Jewish Journal


December 3, 1998

Channeling Success

Despite difficulties in raising funds and community awareness, JTN expands its programming and audience


"I've been pushing this rock uphill for 10 years, and I won't stop until I reach the top," says Jay Sanderson.

The "rock" Sanderson is edging upward is the Jewish Television Network, and it's been grunt work most of the way.

Founded in 1981 with a minuscule $75,000-a-year budget, JTN was barely breathing when the former commercial film writer and producer took over a decade ago.

Since then, the annual budget has risen to $1 million to cover production of some 300 hours of programming. While some of Sanderson's ambitious goals -- such as a 24-hour national Jewish cable network -- remain elusive, JTN's year-end report reflects solid achievements and promising prospects.

  • In Los Angeles, 10 different JTN programs air weekly over all local cable systems during nightly (except Friday) one-hour time slots.

  • JTN has expanded from its home base, and selected programs can now be seen in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, South Florida, the Bay Area, San Diego and Washington.

  • In a recent major breakthrough, JTN has leaped beyond its cable confines by signing a deal with Public Broadcasting Service stations, including KCET in Los Angeles and KOCE in Orange County, to air some of its programs.

  • JTN is launching a number of new programs, including "Jewish Celebrity Profiles," hosted by veteran writer-producer Saul Turteltaub; "New Jewish Cuisine," a gourmet kosher cooking series with chef Jeff Nathan; and "The 92nd Street Y Presents," with shows originating at the famous New York cultural and community center.

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