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|Type||Religious television network/production company|
|Availability||seen internationally; some shows carried by Trinity Broadcasting Network, FamilyNet, LeSEA, TCT and Sky Angel, as well as through syndication|
by Pat Robertson
|Headquarters||Virginia Beach, Virginia|
|Owner||The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc.|
Gordon P. Robertson (CEO)|
Rob Allman (news director)
|CBN Satellite Service (1977-1981)|
The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) is an American conservative evangelical religious television network and production company. Founded by televangelist Pat Robertson, its headquarters and main studios are based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States. CBN has been described as having been "at the forefront of the culture wars since the network's inception in the early 1960s."
CBN was founded in 1960 in Portsmouth, Virginia by Pat Robertson, who had recently become a born-again Christian. In late 1961, he began broadcasting religious content, funded by small donations from individuals and local churches. One of the company's mainstays is The 700 Club, which uses a religious variety program that mixes sermons, interviews, and religious music (such as hymns and gospel). The name refers to a fundraising drive where Robertson successfully sought 700 viewers willing to contribute $10 a month to sustain the station.The 700 Club is the longest-running program in the variety format, which has been successfully used in religious broadcasting ever since. Initially focused on devotional content, The 700 Club became increasingly political in the late 1970s, adding news segments.
Today, the network's journalistic branch, CBN News, provides news updates to The 700 Club and produces religious news programs such as CBN NewsWatch and Christian World News; it also produces a special hour-long block of prime time election coverage hosted by Robertson during American presidential and mid-term elections, airing on Freeform, which also carries The 700 Club and the half-hour talk show 700 Club Interactive. CBN also operates online channels on its website, such as the CBN News Channel.
CBN Asia manages Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation (OBI), an international relief and missionary effort, and has international programming, producing local programs including Solusi in Indonesia and From Heart to Heart in Thailand; CBN India produces three shows, a daily Hindi program Ek Nayee Zindagi, a bi-weekly Telugu program Nireekshana and an award-winning weekly Bengali program Samadhan. The company also produces versions of The 700 Club aimed at Latin American (Club 700 Hoy) and British audiences (The 700 Club With Paul and Fiona). CBN has broadcast programs in over 70 languages.
On April 29, 1977, CBN launched a religious cable network, the CBN Satellite Service. The channel was later revamped as the CBN Cable Network in 1981, and began incorporating secular programming alongside religious content. In August 1988, it rebranded as The CBN Family Channel (later dropping the "CBN" name outright in September 1990), before selling it to International Family Entertainment (owned by Robertson's son, Timothy) two years later as the network became too profitable for CBN to maintain its nonprofit status. In September 1990, it rebranded as The Family Channel. IFE later sold it to News Corporation in 1997 (rebranding it as the Fox Family Channel in August 1998), which later sold it to The Walt Disney Company in 2001 (and rebranding it as ABC Family, now known as Freeform). The terms of the sale to International Family Entertainment stipulated that the channel continue carrying two CBN programs, including The 700 Club. It is often thought the deal stipulated that the channel maintain the word "Family" in its name in perpetuity, however this was later dismissed by network executives as an urban legend.
CBN now serves mainly as a production company for The 700 Club, and four other syndicated shows: CBN NewsWatch , Christian World News, 700 Club Interactive and The Brody File, a news-analysis program hosted by political journalist David Brody. CBN and Regent University jointly produced the film First Landing.
Some of CBN's programs also air on Sky Angel, the Trinity Broadcasting Network, Cornerstone Television, FamilyNet, LeSEA, TCT and Middle East Television (which was founded and owned by CBN, until it was sold to LeSEA in the early 2000s), all of which are Evangelical Christian networks. The secular commercial stations that continue to air The 700 Club in syndication (along with Freeform) air CBN's annual telethon during the last week of January.
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CBN entered into the broadcasting industry in 1960, when Robertson founded WYAH-TV (channel 27) in Portsmouth, Virginia - the group's flagship station - which signed on in October 1961. The organization's broadcasting unit, the Continental Broadcasting Corporation, ran it as a family-oriented independent station - featuring a mix of religious programming (which took up most of its stations' Sunday schedules) and secular acquired programs, including westerns, sitcoms, drama series and children's programming - a format that would be later adopted by the LeSEA Broadcasting Corporation when it began launching its own television stations in the 1970s.
CBN later signed on WHAE-TV (channel 46) in Atlanta, Georgia in June 1971. In January 1973, CBN purchased KBFI-TV (channel 33) in Dallas, Texas and changed its callsign to KXTX-TV; that April, CBN and Doubleday Broadcasting became involved in a license swap in which Doubleday swapped KDTV (channel 39) to CBN in exchange for the channel 33 license, shutting down that station; while the KXTX-TV calls, existing programs and programming donated to CBN by Doubleday moved to channel 39. Finally, it signed on WXNE-TV (channel 25) in Boston in October 1977.
CBN gradually sold its stations during the late 1980s and 1990s. Continental Broadcasting sold what at the time became WANX-TV in 1984 to the Tribune Company, which converted it into general entertainment independent station WGNX; WXNE was sold to the News Corporation in January 1987, becoming a Fox owned-and-operated station; and WYAH was sold to the TVX Broadcast Group five years later in 1989. It retained ownership of KXTX until 2000, when it sold the station to NBC, which converted it into a Telemundo owned-and-operated station.
From 1969 to 1982, CBN also owned a simulcast network of five FM radio stations in upstate New York (WBIV in Wethersfield, WEIV in Ithaca, WJIV in Cherry Valley, WMIV in South Bristol and WOIV in DeRuyter), known as CBN Northeast; the stations originally signed on in 1948 by a farming cooperative as the Rural Radio Network. This station group was split up after CBN sold the licenses to separate owners.
|City of license/market||Station||Years of ownership||Status|
|Atlanta, Georgia||WHAE-TV 46||1971-1983||Now WGCL-TV, a CBS affiliate owned by the Meredith Corporation|
|Boston, Massachusetts||WXNE-TV 25||1977-1987||Now WFXT, a Fox affiliate owned by Cox Media Group|
|Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas||KXTX-TV 33||1973||Now KDAF, a CW affiliate owned by Tribune Broadcasting|
|KXTX-TV 39||1973-2000||Now a Telemundo owned-and-operated station owned by NBCUniversal|
Virginia Beach, Virginia
|WYAH-TV 27||1961-1989||Now WGNT, a CW affiliate owned by Dreamcatcher Broadcasting|
(operated through shared services agreement by Tribune Broadcasting)
In addition, CBN planned to build a television station in Richmond, Virginia, WRNX on UHF channel 63. However, CBN sold the construction permit for that station to National Capitol Christian Television in 1982, which signed on the station as WTLL in 1984. That station was eventually sold and in 1986, converted into secular independent station WVRN-TV, which shut down in 1988.
|City of license/market||Station||Years of ownership||Status|
|Cherry Valley/Albany, New York||WJIV 101.9 FM||1969-1982||Now a Christian radio station owned by Christian Broadcasting System|
|DeRuyter/Syracuse, New York||WOIV 105.1 FM||1969-1982||Now WCIS-FM, A Christian station owned by Family Life Radio|
|Ithaca, New York||WEIV 103.7 FM||1969-1982||Now WQNY, a country music station owned by Saga Communications|
|Norfolk, Virginia||WXRI 105.3 FM||1962-1989||Now WNOH, a CHR station owned by iHeartMedia|
|South Bristol/Rochester, New York||WMIV 95.1 FM||1969-1982||Now WAIO, a classic rock station owned by iHeartMedia|
|Wethersfield/Buffalo, New York||WBIV 107.7 FM||1969-1982||Now WLKK, an alternative rock station owned by Entercom Communications|