I have to write you again, close on the heels of my last letter. New developments are coming daily. I have IMPORTANT NEWS for you. We now face a desperate NEW CRISIS! Read every word carefully.
Plans and preparations are going forward rapidly — the new Television program is shaping up — we're beginning to realize just what it will be like. It looms up constantly bigger and bigger in importance. As it takes shape, we here are becoming more and more enthusiastic over its TREMENDOUS possibilities. It's going to be the greatest thing that ever happened for this greatest work on earth!
Already scores of enthusiastic letters are pouring in from Co-Workers, rejoicing over the Television campaign. I think you'd like to read just a few, and know how some of your fellow- Co-Workers feel about it.
FROM ARIZONA: "Dear Mr. Armstrong: I received your wonderful letter dated April 21, 1955. What WONDERFUL NEWS you have in this letter concerning going on TV. That is wonderful news. It means that people who have never heard God's truth will hear it and see you on TV. My! how my heart is thrilled! God is moving in wonderful ways. God bless you, Mr. Armstrong — you shall have my prayers. I shall do my best for God as He provides. Pray for me, Mr. Armstrong, that I will really give my whole life to God like you have, and be used in every way that is pleasing to Him; that He will shape me, make me, after His own will and ways. I am sending in God's money and offering. I hope to be able to watch the first program. God bless you, Mr. Armstrong."
FROM CALIFORNIA: "Dear Mr. Armstrong: Attached is my check to help on radio ministry bills. Am so glad you are coming on Television. I think it will be wonderful to see and hear you on it, and will have wonderful results, too, I am sure. I shall continue to pray for your work, and you, too, as I think your messages are needed badly, and no one puts them out like you do. Keep up the good work, and be assured that the true ones will stay with you right down the line until the end."
From Louisiana two Co-Workers, husband wife, write: "Dear Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong: Got your letter yesterday and enjoyed reading it very much, and we are sending an offering, to help carry on God's Work, and we are praying you can get lots of large offerings to carry on God's Work. We do hope you can go on TV soon. I am like the man you wrote about — always wanted to see the one I had heard so long. We've been listening to you broadcast a long time, and it has changed my life. I do thank God for you and the staff and Plain Truth. We've been listening since 1943, and do thank you so much for all you have sent, and we have enjoyed it so much. I keep all the Plain Truths. So God bless you all, and do remember us and loved ones in your prayers."
From Wisconsin: "Dear Mr. Armstrong: I received the Co-Worker letter yesterday. Sure happy to hear about the TV program. Even though I won't let TV interfere with my WLS "World Tomorrow" program, I still would like to see The World Tomorrow on Television. The nightly program is now on at 9 PM here (we do not have daylight-saving time), and about having the program late at night, I think it is a wonderful idea. I usually go right to bed after I turn off the radio. So much to think about, don't care to look at movies or visit after that. I have had 3 lessons in the Bible study course. It sure does mean so very much to me. It's wonderful to be able to understand the Bible better. Years ago, when I read in the Bible, it was so hard to understand, almost like it was meant for another world. You make it all so clear, and that's why I never tire listening. God bless all at Ambassador. We need you so very much."
From Missouri: "Dear Mr. Armstrong: I seldom write but I must send in a few lines concerning this TV letter you wrote us. I have thought you would go on TV a long time before now, and was hoping you would. I would like very much to see you on Television as I have been a Co-Worker of yours for some few years. But there are a few points I would like to put before you. I think 11 to 11:30 PM is entirely too late. You see, I have to get up at 5:30 AM, and so I could not stay up until 11:30 to watch TV. I, like Ted Armstrong, have resisted this TV temptation for a number of years, and all my friends have wondered why I have not purchased a TV set. But this is the reason why: I'm human, and thought I would become so interested in such programs as "Groucho Marx," and "I love Lucy," etc., etc., and would neglect The World Tomorrow. I listen every night over XEG, and get very good reception unless it is storming. If you go on Television, I'll buy a set, providing I can see the program at a reasonable time, say about 9:30 till 10 PM. TV sets are high, and I'll bet a lot or our dear Co-Workers just wouldn't be able to buy a set, and a lot of them go to bed a lot earlier than 11:30 PM. So before you take the program off radio for good, think twice. I would hate to be left off completely. (Not trying to run your business) — just looking out for myself. I would be lost without your program."
LET ME MAKE IT PLAIN, Co-Workers, we plan to REMAIN ON RADIO, with the DAILY program, six or seven nights a week on XEG, XELO, WLW, WWVA, XERB, and the stations in Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle. We even hope to add one, two, or three additional super-power clear channel stations to broadcast the DAILY program six or seven nights a week.
As to THAT LATE HOUR of Television — as you see from the two letters above, several Co-Workers write me that they see God has given us wisdom in the plan for a late hour, up to 11 PM, while a few say it is too late for them.
LET ME EXPLAIN; and please read this twice, so you'll under- stand: First, we are not able to get just whatever time we want, either on TV or radio. Most TV stations have already sold all their time between 7 and 11 PM, every night in the week. We have to take what they have left. Second, TV stations, especially in larger cities, charge about three times more for these earlier hours. It would cost around $45,000 per program, besides production costs, to cover the nation between 7:30 and 10:30 PM. THAT'S BEYOND OUR REACH — UTTERLY IMPOSSIBLE! Third, during those earlier hours the very PUBLIC we want to reach with Christ's GOSPEL is watching the big-time worldly entertainment programs — we would not be able to get one-tenth of them to look at our program during those hours, yet would pay the same price as the commercial entertainment programs who get 90% of the viewers. Fourth, IF we were able to get on at the earlier hour — IF we could afford it — even the few we would reach at such an hour would continue sitting before their TV screens filling their minds with another two or three hours of "I Love Lucy," or "Bob Hope," or "Dragnet," etc., etc., carrying their minds off into a dreamland of make-believe, and by bed-time they would have forgotten everything they heard on our program!
Yes, dear Co-Workers, you can see GOD IS GUIDING HIS SERVANTS whom He called to the conduct of His work. Now, at 11 PM there are still about half as many people looking at TV — all the big shows we can't compete with are off the air — we have a chance to get half or more of all still tuned in — WE WILL GET A LARGER AUDIENCE AT ONE-THIRD THE COST — and we get them just before they tune out for the evening, and send them to bed THINKING ABOUT GOD'S MESSAGE!
We can't reach ALL the people, at present, no matter what hour we are on! Our job is to reach the largest possible number at the LEAST COST. God is showing us how! Even in this way, we are going to wait until we have at least TWICE as many Co-Workers as now, before we can afford to go on enough TV stations to cover the entire nation.
WE ARE NOT FORGETTING Co-Workers like the brother whose letter you read above, however. Surely, he and those of you like him can stay up until the hour we are on ONCE OR TWICE, if you want to SEE us on the air, as well as hear us — and the rest of the time, you can tune in on RADIO every night, just as now. You'll still get GOD'S MESSAGE just the same!
HERE, THEN, IS OUR PROGRAM: We plan to cancel out the SUNDAY-ONLY Network and most of the other stations broadcasting "The World Tomorrow" on SUNDAY ONLY, and put THAT MONEY into TELEVISION. We are planning to switch the SUNDAY ONLY program from Radio to TV, but to CONTINUE the every night broadcasting over WLS, WWVA, XEG, XELO, and on the Pacific Coast.
And HERE'S WHY: While radio is not dead at all, yet it is being listened to only about 25% to 30% as much as formerly. God's work has ceased to GROW with radio only. Today about 90% of all American homes have TELEVISION! Many former Co-Workers are not listening to radio any more, devoting all their time to TV, forgetting GOD and HIS WORK, neglecting to send in their tithes and offerings. WE ARE THEREFORE FORCED TO GO WHERE OUR CO-WORKERS ARE GOING — and where THE WORLD Christ sent us to has also gone — TO TELEVISION! But we hope that those really interested in THE BIBLE and the things of GOD will still listen to the RADIO program every night, in addition to the TV program once a week.
The PRESENT PLAN IS THIS: To start IMMEDIATELY (as soon as the first TV programs can be produced) on 2 or 3 TV stations. Planning, preparing, producing, is a HUGE UNDERTAKING, and the very earliest we can be ready with our first program on the air will be either July 10 or July 17. We plan to go off the Radio Net-work and other SUNDAY-ONLY stations with the July 17th broadcast, and to put that money into as many TV stations as it will afford, beginning on these TV stations July 24th.
Now UNDERSTAND THIS: We can only afford some 20 or 30 TV stations at first. We may not be able to go on TV in your viewing area until later. Some of you will have to be patient until we can afford it. But we are making a most THOROUGH SURVEY of all factors, so we can first go on those TV stations that most completely reach PRESENT RADIO LISTENERS. That's all we can afford until there are more and more Co-Workers (which these TV stations must add) to send in enough money for more stations. It will take about 100 stations to completely cover the United States. But we hope to cover the MOST IMPORTANT AREAS OF PRESENT LISTENERS AND CO-WORKERS first, and add others a station or so at a time as we can afford it. Much, too, depends on our ability to find a suitable time open which stations will sell us. On some stations we may have to wait six months or a year for a suitable time to clear.
Meanwhile, TV has not taken such a hold as yet in other nations around the world (tho it is growing all over the world, and it is planned to have a world-wide hook-up in five years). We are still reaching thousands upon thousands in other parts of the world, by radio, and their interest is GROWING, as shown by scores of letters every week from foreign lands. I want you to read a couple or so recently received. My, how I wish you could all just BE HERE, and read these interesting letters as they pour in every week.
FROM THE PASTOR OF A CHURCH IN SCOTLAND: "Dear Mr. Armstrong: I have been receiving your paper The Plain Truth for almost a year, and I would like to express my very great appreciation of this publication. Never have I read a paper so straight and challenging in its teaching. It simply compels one to stand still and check up on his belief. As one who has been nurtured in the commonly accepted traditions of the professing Church, like many another I have found that they neither satisfied my conscience nor measured up to Scripture. It was bringing me into spiritual bondage. My doubts and misgivings made me hesitant about speaking to others concerning spiritual things. I desire to thank God and you for your broadcasts and for The Plain Truth which has made clear many points on which I was in doubt. As I desire to apply myself more closely to the study of the Holy Writ concerning such vital topics, I would be very grateful if you would enroll me in your Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course. I pray for the blessing of the God of all grace to rest upon your labors, and look forward to the favour of your instruction in the things that matter."
Isn't that a wonderful letter? Yes, and in America, too, our hearts are overjoyed that there are ministers, pastors of churches, whose eyes are being opened to GOD'S PRECIOUS TRUTH — and who are accepting it, and correcting their own congregations in former errors, and preaching this glorious new-found TRUTH in their pulpits.
FROM MADRAS, INDIA: "Dear Sir: Thank you very much for your magazine 'The Plain Truth.' It is really the plain truth. The candid explanations and the vivid realistic instruction grips you, and sends you on your knees. I appreciate those vivid graphic drawings of Basil Wolverton. People who don't like these drawings are afraid to face the truth when it is pitched right into their faces. Sir, is it in your power and means to come over to India in the ministry of Christ? We need people like you out in India, and I am sure there will be a great harvest of souls. I trust God will send you to India. Thank you for the ministry of Christ. May He spare you and your daughter for many, many years to come, so that His ministry could be preached. God's choicest blessings on you both and others."
THINK OF IT, dear Co-Workers — around the world (see Basil Wolverton's illustrations in the May Plain Truth) people are now hearing the very Gospel Jesus preached 1900 years ago! People's lives are being CHANGED — in India, in Malaya, in Africa, in Hawaii, in Alaska, as well as all over the United States! I have requests to appear and speak publicly in Singapore, in the far- east, in India, in Britain — many points around the world. This is YOUR ministry, just as much as mine. YOU CO-WORKERS MAKE IT ALL POSSIBLE! It can't continue without your sacrifice and generous support!
FROM WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND: "Dear Sir: I would like to have your literature on the Bible, as since listening to your services on Radio Luxembourg, I've definitely been a very changed man. I had certainly done wrong. It was preying on my mind to such an extent I was on the verge of committing suicide. Then for the first time I got to listening to your services, and found great benefit from them, and also found the love of God. I prayed to God for help and peace of mind. I opened my heart and mind to God and found how grand it was to live again with God in my life, for as sure as the stars that shine God did hear my prayers, and I bless and praise His holy name. I bless the night I started listening to your broadcast. God bless you.
CO-WORKERS, doesn't that letter make your heart leap for joy? Here is just one more evidence of the GREAT HARVEST resulting from your tithes and offerings in God's work! God Himself is IN this work!
FROM CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND: "Dear Mr. Armstrong: We appreciated your reply to our letters. Since then we have received the first two Bible Correspondence lessons, and are finding they are opening up a new avenue of approach to Bible study. There is so much so-called church tradition taught today, that it is like having a meal when we really get down to the TRUTH. The Plain Truth each month is very helpful also, and we are noticing the truth of the statements made in it. We trust you believe us, we get great help from your work. May you continue, and the work expand, is our prayer." (From a husband and wife.)
There are hundreds more, but space doesn't allow me to reprint more letters for you this time. CO-WORKERS, you are laying up treasure in heaven, with your sacrifice, your PRAYERS for this work, your honesty and faithfulness in tithing GOD'S tenth, and your generous offerings. THIS WORK IS BEARING RICH AND PRECIOUS FRUIT!
Now HERE'S THE DESPERATE NEW CRISIS WE FACE!
Television is a far bigger, more complex undertaking than radio. I feel it is now necessary to take you into my confidence, and to let you know the very INSIDE of plans and procedures.
I am being personally committed, now, to the most intensive effort, the most arduous, gruelling activity of my whole life. LISTEN! I simply do not have the physical strength to go thru this ordeal, without divine help from God. I must have YOUR PRAYERS, or I won't be able to do it.
And YOU, my dear Co-Workers, are going to have to ask God for help in order that YOU may work things out so that YOU can put enough of YOUR PART into this big undertaking, or we shall not survive this supreme test of our lives!
When I first started on radio, in January, 1934, all I had to do was have a sermon prepared in my mind, with a few notes, take a Bible and go to the radio studio — and when the announcer had announced me, and pointed his finger at me, start talking in front of a microphone. Of course I had to raise some funds to pay for it — the sum of $2.50! THAT'S ALL! That's how this work started!
But OH! what a difference, now, going on TV! It is taking weeks of intensive, feverish activity in thought, in planning, in scores and scores of details of preparation! In Television, in the big entertainment shows, the cost of PRODUCTION is equal to, and often in excess of the cost of time on the stations. The tobacco, liquor, and cosmetic industries spend all the way from $22,000 to more than $100,000 on just the PRODUCTION of a net-work TV show, beside another $35,000 to $100,000 or more for station time! Of course many million people see it, so the cost per person reached is very small.
Now of course WE can't afford any such astronomical expenses. We hope, eventually — we hope in a year or two — to be able to cover the entire United States, at the less-costly hours of station charges, for a third or a fourth of even the minimum paid by the big commercial sponsors.
BUT WE HAVE A PRODUCTION COST to meet, besides. I told you in my last letter God has provided us with the very TOP Television producers in Hollywood. These experts have figured out a way whereby we can reduce the production expense to only a FRACTION of the usual expense. But to do so — to save THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS on every program — means an exhausting ordeal for me, personally, which I have not the strength to do without asking God for extra strength!
HERE'S OUR BIG PROBLEM: The plans made will reduce the PRODUCTION cost of our programs to an insignificant $15 to $20 per station per program, — BUT it is going to require an investment, in advance for advance preparations and production costs, of $25,000, — AND it means a terrific personal ordeal for me, personally, to go thru in producing programs.
THE CRISIS is brought about by the fact that this initial production expense has to OVERLAP the present radio expense, BEFORE we can cancel out the radio expense!
HERE'S WHAT I MEAN. The next legal cancellation date for going off the radio Network (Sunday programs only) is July 17th. We DARE not go off radio in so many parts of the country, until we go on TV — otherwise we would lose hundreds of thousands or millions of listeners. Further, it is IMPOSSIBLE to make all these many preparations for the TV program so we can actually go ON THE AIR on Television SOONER than July 24th. The plan, then, is this: We must go OFF Network radio, and the Sunday-ONLY stations, with the July 17th program, and the VERY NEXT SUNDAY, July 24th, we must be all ready, and have all the stations contracted for, so we go ON Television. In this way the program continues right on WITHOUT INTERRUPTION. On July 24th we will NOT be on these Sunday-Only radio stations, but we MUST by that date be ON Television.
WE PLAN to even reduce our expenses, beginning July 24th. We plan to contract for FEWER DOLLARS to be spent on TV than we SAVE by going off these radio stations. (But REMEMBER, we are NOT going off the big super-power clear channel radio stations that bring you the every-night radio program).
Now I HAVE SOME REAL SURPRISES in store for you, when you see the first TV programs. They will not be like the radio programs — Television gives me opportunity to ILLUSTRATE, and to PICTURE to the audience the very things I'm talking about. Our program will be totally DIFFERENT from every other TV program. Remember, God has brought to us the best producers and directors in TV. We think we have something very unusual, and very POWERFUL planned for the TV audience. We are working night and day on it!
BUT MEANWHILE, we have to raise this $25,000 over and above all present expenses — AND WE HAVE NOT BEEN RECEIVING EVEN QUITE ENOUGH MONEY TO KEEP UP THESE REGULAR DAILY AND WEEKLY EXPENSES!
This initial $25,000 production expense, however, WILL PAY COMPLETELY FOR THE PRODUCTION EXPENSE FOR THE FIRST 18 PROGRAMS! This must all be done in advance, starting in less than two weeks, in order to affect this saving. Thereafter production costs will be even less, per program. Otherwise the very effective and powerful program we are planning would cost around $3,000 per program production expense. Thus we are saving at least $2,000 per program in production expense.
Now we have already set aside, in a special fund, more than $7,000 toward this initial $25,000 production cost for the first 18 programs. We must have not less than $15,000 of this initial cost in less than two weeks! We must have the other $10,000 on hand 30 days later — all of it before we can cut off the expense of the Sunday-ONLY radio broadcasting.
So YOU, dear Co-Workers, have YOUR ordeal cut out for YOU, the same as I — if this huge undertaking is to succeed! It is going to take super-human effort! YOU can't leap forward to do YOUR part without going to God in prayer for EXTRA HELP! Ask Him to MAKE IT POSSIBLE for you to double, or triple the usual offerings these next two weeks! WE MUST HAVE, now, not only another cloudburst of widows' mites (and they help and are needed as NEVER before!) — but unless SOME of you can send in large amounts — from one to several thousand dollars — it appears impossible to make it!
This is the BIGGEST TEST that we ever faced! Co-Workers, we CAN do it, if we set our hearts to it, and PRAY, and SACRIFICE! We have to do it! — We MUST do it! — and by faith in God, I know we WILL do it!
CO-WORKERS, I have to call on you in Jesus' name to DEDICATE YOUR LIVES TO THIS MONUMENTAL TASK BEFORE US! We have to DEVOTE ourselves to it! We now have to get under the burden TOGETHER! I can't do it alone. I can't even do my own part without praying believingly for HELP AND STRENGTH FROM GOD. You can't do YOUR part without God's help! We have a GREAT GOD to go to. He is able! Go to Him in PRAYER! Our GREATEST VICTORY in the history of our work for Him is JUST AHEAD! We can, — we must — WE WILL! God bless you.