JAMESTOWN, NY (October 9, 2017) – In a surprise move, the Russian government granted New Life Radio-Moscow (NLR) a national mass media license that will enable the station to broadcast its Christian programming across the entire country for ten years, said Dan Johnson, president of Christian Radio for Russia, which operates the station.
The government initially rejected the application for NLR to broadcast on the Yamal satellite because the station was considered an “evangelical” operation, but station manager Dima Vatoulya resubmitted the application. It is unclear why the government approved the application this time, but Johnson called it “miraculous.”
The station now has the right to broadcast across all nine time zones via the Yamal satellite
and provide live signals to its two FM radio affiliates, while opening up vast opportunities for Christians in locations across the country to strategize on how to further distribute the programming—via local radio, as well as ministry sites and private homes with satellite dishes.
Due to government interference and the lack of internet access in much of rural Russia, broadcasting online is virtually impossible, Johnson said.
For at least the last decade, the government has cracked down on Christian private and public expression not connected with the Orthodox church. Johnson said individuals caught holding Bible studies can be fined $500, and churches can be fined up to $15,000 for evangelistic outreach.
NLR has been using the Hotbird satellite, which is operated from Israel, to provide a signal over the European portion of Russia.
Covenant Radio for Russia operates NLR and was founded by the Evangelical Covenant Church in the 1990s. Although it is no longer a ministry of the denomination, individual Covenant churches provide 90 percent of its support.
Covenanters can donate to the ministry on its website or mailing Christian Radio for Russia, PO Box 428, Jamestown, New York 14701