The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) is an American conservative evangelical Christian religious television
network and production company
. Founded by televangelist Pat Robertson
, its headquarters and main studios are based in Virginia Beach
, United States. CBN has been described as having been "at the forefront of the culture war
s 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
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. Initially focused on devotional content, ''The 700 Club'' became increasingly political in the late 1970s, adding news segments.
Today, 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.
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 the Trinity Broadcasting Network
, Cornerstone Television
, LeSEA Broadcasting Corporation
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.
During the Trump administration, CBN hosted events at Trump properties, paying at least $170,000. Subsequently, CBN obtained access to the White House that far larger news outlets typically received, and were given frequent exclusive interviews with senior administration staff, including Trump himself.
The Charity Navigator
gave CBN a 3-star overall rating, a 3-star financial rating and a 2-star accountability and transparency rating.The Christian Broadcasting Network
- Charity Navigator
Former CBN-owned broadcast stations
CBN entered into the broadcasting industry in October 1961, when WYAH-TV in Portsmouth – the group's flagship station – signed on the air. Initially madeup of Christian programming, the station's schedule took a more secular tone in the early 1970s. In 1962 WYAH-TV was joined by an FM sister station, Norfolk-licensed WXRI, which broadcast a format of Christian music and teaching programs. Both WXRI and WYAH-TV were based in Portsmouth, and remained there after CBN relocated its main headquarters to Virginia Beach in 1980.
CBN later signed on WHAE-TV in Atlanta in June 1971. In January 1973, CBN purchased KBFI-TV in Dallas and changed its callsign to KXTX-TV; that April, CBN and Doubleday Broadcasting became involved in a license trade in which CBN acquired Doubleday's license to operate a competing station, KDTV; the KXTX-TV call sign, existing programs and programming was moved by CBN to the former Doubleday-owned frequency. The ministry signed on its final station, WXNE-TV in Boston, in October 1977. The ministry's broadcasting subsidiary, the Continental Broadcasting Network, ran these four outlets as family-oriented independent stations – 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.
In addition to WXRI, 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.
CBN gradually sold all its broadcast stations during the late 1980s and 1990s. In the following tables, former CBN-owned stations are arranged alphabetically by state and community of license.
Note: Two boldface asterisks appearing following a station's call letters (**) indicate a station which was built and signed on by CBN.
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.
*1 CBN traded the broadcast license for KXTX-TV on channel 33 to Doubleday Broadcasting, in exchange for Doubleday's license to operate KDTV on channel 39, in November 1973;
*2 Operated by LIN Media under a local marketing agreement from 1993 until 1997.
*''The 700 Club'' – a daily newsmagazine that debuted in 1966, one of the longest runs of any program within that genre; the program 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 is syndicated throughout Latin America, and previously aired in the United States on Azteca America. The magazine-style formatted morning program features opinions on current issues; interviews; informative features; stories about people, places and music; and life advice.
*''CBN NewsWatch'' – produced by CBN News, it is a half-hour daily news program featuring reports on national and international news stories 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 is 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 programs 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 is 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".
* Pat Robertson – co-host of ''The 700 Club''
* David Brody – host of ''The Brody File''
* Terry Meeuwsen – co-host of ''The 700 Club'' and ''700 Club Interactive''
* Chuck Holton – military correspondent
* Ben Kinchlow, co-host of ''The 700 Club''
* Victor Oladokun
Category:Evangelical television networks
Category:Christian mass media companies
Category:Television networks in the United States
Category:Companies based in Virginia Beach, Virginia
Category:Freeform (TV channel)
Category:Television channels and stations established in 1961
Category:1961 establishments in Virginia
Category:Conservative media in the United States