Trouble in the Temples of Christian Broadcasting

My pal John Anderson was my guest on the radioshow this evening to tell us about the newest dirt on the Calvary Satellite Network, the Clear Channel of Christian broadcasting. It seems that the two principal churches behind the network, the Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls, ID and the Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, are enmeshed in a nasty legal battle over the assets of the network.

Twin Falls owns the licenses for the 388-station network, but apparently Costa Mesa owns the gear. And now the principals are slinging mud in lawsuits full of allegations of mismanagement and embezzlement.

This situation is important because CSN Radio is built almost entirely upon translator stations — low-power stations that may be more liberally placed on the dial than regular noncommercial LPFM stations, but that are forbidden from originating their own programming. These stations, that bring no local programming to a community, hog up spaces that can be used by full-service truly local stations.

Further, some former Calvary-related folks snapped up hundreds of additional translator licenses during the FCC’s last licensing window, and have apparently been trafficking in these free noncommercial licenses for fun and profit.

John and I have been following Calvary Chapel and their related broadcast enterprises for quite some time. So, it’s actually quite amusing to see how the money and power amassed through running a nationwide godcasting network has apparently just brought in abuse and corruption.

You can hear more a little later this weekend when today’s radioshow gets posted.

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