Trinity Broadcasting Network

Trinity Broadcasting Network

Infobox Network
name = TBN

launch_date = 1973
country = United States of America
type = Religious broadcasting
Radio network
broadcast_area = National; Broadcast Worldwide
founder = Paul Crouch, Jan Crouch, Jim Bakker, and Tammy Bakker
affiliates = The Church Channel
Smile of the Child Network
TBN Enlace
KTBN Superpower
Radio Paradise
former_names = Trinity Broadcasting Systems (TBS)
website = []
picture format = 480i (SDTV)|

The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) is a Christian television network headquartered in Costa Mesa, California with studios in Irving, Texas; Hendersonville, Tennessee; Atlanta, Georgia; Miami, Florida; and Orlando, Florida.

Founded by Paul Crouch, Jan Crouch, Jim Bakker, and Tammy Bakker in 1973, TBN currently is the ninth largest broadcaster in the United States. The network now has a larger U.S. viewership than its main competitor networks combined. [Followed by Daystar Television Network, Three Angels Broadcasting Network, World Harvest Television, The Hope Channel, GOD TV, and INSP-The Inspiration Network.]

It claims five million viewer households per week in the U.S. TBN is carried on over 275 television stations in the U.S. and on thousands of other cable television systems around the world in 75 countries, where its programs are translated into eleven languages. TBN owns 34 full-power television stations and 252 low-power rural stations in the U.S. (In contrast, EWTN's promotional information states that it has become the largest religious media network in the world. EWTN transmits 24-hour programming to 146 million homes as of February 2008 in 127 countries and 16 territories 5,200 cable systems as of February 2008, wireless cable, direct broadcast satellite [DBS] , low power TV and individual satellite users.)


TBN began in 1973 when the elder Crouches, along with Jim and Tammy Bakker (formerly affiliated with Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network), rented air time on a local UHF TV station in Santa Ana, California. 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, leading to the first of TBN's well-known telethons. TBN, then known as the Trinity Broadcasting Systems, spread from UHF stations to cable outlets and then to satellite distribution. After a falling-out between Jim Bakker and Paul Crouch, the Bakkers left to start the PTL 'Praise The Lord' network in Charlotte, North Carolina. PTL would later collapse in 1987 in the wake of a sexual harassment and embezzlement scandal involving Jim Bakker.

Recently, TBN has been purchasing independent television stations to gain cable carriage, due to FCC must-carry rules. As a result, TBN is available to 95% of American households, as of early 2005. [cite web|url=|title= TV's Religious Revival|publisher=Broadcasting&Cable|year=2005|accessdate=2008-06-19]

According to the TBN website, TBN has several hundred affiliate stations, although just 61 of these stations are regular full-power UHF or VHF stations. The rest are low-powered stations, requiring a viewer to be within several miles of the transmitter. A few cities which have full-powered stations (such as Chicago and Milwaukee) receive the network from stations licensed to communities far outside the usual market area, depending on must-carry to penetrate the main metropolitan area. The network has grown to 70 satellites and 12,500 affiliates, reaching nearly 100,000,000 households globally.

Today, Paul Crouch is TBN's president and chairman, Jan Crouch is its vice-president and director of programming, and their son Paul Jr. is its vice president of administration. The network maintains production deals with their other son, Matthew, the founder of Gener8xion Entertainment. While they are probably the most popular personalities on the network as hosts of the programs "Praise The Lord" and "Behind The Scenes", Paul and Jan Crouch have become increasingly absent from TBN broadcasts, due to health problems and old age. Hosting duties for the two shows have fallen to their children, and a large number of other hosts including Paula White, Dr. Mark Chironna, Natalie Cole, Clifton Davis, Jason Crabb, Jack Van Impe, Carman and Dwight Thompson.

Revenue and assets

TBN generates nearly $200 million in revenue annually. [cite news | url= | title=Income Statement (FYE 12/2004) | publisher=Charity Navigator |year= 2007 | first= | last= | accessdate =2007-09-17] The network does not make its finances available and Crouch family members control the boards of all TBN entities, which makes Trinity "ineligible to join" the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, an evangelical self-regulating group. [cite news | url=,0,3805392.story?coll=orl-home-utility-sports | title=Scores lose jobs as Holy Land undergoes extreme makeover | publisher=Orlando Sentinel |date= October 21, 2007 | first= | last= | accessdate =2007-09-17] It does not air commercials (excluding TBN Italy); rather, two-thirds of its revenue comes from viewer contributions and one-third from other televangelists' payments for running their programming.Fact|date=November 2007 Its $120 million donation revenue is larger than any other television ministry. It has posted average annual surpluses since 1997 of about $60 million. It holds two week-long fundraising telethons (known as 'Praise-a-Thons') per year, as well as numerous other solicitation drives. It maintains a direct mail database of 1.2 million names.

As of 2002, TBN boasted $583 million in assets, including $238 million in government-backed securities and $31 million in cash. Also among its assets are a $7.2 million Canadair Turbojet and thirty houses in California, Texas and Ohio with values ranging up to $8 million. [cite news | url= | title=Doubts taint aid to Haiti | publisher=Miami Herald |date= October 11, 2004 | first= | last= | accessdate =2007-09-17] The elder Crouches and their son Paul Jr. earn an estimated combined annual income of $900,000. [cite news | url= | title=Income Statement (FYE 12/2004) | publisher=Charity Navigator |year= 2007 | first= | last= | accessdate =2007-09-17] In September 2004, the "Los Angeles Times" characterized their personal lifestyle as a "life of luxury." [cite news | url= | title=Doubts taint aid to Haiti | publisher=Miami Herald |date= October 11, 2004 | first= | last= | accessdate =2007-09-17] According to Charity Navigator, TBN earned $188,152,079 in 2007 and has a 2 out of 4 star rating (47%). [cite news | url= | title=Income Statement (FYE 12/2004) | publisher=Charity Navigator |year= 2007 | first= | last= | accessdate =2007-09-17]

In June 2007, TBN purchased the bible-themed adventure park Holy Land Experience for $37 million. [cite news | url=,0,3805392.story?coll=orl-home-utility-sports | title=Scores lose jobs as Holy Land undergoes extreme makeover | publisher=Orlando Sentinel |date= October 21, 2007 | first= | last= | accessdate =2007-09-17] The Orlando, FL based theme-park was in a slump with falling ticket sales and a reported $8 million debt when TBN purchased it.Fact|date=November 2007 In October nearly 100 employees were cut from the payroll. [cite news | url=,0,3805392.story?coll=orl-home-utility-sports | title=Scores lose jobs as Holy Land undergoes extreme makeover | publisher=Orlando Sentinel |date= October 21, 2007 | first= | last= | accessdate =2007-09-17]


Fundraising and wealth

Trinity Broadcasting Network has come under heavy criticism for its promotion of the so-called prosperity gospel — a Word of Faith belief that a donation to a particular ministry will cause God to materially reward the person giving — during constant fundraising, ["Christianity, Cults and Mind Control Converge at Conference." "The Philadelphia Inquirer", September 24, 1994] ["God Doesn't Need Ole Anthony: Televangelists have called him a cultist, a fraud, and the Antichrist. He says he's just doing what Jesus would want." "The New Yorker" December 6, 2004] ["Uganda: Money And the Church," "Africa News" August 21, 2005] as well other seemingly blasphemous claims made by Paul Crouch and other prominent TBN personalities. During frequent telethons — "Praise-a-thons" in the spring and autumn and "Macedonian Calls" during the summer — viewers are often subject to appeals by Paul and Jan Crouch or their guests. Critics have claimed that Paul and Jan Crouch use TBN's donations from these telethons to build an opulent lifestyle; the Crouches allegedly own thirty homes across the United States and own a private jet. In 2004, an investigative report in the "Los Angeles Times" described in detail how the Crouches and the network spend some of its' money, evidenced by receipts.

TBN broadcasts, endorses, and highlights televangelists who preach the prosperity gospel message, such as Benny Hinn, Rod Parsley, Pat Robertson, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Eddie Long, Jesse Duplantis, Paula White, and Kenneth Copeland. Senator Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Finance has begun an investigation on Hinn, White, Copeland, Dollar, Meyer, and Long to determine if they mishandled donations to their respective ministries. [cite news |url= | title=Televangelists Living Like Kings? | publisher=CBS News |date= November 6, 2007 | first= | last= | accessdate =2007-09-17]

TBN refuses to disclose its financial situation for public inspection, and the network is not a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, a financial oversight group of TV ministries. [cite news
url=,0,3805392.story?coll=orl-home-utility-sports | title=Scores lose jobs as Holy Land undergoes extreme makeover | publisher=Orlando Sentinel |date= October 21, 2007 | first= | last= | accessdate =2007-09-17
] TBN's refusal to disclose financial information, as well as the strong promotion of the "prosperity gospel," has caused the Christian watchdog group WallWatchers to repeatedly grade TBN with an "F" for its lack of transparency. [cite news | url= | title=Summary Report | publisher=WallWatchers |year= 2007 | first= | last= | accessdate =2007-09-17] TBN also received an F from MinistryWatch, a Christian ministry information and rating organization. [ [ MinistryWatch] report on TBN.] [cite news | url= | title=TBN's Response to ABC 20/20 Report Attempts to Mislead Donors, Transparency Grade Dropped to "F" | publisher=MinistryWatch |date= April 2007 |accessdate = 2007-12-17|format=PDF]

exual harassment settlement

Paul Crouch Sr. paid Enoch Lonnie Ford $425,000 in 1998 as a settlement over what Ford argued was an unjust dismissal from working at TBN.cite news | url= | title=Former TBN Employee Alleges Gay Tryst With Paul Crouch |publisher=Christianity Today | date=September 1, 2004 | first=Ted | last=Olsen | accessdate = 2006-12-24] The settlement contained several other points, among them an agreement for Ford to be silent about an alleged homosexual encounter they had in 1996 at a TBN-owned cabin near Lake Arrowhead, California. [cite news | url= | title=Bad faith, blackmail and a troubled TV evangelist | publisher=The Independent |date= 14 September 2004 | first= | last= | accessdate =2007-09-17] In a statement released on September 22 2004, TBN denied Crouch had a homosexual affair with Ford, but confirmed the payment of the $425,000 settlement. Jan Crouch has said, "If every gay person who worked for TBN quit, TBN would shut down." [cite news | url= | title=Televangelist Paul Crouch Attempts to Keep Accuser Quiet | publisher=Trinity Foundation |date= September 12, 2004 | first= | last= | accessdate =2007-09-17]

On March 15, 2005 Ford appeared on the ION Television show Lie Detector, which suggested he was telling the truth. [Lloyd Grove, "Born again: Evangelist sex scandal," New York Daily News, March 31, 2005]


TBN broadcasts from its International Production Center in Irving, Texas near Dallas and from its Trinity Christian City International facility in Costa Mesa, California ( 33°41'11.71"N 117°53'28.20"W ). With a recent upgrade to its Southern California facilities, TBN will become the first Christian television network to broadcast in high-definition, although the start date for HD broadcasting is not known. It also operates Trinity Music City USA (the former estate of country music singer Conway Twitty) near Nashville in Hendersonville, Tennessee. The complex attracts thousands of visitors every week, and includes the 2000-seat Trinity Music City Church Auditorium, which hosts TBN-produced concerts, dramas, seminars and special events.

Admission is always free and TBN offers free local charter buses to groups who wish to attend tapings.


Worldwide networks

In addition to their flagship network, TBN also offers other cable/satellite/digital subchannel networks in the United States. As of 2006 TBN's broadcast signals are carried by 70 satellites and cover every inhabited continent. They include:

*Enlace USA
*The Church Channel for church services.
*Smile of a Child
*TBN Europe

In Europe TBN offers a mix of American and European Christian programming via "TBN Europe", "TBNE" (Italian language) and " [ TBN Russia] " (Russian language).

In the Middle East, TBN operates an Arabic language channel called "Kanat al-Shefaa", which translated means "The Healing Channel".

In Africa, TBN broadcasts their programming via TBN South Africa, TBN Family Media in Kenya, and TBN Zimbabwe.Fact|date=April 2008

In Central and South America, TBN broadcasts via TBN Enlace which consists of Spanish language programming. Enlace Juvenil is their Spanish youth-oriented network.

Asia is reached by TBN Philippines, and TBN South Pacific covers Australia, New Zealand and the surrounding islands.


An audio relay of the station is available on:
*KTBN (shortwave) - Salt Lake City, Utah (dismantled, no longer in operation).
*7505 kHz
*15590 kHz


TBN has produced a number of Christian movies. They include "The Revolutionary" and "The Revolutionary II", based on the life of Jesus; "The Emissary", a film on the life of Paul the Apostle, "The Omega Code", ', "Megiddo", "Time Changer", ', and "One Night with the King".


TBN is an ecumenical Christian network, showing mostly ministers from the charismatic and Pentecostal movements, plus secular celebrities sharing their religious faith to the public. Its cornerstone program is "Praise the Lord", a two-hour nightly program featuring talk, music, and prayer. As of 2007, programs on the network include:
*"Dr. A.R. Bernard"
*"Back on Course", hosted by Gavin and Patti MacLeod (former of "The Love Boat" fame)
*"Believer's Voice of Victory", hosted by Kenneth Copeland
*"Betty Jean Robinson"
*Billy Graham
*"Breakthrough", hosted by Rod Parsley
*Carol Lawrence (Hollywood actress)
*"Changing Your World", hosted by Creflo Dollar
*"Christian World News"
*"Coral Ridge Ministries", hosted by D. James Kennedy
*"Creating Your World", hosted by Dr. Mark Chironna
*"Creation in the 21st Century", hosted by Dr. Carl Baugh
*"Dean and Mary Brown"
*"Dr. Wonder's Workshop"
*"Enjoying Everyday Life", hosted by Joyce Meyer
*"In Touch", hosted by Dr. Charles Stanley
*"Jack Van Impe Presents"
*John Hagee Today"
*"Kirk Cameron" (former TV actor-turned preacher)
*"Lakewood Church"
*"Life is Worth Living", classic religious series hosted by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen
*"Life Today", hosted by James Robison
*"MC Hammer" (hip-hop star - turned preacher)
*"Paula White Today" hosted by Paula White
*"Reflections from the Crystal Cathedral", hosted by Gretchen Schuller Penner
*"The 700 Club"
*"Team Impact"
*"The Way of the Master", starring "Growing Pains" actor Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort
*"This Is Your Day", hosted by Benny Hinn
*"T.D. Jakes Ministries"
*"Today With Marilyn & Sarah", hosted by Marilyn Hickey and her daughter, Sarah Bowling
*"Travel The Road"
*"Virtual Memory", a Biblical game show
*"Walt Mills"

Children's programming

On Christmas Eve of 2005, TBN started an all-Christian, all-children's network titled Smile of a Child. TBN also airs children's programming on Saturday morning starting at 5 A.M central time. Many of these shows can be used by local affiliates to fulfill Federal E/I requirements. In 2007, TBN began screening "Dr Wonder's Workshop", a Christian children's program for deaf and hearing-impaired children.

ee also

* Community Educational Television
* List of Glorystar Channels
* List of DirecTV channels
* List of Dish Network channels


External links

* [ Official website]
* [ Income Statement] from Charity Navigator
* [ Summary Report] from Wall Watchers
* [ Modern Day Heroes of Faith] , an analysis of technology and religion on TBN.
* [ Apologetics Index entry on TBN] - includes the moniker, "The Blasphemy Network"
* [ Religion News Blog] - Apologetics Index's weblog entry on TBN

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