The Time is NOW!

-an article for the North Shore News ‘Spiritually Speaking Column
by Rev. Ed and James Hird

Last week, three generations of Hird men (Ted, Ed and James) visited a fascinating new TV Station.  We were welcomed with open arms and made to feel right at home as we toured NOWTV  with Oliver Eichel, the Production Manager.  "The station, on Cable 10, has obviously struck a chord", said the Langley Times staff reporter Al Irvin.  "As the new show Online was about to air, the station opened its phone lines, which were jammed half an hour before the live show began."  NOWTV has attained ratings in the first month that it only projected for the end of its first year.  So far 1.7 million people have tuned into NOWTV for at least 15 minutes.  Willard Thiessen, president of NOWTV and Trinity Television, says that while he is ‘delighted’, the station’s goal is not viewership alone, but to meet a need absent until now in the Lower Mainland, and much of Canada.

The new station went on the air September 15th 2001.  "We recognize we are here at a critical time", said NOWTV’s station manager Dean Cooper to the Langley Times, adding that the terrorist attacks of September 11th and ensuing events have rekindled interest in spiritual issues throughout North America.  Dean Cooper went on to say: "We are trying to create an atmosphere…I would say that is family friendly, that touches upon spiritual life, providing moral, ethical, clean entertainment that the family can watch, without being afraid of what might come up on screen next." Alex Strachan, columnist for the Vancouver Sun, commented about NOWTV that "in an uncertain hour, amidst rumblings of war, perhaps this is the best time for television that accentuates the positive in humanity".

Ted Hird, the father of Ed and grandfather of James, was most impressed by the state-of-the-art digital equipment at the NOWTV station.  Ted, a former telecommunications engineer, was pleased to see a vibrant young operation, providing higher-skilled jobs for mature young people from UBC, SFU, and BCIT.  James Hird, who is taking Broadcast Journalism courses at BCIT, was interested in the brand-new video monitors and air-conditioned equipment room. James was pleased to meet the staff who came across as very knowledgeable, quick and efficient. The 42 NOWTV staff are hoping to soon expand from a 6,000 square feet office to 18,000 square feet to make room for the ever-burgeoning new programs.

James was also pleased to personally meet the NOWTV comedian Leland Klassen.  Host and producer of NOWTV’s RETRO and Comedy Street, Leland is a seasoned performer with quick wit, sidesplitting wholesome humour, and a history of diverse experience.  He has performed in several stand-up shows, on numerous television and radio programs, and in comedy festivals including Montreal’s Just for Laughs.  Leland also emerged as a finalist in Canada’s Search for the Funniest New Comic’ in 1997.  Interacting with a live studio audience, Leland’s Comedy Street showcases some of Canada’s best stand-up performers and improv acts.

James’ favourite NOWTV shows are Promised Land, Touched by an Angel, Doc, Intune Video Flow, It’s a Miracle, and Retro. "Retro hour", said James, "is really good for seekers, because there is Andy Griffith, Lucy, and the Leave it to Beaver show.  It has action, it has comedy, it has spiritual shows; it has love stories, true stories, and miracle stories"

Current locally produced shows include Online, hosted by Doug Kooy and featuring the American network programs, Dateline, 48 Hours, Primetime and 60 Minutes, and viewer interaction with Kooy- a two-hour program four nights a week.  Similar to the 3 million-strong Alpha Course ,  NOWTV takes a very gentle, non-pressured approach to spirituality.  The public can reach the Online program live, by calling 1-866-NOWTV 10 (general number: 604-576-6880).

After touring the station, we all endorse this exciting new venture. Any TV Station that can impress three generations of Hirds, with all of our varied tastes, has a lot to offer our very diverse North Shore and Greater Vancouver community.  The time indeed is NOW.

The Reverend Ed and James Hird,
St. Simon’s Anglican Church

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