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Billy Graham and the emergence of Christian media.

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From the start, Billy Graham was a media magnet and he knew how to use the power of media. Even most liberals and progressives (although there were exceptions like William Edelen and the Gaylor family/FFRF) could not shoot down this man who wore his faith on the sleeve and actually respected Graham.

Did you know that without Billy Graham, Christian media as we know it today might not have taken off and flourished? In his time and prime there was a Federal Council of Churches that consisted of mostly mainline churches and basically fought to keep “evangelical voices” off the air on both radio and even TV when it was brand new (follow the attendance and the money). When Graham became president of Northwestern Bible College in 1948, he through the college applied for one of the construction permits that the Federal Communications Commission approved of in the 1940’s. Northwest Bible College got the green light from the FCC and a year later KTIS AM signed on in the Twin Cities. Today Northwestern Media owns 18 radio stations (9 FM, 9 AM) and in honor of what Graham did continues to be the media outreach of what is now called the University of Northwestern. You can read more about Graham and Northwestern Media here.

Soon after Northwestern Media and Graham’s inroads into mainstream media, others quickly followed. Most notably Percy Crawford who began his TV program “Youth on the March” on the fleeting ABC Network who also carried Graham’s “Hour of Decision” on their radio network. In 1958 Crawford started his namesake radio company to buy up radio stations and carry full-time Christian formatted programming. Percy Crawford would pass away in October 1960, but his son Don and later grandson Don Jr. would carry on his legacy to this day. While Moody Bible Institute was in radio since 1925, their respected radio network did not talk off until 1958. The same year that the Crawford Broadcasting Company started.

Another important Christian broadcaster Dick Bott grew up in a Christian home and while no stranger to Christian evangelism choose a different path. After marrying his wife, Bott got involved in her father’s radio station selling ads that would air on the respected station. He would later buy and operate a secular station in Salinas/Monterey, California which Bott would eventually sell off. Bott was compelled to build a radio station on consistent Christian programming but with integrity and accountability. Bott bought a country music station in the Kansas City metropolitan area and quickly changed the format and call letters. The station that was KANS-AM became KCCV 760 AM “Kansas City’s Christian Voice” in 1962. It and its FM simulcast sister with the same call letters are still the flagship stations of the now “Bott Radio Network” which consists of now 118 stations that it owns. In 1966 Warren Bolthouse stated Family Life Broadcasting (aka Family Life Radio or FLR) which today owns 43 stations and is now based on Tucson, Arizona.

In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s Lester Sumrall made his inroads into Christian media stating with WHME-FM in South Bend, Indiana and later into TV with the acquisition of WHMB-TV in Indianapolis and later the sign on of WHME-TV in South Bend. These three stations laid the groundwork for LeSea Broadcasting. Paul and Jan Crouch started their own TV programming with would become known as the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) in 1973. The Bible Broadcasting Network signed on in 1971 with a single station in Norfolk, Virginia growing to 49 full power stations.

An FM rock station in Orange County, California KYMS 106.3 which could not compete with the more powerful rock signals of KMET (now KTWV) and KLOS in the greater Los Angeles area found its niche with the emerging Jesus people in 1975. In addition to Christian teaching and talk programs, KYMS also played the fleeting “Jesus Music” that was popular with that respected audience and while KYMS was not the very first Contemporary Christian Music station (that honor went to a station in Lincoln, Nebraska), it was the first one that was successful. KYMS’s run as a Contemporary Christian station would last for 20 years. WHME-FM would jump on this music and eventually spinning it off on a station of its own in the 1990’s. Northwestern Media’s FM stations and FLR would also adopt a CCM format in due time.

Radio broadcaster Bob Anthony also caught on to this emerging genre and would be one of the founders of Educational Media Foundation which signed on a single FM station in Santa Rosa, California in 1982 playing Contemporary Christian music. Today EMF owns and operates over 245 radio stations with its Christian music services K-Love and Air1. Another radio company devoted to Christian programming also was started up around this time. This for-profit company was founded by Stuart Epperson and Edward G. Atsinger III and they still head up this company we know today as Salem Media Group. In the late 1980’s Bob and Felice Augsburg started up what would become know as WayMedia and it’s Way-Fm brand which originally targeted Christian youth with Christian Music that appealed to that respected audience.

The list is almost endless with so many other Christian broadcasters over the years and many not as big as the ones I listed. For better and for worse the Christian media we take for granted, even in the new media likely would not have happened had it not been for Billy Graham.

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Trailer for John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum reveals everything we need and nothing we don’t

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Trailer for John Wick Chapter 3 - Parabellum reveals everything we need and nothing we dont

Fans of action movies have been foaming at the mouth over the John Wick series since it was launched in 2014. The first movie was amazing, scoring an uncanny 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, a rarity for action flicks. The sequel in 2017 was even better, scoring an 89% and breaking from the Hollywood tradition of completely botching things the second time around.

As the series reaches its cinematic climax, hopes are high that the long journey of the titular character, played by Keanu Reeves, will be the exception to the rule by delivering on three great movies. Few series have been able to do this, especially in the action genre. One can argue the Mission ImpossibleFast and Furious, and James Bond series were able to do it, but none of them did it consecutively. There were stinkers mixed in.

Lord of the Rings was a fantasy series with action while the original Star Wars trilogy did science fiction action like no other. Can John Wick be the first purely action trilogy to pull the trifecta?

If the trailer is any indicator, yes. Yes they can.

It has motorcycle sword fights. There’s a giant in the mix. We even get to see gun play on horseback. Throw in Halle Berry, Anjelica Huston, and the amazing supporting cast that has returned and suddenly there’s hope that the impossible can happen. They might be able to go from great to greater to greatest. Thankfully, this is a rare “good” trailer that gives us just enough information to know where we stand in the series but does’t have real spoilers that ruin the whole thing.

It’s noteworthy that this series has been one continuous series of events. Chapter 2 picked up shortly after the first, while Chapter 3 is an immediate continuation from Chapter 2.

The subtitle of the film, “Parabellum,” is Latin for “prepare for war.” That may not be possible since nothing can prepare fans to wait for it to come out, but we’re almost there. The film hits theaters on May 17.


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Former Alabama QB Jalen Hurts transfers to Oklahoma

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Former Alabama QB Jalen Hurts transfers to Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Sooners have graduated two Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks the last two seasons. Now, they’ve picked up a former SEC player of the year in Jalen Hurts, the former star quarterback at Alabama.

Hurts lost his starting job when Tua Tagovailoa took over for him in the national championship game two years ago. Tagovailoa never looked back, retaining the starting position and putting up one of the best seasons in college football history.

With one year left of eligibility, Hurts hopes to earn the starting job and lead the Sooners to another playoff berth. While not the passer the previous two OU quarterbacks are, he is a strong leader, a great runner, and most importantly he’s a winner, going 26-2 as a starter at Alabama.

Meanwhile, coach Lincoln Riley is taking heat for blocking Austin Kendall from transferring to West Virginia. Kendall was Kyler Murray’s backup last year and was the frontrunner to take over this coming season behind center. When word came in that Riley was pursuing Hurts, Kendall pulled out of classes and started looking for a new home. Riley took exception to the move to fellow Big 12 powerhouse West Virginia, so he’s attempting to block the transfer.

Public response hasn’t been positive. It’s very possible Riley could reverse his decision due to the pressure on him for not allowing Kendall the opportunity to earn a starting role somewhere else.

Can the Sooners continue their winning ways with a third star quarterback in three seasons? We’ll find out when football season rolls around.

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Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer has fans asking one question about Avengers: Endgame

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Spider-Man Far From Home trailer has fans asking one question about Avengers Endgame

The worst kept secret in Hollywood was finally confirmed with absolute certainty as the Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer means the snapped Peter Parker returns during Avenger: Endgame. We knew this based on multiple clues, including the premise that the movie begins immediately after the events in Endgame, but you just never know with Marvel.

There’s another thing you never know with Marvel. When they leave subtle hints in the trailers, are they actually red herrings? This is what I believe is happening with the obvious questions many Marvel fans are asking after watching the trailer.

Speculative spoilers ahead.

The burning question is whether or not Tony Stark dies in Endgame. He was in the first Spider-Man movie. Happy, his faithful bodyguard and “fixer,” is in the new movie. He even has a line in it that prompts the questions about Stark.

“You’re all alone and your friends are in trouble. What are you going to do about it?”

Ironman helped Spider-Man fix one of his big mistakes in the first movie. Does this mean Happy is insinuating Stark won’t be able to help this time? Is Stark dead?

There’s good news and bad news for Marvel fans. The good news is I am pretty sure this is a red herring. I think we’re intended to believe he’s died when in reality he survives Endgame, has his arc reactor removed, and goes off to make babies with Pepper Potts.

The bad news is a living Tony Stark almost certainly means a dead Steve Rogers. My favorite fan theory speculates that Rogers sacrifices himself to save Pepper or Stark, which prompts Ironman to wallop Thanos after calling for the Avengers to assemble.

Some say it’s a mistake to have Spider-Man coming out so soon after Endgame is released. I think it’s probably a very good move considering the sour note we’re likely to be left with after the final film in this MCU stage.



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