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New York Times report on Bridges TV: "Connecting US Muslims to mainstream America"

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  • Tarek Fatah
    Friends, 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
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 12, 2004

      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.

      Tarek Fatah
      November 29, 2004

      Start-Up Television Venture Is Aiming Its Programming at American Muslims

      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 faith.

      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.
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