Trinity Broadcasting Network

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Trinity Broadcasting Network
Type Religious broadcasting
Country United States
Availability National (broadcast, cable, satellite);
Worldwide (satellite)
Slogan "Worlds Largest Faith Channel"
Headquarters Costa Mesa, California, United States
Owner Trinity Broadcasting Network
Key people
Paul Crouch (co-founder, president and chairman, deceased in 2013)
Jan Crouch (co-founder, vice-president and director of programming)
Matthew Crouch (vice-president)
Launch date
1973
Former names
Trinity Broadcasting Systems
Official website
www.tbn.com


Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) International
TBN Crest.png
Launched 1995
Owned by Trinity Broadcasting Network
Picture format 720p/1080i (HDTV)
480i (SDTV)
Country United States & Asia
Language English
Broadcast area Worldwide
Affiliates (see article)
Headquarters United States
Formerly called Trinity Broadcasting Systems
Availability
Terrestrial
Available in most markets Check local listings for stations
BEAM TV (Metro Manila) UHF Channel 31, Daily, 7:00 am-9:00 am & 2:00 pm-1:00 am
Satellite
DirecTV Channel 372 (SD only)
Glorystar Channel 101
Cignal Digital TV Channel 26
C-Band AMC 18-Channel 223 (H2H 4DTV)
Cable
First Media Channel 60
TelstraClear Channel 18
SkyCable (Philippines) BEAM TV (blocktimer) Channel 72 (Digital)
Destiny Cable (Philippines) BEAM TV (blocktimer) Channel 60 (Analog)
BEAM TV (blocktimer) Channel 72 (Digital)
Available on many cable systems Check your local listings for details
IPTV
AT&T U-Verse Channel 1560 (HD)
Channel 560 (SD)
Sky Angel Channel 127
Verizon FiOS Channel 295 (SD only)
Streaming media
Digital media receiver Roku

The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) is an international Christian-based broadcast television network[1][2] as well as the world's largest religious television network.[3] TBN is based in Costa Mesa, California, with auxiliary studio facilities in Irving, Texas; Hendersonville, Tennessee; Gadsden, Alabama; Decatur, Georgia; Miami, Florida; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Orlando, Florida; and New York City. TBN broadcasts programs hosted by a diverse group of ministries from traditional Protestant and Catholic denominations, Interdenominational and Full Gospel churches, non profit charities, Messianic Jewish and well-known Christian media personalities.[4] TBN also offers a wide range of original programming, and faith-based films.[5]

TBN owns and operates five broadcast networks, each reaching separate demographics; in addition to the main TBN network, TBN owns The Church Channel, Smile of a Child TV, TBN Enlace and JUCE TV. Until his death in 2013, Paul Crouch was TBN's President and Chairman. Jan Crouch is its vice-president and Director of Programming, and their son Matthew Crouch is Vice President.

History

The Trinity Broadcasting Network was co-founded by Paul Crouch, Jan Crouch, Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Bakker in 1973 as Trinity Broadcasting Systems; the Bakkers would leave by 1975 to start their own ministry, The PTL Club. TBN began national distribution through cable television providers in 1978. The network was a member of the National Religious Broadcasters association until 1990.

The Crouches began their broadcasting activities by renting time on KBSA (now KFTR-DT) in Ontario, California. After that station was sold, he began buying two hours a day on KLXA-TV in Fontana, California in early 1974. That station was put up for sale shortly after. Paul Crouch then put in a bid to buy it for $1 million and raised $100,000 for a down payment. After many struggles, the Crouches managed to raise the down payment and took over the station outright, with the station becoming KTBN-TV in 1977 and its city of license changed to TBN's original home base, Santa Ana, in 1983. Initially, the station ran Christian programs about six hours a day. They continued to expand to 12 hours a day by 1975 and began selling time to outside Christian organizations to supplement their local programming, with the station instituting a 24-hour schedule in 1978.

The fledgling network was so weak in its first days, that, according to Crouch in his autobiography, Hello World!, it almost went bankrupt after just two days on the air. TBN, then known as the Trinity Broadcasting Systems, spread from UHF stations to cable outlets and then to satellite distribution. Over the years, TBN purchased independent television stations to gain cable carriage, due to the Federal Communications Commission's must-carry rules. As a result, TBN's availability expanded to 95% of American households, as of early 2005.[6]

Growth

Trinity Christian City International – CA.
Trinity Christian City International.

TBN owns 35 full-power television stations serving larger metropolitan areas, and, at its peak, 252 low-power television stations in the United States, which are mixed among stations serving medium-sized cities and rural translator stations in order to maximize the network's reach as much as is permissible. TBN also has several hundred affiliate stations throughout the United States, although just 61 of these stations are full-power UHF or VHF stations. The rest are low-powered stations, requiring a viewer to be within several miles of the transmitter to receive the signal. According to TVNewsCheck, TBN was the third largest over-the-air television station group in the country as of 2010, besting the station groups of CBS, Fox, and NBC, but behind Ion and Univision.[7]

Worldwide, TBN's channels are broadcast on 70 satellites and over 18,000 television and cable affiliates. TBN is also seen on the internet globally, where viewers can watch TBN programming live,[8] as well as select archived shows on demand, through the website and select IPTV services.[9][10] TBN also offers mobile apps that are available in the iTunes Store and Google Play,[11] which gives users access to near real-time livestreams of TBN and its channels, plus the Arabic language Healing Channel, and Nejat TV in Persian.[8][11][12]

During 2010, citing economic problems and a lack of donations, TBN closed down and sold many of its low-powered television repeaters. 17 of these were sold to the competing Daystar Television Network,[13] while 151 of these were donated to the Minority Media and Television Council (MMTC),[14] an organization designed to preserve equal opportunity and civil rights in the media;[15] MMTC would later sell 78 of these translators to Luken Communications, parent company of the Retro Television Network.[16] Four more translators in Dothan, Alabama; Kirksville, Missouri; Jonesboro, Arkansas; and Jackson, Tennessee were sold by MMTC to New Moon Communications, with the intent to convert them to NBC affiliates;[17] however, in September 2012, New Moon put all four of these translators for sale, leaving plans for local NBC affiliates in these communities in doubt[18] (Gray Television later bought the Dothan translator and converted it into NBC affiliate WRGX-LD). 44 of the licenses that were donated by TBN to the MMTC would later be cancelled on December 1, 2011 due to remaining silent for over a year.[19] On April 13, 2012, TBN sold 36 of its translators to Regal Media, a broadcasting group headed by George Cooney, the CEO of the EUE/Screen Gems studios.[20]

On October 22, 2012, TBN acquired Jackson, Mississippi CW affiliate WRBJ-TV from Roberts Broadcasting. Following FCC and bankruptcy court approval on January 17, 2013,[21] TBN officially took over operational control of WRBJ on May 24, 2013, dropping all secular and CW network programming and converting it into a full-time satellite of TBN (the network was previously available in the Jackson area on WJKO-LP, which was later sold to Daystar).[22]

On July 8, 2013, TBN announced a partnership with a religious network in Canada, Miracle Channel. The network will air some of TBN's flagship programs, including Praise The Lord and Behind The Scenes, while TBN will pick up some of Miracle Channel's programs, including services from the Springs Church (of which Miracle Channel CEO Leon Fontaine is a pastor), and The Leon Show on The Church Channel. Plans were also announced for Fontaine to be a regular host on Praise the Lord, and for four episodes per year to originate from Canada. The two networks also announced plans to co-produce a new weekly program.[23]

TBN HD

On December 15, 2009, TBN became the first Christian television network to broadcast completely in high definition.[24] However, only the national cable and satellite feed is transmitted in HD, as its owned-and-operated broadcast stations are currently not equipped to allow HD broadcasts due in part to technical limitations caused by the number of subchannels TBN requires its stations to carry that prevent the main TBN subchannel on its owned-and-operated stations to be carried in high definition or widescreen standard definition.

Programs produced in the widescreen format that are available in high definition on the cable/satellite HD feed are downconverted to 480i SD and broadcast in a letterboxed 4:3 picture format on all five of TBN's U.S. channels carried on the network's over-the-air digital stations.

Charitable and humanitarian initiatives

Smile of a Child Foundation

The Smile of a Child Foundation is a compassion-focused ministry, founded in 2005 by TBN co-founder Jan Crouch initially as a vehicle to reach the children of Haiti, providing food, medical care, toys and disaster relief to people in need. Crouch has over 20 years of personal involvement with the island country, having established a children’s hospital, an orphanage, and a school in Haiti. TBN spent millions on these humanitarian projects.[25]

Following the January 12, 2010 Haiti earthquake, TBN made immediate contributions of $100,000 through Lake Charles, Louisiana-based Friend Ships, which speeds emergency relief aid and medical expertise all over the world in its fleet of dedicated cargo/ministry ships.[26] Friend Ships has been partnering with TBN and Smile since 1992, Paul Crouch personally donated a Bell 206 Jet Ranger helicopter to the humanitarian organization.

In May 2009, the United Nations officially recommended Smile of a Child to receive special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council for the Democracy Coalition Project.[27]

Hurricane Katrina Relief

TBN partnered with Friend Ships to assist thousands of individuals and families affected by the flooding in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The group's 180- foot cutter, named the "Hope", sailed out of Lake Charles on September 5 for Gretna, Louisiana, near New Orleans. "Hope" delivered food, water and other needed supplies. The Crouches authorized an initial gift of $100,000 specifically for Friend Ships' effort, and also sending 10,000 Bibles for distribution to affected areas. Jan Crouch arranged to have over 85,000 dolls and other toys shipped for children whose families have lost everything.[28]

TBN Second Chance

TBN Second Chance is a free, 24-hour, faith-based rehabilitative television programming service helping to rebuild lives of imprisoned inmates and reduce recidivism. Four TBN networks are offered to prisons across the U.S. via satellite, including free satellite reception equipment and installation to qualified prisons and re-entry centers.[29]

Programs and other media

TBN produces a variety of original Christian programs, such as gospel music concerts, live coverage of major Christian events, talk shows, health/fitness/nutrition programs with Christian family doctors, contemporary Christian music videos, marriage enrichment series, holiday specials, Christian dramas, and full length, family-friendly movies. In February 2008, TBN was awarded the Parents Television Council Entertainment Seal of Approval for its entire network.[30] TBN also runs a block of children's programs on Saturdays from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET (as such, it is the only children's program block on any U.S. broadcast television network that runs during the morning and afternoon hours), programs featured in that lineup are intended to fulfill the Federal Communications Commission's educational programming requirements and also broadcast on TBN's Smile of a Child TV network.

Programming seen on TBN

[31]

Other personalities featured or have been featured on TBN include: A.R. Bernard, Carl Baugh,[32] Kirk Cameron,[33] MC Hammer, Katy Hudson, Marilyn Hickey,[34] Benny Hinn,[35] D. James Kennedy,[36] Carol Lawrence, Gavin MacLeod, Jay Sekulow, Fulton J. Sheen, Nasir Siddiki, Charles Stanley,[37] Paula White,[38] Jack Van Impe,[39] and Hazem Farraj.[40]

TBN's films

Films produced by or for TBN included The Revolutionary and The Revolutionary II, based on the life of Jesus; The Emissary, a film on the life of the apostle Paul; The Omega Code and its sequel Megiddo: The Omega Code 2; Carman: The Champion; Time Changer; and Six: The Mark Unleashed starring Stephen Baldwin and David A.R. White.[8] Some of these films were produced by Gener8Xion Entertainment, TBN's Christian motion picture studio, based in Hollywood, California. The founders of Gener8Xion Entertainment are Matthew Crouch and his wife, Laurie.

TBN also broadcast films from other production companies on its main network and some of its sister networks. One notable film was Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, which had its television premiere on TBN on April 17, 2011. TBN presented the film with much of the graphic violence left in; as a result, TBN rated the film "TV-MA-V" – a rarity for many Christian networks.[41][42] These religious- and/or inspirational-themed films typically air on the main TBN channel on weekend evenings, with more youth-targeted films airing on Saturday nights as part of the network's "preview" block of JUCE TV programs.

Attractions

Aside from its television ministry, TBN also has several attractions used as an outreach service.

Three of these – Trinity Music City, Trinity Christian City International and the International Production Center – include special virtual reality theaters, with two more planned for Hawaii and Jerusalem. The 50-seat theaters present visitors with high definition digital video technology and a 48-channel digital audio system. The theater’s showcase four original productions from TBN Films: The Revolutionary, parts I and II, portraying the life and miracles of Jesus Christ, The Emissary, depicting miraculous events from the book of Acts and the life of Paul, and The Omega Code.[43]

Trinity Music City

Trinity Music City, USA TN
Trinity Music City.

TBN’s newest tourist attraction is Trinity Music City,[44] an entertainment complex in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Formerly known as "Twitty City", the former estate of country music legend Conway Twitty, the complex includes the 2000-seat Trinity Music City Church Auditorium where audiences attend TBN-produced concerts, dramas, seminars and special events. A 50-seat virtual reality theater showcases four original productions from TBN Films.[45]

Trinity Christian City International

TBN World Headquarters in Costa Mesa, California offers a variety of activities and tours. Virtual Reality Theater debuted "The Revolutionary", an original motion picture, filmed entirely on location in Israel. This high definition virtual reality theater features a 48-channel sound system. Visitors can also walk along a recreation of the Via Dolorosa, the street in the old walled city of Jerusalem where Jesus carried His cross to Calvary. Visitors can tour the Demos Shakarian Memorial Building, which houses the TBN studios that are seen regularly on international television broadcasts.[46]

Lake Trinity Estates

Lake Trinity Estates (formerly known as Trinity Towers) is an RV park in Hollywood, Florida, adjacent to the studios of TBN's Miami station WHFT-TV. The facility is an 11-acre (45,000 m2) RV park. Full hook-ups are available with 30 AMP sites and propane sales. Swimming, fishing, shuffleboard, patanque, basketball, and nearby golfing are available for guests.[47]

International Production Center

International Production Center - Irving, Texas
International Production Center

TBN's International Production Center (co-located with TBN station KDTX-TV in the Dallas suburb of Irving, Texas) offers tours through a recreation of the Via Dolorosa, the street in the old walled city of Jerusalem where Jesus carried His cross to Calvary, and The Virtual Reality Theater, featuring a 48-channel sound system. Visitors can walk through The Angel Gardens, or shop at the Family Christian Store. Some TBN programs, including TBN's signature television show Praise the Lord!, are also broadcast from the facility.[48]

Holy Land Experience

Holy Land Experience - Orlando, Florida
Holy Land Experience.

In June 2007, TBN purchased the bible-themed adventure park Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida for $37 million.[49][50]

Controversy

Theology

Trinity Broadcasting Network has come under heavy criticism for its promotion of the prosperity gospel, teaching viewers that they will receive a reward if they donate or give offerings.[51] In a 2004 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Paul Crouch, Jr. expressed his disappointment that "the prosperity gospel is a lightning rod for the Body of Christ. It's not what drives TBN."[52]

Non-denominational programmers on TBN's schedule include Joel Osteen, Nasir Siddiki, Steve Munsey, Benny Hinn, Rod Parsley, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Eddie L. Long, Jesse Duplantis, Paula White and Kenneth Copeland. Traditional Protestant pastors that air on TBN include Dr. Charles Stanley, Franklin Graham, Billy Graham, Michael Youseff, David Jeremiah and Robert Jeffress. Senator Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Finance has conducted investigations into whether Hinn, White, Copeland, Dollar, Meyer, or Long mishandled their finances; none were found to have committed wrongdoing.[53][54]

Wealth and transparency

TBN is a 501(c)(3) non-profit company. Full disclosure of TBN’s financial statements have been evaluated by Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest evaluator of charities and non-profit companies. TBN has received a 3 out of 4 star rating for four consecutive years, and in 2009 earned a 2 out of 4 star rating due to a 2% increase in administrative costs in 2009; the report also revealed that for the fiscal year ending December 2009, TBN president Paul F. Crouch Sr. earned $419,500, Vice-President Janice Crouch earned $361,000, and Vice-President Paul F. Crouch Jr. earned $214,137. TBN is currently under Donor Advisory status with Charity Navigator.[55]

Another charity watchdog group, Ministry Watch, gave TBN an "F" in 2011 for its failure to provide financial statements, lack of timeliness in responding to correspondence, and its lack of clarity in the provided information. As a result, TBN was placed on their alert list annually since 2009.[56][57]

TBN’s annual financial information is monitored by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, where it is ranked 243 out of the top 400 non-profit corporations in the United States.[58] TBN is not a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

Paul Crouch, Jr. resigned his position at TBN. On November 10, 2011, Paul Crouch, Jr. joined The Word Network as Director of Project Development.[59]

In February 2012, Brittany Koper, TBN's former Director of Finance (and the granddaughter of Paul Sr. and Jan Crouch), filed a lawsuit against her former attorneys, Davert & Loe. The three counts of the complaint were for breach of fiduciary duties, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and professional negligence. In this lawsuit, Koper alleges that TBN unlawfully distributed over $50 million to TBN's directors. Koper filed the suit following the termination of her employment with TBN. Davert & Loe, who also represented TBN, denied her claims. Koper’s suit against Davert & Loe is pending. No official judicial ruling has been made in this matter.[60][61]

In a May 2012 interview with The New York Times, Koper claimed, "My job as finance director was to find ways to label extravagant personal spending as ministry expenses." Koper alleged that the network had herself and chauffeurs and sound engineers ordained as ministers in order to avoid paying Social Security taxes on their salaries.

Lawsuits

In September 2004, the Los Angeles Times reported that Paul Crouch had paid Enoch Lonnie Ford, a former TBN employee, a $425,000 formal settlement to end a wrongful termination lawsuit in 1998.[62] Ford alleged that he and Crouch had a homosexual tryst during his employment.[63] TBN officials acknowledged the settlement but contested Ford's credibility, noting that he had been previously convicted for child molestation and drug abuse. In 1996, Ford was fired by TBN after he was arrested for drug-related violations and returned to prison for a year. Ford allegedly threatened to sue TBN for wrongful termination and sexual harassment after the network refused to hire him following his release, resulting in his claims against Paul Crouch. TBN officials stated that the settlement was made in order to avoid a lengthy and expensive lawsuit.[64]

In late 2003, Ford attempted to extort Crouch, threatening to release an autobiographical manuscript of their alleged affair if TBN did not purchase the document for $10 million. In October 2004, Judge Robert J. O'Neill awarded Crouch $136,000 in legal fees to be paid by Ford for his violation of the terms of the settlement agreement, specifically the prohibition of discussing the settlement's details. On March 15, 2005, Ford appeared on the Pax TV show Lie Detector to be given a polygraph test; the results of the test were never broadcast or made public.[65]

In June 2012, The Orange County Register reported that Carra Crouch, the granddaughter of Paul and Jan Crouch, filed a lawsuit claiming that TBN covered up her rape by a network employee when she was 13-years-old.[66] Carra Crouch claimed to have been given a date rape drug and sexually abused while staying at an Atlanta, Georgia, hotel during TBN's "Praise-a-thon" in the spring of 2006. She also claimed that when she informed Jan Crouch and TBN attorney John Casoria of the rape, they professed disbelief in her claims and blamed her for the incident. However, according to the lawsuit, Crouch and Casoria fired the employee, agreeing to not turn him in to the authorities if he did not file for unemployment, worker's compensation, or EEOC benefits. As ordained ministers, Crouch, Casoria, and other Crouch family members are legally obligated to report a sexual assault. TBN attorney Colby May "vehemently denied" Carra Crouch's claims, calling them "without merit and baseless."[67] Her lawsuit against TBN is ongoing.

Show pre-emptions due to criticism of other religions

From 1994 to 2005, Bible prophecy scholar Hal Lindsey hosted a program on TBN titled International Intelligence Briefing, in which Lindsey occasionally aired commentary segments criticizing Muslims and Islam. In December 2005, TBN pre-empted International Intelligence Briefing for the entire month. Lindsey accused the network of censorship, saying, "some at the network apparently feel that my message is too pro-Israel and too anti-Muslim."[68] Paul Crouch issued a press release insisting that Lindsey's show was only pre-empted for Christmas programming,[69] but eventually admitted that TBN management was concerned that Lindsey "placed Arabs in a negative light." Lindsey resigned from TBN on January 1, 2006, effectively cancelling International Intelligence Briefing. However, one year later, Crouch and Lindsey reconciled and a new program, The Hal Lindsey Report, premiered on the network.[70]

In June 2011, TBN refused to rebroadcast an episode of Jack Van Impe's weekly television program, in which the evangelist criticized pastors Rick Warren and Robert Schuller for participating in interfaith conferences alongside Muslim leaders and accused them of promoting "Chrislam". Both Warren and Schuller denied the accusations.[71] Paul Crouch defended TBN's decision, stating that it is against network policy for personalities to attack each other on the air.[72] As a result, Jack Van Impe Ministries announced that it would no longer air Van Impe's show on TBN.[73]

Travel the Road in Afghanistan

TBN produces and airs a Christian reality show called Travel the Road, which features missionaries Tim Scott and Will Decker in remote and often war-torn locations overseas in search of converts. In December 2008, the program attracted criticism from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), a watchdog group that looks for acts of religious discrimination in the United States military. The MRFF claimed that Scott and Decker were embedded with American troops stationed in Afghanistan, despite the fact that, according to MRFF president Mikey Weinstein, the military exercises a "complete prohibition of the proselytizing of any religion, faith, or practice...You see [Scott and Decker] wearing American helmets. It is obvious they were completely embedded." When ABC News contacted the U.S. Army in Afghanistan about Scott and Decker's alleged embed, which had taken place four years previously, they said that they no longer have the documentation of the missionaries' status with the troops.[74]

Scott defended the trip to Afghanistan, telling ABC, "It wasn't like we were hiding in the back saying we're going to preach. [The military] knew what we were doing. We told them that we were born again Christians, we're here doing ministry, we shoot for this TV station and we want to embed and see what it was like. We were interviewing the chaplains and we talked to them. We spoke at the services and things like that. So we did do our mission being over there as far as being able to document what the soldiers go through, what it's like in Afghanistan. So I could say that we were on a secular mission as well as far as documenting. I would say we were news reporters as well, we were delivering news of what was actually happening there, but we were also there to document the Christian side." Scott argued that since the pair were acting as Christian journalists, they had the same right to cover the war in Afghanistan as secular networks.[74]

See also

References

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  50. ^ Home. The Holy Land Experience. Retrieved on 2010-11-11.
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  68. ^ [1][dead link]
  69. ^ TBN - Trinity Broadcasting Network
  70. ^ TBN Welcomes Popular Christian Author Hal Lindsey with New Weekly Program, TBN Networks, 22 January 2007
  71. ^ http://www.christianpost.com/news/pastors-answer-does-rick-warren-endorse-chrislam-52833/
  72. ^ http://www.tbn.org/announcements/files/JVI%20NEW%20RESPONSE%206-24-11b.pdf
  73. ^ Jack Van Impe off TBN after criticizing two pastors, The Detroit News, 21 June 2011[dead link]
  74. ^ a b Missionaries Face Death, Criticism to Preach, ABCNews.com, February 2, 2009.

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