“BYU-TV Brings Church’s Message to Millions,” Ensign, July 2003, 78–79
A native of Texas, La Quitta Frenzel believed that Mormons were people she had better stay away from.
Then a few years ago, La Quitta was flipping through television channels when she came across a station called BYU-TV. “I didn’t even know what Brigham Young University was,” La Quitta recalls, “but I heard mention of the Book of Mormon, so I figured out it was a Church station.”
Some of the speakers on the station caught La Quitta’s attention. Eventually she became familiar with some of their last names—Faust, Perry, Nelson, Ballard. “All the speakers were straightforward, kind, and sincere,” says La Quitta. “The more I listened, the more I thought, ‘There’s nothing wrong with these people.’”
So when two missionaries happened upon La Quitta’s home, she decided to listen to their message.
Now members of the Waller Ward, Katy Texas Stake, Sister Frenzel and her two children continue to watch BYU-TV, and her husband, who is not a member, joins them for general conference broadcasts.
“Everything I saw supported what I learned from the missionaries,” Sister Frenzel says. “Through [BYU-TV] we’ve gained a better sense of the Church. We’ve learned about Church history. We’ve watched examples of how to give Church talks. It’s taught me how to teach in my calling as a Relief Society teacher.”
Every day BYU-TV broadcasts gospel messages to millions of people like Sister Frenzel. Its around-the-clock programming includes broadcasts of general conference, women’s conferences, Church Educational System firesides, Church-related documentaries, Music and the Spoken Word, and Brigham Young University devotionals, forums, symposia, performing groups, and sports.
Broadcast via satellite and cable television to 22 million homes in the United States, BYU-TV is also available worldwide on the Internet at www.byutv.org and on the Church satellite system, carried by selected Church units across the globe. Although the station is not yet commercially available outside the United States and is currently available only in English, its managers are seeking ways to make it available to homes throughout the world and in additional languages.
Church members worldwide are discovering BYU-TV. For example, marketing manager Jim Bell mentions Rønne Branch, located on an island near Denmark. Members of the branch had purchased their own satellite equipment in order to receive general conference. “In doing so, they also discovered BYU-TV and now get together often to watch the station’s other programs as well,” Brother Bell says.
BYU-TV began broadcasting in January 2000, shortly after the United States government mandated that satellite companies make a number of their channels available for noncommercial, educational programming. DISH Network, a United States–based satellite television company, invited Brigham Young University to apply for one of these channels. The satellite company accepted the application and asked the university to create its programming and begin broadcasting in five days.
“Because we were scrambling to meet the tight deadline, we simply chose for our first broadcast the most recent address by President Hinckley, without knowing the content,” remembers John Reim, managing director of BYU’s broadcast services. “We began broadcasting the tape at the appointed time, and to our amazement President Hinckley spoke about the blessings of technology.”
Since that debut, other satellite and cable television companies have added BYU-TV to their lineup. The high quality and wide availability of the station have attracted many viewers. Brother Bell points to examples of mail the station has received:
“As a fan of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir,” wrote a Methodist man from Alabama, “I installed [a satellite network] in our home solely for the purpose of receiving the weekly broadcasts of Music and the Spoken Word. However, the other programming was a real bonus!”
A Church member wrote, “I cannot tell you how grateful I am to have this connection to the Church. Since joining in 1962, I’ve lived in Colorado, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, and Idaho. Had this kind of programming been available earlier, BYU-TV could have saved me from the isolation I’ve felt so many times when I lived in areas where there are not many members.”
Information about BYU-TV can be found at www.byutv.org.