint venture between Bonneville International, Brigham Young University and Church Audiovisual. At first, the Mormon Church’s leadership did not give their approval for the television station. The reason behind their refusal was that Bonneville is a profit-based company. Later, the church’s leaders approved the project. However, the network’s creators had to raise $5 to $7 million to pay for the television signal.
With each organization supporting the origination of BYU television, Nolan Daines, a Dish Network senior executive, contacted Greg James from the KSL broadcasting company to tempt him with a channel dedicated to “Educational Set-Aside” programing. James contacted the director of BYU Broadcasting, John Reim, and together they created a presentation for Dish Network’s executives. During December of 1998, BYU Broadcasting received a telephone call confirming that it would receive one of Dish Network’s six educational channels.
John Reim initially planned to broadcast General Conference, which is a spiritual message filmed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, during October of 1998. However, Dish Network did not support airing the Mormon Church’s message at that time. Instead, John Reim worked out an arrangement to begin broadcasting in April of 1999. The first show aired was General Conference. The new station faced several technical difficulties when it first began broadcasting television programs. Fortunately, the BYU channel had a hard working staff who quickly resolved the station’s issues. The network launched during January of 2000, and Mormon members tuned in to watch the station’s programing. Currently, an estimated 60 million households receive BYU television.
Brigham Young University owns the station, and if viewers wish to donate to the channel’s programing, then they can contact the station through its website, which is www.byutv.org. The website also features scheduling information and television shows. In addition, the university provides a world feed through BYUtv Global and BYU Television International.
BYU offers a variety of programing including religious shows that will appeal to Mormon viewers along with sporting events, such as basketball games and gymnastics, featuring the BYU Cougars. BYU television broadcasts shows like “Anne of Green Gables: The Animated Series,” which is a half-hour long educational program. Each episode features a problem for one of the characters to overcome.
Another child-friendly show is “Animated Stories from the Bible.” The show’s creator is non-sectarian. Therefore, each episode features a recap of a bible story without the inclusion of religion. The series encourages children to gain positive values and character traits. The program also includes educational moments and covers popular bible stories such as “The good Samaritan,” “The Christmas Story at Bethlehem” and “Lazarus.”
BYU television airs food related shows such as “The Food Nanny” and “Chef Brad: Fusion Grain Cooking” along with “Family Food Challenge.” The station also broadcasts shows like “Total Body Workout” and “Dogs with Jobs.” When viewers tune in to the BYU show “Doc,” musician Billy Ray Cyrus will entertain them with his series about medicine and family. Cyrus stars as a Montana doctor named Clint “Doc” Cassidy. A New York City medical facility offers him a job, and he decides to move to the big city.
The station’s Mormon programing includes BYU devotionals, women’s conferences and musical performances. In addition, viewers can watch reality programing like “The District,” which is a documentary about eight LDS missionaries. The show follows them as they share their religion with residents in San Diego, California. Another intriguing reality show broadcast by BYU television is “The Story Trek.” Each episode features former reporter Todd Hansen as he presents the interesting lives of ordinary people. Hansen conducts interviews by knocking on the door of unsuspecting residents. With Hansen’s help, viewers will meet people who are intriguing, funny, smart and eccentric. The show “American Ride” will appeal to most television audience members since the series tracks Stan Ellsworth during his trip around the country while riding his Harley Davidson.