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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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Entertainment and Sports

XFL unveils teams. Names great. Logos not so much.

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XFL unveils teams Names great Logos not so much

The team names are in for Vince McMahon’s XFL, his response to the NFL’s growing dissatisfaction. Before today, the cities were announced in rather large markets, signaling a direct confrontational strategy with the NFL in multiple markets, though in a different portion of the year. The emerging league unveiled its team names and logos this afternoon. The Team names overall seem to be well-received. The logos, in contrast reveal a certain lacking of creativity. The team names and logo judgement are as follows

Dallas Renegades

The logo looks like it came out of a create a team mode on Madden. Not really a fan of the name because a renegade is basically a deserter. Outlaws would have been a better word choice and would sound better because its four syllables, not five.

Houston Roughnecks

This is an excellent team name that pays homage to the community around it. The logo resembles the Houston Oilers, in that they are the same thing, though Roughnecks is more colloquial and blue collar sounding. Overall solid.

LA Wildcats

Hate the team name. It’s 2019 and your team name is the Wildcats? I would joke with my wife when filling out NCAA March Madness brackets about how many Wildcats there were, Kentucky, Villanova, etc. The logo I understand because of the marketability.

New York Guardians

Fantastic name and logo. It kind of has a superhero feel while at the same time a Gothic gargoyle vibe.

St. Louis Battle Hawks

Points for originality. War Eagle was taken. Bird are too generic, but they spiced it up a little bit

Seattle Dragons

It’s risky to go with dragons and pull it off. I think the Seattle Dragons fall short. This logo has also garnered criticism for similarities to UAB.

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Tampa Bay Vipers

The logo is a “V” depicting a snake’s eye. Clever, simple, original enough. No complaints. The reptile community is well represented in the XFL.

DC Defenders

The alliteration is the only reason I like this team name. Washington DC does not have a proud military history, getting burned down during the War of 1812, in which the subsequent Battle of Baltimore saved the union. DC Swamp or DC Debt would have paid more accurate respects to the community. better. So again, I don’t get it, but the alliteration works extremely well.

Final Thoughts

That’s the quick rundown of the eight teams the XFL has announced. Compared to the failed AAF, I do not like the team names or logos early as much. The choice naming of the San Antonio Commanders was enough to make me a fan. The Fleet, Apolllos, Hotshots, and Iron were also well-crafted team names. Comparatively, the XFL is generic. But keep in mind the NFL has it’s fair share of bad team names with bad or dull logos. To list a few: Browns, Jets, Giants, Packers. Major League Baseball is also unimmune. So we need to remove the bias that gives the existing team names we have grown accustom to a relative free pass.

The AFF had great team names and great football, but the XFL doesn’t exceed this, but at least they don’t plan to dump scarce money into a failed app. Overall, this announcement was enough to give the league added legitimacy in its daunting quest to challenge the NFL.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Entertainment and Sports

Stop blaming Sony for Spider-Man debacle. It’s Disney’s fault, folk.

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Stop blaming Sony for Spider-Man debacle Its Disneys fault folk

The Twitterverse is all aflutter over Sony and Disney’s inability to make a new deal that would allow Spider-Man to continue being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Nearly every fanboy is outraged at Sony, but this outrage is completely misplaced. It was Disney’s greed that got in the way.

Sony wanted to continue the current deal that brought Spider-Man’s two recent solo-films to the big screen. They were madly successful as star Tom Holland became widely acclaimed as having the best portrayal Spider-Man. But Disney didn’t like the deal because it kept most of the profits in Sony’s hands.

Marvel knew going in that they’d play second fiddle to Sony on all Spider-Man movies. They chose to make the deal for the sake of the MCU and it worked wonders for both companies. But Disney got greedy.

Spider-Man Out of the MCU: Marvel, Sony Can’t Reach Deal

A dispute at the top levels of both companies has essentially resulted in Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige being nixed from future Spider-Man projects, according to Deadline. Disney had asked for a 50/50 co-financing agreement between the two studios on future Spider-Man films. Again according to Deadline’s sources, Sony turned that offer down. Sony proposed keeping the arrangement similar to the terms that dictated the first two Spider-Man MCU films, such that Disney would only receive 5% of first dollar gross. Disney refused that deal.

Sony wanted to keep the deal they both agreed to from the beginning. Disney’s the one who got greedy. Blaming Sony for this is like blaming a divorce on the person who was cheated on. It’s Disney who’s being unfaithful to Sony… and fans.

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Culture and Religion

‘Godfather’ star Gianni Russo on Chris ‘Fredo’ Cuomo’s rant

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'Godfather' star Gianni Russo on Chris 'Fredo' Cuomo's rant

When CNN anchor Chris Cuomo was filmed delivering an unhinged rant to a heckler at a restaurant, one of the things many people took offense to was his declaration that the term “Fredo” was to Italian-Americans as the “n-word” is to African-Americans. This has been completely debunked since then with guests on his own show using the name to refer to Donald Trump Jr. But that didn’t keep CNN from backing their guy.

TMZ caught up with Gianni Russo, a star from The Godfather who told the reality of the situation from three unique perspectives. First, he said it wasn’t a racial slur and clearly referred to the weaker brother, a perspective he understands as a star of the film. Second, he knows the Cuomo family well and couldn’t believe Chris would have said that. Third, knowing father Mario Cuomo, former governor of New York, leads him to believe the elder Cuomo would have smacked his son had he heard him say what he did.

No real repercussions are expected against Cuomo from his employers at CNN.

Here’s a video from TMZ of Russo’s perspective:

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