Making SatLink See the LightCompany engineer's principles led to lucrative deal with religious programmers 2/08/2010 12:02:00 AM Eastern
In 2006, Habeeb Shehady turned a conflict over adult
programming into an opportunity to spread the wealth of God's word.
Shehady was working in Tel Aviv at the time as chief
engineer at SatLink, a leading satellite communications teleport operator. "I
am very religious," Shehady, a Christian, explains. "I pray every day with my
family, and I'm living in a religious community." So when SatLink added an
adult programming channel to its roster, Shehady told his boss that despite the
possible financial hardships, he could not work for the company anymore.
"I don't need your money," Shehady says he told his boss.
"I cannot press play and [have] this content go from my hand to Europe and Asia and the Middle East...I cannot do this."
Shehady's boss was practical. "He had told me that as a
businessman, he would be happy to get rid of the adult channel as long as
another channel would replace it." Shehady, who understood the growing
potential of broadcasting religious content and channels from the Holy Land, reached out to the CEO of Christian broadcast channel
Jesus TV and secured a deal.
Since then, SatLink has dismissed adult channels and, with
Shehady moving to a full-time marketing position, recruited 16 religious
programmers. Among them are U.S.-based clients such as God's Learning Channel,
Daystar Network, The Hope Network and the Gospel Music Television Network.
Through SatLink, most of these networks reach viewers in Asia,
and the Middle East.
The results are enlightening. In 2009, Shehady brought in 10
Christian channels, and SatLink ranked fifth among all teleport-operating
companies in year-over-year growth, according to the World Teleport
"Everybody at SatLink was shocked," Shehady says. "God
helped me to bring Christian channels [to the company]." And the company added a
hearty "amen" to that.