New York Times report on Bridges TV: "Connecting US Muslims to mainstream America"
Bridges TV, the brainchild of Buffalo based entrepreneur Muzammil Hassan, is
finally on the air. Last week ABC News and NBC reported on this new American
TV Channel while earlier the New York Times too carried a write-up.
The Muslim TV network premiered in Amherst, NY last month at a ceremony led
by Imam W. D. Mohammed who leads the largest American Muslim organization
consisting of two million African American Muslims and 600 American mosques.
The Network aims to share stories and dispel stereotypes about Muslims.
Currently it is carried by Globecast Satellite, a national satellite
provider, with more than one million subscribers, and via Broadband
television on the Internet. To see Bridges on the Internet, click
The network recently has signed a carriage affiliation agreement with
Comcast Cable, while Buckeye Cable System has also signed an agreement with
the network and will launch Bridges TV in January in the Greater Toledo
areas of Ohio and Michigan.
In addition, deals are pending in Canada with Rogers Cable, which expects to
carry the network upon license approval by the Canadian Radio-TV & Telecom
Commission (CRTC). The network expects a CRTC approval by summer 2005.
Among its programs, Bridges TV is also running the popular Canadian Muslim
current affairs show, "The Muslim Chronicle," which airs weekly on Saturday
nights in Canada on CTS-TV and Bridges TV at 09:00 EST.
For a promotional DVD of Bridges TV, call 716-578-1317 or email
info@.... Here is the New York Times story on Bridges.
November 29, 2004
Start-Up Television Venture Is Aiming Its Programming at American Muslims
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
The New York Times
On many nights in the living rooms of Muslim families across the United
States, parents and grandparents who immigrated here are tuned in to Arabic
television stations like Al Jazeera or PTV, the state-run Pakistan
Television, while in another room their Americanized, English-speaking
children are watching ''The Apprentice'' or CNN.
Tomorrow, broadcasts of Bridges TV, an English-language network with
programming aimed at American Muslims, will begin. The network's president
and chief executive, Muzzammil S. Hassan, said that he and his investors
believed that there was a market among viewers looking for wholesome
programs with Muslim themes.
''When we did our research, we found that the foreign-language channels like
Al Jazeera appeal primarily to the immigrant parents, and not their
U.S.-born children,'' said Mr. Hassan, who left his job as a vice president
at a bank to start the network. ''Their programming is all about life back
home, and not life in North America.''
''The primary purpose of Bridges TV,'' he said, ''is to build bridges of
understanding between American Muslims and mainstream America, as well as to
provide unique programming needs that American Muslims have.''
Programming is intended to appeal to all generations of Muslims in the
United States and Canada and includes news, comedy and even a soap opera --
about a Muslim daughter who vexes her parents by deciding to marry outside
The programs will originate from many sources, including independent
producers, the BBC and cable channels, said Jamilah Fraser, the programming
director for Bridges TV. Only the daily news program will be produced
internally, she said.
Financing comes from more than 50 private investors and Ropart Asset
Management, a private equity fund. In an unusual arrangement, more than
10,000 American Muslims contributed $10 a month in the last year to support
the venture and to demonstrate a demand for such programming, Mr. Hassan
Studies estimating the number of Muslims in the United States have produced
a wide range -- from two to nine million. Bridges TV will broadcast from
Buffalo, and will be available through GlobeCast World TV, a satellite
provider, as well as on broadband, the Internet, and in a few weeks, on
cable in Detroit and in the Toledo area in Ohio and Michigan.