Trinity Broadcasting Network
TBN logo
Trinity Broadcasting Network
Launch date 1973
Country United States of America
Type Religious broadcasting
Radio network
Broadcast area National; broadcast worldwide
Founder Paul Crouch, Jan Crouch, Jim Bakker and Tammy Bakker
Affiliates The Church Channel
Smile of the Child Network
TBN Enlace
KTBN Superpower
Radio Paradise
Former names Trinity Broadcasting Systems (TBS)
Picture format 480i (SDTV)

The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) is a Christian television network headquartered in Costa Mesa, California with studios in Irving, Texas; Hendersonville, Tennessee; Atlanta, Georgia; Miami, Florida; and Orlando, Florida.

Founded by Paul Crouch, Jan Crouch, Jim Bakker, and Tammy Bakker in 1973, TBN currently is the ninth largest broadcaster in the United States. The network now has a larger U.S. viewership than its main competitor networks combined.[1]

It claims five million viewer households per week in the U.S. TBN is carried on over 275 television stations in the U.S. and on thousands of other cable television systems around the world in 75 countries, where its programs are translated into eleven languages. TBN owns 23 full-power television stations and 252 low-power rural stations in the U.S. (In contrast, EWTN's promotional information states that IT has become the largest religious media network in the world. EWTN transmits 24-hour programming to more than 123 million homes (146 million homes as of February 2008) in 127 countries and 16 territories on more than 4,800 cable systems (5,200 cable systems as of February 2008), wireless cable, direct broadcast satellite (DBS), low power TV and individual satellite users.)


TBN began in 1973 when the elder Crouches, along with Jim and Tammy Bakker (formerly affiliated with Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network), rented air time on a local UHF TV station in Santa Ana, California. The fledgling network was so weak in its first days, that, according to Crouch in his autobiography, Hello World!, it almost went bankrupt after just two days on the air, leading to the first of TBN's well-known telethons. TBN, then known as the Trinity Broadcasting Systems, spread from UHF stations to cable outlets and then to satellite distribution. After a falling-out between Jim Bakker and Paul Crouch, the Bakkers left to start the PTL 'Praise The Lord' network in Charlotte, North Carolina. PTL would later collapse in 1987 in the wake of a sexual harassment and embezzlement scandal involving Jim Bakker.

Recently, TBN has been purchasing independent television stations to gain cable carriage, due to FCC must-carry rules. As a result, TBN is available to 95% of American households, as of early 2005.[2]

According to the TBN website, TBN has several hundred affiliate stations, although just 61 of these stations are regular UHF or VHF stations. The rest are low-powered stations, requiring a viewer to be within several miles of the transmitter. The network has grown to 70 satellites and 12,500 affiliates, reaching nearly 100,000,000 households globally.

Today, Paul Crouch is TBN's president and chairman, Jan Crouch is its vice-president and director of programming, and their son Paul Jr. is its vice president of administration. The network maintains production deals with their other son, Matthew, the founder of Gener8xion Entertainment. While they are probably the most popular personalities on the network as hosts of the programs Praise The Lord and Behind The Scenes, Paul and Jan Crouch have become increasingly absent from TBN broadcasts, due to health problems and old age. Hosting duties for the two shows have fallen to their children, and a large number of other hosts including Paula White, Dr. Mark Chironna, Natalie Cole, Clifton Davis, Jason Crabb, Jack Van Impee and Dwight Thompson.

Revenue and assets

TBN generates nearly $190 million in revenue annually.[3] The network does not make its finances available and Crouch family members control the boards of all TBN entities, which makes Trinity "ineligible to join" the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, an evangelical self-regulating group.[4] It does not air commercials (excluding TBN Italy); rather, two-thirds of its revenue comes from viewer contributions and one-third from other televangelists' payments for running their programming.Template:Fact Its $120 million donation revenue is larger than any other television ministry. It has posted average annual surpluses since 1997 of about $60 million. It holds two week-long fundraising telethons per year, as well as numerous other solicitation drives. It maintains a direct mail database of 1.2 million names.

As of 2002, TBN boasted $583 million in assets, including $238 million in government-backed securities and $31 million in cash. Also among its assets are a $7.2 million Canadair Turbojet and thirty houses in California, Texas and Ohio with values ranging up to $8 million.[5] The elder Crouches and their son Paul Jr. earn an estimated combined annual income of $900,000.[6] In September 2004, the Los Angeles Times characterized their personal lifestyle as a "life of luxury."[7] According to Charity Navigator, TBN earned $188,152,079 in 2007 and has a 2 out of 4 star rating (47%).[8]

In June 2007, TBN purchased the bible-themed adventure park Holy Land Experience for $37 million.[9] The Orlando, FL based theme-park was in a slump with falling ticket sales and a reported $8 million debt when TBN purchased it.Template:Fact In October nearly 100 employees were cut from the payroll.[10]


Fundraising and wealth

Trinity Broadcasting Network has come under heavy criticism for its promotion of the so-called prosperity gospel — a Word of Faith belief that a donation to a particular ministry will cause God to materially reward the person giving — during constant fundraising,[11][12][13] as well other seemingly blasphemous claims made by Paul Crouch and other prominent TBN personalities. During frequent telethons — "Praise-a-thons" in the spring and autumn and "Macedonian Calls" during the summer — viewers are often subject to emotional appeals by Paul and Jan Crouch or their guests. Sometimes, divine retribution is threatened if viewers fail to donate. Critics have claimed that Paul and Jan Crouch use TBN's donations from these telethons to build an opulent lifestyle; the Crouches allegedly own thirty homes across the United States and own a private jet. In 2004, an investigative report in the Los Angeles Times described in detail how the Crouches and the network spend some of its' money, evidenced by receipts.

TBN broadcasts, endorses, and highlights televangelists who preach the prosperity gospel message, such as Benny Hinn, Rod Parsley, Pat Robertson, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Eddie Long, Jesse Duplantis, Paula White, and Kenneth Copeland. Senator Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Finance has begun an investigation on Hinn, White, Copeland, Dollar, Meyer, and Long to determine if they mishandled donations to their respective ministries.[14]

TBN refuses to disclose its financial situation for public inspection, and the network is not a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, a financial oversight group of TV ministries.[15] TBN's refusal to disclose financial information, as well as the strong promotion of the "prosperity gospel," has caused the Christian watchdog group WallWatchers to repeatedly grade TBN with an "F" for its lack of transparency.[16] TBN also received an F from MinistryWatch, a Christian ministry information and rating organization.[17][18]

Sexual harassment settlement

Paul Crouch Sr. paid Enoch Lonnie Ford $425,000 in 1998 as a settlement over what Ford argued was an unjust dismissal from working at TBN.[19] The settlement contained several other points, among them an agreement for Ford to be silent about an alleged homosexual encounter they had in 1996 at a TBN-owned cabin near Lake Arrowhead, California.[20] In a statement released on September 22 2004, TBN denied Crouch had a homosexual affair with Ford, but confirmed the payment of the $425,000 settlement.[19][21]

On March 15, 2005 Ford appeared on the ION Television show Lie Detector, which suggested he was telling the truth.


File:Trinity Broadcasting Network - Costa Mesa.jpg

TBN broadcasts from its International Production Center in Irving, Texas near Dallas and from its Trinity Christian City International facility in Costa Mesa, California. With a recent upgrade to its Southern California facilities, TBN will become the first Christian television network to broadcast in high-definition, although the start date for HD broadcasting is not known. It also operates Trinity Music City USA (the former estate of country music singer Conway Twitty) near Nashville in Hendersonville, Tennessee. The complex attracts thousands of visitors every week, and includes the 2000-seat Trinity Music City Church Auditorium, which hosts TBN-produced concerts, dramas, seminars and special events.

Admission is always free and TBN offers free local charter buses to groups who wish to attend tapings.


Worldwide networks

In addition to their flagship network, TBN also offers other cable/satellite/digital subchannel networks in the United States. As of 2006 TBN's broadcast signals are carried by 67 satellites and cover every inhabited continent. They include:

In Europe TBN offers a mix of American and European Christian programming via "TBN Europe", "TBNE" (Italian language) and "TBN Russia" (Russian language).

In the Middle East, TBN operates an Arabic language channel called "Kanat al-Shefaa", which translated means "The Healing Channel".

In Africa, TBN broadcasts their programming via TBN South Africa, TBN Family Media in Kenya, and TBN Zimbabwe.Template:Fact

In Central and South America, TBN broadcasts via TBN Enlace which consists of Spanish language programming. Enlace Juvenil is their Spanish youth-oriented network.

Asia is reached by TBN Philippines, and TBN South Pacific covers Australia, New Zealand and the surrounding islands.


An audio relay of the station is available on:


TBN has produced a number of major Christian movies. They include "The Revolutionary" and "The Revolutionary II," based on the life of Jesus; "The Emissary," a film on the life of Paul the Apostle, "The Omega Code", "Carman: The Champion", "Megiddo", "Time Changer", "Six: The Mark Unleashed", and "One Night with the King."


TBN is an ecumenical Christian network, showing mostly ministers from the charismatic and Pentecostal movements, plus secular celebrities sharing their religious faith to the public. Its cornerstone program is Praise the Lord, a two-hour nightly program featuring talk, music, and prayer. As of 2007, programs on the network include:

Children's programming

On Christmas Eve of 2005, TBN started an all-Christian, all-children's network titled Smile of a Child. TBN also airs children's programming on Saturday morning starting at 5 A.M central time. Many of these shows can be used by local affiliates to fulfill Federal E/I requirements.

See also


  1. Followed by Daystar Television Network, Three Angels Broadcasting Network, World Harvest Television, The Hope Channel, GOD TV, and INSP-The Inspiration Network.
  2. Template:Cite web
  3. "Income Statement (FYE 12/2004)", Charity Navigator (2007). Retrieved on 2007-09-17. 
  4. "Scores lose jobs as Holy Land undergoes extreme makeover", Orlando Sentinel (October 21, 2007). Retrieved on 2007-09-17. Archived from the original on 2007-10-20. 
  5. "Doubts taint aid to Haiti", Miami Herald (October 11, 2004). Retrieved on 2007-09-17. 
  6. "Income Statement (FYE 12/2004)", Charity Navigator (2007). Retrieved on 2007-09-17. 
  7. "Doubts taint aid to Haiti", Miami Herald (October 11, 2004). Retrieved on 2007-09-17. 
  8. "Income Statement (FYE 12/2004)", Charity Navigator (2007). Retrieved on 2007-09-17. 
  9. "Scores lose jobs as Holy Land undergoes extreme makeover", Orlando Sentinel (October 21, 2007). Retrieved on 2007-09-17. Archived from the original on 2007-10-20. 
  10. "Scores lose jobs as Holy Land undergoes extreme makeover", Orlando Sentinel (October 21, 2007). Retrieved on 2007-09-17. Archived from the original on 2007-10-20. 
  11. "Christianity, Cults and Mind Control Converge at Conference." The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 24, 1994
  12. "God Doesn't Need Ole Anthony: Televangelists have called him a cultist, a fraud, and the Antichrist. He says he's just doing what Jesus would want." The New Yorker December 6, 2004
  13. "Uganda: Money And the Church," Africa News August 21, 2005
  14. "Televangelists Living Like Kings?", CBS News (November 6, 2007). Retrieved on 2007-09-17. 
  15. "Scores lose jobs as Holy Land undergoes extreme makeover", Orlando Sentinel (October 21, 2007). Retrieved on 2007-09-17. Archived from the original on 2007-10-20. 
  16. "Summary Report", WallWatchers (2007). Retrieved on 2007-09-17. 
  17. MinistryWatch report on TBN.
  18. "TBN's Response to ABC 20/20 Report Attempts to Mislead Donors, Transparency Grade Dropped to "F"", MinistryWatch (April 2007). Retrieved on 2007-12-17. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 Olsen, Ted (September 1, 2004). "Former TBN Employee Alleges Gay Tryst With Paul Crouch", Christianity Today. Retrieved on 2006-12-24. 
  20. "Bad faith, blackmail and a troubled TV evangelist", The Independent (14 September 2004). Retrieved on 2007-09-17. 
  21. "Televangelist Paul Crouch Attempts to Keep Accuser Quiet", Trinity Foundation (September 12, 2004). Retrieved on 2007-09-17. 

External links

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