risk and biographies of Canadian icons
such as astronaut Chris Hadfield, says communications director Heather Simmonds.
“We chose the name Yes for the station
because we wanted to stand as positive
and affirming. That’s the way we can be
unique in media. Christians have often
been characterized by only what they say
‘no’ to. We want to lead people in a decision to say ‘yes’ to what Jesus brings.”
Changed Tv landscape
It’s a small world in Canadian Christian
television. All the re-brandings and realignments of recent years have created a
landscape that looks very different now
than it did even five years ago.
Channel surfers will now find 100
Huntley Street, RocKids TV and other offerings produced by Crossroads in Burlington, Ont., on Yes TV, which includes stations in Calgary and Edmonton.
Zoomer Media, which owns Vision TV
(multifaith and multicultural) and One:
Body, Mind Spirit and Love Channel
(holistic lifestyle programming focusing
Vancouver and Hope TV
in Winnipeg, stations
and Christian content.
Both Hope TV and Joy
TV’s broadcast schedules
weigh heavily toward
televangelists and min-istry-based programming
including The 700 Club,
Creflo Dollar Ministries,
Jack Van Impe, Joel Osteen
and Joyce Meyer.
You can’t discuss Christian TV in Canada without at least mentioning these ubiquitous
on-air personalities, often from south of
the border, who often court controversy
with either their theology or their frequent pleas for donations while living
lavish personal lifestyles.
Most of Canada’s faith-based stations rely
on the essential funding these television
personalities provide, using that money to
subsidize other network programming. As
one industry insider described it, programmers “hold their nose and pick their poison”
so the network can stay financially viable.
Regardless of each channel’s relationship,
comfortable or otherwise, with televangel-ism, these celebrity ministries maintain a
high profile on Canadian airwaves. Their
American production companies have also
become increasingly integrated with Canadian Christian TV.
For instance Grace TV (a
Canadian offering known
as The Christian Channel
before 2009) partnered
with Daystar Television and
its Dallas-based ministry in
2013. Now the American
partner provides 65 per
cent of its programming.
The network’s main Canadian content – You Are
Loved hosted by Ontario-based globetrotting evangelist Peter Youngren – is
broadcast three or four
times daily. You Are Loved benefits from the
partnership by now reaching Daystar’s
large American and Middle Eastern audiences.
Canada’s first fully Christian television
channel, The Miracle Channel, has also
partnered with an American broadcaster
to increase its audience and bring in new
programming. In July 2013, The Miracle
Channel announced it would be working
with the Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN).
Kalyn Steel, production manager at
Miracle, says the arrangement has allowed
their channel to “stay fresh” as well as offer
original Canadian programming to viewers
in previously untapped markets.
The network’s Winnipeg CEO Leon
Fontaine now has his daily half-hour show
The Leon Show broadcast across the United
States on TBN.
Fontaine, senior pastor at Springs
Church in Winnipeg, has been CEO of
Miracle since 2010. He also guest hosts
TBN’s popular Praise the Lord show from
Canada four times a year.
Fontaine was the first to begin describing
the channel as “spirit contemporary,” which
Steel defines as “The Holy Spirit working
through contemporary people, breaking
down the walls of clergy and laity.”
This focus is clear throughout its pro-
gramming, and it’s evident Canadian
Christians support it, says Steel, pointing
to a “huge jump in social media integra-
tion and feedback.”
While they can’t supply specific audi-
ence numbers, the Miracle Channel is
available to close to five million homes in
Canada, carried on both Shaw and Bell
“A big passion of ours is to spread the
gospel, and we don’t settle for less,” says
the production manager. “That has always
been our mandate.” /FT
Jeff Dewsbury of Langley, B.C., is a senior writer at
melissa mcEachern, John Hull and George mcEachern of yes TV, which now includes mainstream
programs such as as American Idol, The Biggest Loser and The X Factor UK
david mainse founded 100
Huntley Street 37 years ago.