77-year-old Berry woman successfully operates 2 TV stations
Copyright 2008 Daily Mountain Eagle
JENNIFER WILLIAMS Eagle Correspondent
Published February 24, 2008
Few people would suspect Ettie Clark of being a local media tycoon.
The 77-year-old Berry resident is soft-spoken, energetic and eager to
talk about her faith and her family.
Over the past 13 years, Clark has also proved herself to be a skilled
She owns two Christian television stations, Channel 51 in Berry and
Channel 48 in Fayette. She is also responsible for six digital channels
and in the process of acquiring two more.
When Clark joined the broadcasting industry in 1995, she had no
illusions of making great profits. Her only goal was to help spread the
gospel by making Christian programming available to her neighbors.
In the 1990s, Clark and her husband, Denver, were the only people in
their area who could watch Christian television because they were the
only ones who had a satellite dish.
“The good Lord just kept bringing it to me that other people couldn't see
Christian TV but I could, so I felt bad about it,” she said.
Clark talked to some of her friends who owned a television station near
Greensboro. They gave her the name of an engineer out West who
started the paperwork process for the Clark's to get a 200-foot
broadcast tower built on the 640-foot mountain beside their home.
Clark applied for two broadcasting licenses in hopes that she would be
granted one. To her surprise, the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) approved both applications.
“It was just like clockwork. The Lord was in it, I know, from the
beginning,” Clark said.
Clark began to see God’s guiding hand in other ways as well.
Life on a Berry farm as a child and later as a young married woman
taught her the value of hard work and perseverance.
She gained business experience while keeping the books for her husband’
s contract logging company. Clark’s side job as a tax preparer also
allowed her to set aside some of the funds that would be used to build
the television station and keep it on the air.
Clark realized that God had a unique plan for her life.
“I know that He knew in the beginning when I was a little girl what I
would be doing,” she said. “I just feel like everything I’ve ever done has
been pertaining to this.”
Berry’s first Christian television station went on the air in June 1995. It
aired original Christian programming and became an affiliate of both
TBN and FamilyNet.
Local bluegrass and Southern gospel singers soon found a home on
“The Lighthouse,” a Thursday night singing program filmed at the Berry
Groups such as Covered by Grace, Miracle Heirs and Stanley and
Company have been featured on “The Lighthouse” in the past decade.
Gospel singers have traveled to Berry from all over the Southeast,
including Georgia and Mississippi, to appear on the program.
The performers are not the only ones who have benefited from “The
“We’ve had so many testimonies of people being won to the Lord,”
Four years ago, Clark decided to open a second television station in
At first, she had some difficulty getting the property she bought zoned
for a broadcasting tower. Eventually, another site had to be chosen, and
Clark went ahead with work on the second station.
“When God’s in something, He’ll make a way,” she said.
Channel 48 went on the air in January. On Feb. 7, “The John Lanier
Show” premiered on the Fayette station.
“The John Lanier Show,” hosted by Christian vocalist John Lanier, is a
weekly variety talk show featuring singers, comedians, authors,
musicians and speakers. The program is filmed live before a studio
audience in Fayette. It airs every Thursday night at 8 p.m.
The first show featured a reunion between the original members of the
group Tony Gore & Majesty: Lanier, Gore and Calvin Thornton.
Clark said she is excited about the changes taking place at her TV
stations, including the addition of several digital channels. The main
digital stations are Channel 38 in Berry and Channel 15 in Fayette.
Clark is also proud of her four children, 10 grandchildren, 13 great-
grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren.
Clark has faced many difficulties in her life, including the death of her
husband several years ago. However, she has soldiered on, knowing that
she is doing the work she was called to do.
“If it’s the Lord’s will, He’ll do it if you don’t back up. There have been
a lot of times that I have got so discouraged but I’ve said, ‘No. I’m not
going to give up because I know this is what I’m supposed to do,’”