Deregulation, much in the news lately, affects all of us in indirect ways. Thankfully, deregulation in the broadcast industry has had a major impact on how Christian broadcasters can share the gospel. TBN President Matt Crouch says President’s Trump’s regulation cuts will save TBN $20 million a year—money that can go directly toward spreading the Good News.
In a recent interview on my “Strang Report” podcast, Crouch told me that the regulation President Trump’s administration recently cut goes all the way back to 1934. (Click here or on the podcast icon in this article to listen to the interview.) At that time, the FCC started requiring station owners to own and occupy a physical building in every city where they owned a station.
“It’s no secret that my father, Paul Crouch, spent the majority of the 1980s … buying and adding to the TBN network—full-power TV stations,” Crouch tells me.
TBN started in Los Angeles, but it soon spread to Phoenix, Arizona; Miami; and then Oklahoma City. Everywhere TBN spread, the network had to buy its own physical building.
Crouch says the regulation made sense at the time, when television wasn’t common, and radio was the popular medium of choice. But as television grew more popular, Crouch says the regulation became obsolete—though still enforced.
“We had close to 40 full-power TV stations,” Crouch tells me. “So we had all those buildings, and every one of them needed new roofs, air conditioners, repaving parking lots, power bills and all the different things that go along with owning a building. We were literally forced into it.”
The price to run all 40 of these buildings was steep, Crouch says. And one of the most frustrating things was that not all those buildings were contributing programs to the network.
“TBN was having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on these buildings—occasionally, probably more than a million or two,” he says. “And with one quick stroke of the pen, the main studio rule was struck at the FCC, which meant that all of a sudden, TBN was no longer required to own that many buildings.”
Cutting that one obsolete regulation will save TV stations all across the U.S. countless dollars—and TBN is no exception.
“As soon as [Laurie and I] could get to it and get a good real-estate company involved with us, we had 27 buildings for sale all across the United States, because they weren’t contributing to the network feed,” he says. “And the reduction in staff that that allowed for us to implement is saving TBN direct operational costs of over $20 million a year.”
The Crouches are excited to put that extra money into spreading the gospel—and all because Trump was determined to cut regulations.
Matt Crouch tells me that he and Laurie recently had the opportunity to thank the president for his work. They joined Mike Huckabee for an interview with the president in the White House, and the Crouches were able to talk about the regulation cuts.
“I said, ‘I just want to thank you,'” Crouch says. “I said, ‘It took your chairman of the FCC to look into these issues.’ And I got to tell him the story. Bringing the wisdom of business and the private sector into government saved just our organization $20 million a year in direct operating costs. My dad is in heaven, but I can tell you this: He’s probably the chairman of the FCC up there in heaven, and he’s literally smiling today that a federally mandated obligation—and an obsolete obligation—that we had has been relieved.”
TBN’s amazing story is just one example of how this deregulation process is helping everyday Americans. Money-saving cuts like these can help spread the gospel further than we could have thought before.
I hope you’ll take the time to listen to Crouch share his story on my podcast. I think it will brighten your day. And if you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe to my podcast on iTunes or Google Play!