|A national television program based out of Whitby, Ont. is serving as a unique and exciting platform for the pro-life message.
The Eh JJ Show has for seven years been providing positive and moral programming as an alternative to the trashy, sex-laden and violent fare that dominates most of the television air waves these days. According to producer Jerry Jonkheer, the show grew out of a desire to stop simply lamenting the state of current television programming and instead be constructive.
“People are always complaining about how bad TV is,” he said. “So instead of complaining, we decided to do something about it – change TV one half-hour at a time.”
The Eh JJ Show, which draws an average of 50,000 to 60,000 viewers weekly, is a Christian program that encompasses three main aspects: the story of a man on a search for truth and a philosophy of life; Christian-oriented entertainment (including music and films); and a focus on the attempts by men to understand women, and vice-versa (which Jonkheer says draws a lot of laughs and is a topic he would like to explore much further on the program).
But of most interest to pro-lifers is the Christian Activist Corner, which started last year and runs at the end of the program. The segment focuses on informing viewers about current issues and advising them on how they can respond.
On recent programs, for example, Jonkheer has drawn attention to MP Tom Wappel’s efforts to enshrine marriage as a union strictly between men and women, the Chinese government’s coercive one-child policy and Sudan’s persecution of Christians.
“We want to expand that feature to at least a minute to a minute-and-a-half in length,” said Jonkheer. “And if we can get the audience to grow, the Christian Activist Corner has the potential to generate hundreds of viewers’ letters on a particular issue.”
Jonkheer has devoted several entire episodes to pro-life issues and says he hopes to do many more. On one previous program, he interviewed 16 people who had been arrested for Operation Rescue-style activities. Another program featured the song Fight For the Unborn, which brought together several Christian music artists in a We Are the World-style effort in support of the unborn.
A third program told the story of a person who had been born prematurely, to illustrate how unborn babies are still viable at gestational ages at which many abortions take place. And a fourth program was a music video produced around the soundtrack of the Dan Hill song, Unborn Heart.
Jonkheer said he plans to air other pro-life-oriented episodes that will include a spotlight on photography that traces the growth of the human being from conception, and the screening of non-gruesome portions of the film, The Silent Scream.
The Eh JJ Show first hit the television airwaves in 1989 as a 2 a.m., half-hour special on CHEX-TV in Peterborough. Subsequent specials on the same station were aired at progressively better night timeslots, before they were moved to weekday mornings.
The show eventually made its way to the national Vision TV network, where it would air Saturdays at 6 p.m. “It got very good ratings, finishing 31st on Vision’s list of top 100 programs,” said Jonkheer. “Three months later, it moved to the 21st position and drew more than 100,000 viewers.”
About 2 1/2 years ago, the show went weekly on Vision, but had to sacrifice by taking poor airtimes once again before moving to its current slot on Thursday mornings at 6:30 a.m. eastern and Pacific time, and 7:30 a.m. mountain and Atlantic time. The show was also added to the roster of CJIL-TV in Lethbridge, Alta., Canada’s first fully Christian television station, where it airs at 9:30 a.m. Thursdays.