Hope Channel has officially launched in American Samoa, with a special dedication service on Monday, December 19.
Pastor Sione Ausage, General Secretary of the Samoas-Tokelau Mission, led the dedication.
“While this is the first time the Church has operated a TV station in American Samoa, the church’s mission in Samoa over the years has been directed to broadcast development to further expand the church’s mission of religious work through television,” said Pastor Ausage. “In 2011, the Samoas-Tokelau Mission launched Hope Channel, and now it is American Samoa’s turn.”
Lieutenant Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga delivered special remarks on behalf of the territorial government, using the opportunity to publicly acknowledge and express sincere appreciation to members of the church who visited him and his wife, the late Mrs Pohakalani Mauga, while she was hospitalised in Honolulu early this year.
“The first choir to visit my wife and sing at the hospital was from the Seventh-day Adventist Church,” said Lieutenant Governor Mauga. “This television station is an important development for the Adventist church, and will be used to further reach out to others to share the teachings of the Lord in every corner of the territory.”
Local businessman Bill Hyman, who owned TV station K11UU-D, operating as Channel 11 PCS-TV, previously owned the station site and facility, located in Vaitogi. Mr Hyman announced in August 2016 that the station would soon be under new management, after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Seventh-day Adventist Church in American Samoa.
Although there were many locals and companies who wanted to purchase Channel 11, Mr Hyman withheld from making a final decision, as he wanted the station to continue to broadcast religious programming.
“That was the sole purpose of Channel 11 from the very beginning,” said Mr Hymen. “We were a local station that were able to obtain the rights to carry international sporting events, such as rugby, but we also broadcast Bahai faith programs.”
But when the Adventist church approached Mr Hymen, negotiations quickly turned to a deal, and Hope Channel American Samoa was born.
“My dream has now become a reality,” said Mr Hyman. “I’m so pleased that my former station has been sold and is now operational by a church.”
Plans are also underway to expand broadcasting to a radio station.
American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States but falls within the South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist church’s Trans-Pacific region.