New Studio Expands Hope
Channel Programming Capacity
Opening is next step in church's digital communication commitment, producers say
BY ANSEL OLIVER, Assistant Director for News, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
roduction manager Joe Sloan used to get calls from church executives asking if they could book the Hope Channel studio for a taping the following morning. "We were thinking more like August," he would tell them.
Since 2003, Hope Channel producers at the Seventh-day Adventist Church world headquarters have worked out of a cramped, 20 by 20-foot basement studio where production could drag -- production assistants would need up to half a day to change program sets.
Now, a new 40 by 70-foot studio will enable producers to have multiple sets and increase production, including more live and high-definition programming. The global network now feeds 24-hour programming to 10 channels, and soon plans to expand to five more.
"This should speed things up dramatically," Sloan said at yesterday's ribbon cutting ceremony of the studio's new opening.
RIBBON CUTTING: Adventist Church officers at the ribbon cutting ceremony outside the Hope Channel's new studio in Silver Spring, Maryland, Monday, April 5. The facility is one of 65 Adventist media centers worldwide and will serve the church's world headquarters. [photo: Megan Brauner/ANN]
The studio is the centerpiece of a new $5.2 million extension of the world headquarters building in Silver Spring, Maryland.
While network executives said media ministries are produced locally around the world in cultural context, several of Hope Channel's non-English channels use English programming to fill several hours of network time a day. In the United States, the network last year was picked up and is now carried by satellite provider DirecTV.
"This studio enables us here at the [Adventist Church headquarters] to cooperate with our world [regions] in accomplishing the mission of the church," said Mark Finley, Hope Channel board chair and a vice president of the world church.
The facility is one of 65 Adventist media centers worldwide and highlights the church's commitment to investing in current media technology.
"Digital communication is the preferred method of communication for many people of today," said Brad Thorp, Hope Channel president. "We're serious about mission when we invest in digital communication. I'm very grateful to the leadership of our church who have seen the vision."
The network produces programs on family, health, world mission, Bible doctrine, religious liberty, evangelistic events and shows designed for children.
Despite a 2008 virtual hiring freeze due to economic circumstances, church officials at headquarters went ahead with the building because of previously signed construction contracts.
In addition to the Adventist Church world headquarters, the building is also home to other entities, including the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, Adventist Risk Management, the church's North American Division and Griggs University/Griggs International Academy.