Voice of Christ Media Ministries has made the decision to end our contract with two out of three satellites on January 31, 2024. Why do this? Well, for several reasons…
When we got onto the satellite “Hotbird 13” almost 17 years ago, it offered us cutting edge technology. Before that we had relied on shortwave radio to get our programs into Iran. We had to pay a large amount of money to purchase 30-minute blocks of precious air time. Moving to satellite radio meant that we got not just an hour per day, but a 24/7 channel dedicated to our programs! This choice was hugely impactful in terms of getting the Gospel into Iran in a much higher volume than previously available.
In recent years though, we have seen a marked turning by Iranians towards the internet. The mobile phone is replacing the TV and satellite dish as the preferred way for Iranians to access media. Each year we see more Iranians accessing our content through internet streams, podcasts, and our Farsi website. Just as satellites gradually replaced shortwave radio, media delivered over the internet is reducing the number of satellite listeners—particularly among the younger generations of Iranians. The Iranian government is aware of the power of the internet and purposely reduces the speed and blocks many websites. Nevertheless, the Iranian people have become experts in circumventing government restrictions.
We have been prayerfully considering what to do about our contracts with the satellites for a while now. Just over two years ago, we signed a contract with a third satellite, “Yahsat”, and quickly found it was out-performing Eutelsat 7 and Hotbird 13 for half the price! Listeners were reporting that they had great signal strength when connecting to this satellite, and that it had a much wider coverage than the other two satellites. Suddenly we were able to reach all of Afghanistan with our coverage—something we had never been able to do before!
Our contract with Eutelsat 7 and Hotbird 13 runs out on January 31, 2024. Because Yahsat gives us a much stronger signal at a far better price, we have decided to not renew the contract. We recognize that the long-term trend away from satellite and towards media delivered over the internet is one that we need to be spending significant amount of time investing in as we seek to share the good news of Christ with Iranians.
Would you pray for us, that God would bless this decision to downsize to just one satellite? Pray that He would use this strong signal and coverage in mighty ways, and that He would give our team wisdom as we seek to share the Gospel in accessible ways for a new generation of Iranians.