As Dr Terence Ascott rushed around busy Cairo streets one day in the late 1980s, he spotted something in his neighbourhood. Sitting on a cement floor in an unfinished building was a family watching television.
Staring at this strange sight, he came to a stark realisation. The majority of the population in Egypt and across the Middle East could not read. Although he had been in publishing for several years, he perceived that many, like this family, would never have the opportunity to read about the love of God.
That day a vision was born. Dr Ascott no longer just saw one family but millions. It was a realisation that birthed a dream: to establish Christian satellite television that would reach across the Middle East and North Africa. Today, SAT-7 broadcasts in three languages, through four channels, 365 days a year.
After five years of research, preparation, and networking with local church leaders, SAT-7 is founded. 20 agencies working in the area and Middle Eastern Christian leaders establish SAT-7 in a joint partnership.
SAT-7 opens its International Office in Nicosia, Cyprus. Two-hour-long weekly broadcasts start on 31 May.
The first studio opens in Lebanon. In the UK, a SAT-7 office is registered in order to create support for the SAT-7 channel.
The first SAT-7 office opens in Egypt, and the first camera for SAT-7’s own productions is bought. A SAT-7 office is registered in the USA.
In 1999, counsellors are trained, and the first telephone counselling centres become operational. Questions and concerns of individual viewers can now be addressed through the counselling centres. Ever since the start of SAT-7, viewers from all over the region have responded positively. As a consequence of SAT-7’s broadcasting, the Christian community in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has become more visible.
Daily analogue broadcasts begin, with digital daily broadcasts following soon after. Local support offices in northern Europe open.
SAT-7 receives “Ministry of the Year” award at National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention.
Iranian Christian Broadcasting (ICB) is launched. A studio in Cairo opens, and is deliberately destroyed by fire later in the year.
The Cairo studio is rebuilt and reopens. Viewers are now able to respond to SAT-7 broadcasts by SMS text messaging, and the impact of SAT-7 is documented by a huge number of positive responses, even from remote areas.
SAT-7 now offers 24 hours of regular programming on the digital channel every day.
SAT-7 KIDS is launched with a one hour-long daily program. Satellite TV for children, providing them with safe content, is a new concept in the Arabic-speaking world. Children, as well as their parents, respond with thankfulness.
SAT-7’s first regular live broadcasts are launched.
TÜRK-7 begins to broadcast on SAT-7.
A new Master Control Room makes it possible for SAT-7 to broadcast directly from its International Office in Cyprus.
At the end of the year, SAT-7 PARS is launched, airing programs in Farsi.
SAT-7 KIDS is launched as a separate channel, broadcasting 24/7 programming for children. Both children and parents across the region make contact, expressing their joy and thankfulness for a channel with safe content. SAT-7 KIDS becomes a well-known, much-loved, and respected channel.
New technology is introduced this year. SAT-7 KIDS can now be streamed online, and SAT-7’s International website is updated and relaunched to better keep in contact with viewers and supporters.
After years of prayer, SAT-7 ARABIC and SAT-7KIDS go live on Eutelsat—co-located with Nilesat—the most popular satellite platform in the region, enabling SAT-7 to reach millions of new viewers!
TÜRK-7 merges with SAT-7 and becomes SAT-7 TÜRK. The schedules of the two Arabic channels are combined to make a third: SAT-7 PLUS, reaching a different Arab audience via another satellite.
A new Constitution for SAT-7 is agreed upon and SAT-7’s International Board becomes the SAT-7 International Council, with a new Executive Board.
A total of 14 million people are now watching SAT-7. Each channel receives daily feedback from viewers with examples of how the SAT-7’s programs give them new hope and change their lives.
A new Executive Director is appointed for SAT-7 TÜRK and the team move to new, much larger facilities in Istanbul.
New SAT-7 Audience Relations Management System (SARMS) is introduced across all channels to better serve our viewers.
Renovated SAT-7 PARS studio in London re-opens in March to host five live shows per week.
SAT-7 International Council member Mar Gregorios Ibrahim (Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo) is kidnapped in Syria.
New SAT-7 Lebanon studios officially opened by Patriarch Raii in November. 400 guests and VIP’s attended.
SAT-7 TÜRK becomes the first and only Christian channel to broadcast on the Türksat platform.
In November, a new building for the International Office is officially opened with a ribbon-cutting reception. The event also begins the year of SAT-7’s 20th-anniversary celebrations.
20 Years of Broadcasting God’s Love is celebrated at NETWORK 2016 with a record-breaking 350 attendees.
31 May 2016 marks 20 years to the day since SAT-7 broadcast its first program. Over 800 people celebrate at a four-hour live show in Cairo, Egypt, broadcast on SAT-7’s Arabic channels.
SAT-7 ACADEMY launches on 1 September. The channel provides holistic educational programming to the Arab world on a 24/7 schedule.
SAT-7 KIDS celebrates its 10-year anniversary.
SAT-7 ACADEMY changes to widen viewership. In response to a viewer survey carried out during the channel’s first year of being on-air, SAT-7 ACADEMY moves from being a 24/7 satellite TV channel and become a “brand” for SAT-7’s educational and social development programming on 1 November, available on SAT-7 ARABIC and SAT-7 KIDS, as well as online.
In April Rita El-Mounayer takes on her role as the new SAT-7 CEO and Dr Terence Ascott transitions to SAT-7 Founder and President.