About 22 percent of an estimated 35.4 Latinos in the United States are Protestant, including 16 percent who describe themselves as born-again or evangelical, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey.
For the Trinity Broadcasting Network, the world’s largest religious broadcaster and America’s most-watched faith channel, it means a bigger audience.
And to meet the needs and preferences of Latino Christians, on June 1st, the network is launching TBN Salsa, a mainly English-language channel geared towards second and third generation Latinos who prefer English.
The channel will be available across the country in 37 stations, but San Diego residents can enjoy it online, at www.tbn.org.
The 24-hour program lineup will offer a variety of shows, to reflect the diversity that exists within the Latino Christian community in the U.S., including contemporary worship and gospel music from popular Latino musicians, Latino pastors and Christian leaders, as well as Latino-themed documentaries and family-friendly movies.
Latino Christians are a special segment of the U.S. market, said Donna Clayton, coordinator for TBN Salsa.
“If they are living here in America and speak English, the Latin American Christian consumer is someone who has learned to adapt to two very different cultures and find themselves in the middle of the two, never fully being able to engage in both on the same channel until now,” she said.
As a Latina herself who is more comfortable in English, Clayton said that TBN Salsa will be a bridge to the warmth of Latin American Christianity.
“I enjoy watching Christian TV shows that speak to my American culture and Evangelical roots but sometimes find it difficult to fully relate to the American programming that is broadcasted,” she said. “That’s where TBN Salsa comes in: intertwining both cultures into one.
Pastor Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and a key advisor in the TBN Salsa network launch, said that the new channel will not only fill the faith and entertainment needs of Latino Christians, but will also serve as an evangelism tool to reach non-Christian Latinos.
“Latinos are serious about faith and family, and our nation is in deep need of help and healing in both of those areas,” Rodriguez said. “We believe the time is right to take the best of Hispanic worship, music, ministry, and family programming, and reach out across the American landscape with a network that entertains, inspires, and offers life-changing truth. Together we will reach next-generation English speaking Latinos with the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
TBN Vice President Matthew Crouch said that over its 42-year history, TBN has continually focused on expanding its outreach with innovative networks that broadcast relevant faith programming to its global audience.
“This is an incredible opportunity to reach tens of millions more individuals and families with programming that is engaging, inspirational, and impacts lives,” he said.
Currently, TBN has a Spanish-language channel, Enlace, which airs mainly in Latin America, where it is very popular and is available through many cable and satellite TV companies. It also has a channel in Spain, TBN España.
With TBN Salsa, the Latino Christian population in the U.S. will have a channel it can truly call its own.
“I am proud and excited to say we will finally have a network where we will enjoy Christian programming entirely relatable to our Hispanic American culture,” said Clayton.
To learn more about TBN Salsa, please visit www.tbn.org.