Victor Kubik talks with Jason Webster about the Beyond Today TV program airing in South Africa.
[Victor Kubik] My name is Victor Kubik, President of the United Church of God. I’m visiting in South Africa at the moment, and having a very wonderful visit with the churches here in South Africa. We’re moving on to Malawi after this. But my guest today is Jason Webster, he is a leader in the United Church of God, here in Johannesburg. Welcome to Inside United.
[Jason Webster] Thank you, Victor.
[Victor] Well, Jason and I have known each other for the past six years. He’s done a great deal for the United Church of God, and he does many things for the congregation, but also for the work, in general. And one is that he is editor of the Beyond Today television program here in South Africa and prepares it for broadcast here, in South Africa. Could you please tell us where it originates, and a little bit about the program?
[Jason] Victor, yes, we broadcast on Cape Town TV which is on DStv channel 263. It’s also on open channels in Cape Town, which is the only area that receives it for free. We originally got on to Cape Town TV. It was connection via the the Botha family in Cape Town, who knew that Living was using the same TV channel to broadcast their program, and then we got into contact with Cape Town TV. We got a good deal with them. They gave us quite a discount without us even asking. And we’ve been doing that for a while, for about 82 episodes at the moment. It’s been running very well, and we’re getting a lot of feedback and requests from the various programs.
[Victor] Well, I hadn’t realized some of that myself. I know that we were on South African television, but I wasn’t sure exactly how we got on, and you’ve told us a little bit about how we got on on Cape Town Television. So how many episodes have we produced?
[Jason] Eighty-one episodes at the moment, so we’re almost a full two years of being broadcasting from South Africa.
[Victor] Jason, tell us a little bit about what you actually do to the program, and how do you receive it? And tell us how is syncs with our telecasting in the Unites States.
[Jason] Originally we got the program, I used to download it from the UCG website where the files are saved. Just download them and save the files locally and we would broadcast whichever ones were saved there. And then we started getting the programming scheduling and synopsis from the home office via Peter Eddington. And then I realized it would be very simple to synchronize our broadcast timing with the home office timing. So, I said to Peter, “If you could send me the files in advance via Dropbox, then I could edit those files.” So at the moment he compresses them to just over a gigabyte files size, sends them to the Dropbox to me, I download them, and then we edit them. Now originally we wanted to edit the voice-overs to speak the South African contact details. Darris McNeely, Steve Myers, and Gary Petty, each did a voice over but it was very difficult and time consuming to do that. We had looked at getting somebody to commercially edit it for us, but the cost was gonna be actually more than the broadcasting was going to cost us. So I looked into doing it myself, and editing just the text or the visual contact details was the simplest option. So we now edit just the text, the visual details, and the voice that comes through from the home office now includes the statement that you hear probably everywhere in the world, where it says, “Or write to us at the address on your screen.” So it covers any details that you put there. And we edit those details, then we load them up in Dropbox again back to Cape Town TV with the edited file, and then they use that each week. So we use the home office schedule, we get the files from Peter Eddington, and we synchronize the same broadcasting time frame. So whatever you’re watching in the United States on a particular Sunday is the same program that’s being broadcast from South Africa on the same Sunday. And DStv in South Africa does broadcast to several other countries in Africa, and particularly Southern Africa. So there is a variety of countries that get it, but 99% of the requests that we get come from South Africa locally. In particular, Cape Town, because there people can get the program for free.
[Victor] Well that’s fascinating to learn that, what other countries is one able to get the program that originates here in South Africa?
[Jason] If you’re on DStv, they can get South Africa’s multi-choice DStv. We’ve heard from places as far as Kenya, even Ghana, I believe it goes into Zimbabwe as well, and possibly Zambia. But there are not a lot of people in these countries that have DStv. So whether they get DStv, whether they know the program is available there, and whether they request is another thing. So it’s a bit more complex and it’s not always…I don’t think it’s seen in so many countries, but it is available there. But it would need to be tested out in each country to check specifically.
[Victor] That’s very interesting, indeed. Well, thank you so much for telling us about the work you do with Beyond Today television. We just went and took a look at one of the programs right now. It was exciting to see a program that was modified for use in this part of the world, that the Beyond Today program is able to be seen in different places around the world, and it was just wonderful to be here with one of the engineers who actually makes it happen and produce it
[Jason] Well, thank you very much. I appreciate the opportunity.
[Victor] Well thank you, Jason, for being with us on Inside United . Thank you for joining us here. We hope to see you again soon.