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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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Twitter suspends Houston Rockets’ account

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Twitter suspends Houston Rockets account

What happened to the Houston Rockets’ Twitter account? Did they Tweet something conservative or Christian? Did they misgender someone? Is this retribution for falling to the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs four out of five of years? Whatever they did, Twitter decided to suspend them, leaving their 2.8 million followers in the dark.

All jesting aside, there are three likely scenarios. They could be the victims of a mass reporting attack in which multiple Twitter accounts report a user in a short period of time, prompting an algorithmic suspension. Or, if they’d been hacked, Twitter may have detected it and shut them down until the real users can regain control and change passwords.

But the most likely culprit is a DMCA takedown complaint that triggers instant temporary suspension. Chances are, they posted a video that included music they didn’t have permission to use. It happens.

The Rockets have not responded to our request for comment.

If you or someone you know gets suspended on social media, take solace in knowing even big organizations like the Houston Rockets can fall victim to the ban-hammer (though I doubt they’ll get the same scorn from Twitter as James Woods).

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Game of Thrones Series Finale: Review and Analysis

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Game of Thrones Series Finale Review and Analysis

The ending finally arrive. It was a tumultuous controversial season. The Game of Thrones series finale had to deal with a malcontentious internet fanbase that saw bad writing, but mostly in the wrong places. Indeed the Daenerys fans were unduly upset by her demise, and the Arya and Sansa fans consistently had bad takes. This ending was hardly for these people who wanted happy, predictable, endings that reinforced your “fandom.” Still this episode is where the good writing for the last three or four seasons went to. It was not the dreaded ending of a Republic, which given Tyrion’s voyage to Volantis, was conceivable. The idea was address and ridiculed. Instead it was two kingdoms at peace, at last. The Game of Thrones series finale was well shot, well performed, and strangely well-written(thanks to the cliff-notes of George RR Martin.) The ending was somber. On a scale of Dexter to Breaking Bad, the Game of Thrones series finale lands in the middle, being held back by D&D’s poor ability to get to the final two episodes.

Overall: The episode was a solid ending, given the poor last few seasons.

A Critique of Stalinism

In her speech, Daenerys Targaryen champions how she destroyed the system that oppressed people and made a bold goal to conquer the rest of the known world minus the far east of the continent south of Essos. There’s a lot to tackle from her speech. First, she seems to have a Rashida Tlaib recollection of history. Yes, she freed the Astapori slaves, but it ends horribly for the slaves in her new world. She left Astapor without a garrison, so a butcher took over, being the only one able to wield a blade semi-competently. She then abandons Astapor and the Yunkish coalition destroy the city and the newly freed slaves. who knows what happened to the Mereenese slaves she misruled, but with her dead, it’s a safe assumption they will be vanquished, probably by Volantis. So Daenerys is already rewriting her history, but other than freeing slaves in a world away, she has done nothing to systematically change the way of life for Westeros. She has only deposed Cersei Lannister, which is nothing new for a kingdom that saw Roberts Rebellion. So after giving a fictional account of history she vows to conquer the world, with her brand of liberation. It sounds exactly like Communism. Part of the end goal for communism, as the Soviets saw it was to make every country around them communist, which is what Stalin did during and after World War 2. The idea that a communist government can dissolve and the “people” own everything must come after private ownership everywhere is eliminated, in theory. Of course communism always failed, as does Daenerys. In her final words to Jon, Daenerys talks of removing people who stand in her way and declares herself the supreme authority of what is good. You can almost here the words: “in order to make an omelet, you have to crack a few eggs.” This classic defense of genocide is uttered, in sentiment, by Daenerys in her final words. In the Game of Thrones world, Daenerys was Josef Stalin. Off to the gulag with Tyrion and the other undesirables.

Drogon

Either Jon is good at playing innocent or Drogon knew the Iron Throne was what really killed Daenerys Targaryen. Either way, such moral accountability from a dragon knowing better than his mother. His subsequent escape is one unclosed detail that works really well.

Jon Snow King-Beyond-the-Wall

Jon Snow was sentenced to the Night’s Watch begging the question: why is the order still a thing? Still, Jon Snow is depicted leading the wildlings to the “true North” and the gate behind him is shut. Jon Snow was never cut out for the Night’s Watch, as shown in season one, and he’s killed for disregarding his vows in the books. The implication of Jon being King is made readily apparent.

Bran as King

The leaks told it true. I was extremely weary of this especially since I had Tyrion in mind for the Kingship or I thought the Seven Kingdoms would split. After all, Robert’s strength held them together, and he died in season one. But the Lords were too weak to seize their own kingship. But minus the cringy Edmere Tully return, Tyrion sold it, in large part because of the acting of Peter Dinklage. It was better written than one would have thought. The idea is growing on me personally and contains a lack of predictability Game of Thrones is known for. It also tied up succession nicely while providing a stable outcome a Targaryen dynastic return would not have brought.

Small Council

My biggest point of displeasure from this episode was the small council. Bronn receiving Highgarden and the Lord Paramount title was a sickening end to his character. He should have been killed off years ago. Sam becoming the Grand Maester was a bit of a stretch. Davos as Master of Ships was fitting and Brienne as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard wasn’t too shabby. The scene where she writes down Jaime’s legacy was excellent.

MVP Tyrion

Peter Dinklage gave an award winning performance this episode. I was getting critical of his poor portrayal of the Tyrion character, in large part because of the writing. But in the final two episodes, Peter Dinklage hit a grand slam on his performance. All of the actors did a superb job, but his was by far the best his episode.

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Binge-worthy show: I recommend Killing Eve to everyone even though I hated it

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Binge-worthy show I recommend Killing Eve to everyone even though I hated it

I wish I could say my entertainment tastes were simply too refined for most, but that wouldn’t be the truth. I like great television shows like Bosch yet I am not too proud to stop laughing at Family Guy. But somewhere in the middle is the artsy, modern, beautiful, and unpredictable world of great television shows that work today even if they wouldn’t have worked just a couple of years ago. One such show is Killing Eve.

When I first started watching it by accident with my mother-in-law (circumstances not important) I instantly fell in love with it. Literally 10 minutes in I realized this was the show I’d been wanting to see since all of the other great ones I’ve been watching were complete. I’m a 2-3-shows-at-a-time king of guy, so binging is the only way I can normally keep up. But lately, there’s been a lull. With Killing Eve, the lull was officially over.

Then the last two episodes went a little too weird for me. I should have seen it coming throughout, but I suspended my own logical disbelief and continued forward. I don’t regret it, and even though the show lost me to the point I won’t be watching season 2 or any future season, I still highly recommend it.

Have you ever read a review of a show or movie in which the reviewer hated it but still recommended it? Now you have.

Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, the titular good guy and her prey/predator, are both award-worthy in their performances. The writing is sharp. The direction is spot-on. No complaints about any of the technical components of the show.

Where it lost me is the direction they chose to take their relationship. In retrospect, the writing was on the wall from the first episode on, but I refused to see it. I wanted a traditional cat and mouse, cops and murders show and Killing Eve is not that. Still, it was fun while I thought it would be that and when it took a turn I didn’t like, I was okay with it. Like I said, I recommend the show even though I didn’t like it.

Will it make one of my binge-worthy lists? Probably not. I reserve those lists for shows I loved. I didn’t love Killing Eve, but I know most probably will which is why I have no problem recommending it.

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