By: Ashur Sada
They say the general life-span of an Assyrian TV channel is relatively short. They either change their frequency, become less frequent in their broadcasting or just disappear and never to be heard from again.
We understand the reasons and rational behind this unfortunate fact: it is usually funding-related (or lack there of!)
In the last few years, we had Ashur TV and Ishtar TV, being the dominant and virtually the only players in the Assyrian living room. As much as some people didn’t agree with the programming or people behind either one of these channels, the fact was that they provided Assyrians with at least some programming. To some, the rational was that some programming-despite the motive or people behind the channels-is better than no programming.
Suddenly, early last year, both channels disappeared from our dishes and never to be seen or heard from again. At least for those of us living in North America and other parts of the world. The channels had basically been moved to a different package which required that people get a different dish and start paying for the package etc. Suffice it to say, the change was poorly executed and with it the two channels lost virtually most of their viewers outside of the Middle East.
There was a vacuum to be filled on our TVs. Then out of nowhere, came a savior for our ‘Assyrian viewing’ thirst: ‘Assyrian National Broadcasting (ANB) from California was born. This is a 24/7 Assyrian satellite channel that is looking promising.
Of course, the channel is still in its infancy but things are getting better and better, with varying and expanding programming, not to mention, some lovely staff and hosts.
The question that some people may be wondering about is not whether this channel will get better but whether it will last, beyond a year or two, at all? Given the pattern of Assyrian channels that we explained earlier, this question is inevitable. It is like we don’t trust Assyrian TV channels to be able to last long enough. But at the same time, we are hopeful that the smart people behind this channel have learnt from the mistakes and shortfalls of other Assyrian channels before them and not to make them again. As viewers ourselves, we have to do our best to support it as well, whether it is by the simple act of watching, or something more involved like donations or sending our own programming to be played on the channel.
A nation without a strong culture can’t last long. A culture without media is a weak one. And having a TV channel is a basic requirement for having a good media. There is some easy logic to show you how important a strong and viable Assyrian TV Satellite channel really is.
Support it and don’t let another Assyrian TV channel die!