The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) is an AmericanChristian-oriented religioustelevision network and production company. Founded by televangelistPat Robertson, its headquarters and main studios are based in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Background

CBN was founded by televangelistPat Robertson in 1961, using a religious variety programme format that has been successfully used in religious broadcasting ever since. One of the company's mainstays is The 700 Club, the longest-running programme in the variety format. The network's journalistic branch, CBN News, provides news updates to The 700 Club and produces religious news programmes like CBN NewsWatch and Christian World News; it additionally produces a special hour-long block of prime time election coverage hosted by Robertson throughout American presidential and mid-term elections, airing on Freeform, which additionally carries The 700 Club and the half-hour talk show 700 Club Interactive. CBN additionally operates online channels on its website, like the CBN News Channel.[3]

CBN Asia manages Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation (OBI), an international relief and missionary effort, and has international programming, producing local programmes including Solusi in Indonesia and From Heart to Heart in Thailand; CBN India produces three shows, a daily Hindi programme Ek Nayee Zindagi, a bi-weekly Telugu programme Nireekshana and an award-winning weekly Bengali programme Samadhan.[4] The company additionally produces versions of The 700 Club aimed at Latin American (Club 700 Hoy) and British audiences (The 700 Club With Paul and Fiona).[5] CBN has broadcast programmes 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. 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 most 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.[6]

CBN now serves mainly as a production company for The 700 Club, and four additional syndicated shows: CBN NewsWatch, Christian World News, 700 Club Interactive and The Brody File, a news-analysis programme hosted by political journalist David Brody. CBN and Regent University jointly produced the film First Landing.

Some of CBN's programmes additionally air on Sky Angel, the Trinity Broadcasting Network, Cornerstone Television, FamilyNet, LeSEA Broadcasting 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 throughout the last week of January.

Broadcast stations

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 licence 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 programmes 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 throughout 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, fitting a Foxowned-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 additionally 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 licences to separate owners.

Former television stations

City of license/marketStationYears of ownershipStatus
Atlanta, GeorgiaWHAE-TV 461971–1983Now WGCL-TV, a CBS affiliate owned by the Meredith Corporation
Boston, MassachusettsWXNE-TV 251977–1987Now WFXT, a Fox affiliate owned by Cox Media Group
DallasFort Worth, TexasKXTX-TV 331973Now KDAF, a CW affiliate owned by Tribune Broadcasting
KXTX-TV 391973–2000Now a Telemundo owned-and-operated station owned by NBCUniversal
PortsmouthNorfolk
Virginia Beach, Virginia
WYAH-TV 271961–1989Now 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. Notwithstanding CBN sold the construction permit for that station to Capitol Christian Television in 1983, which signed on the station as WTLL that year. That station was eventually sold and in 1986, converted into secular independent station WVRN, which shut down in 1988.

Former radio stations

City of license/marketStationYears of ownershipStatus
Cherry Valley/Albany, New YorkWJIV 101.9 FM1969–1982Now a Christian radio station owned by Christian Broadcasting System
DeRuyter/Syracuse, New YorkWOIV 105.1 FM1969–1982Now WCIS-FM, a country music station owned by Craig Fox and Samuel J. Furco
Ithaca, New YorkWEIV 103.7 FM1969–1982Now WQNY, a country music station owned by Saga Communications
Norfolk, VirginiaWXRI105.3FM1962–1989Now WNOH, a CHR station owned by iHeartMedia
South Bristol/Rochester, New YorkWMIV 95.1 FM1969–1982Now WAIO, a classic rock station owned by iHeartMedia
Wethersfield/Buffalo, New YorkWBIV 107.7 FM1969–1982Now WLKK, an alternative rock station owned by Entercom Communications

Programs

Current

  • The 700 Club – a daily newsmagazine that debuted in 1966, one of the longest runs of any programme within that genre; the programme is hosted by Pat Robertson, Terry Meeuwsen and Gordon Robertson. The 700 Club features a daily news segment with commentary on certain stories, as well as interviews; it is distributed to an average daily audience of one million viewers, both on cable and through syndication.
  • Club 700 Hoy – a half-hour weekly Spanish-language version of The 700 Club that's syndicated throughout Latin America, and previously aired in the United States on Azteca America. The magazine-style formatted morning programme features opinions on current issues; interviews; informative features; storeys about people, places and music; and life advice.
  • CBN NewsWatch – produced by CBN News, it is a half-hour daily news programme featuring reports on national and international news storeys from a conservative, Christian perspective. It is broadcast nationally on several Christian-oriented cable and satellite networks.
  • Christian World News – produced by CBN News, it is a half-hour weekly conservative news program, that's broadcast nationally on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.
  • One Cubed USA and One Cubed International – aimed at teenagers and young adults between the ages of 13 and 24 years of age, the two programmes focus on youth culture, action sports and music videos. It claims a mission statement "to reach this generation to express the unconditional love and salvation that God freely offered to everyone in this world. In everything that's One Cubed, we want to bring glory to God, never compromising and never settling, and always striving to be used by Him to the best of our abilities".

Notable personalities

Current

Former