BeLight-FM is only two years old but it’s already making an impact as a Christian radio station in Lebanon.
It was launched by Arab Protestants with 90% worship music — mostly English-language favorites and Egyptian praise songs that are popular in Arab evangelical churches.
BeLight has since increased its spoken content to almost half its programming.
Sermons from Lebanese pastors are now part of the station’s unique mix of music, prayer, talkback, advice and podcasts in Arabic, English and French.
It has 300,000 Lebanese listeners at a time of a national economic crisis and political turmoil.
Christianity Today reports it’s already the top rating religious station with one host saying it brings “a message of hope, not just all bad news.”
The station’s editorial line concludes: “Share the message of salvation with love and respect.”
People tune in from most of Lebanon’s 18 official religious sects.
Some of its biggest podcast downloads are in Saudi Arabia.
Belight is registered as a cultural station, so its policy is not to criticise any religion or offer political opinions.
It is also commercial-free apart from a few in-kind service providers.
Foreign dollar donations help keep it afloat, but it still needs support from local churches and supporters despite the plunging value of the local currency.
Station manager Noor Botrus explained to Christianity Today: “We are kind of in survival mode. But listeners tell us: ‘We are in the middle of the storm, and when we listen we feel peace.’”
He prays for an extra A$250,000 in the budget to pay for a second frequency to broadcast to all Lebanon and 60% of Syria.
Former Maronite priest turned radio host Fadi Jandah told Christianity Today: “We need to break the fear we have toward each other. It only produces pride and strife. It is my joy to represent the full beauty of the church.”
That vision is nurtured by Emad Dabbour, founder and CEO of Lighthouse Arab World which owns BeLight.
He quotes the Apostle Paul: “Faith comes by hearing. We seek to be an encouragement to believers, and a voice for anyone seeking to understand Christ.”