ASK TOM READ
ACN CEO Answers Questions From Listeners

Q Mr. Read wrote in a recent 810 Club Newsletter about the First Amendment and Christian stations.  Can you share that information again please?

A. ARE CHRISTIAN STATIONS EXEMPT? from the rules and regulations that govern secular stations with respect to programming and First Amendment laws?  The answer is NO.  Some Christians are under the false impression that Christian stations are exempt and can operate like the local church who CAN legally restrict their pulpit to those with whom they agree.  Occasionally a listener will assume that the network is exempt from the rules of the secular world and can simply remove from the air anyone with whom a listener does not agree, even when the listener is theologically correct.  Any radio station that violates the rules in that manner, could be stripped of their license to broadcast.

In fact, there are some legal cases where large market broadcast licenses were taken away because the owner of the station only allowed news on the air that was in agreement with his personal views to the exclusion of all others.   There are also cases where Christian owned and operated stations have lost their right to broadcast because of similar problems.

From listener surveys we have taken, almost every ministry on the air has at least one listener who does agree with some aspect of the teacher's theology.   If we were allowed to simply take off the air every single teacher that held a view about which some listener did not agree, even when the are correct, we would have no Christian radio.

The government rules and regulations simply do not allow us to do that.

If you disagree with the teaching of any ministry you hear on ACN, you should contact that ministry directly, not ACN or your local Christian station.

Q You wrote about the history of ACN in the newsletter.  Can you publish the entire story here, please.  JV Yakima.

We heard from many of you last month who appreciated the background information about how glitches happen in today’s radio and the comparison of Christian broadcasting of the 1950s with today’s digital age.

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I am also often asked another question, how ACN got started and how I became involved?  It is obvious to me today that the Lord prepared me for what He wanted me to do from the very beginning, although I did not realize it at the time.

First, the Lord instilled in me a fascination with the power of radio to influence “the minds of men”.  He put me into a local radio station in Tacoma before I was even a teenager and had me involved with a local advertising agency.  So I learned radio from the ground floor and the advertising business.

So when I applied to build an FM station in Tacoma, I started thinking that if radio has the power to sell soap and tires why would it not be the most effective way to reach the mass audience with the Word of God.  KTWR became one of the very early radio stations with weekday Christian programs.  There were not many.

Because of my experience with KTWR and KUDY in Spokane, I was convinced that radio was a powerful tool to reach the minds of men with the Gospel.  So next the Lord opened the door to purchase an AM station in Seattle, which had low church attendance, resulting in the importance of reaching souls via radio.

Wanting to be able to hear the Seattle station in Spokane, I was way ahead of my time by going to the new cable company in Spokane and arranged for them to place my AM station in Seattle on the cable so that one could connect a regular FM radio tuner to the cable and hear KQIN.  I had worked for Channel 11 in Seattle and knew it was being microwaved to virtually all of the cable outlets in Eastern Washington.  So you see, the Lord prepared me with that knowledge by having me work in a TV station at a very young age.

One day I received a call from a woman in Wenatchee who was listening to KQIN over the cable in Wenatchee.  She was miffed that Seattle and Tacoma seemed to get everything and Eastern Washington was being ignored, especially when it came to Christian radio.  She reported that a group, with people from many difference churches, had been meeting and were attempting to figure out how Christian radio could be brought to Central Washington along the lines of how King’s Garden in Edmonds had brought Christian radio to Seattle, years before I purchased KQIN there.

I told the lady I would be happy to come over from Seattle and meet with their group as an unpaid consultant.  My recommendation to them was to contact the Christian station owners in Seattle and Portland and ask them if they would branch out into Central Washington.  They said they did not know how to approach or even who these owners were and would I do so on their behalf.   The response I received from each was disappointing.  The owners told me that a Christian station could not sustain itself in Eastern Washington because there was no one city of one million population even through Eastern Washington as a whole is about two and a half million.   It will not work and we are not interested, was their response.

 

ACN HISTORY: continuing from last month, after we got the original Christian station on the air, I realized that it was not powerful enough to reach the entire Eastern Washington area that the Lord had impressed on us that we were to serve with His Word.  Therefore, I started looking for a frequency on which we go increase power.  I originally found 870 but found that a secular station was preparing to file and realizing that it would take a large amount of money that we did not have to win a government hearing, I started searching for another frequency and came up 810.  The problem was that because of a distant station on 810, we would be limited to daylight operation. However, we could get authorization to start higher power on 810 almost immediately whereas a hearing to use 870 would have taken years. After much prayer, I applied for 10,000 watts on 810 and it was granted almost immediately.  Originally, before there was a computer on every desk and a huge increase in neon signs outside every business, KTBI on 810 covered Wenatchee, Yakima, and the Tri-Cities quite well.  However, that changed and so I applied for the maximum power of 50,000 watts.  But how would we pay for it?  Continued later.

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