by Marcus and Joni Lamb
|Owner||Word of God Fellowship|
|Marcus Lamb (founder, president, CEO)|
Joni Lamb (vice-president, executive producer)
|December 31, 1997|
|1080i (HDTV), 480i (SDTV)|
Daystar is an American evangelical Christian-based religious television network that is owned by the Word of God Fellowship, founded by Marcus Lamb in 1993. Daystar is headquartered in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Bedford, Texas.
In 1984, Marcus and Joni Lamb (née Trammel) moved to Montgomery, Alabama to launch the state's first full-power Christian television station, WMCF-TV. The Lambs built the station for the next five years, and sold it in 1990 to the Trinity Broadcasting Network. They next moved to Dallas, Texas, where, in 1993, they purchased the formerly defunct KMPX. In 1996, with a large contribution from Kenneth Copeland Ministries, the Lambs purchased a station in Colorado, officially turning their television ministry into a network. In August 1997, the small staff moved into a 32,000-square-foot (3,000 m2) facility that included production studios; Daystar was officially launched on New Year's Eve 1997.
On March 21, 2011, Daystar announced that it would downsize its production studios in Ashland, Kentucky; Houston, Texas; and Denver, Colorado, effective the following month; the facilities would continue to be used as transmitters, but not broadcasting centers. This, with studios now run by a limited technical staff, led to the layoff of an unknown number of Daystar employees.
Daystar broadcasts programs by ministers and speakers from around the world.
Occasionally, Daystar broadcasts programs featuring the Lambs at church speaking engagements and broadcasts events such as Christians United for Israel summits. Daystar televises the week-long, semi-annual fundraising telethons titled Share-a-thon.
Daystar also broadcasts Scaly Adventures, an educational show starring Pierce Curren.
In 2003, Daystar was investigated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), centering on allegations that Daystar sold air time on its non-commercial educational stations to for-profit groups. The investigation complicated Daystar's US$21.5 million bid for KOCE-TV, a PBS station in Huntington Beach, California which at the time mainly served the suburban area of Orange County, and other license renewals. After a lengthy process, Daystar and KOCE-TV eventually came to an agreement where Daystar leased a digital subchannel of KOCE, and broadcast network programming over KOCE-DT3 into Orange County and the Los Angeles area. This agreement remained in place as of 2013[update], with KOCE since becoming the flagship Los Angeles area member station of PBS in January 2011, replacing KCET after that station defected from the network.
On December 22, 2008, the FCC and Daystar entered into an agreement whereby Daystar would continue to utilize a multi-level review process for all content aired[clarification needed] and would make additional good faith efforts to review all content received from external providers before broadcasting it on Daystar's non-commercial educational stations. Daystar agreed to make a voluntary contribution of $17,500 to the United States Department of Treasury.
On March 13, 2012, the FCC questioned whether Daystar, through associated nonprofit companies, was qualified to purchase former PBS outlets KWBU-TV in Waco, Texas (which was renamed KDYW) and WMFE-TV in Orlando, Florida. The WMFE deal was canceled two days later; the station was later resold and returned to PBS as WUCF-TV. On September 7, 2012, KDYW's licensee, the Brazos Valley Broadcasting Foundation, informed the FCC that it would request the dismissal of the license assignment application and the cancellation of the KDYW license, with the cancellation becoming final on September 27.
Daystar faced controversy in Israel when it became the first foreign Christian network to be given a broadcast license by its government in 2006. The announcement drew criticism from Jewish leaders in both Israel and the United States, who believed the network aimed at converting Israeli Jews through its numerous Messianic Jewish programs. In 2007, Israeli cable provider HOT announced it would drop Daystar from its lineup, stating that the decision was made after the company received complaints about Daystar's content. Daystar filed a petition with the Israeli Supreme Court to hear the case, accusing HOT of religious discrimination. Two years later, HOT reversed its decision and resumed carrying Daystar.
On November 30, 2010, Marcus Lamb appeared on Celebration and admitted to having had an extramarital affair several years before, telling viewers that unidentified individuals had attempted to extort money from him over the incident. He said that he had since reconciled with Joni over the matter; the Lambs subsequently appeared on Good Morning America and Dr. Phil to discuss their experiences with marriage counseling.
Lamb's confession sparked a series of legal actions against Daystar. Former Daystar executive Jeanette Hawkins filed a lawsuit against the network, claiming that her knowledge of the affair caused "great emotional pain". In February 2011, Jennifer Falcon, a former Daystar employee, filed a lawsuit claiming to have suffered sexual harassment, as well as demotion and defamation by the Lambs. The following month, Karen Thompson, a former producer for Joni, sued Daystar for wrongful termination, claiming to have been harassed and fired for dating a male co-worker.
An October 2011 decision, entered after a contested hearing by a Dallas court, dismissed the Hawkins fraud claim. All of the suits were withdrawn two months later when Falcon and Thompson withdrew their suit against the network, and no parties received compensation for the dispute.
Daystar is available on broadcast and cable television in the United States and worldwide on direct broadcast satellite systems such as DirecTV and Dish Network, and as an unencrypted Free to Air satellite channel. The network is composed of two VHF and 37 UHF television stations, which each broadcast all or part of Daystar's program lineup. Daystar owns a number of television stations in the U.S., either directly or through its parent company, Word of God Fellowship, Inc.
On June 13, 2013, Daystar entered into a strategic partnership with Canadian-based religious network Grace TV, in which the network's non-Canadian content (constituting 65% of programming) would be supplied by Daystar. Additionally, Daystar picked up You Are Loved, a program hosted by Grace TV's CEO, Peter Youngren. The network ultimately re-branded as Daystar Canada.
On September 24, 2014 Daystar started broadcasting in HD OTA on channel 2.1 in Dallas, Texas. Austin soon followed. On April 27, 2015, Verizon FiOS currently carries the channel in HD.