I have just been reading an article about TV in the Saturday Evening Post. It suggested things I'd like to say to all of you on our executive and administrative staff around the world.
We are becoming a large, powerful, and far-flung organization. We are scattered, now, to all parts of the globe. There have become too many of us for me to keep in contact with each of you, either personally, or by personal letter. So now I see the need of a regular Staff letter from me to all of you. It ought to go out at least monthly. I am not sure I shall be able to keep this going with regularity, but I do see the serious NEED, and want to do it if I can.
The College was started at Pasadena, not only to provide a trained and educated ministry for God's Church, but, with increasing heavy duties descending on my shoulders as the work expanded, to provide a competent and trained staff to relieve me of some of this snow-balling load. But you know what has happened. The work continued to expand in such multiplied scope that, instead of my duties being lightened, new larger ones at the top level kept looming up so that my own responsibilities seem to be increasing.
It seems no one can do certain things for me—writing the monthly double-page messages for Reader's Digest, the monthly Co-Workers letters, the semi-annual letters to the entire 350,000- name mailing list, most of the sex classes at the two colleges, (and I ought to be teaching other classes—especially in Graduate School), the top major planning of the whole work, frequent visits to leading radio station managers, decisions as to policies, planning of campuses, new construction, etc. And I ought, above all, to be carrying at least two-thirds of the broadcasts, beside writing articles for the Plain Truth and the Good News. The most difficult of all this is changing from one subject, or problem, to another in my mind. Of course I forgot to mention the need of preaching—I do preach most Sabbaths at Pasadena when there, and at London when in England. I ought to appear and preach at each Church everywhere around the world, at least once every year or two —but this seems now impossible. But what I'm trying to say is, that with several of these segments of the work on my mind—or with world news and prophecy reappraisal and research on my mind—or, with matters of market conditions, radio station ratings and situations needing concentrated attention and study—it is often difficult to throw all these avenues of attention out of my mind, and reflections on what I need to say to ALL OF YOU as a Staff, or to an Assembly at one of the colleges, INto my mind. This is a more difficult task than finding the actual TIME in which to do it. So I hope you'll understand, but I do want to write a general letter of this type monthly, whether I succeed in getting it done or not.
Right now Mrs. Armstrong and I are at Palm Springs again. This time I am taking two months (I hope, if no serious emergency cuts it short) for a sustained milk and lemon-juice fast, in an effort to get my entire digestive system readjusted, for a complete physical and mental rejuvenation—and also as a spiritual fast. Some of the broadcasts I have done during the past few months have given me confidence that, if I can accomplish this, my most effective broadcasting years are yet ahead. If successful in this effort, I hope to be back on the air at least four times a week.
But now to this Saturday Evening Post article—or the portion that supplied the suggestion for this letter:
In case any of you care to read it, it starts on page 56, October 28 issue. It is the second of a three-installment series on Television, U.S.A. As most of you ought to know, Madison Avenue, New York, is the center of American advertising agencies, publishers' and Radio-TV representative offices, book publishers. It is "Advertising Headquarters." Most of the office buildings on Madison Avenue are loaded with such firms. And, CBS is also located there. They dominate both TV and radio.
Now one of the functions of my office is to make personal contacts with radio station managers, and station representatives. They are a sort of new breed of American business man. Advertising men, even back in my day, were a distinctive type—slangy, cocky, usually with good personality. But radio and TV have brought a still somewhat different breed, tho spawned from the older advertising type. They are, mostly, comparatively young men—that is, in 30s, 40s, and 50s—perhaps mostly in latter half of 30s and 40s, and early 50s. As the SEP describes them, they are "young, polished, educated, soft-spoken, courteous, gentlemanly, and totally unsentimental. When the boss goes to lunch, his secretary says, 'Have a good lunch.' Perhaps only such little human gestures make life bearable in an industry so full of tension and razor- edged competition. Executives' rises are meteoric, their plunges sickening. A CBS executive says, 'The pressures here are unbelievable.' And another, 'We're all ... frightened to death. The basic instinct is to protect the corporation.'"
Yes, among these people, there is a basic LOYALTY to the corporation—the Network, the radio or TV station. This is that ingredient in carnal human nature which the Moffatt Translation calls "party spirit." You'll find it as one of the FRUITS of the FLESH—of carnality. Republicans have this against Democrats, and the Democrats against the Republicans. That's what colleges generate in both students and players for their foot-ball teams. This kind of loyalty is based as much on RIVALRY, or FACTIONS— another fruit of the flesh—and spirit of competition, as on the VANITY of wanting OUR SIDE, or party, or company or corporation to WIN, against the competition.
Now the point I want to make in this analysis is the DIFFERENCE between those in such worldly jobs and activities, and ALL OF US in GOD'S SERVICE. I want you to see many IMPORTANT things to be GRATEFUL FOR which you may not have realized before. I want you to ask, whether you would trade jobs. We, too, have LOYALTY. But it's a different kind. Loyalty, as such, is not a fruit of the flesh, but of the SPIRIT. Moffatt translates it as "fidelity." And Webster defines fidelity as "careful observance of duty, or discharge of obligations; especially, loyalty." The AV uses the word "faith" (Gal. 5:22). Now WE have that. In GOD'S organization, it works both ways. From God, and Christ at the top, then from me and those immediately under me on the human level, there is a strong mindfulness of the obligation of LOYALTY from us toward all under us—or, from employer to employe. There isn't much of this in the businesses of this world. Of course, we demand loyalty from employes, and God demands it from all His children, else they are cut off. But, if we are really IN God's Church—if really led by God's Spirit—we have that sense of mutual loyalty, BASED ON LOVE—not for reasons of self-gain or expediency, but because our hearts, motivation, and whole sense of PURPOSE are in it! It just IS our life! How different from the motivating REASONS for loyalty in worldly organizations!
But now to go back over that quote from the SEP.
This radio-TV breed of men are as a class well dressed, well groomed. Their offices are usually very modern, with artistic professional decor. That is one reason or at least minor contributing factor to what acceptance we have been able to gain from a class basically hostile to us and to religious programming. Actually, it is impossible to estimate how much the cultural character of our campuses and offices have influenced radio station managers on the big prestige 50,000-watt stations. But both Mr. Scott and I know this has contributed a MIGHTY important part. Not only the cultural appearance, but the SUBSTANTIAL appearance. It reflects dignity, soundness, resources, financial ability, which, in the average radio-TV mind is supposed to be lacking in religious broadcasters.
We have to realize, in dealing with them, that these men are totally unsentimental. They are in a tough business. None has more fierce competition. They want our dollars—yes, but not at the cost of finding our program drove away more dollars than they gain from us. That's what they are afraid of. Our job is to convince them we let them have own cake, and eat their own, too. But they are hard as nails. Of course we KNOW it is only our DOLLARS—NOT our TRUTH—that can interest them. We have to convince them that our dollars won't chase others away. We have partly succeeded—the degree of which you will read on the radio- log pages of the PT. However, on the important 50,000-watt top- prestige stations, no other religious program has succeeded as far as we.
Now, when the boss leaves on Friday evening, or Saturday noon, his secretary says, "Have a good weekend." WHY? Why, because it's DONE! It's part of the suave COURTESY practiced by all, from top executives, down through salesmen and stenographers, in the radio-TV business. In other words, they are back-slappers. They like to be flattered, even when they know it is insincere. So they hand it out, lavishly and generously.
I could not help think how it is at our Headquarters Offices. Do OUR secretaries say, "Have a good lunch," when the boss goes out for a lunch appointment? Well, possibly yes, possibly no. Our secretaries, I am sure, are no less courteous —but the difference is, IF they say this, they say it because they sincerely MEAN it, not because it's done, and a thing to be parroted as men-pleasers.
But notice—such ritualistic "courtesies" are about the ONLY thing that makes life bearable—about the only rewarding part of life—for them. They live in FEAR. Some men skyrocket up to top executive positions, but they are never secure. I have found that the average radio station manager lasts in office about three years.
When we went on ABC, New York, I went to New York to establish personal contact with the manager, and present our picture to him in a favorable light. In one or two years he was replaced. I visited the new manager, who certainly was unsentimental. I wasn't sure whether I had won him over. A little later, however, while I was in England, he visited Los Angeles, and Mr. Scott gave him the $64 tour of the Ambassador Campus. Enroute home I called on him again, and he had warmed up—was actually cordial, and even smiled. So, we survived TWO managers on WABC. Then there was a new switch—this manager was moved to KABC in Los Angeles. The new WABC manager cancelled us out. We were off, but we went ON KABC, Sundays only, I believe. Then this man was let out entirely—and we went off of KABC.
Glenn Snyder had been manager of WLS for many years. It was owned by Prairie Farmer, and all top executives were older men, and of the ultra-conservative school—not of this new Radio-TV breed at all. I worked ten years on Glenn Snyder and his Sales Manager before we finally got on WLS. With a good time, it was our most valuable station. After starting, Mr. Snyder moved us up to 7:P.M.—for a short while. Results skyrocketed. But pressures from above set us back to about 11:P.M. Mr. Scott and I kept working on Mr. Snyder, and had some help from their Los Angeles Representative. We got moved up to 10:30, then 10—and, finally, I believe, to 9 or 9:30, with mail response increasing as time became earlier. Then Mr. Snyder had to "retire"—and his last act in office was to move us another half-hour earlier. But that lasted only a very short time, for the farm paper and station were sold for eight million, and the new management had a new "image" to create—which included rock 'n roll, but not the WORLD TOMORROW.
And so it has gone. Soon after we had won over the manager of KGO personally, he was let out. Pressure was brought on the new manager to remove us—but, by "sweetening the pot" with a 5:30 A.M. repeat of the program, thus considerably raising the price we pay, we have so far hung on. As "insurance" against losing KGO, we are on KSAY at 7:A.M., and KRAK, Sacramento, and KFRE, Fresno. Thus, if we get put off KGO, all listeners through the Bay area, and the two great California valleys, can still hear the program. At WLAC, our most valuable station, Mr. Blackman has been manager several years, and apparently is so close personally to the owner that we feel as secure there as is possible in radio. But I think it well for all of you to know something of just what we are up against, in order to remain STABLE and SECURE ourselves.
Now WHY are all radio and TV people "frightened to death"? The CBS man quoted above continued: "I'll be leaving someday, and I'll be glad to leave."
The author continues: "Fear pervades. Will ABC defeat us? What will FCC do? And what will please the great unknown beast, the viewing public? For on that, on ratings, depend executive lives. Small wonder they come to hate as well as fear the public. Small wonder they cling to ratings. Ratings, shaky as some consider them" —(including ME)— "are the only solid ground under network executives' feet."
I want you to realize the full impact of that! Not only fear from competition. But, if some evil-motivated pressure group organizes a campaign to have their following start mailing a barrage of criticizing letters against a station, or a program on it (like ours) to the FCC (Federal Communications Commission of the government), the FCC may without warning suddenly revoke their license. The station or network is suddenly OUT OF BUSINESS. It is BIG BUSINESS, the CBS income for last year was 464 1/2 MILLION dollars! Yet, staying in business depends on the whim—or judgment, as the case may be—of a handful of men at the FCC! That's another reason many stations are AFRAID to take our program. They are afraid some program might get controversial, to use their word for it. If it antagonized too many listeners, and letters began barraging the FCC, they could find themselves out of business!
It is a shaky business. They really don't think the rating agencies' ratings are too accurate. Yet advertising agencies and the big advertising sponsors subscribe to them. If a station's ratings go down, the station finds it can't sell its time. If, for instance, a big important 50-KW Station let us on at 7:P.M., and their rating went down suddenly from 7 to 7:30, they reason that they could not sell the 8:P.M. slot to anybody. That's one reason we have even considered hiring some big-name news commentator (we have considered Paul Harvey), and, on big stations, offering to buy a package in the prime time zone of 45 minutes—30 for The WORLD TOMORROW, and 15 for Paul Harvey with the BIG News. If we bought, for instance, 7:15 to 8, the station would sell its 8:P.M. slot as a wonderful time, following Paul Harvey. They'd say nothing about following that religion. No commercial sponsor wants to "follow religion." YOU SEE WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP AGAINST? DO you begin to wonder how this work was ever built?
The ANSWER is in the "solid ground" that's under our feet! This article says these ratings are the ONLY "solid ground" under network executives' feet. And ratings, ordinarily fluctuate, so, executives' jobs fluctuate also!!
Let me explain a little MORE about the "solid ground" under OUR feet. Suppose it were possible for some pressure group— say, the main Protestant Council of Churches, or the Catholics,—to have us suddenly cancelled out and put off the air by all leading radio stations in America. Do you know what would happen? We'd be suddenly off every major station in the U.S. Well, we KNOW what would happen. All of a sudden we'd get to STOP paying out about $100,000 per month. I estimate that income would go down perhaps $25,000 per month—at most, $35,000 or $50,000. At first, we'd be $50,000 or more BETTER OFF financially. And, after one year of this, our income still would not be much more lowered. Here's how it works: We receive very little income from the NEW listeners who are listening to TODAY'S Broadcast, or those who even started listening six months or a year ago. But most of our 30% INCREASE in income is received from those who started listening from 6 months to 3 years ago—and the biggest portion from those of more than a year's listening. Not many write in for literature after the first listening. The AVERAGE first request for literature comes from those who have listened several times. But this first request contributes no money, usually. After reading The Plain Truth several issues—perhaps 3 or 4—perhaps one to three years —and, after having written in for one or several booklets—or, having started on the Correspondence Course, a certain percent of these listeners—about one out of ten, as 28 years' experience shows—will send in a first contribution. Then, many, a second inside of six months. They then go on the Co-Worker list. By this time, THEIR HEARTS are in this work where they've begun to put their treasure. As they get interested in the BIBLE and the TRUTH, they also get interested in the WORK. Even if carnal minded, the very "party spirit" ingredient in human nature makes them feel they are on OUR TEAM.
Now WHAT IS THE MOTIVE that keeps the bulk of our Co-Workers sending in tithes and offerings regularly? Is it a matter of PAYING for what they get like subscribing to a magazine? Of course not. Is it a feeling of being under obligation, because they heard the broadcast? No doubt a percentage—I don't know how big—DO send in the first time or two out of a sense of obligation for literature—but once THEIR HEART IS IN GOD'S WORK, they are part of a CRUSADE. Never once has any of our literature educated them to contribute out of a sense of obligation for what they RECEIVED. Our literature DOES educate them. I definitely and deliberately INTEND to use all the psychology I know to educate people to get on GOD'S BASIS that it is more blessed to GIVE than to receive. They are educated to GIVE for the sake of GIVING, not as a result of GETTING.
So—IF suddenly they could hear the broadcasts no more, what is their attitude? They don't STOP contributing because they had to stop GETTING the program. On the contrary, they are ON OUR TEAM—and our team has been hit a foul blow—the enemy is trying to KILL the work their hearts are in. Most of them would either INCREASE their contributions, if possible, or else at least KEEP THEM COMING!
I want you to see what SECURITY God has given us! There's NOTHING LIKE IT in commercial business—NOTHING LIKE IT ON EARTH!!!! We have the most SOLID FOUNDATION under us that is under anything, anywhere! Not only GOD—which we certainly have—what I mean is, THIS is the way God has PUT a foundation under us in literal, practical manner!!
It works!! In 1948 we were OFF THE AIR, except for Sunday only, and the West Coast where we had about 3 small stations. We were put off in March because we had gotten too far behind in paying bills due to the reconstruction headache forced on us in starting the college by the city building commissioners. We did not get back on until October. But the income did not go down. Co-Workers and members rallied to our aid.
Look at CHICAGO. We have been off our best station about two years now, and the little suburban station hasn't helped much. Did the Chicago Church stop growing? No, it has grown, if anything, FASTER THAN EVER, and now a second Chicago Church has had to be established, and one in South Bend. WHY? As a result of the CUMULATIVE principle working long after the broadcast stopped.
Now—on the other hand—I certainly don't mean to say we could cancel out broadcasting, and go right on growing forever. Growth in Chicago will probably slow down in the next year or so, UNLESS we can get on another 50,000-watt station soon. BUT, we could carry on for two and maybe three years without serious financial handicap or reduction in our increases of members, if the very WORST should happen.
On the other hand, consider our position there. No program could be LESS vulnerable than we. There is no substitute for EXPERIENCE. I learned, back in 1920, the SERIOUS danger of "putting all your eggs in one basket." For example, if we were on ABC Network ONLY, even with more stations than now, we would be vulnerable. One man at the Network could PUT US OFF ALL THE STATIONS. So I have been very careful not to put the program on ALL of one network stations. We are on several CBS, several NBC stations, and several independents. No one of those groups could throw us off of enough stations to hurt the over-all work noticeably, and we would move fast to replace what was lost. I am careful not to use enough stations tied to any one representative firm so that even a station representative firm could hurt us.
Then there are the Mexican stations. Same men in my position would have cancelled them out a few years ago. They have no prestige, and he would have reasoned, "Well, we have the U.S. covered with U.S. stations of good prestige now—let's get rid of those no-prestige Mexican stations." I keep them because they still produce big, and also as INSURANCE. If some religious pressure group ever DID succeed in getting us off all U.S. stations, WE'D STILL COVER THE U.S., even tho not so good, by these Mexican stations—AND NO RELIGIOUS GROUP COULD PRESSURE US OFF THERE.
In this snazzy radio-TV field, men employed in it live in FEAR. They cannot feel SECURE. COMPARE the job YOU have. You don't have to shake at the knees for fear of losing your job. You are more secure than a civil service employe of the federal government! You are working for GOD, through HIS ORGANIZATION.
Do you just take all these good things for granted, unconcerned? It's time all of us REALIZE how blest we are, and GIVE GOD THANKS! Let's be GRATEFUL. One of the greatest and commonest sins is INGRATITUDE—don't be guilty of it.
THINK of the blessings we all have in this work—the constant GOOD accomplished—the CHANGED LIVES—God's WARNING going to our nations—the TRUE GOSPEL to the WHOLE WORLD!
WHAT A PRIVILEGE we all have!
This SEP article made me realize it. I wanted to share it with all of you.