Peter has an extraordinary ability to create “new”. New support, new supporters, new resources, new ministries etc etc. So no matter how many times he is knocked down, or how many things you might take away from him… he can always seem to rebuild bigger and better. In fact this is an integral part of his personality…. get in his way and he will be all the more driven to show you he doesn’t need you anyway. The more opposition the better. Some hockey players are like that – the stiffer the opponent, the more charged up they become. A former World Impact Ministry supporter.
Since it’s inception in 2006, The Christian Channel lost money. According to the CRTC the channel was losing about 1.2 million dollars a year. In the 3 years it was running, the CTRC noted the Christian Channel “has not shown any marked improvement in profitability over the past three years.” Did it ever occur to regulators the market was saturated?
In May 2009 the application for sale of this crippled tv channel was heard by the CRTC; the purchaser, World Impact Ministries. Cost. 4.19 million.
Someone at the CRTC hearing convinced the commissioners that:
WIM has committed to maintaining the commitments made by CCI and has stated its intentions to make considerable investments to achieve self-sustainability. The Commission considers that WIM will be in a better position to raise funds as it has significant expertise and experience in religious fundraising.
I’ve written about this in prior posts. The Christian Channel was renamed Grace TV and began to broadcast under the new ownership in June 2009.
Peter Youngren and his charity, World Impact Ministries had themselves a Canadian TV station, now competing in a specialized market which shares audience with Crossroads Christian Television Inc., (CTS/100 Huntley Street) The Miracle Channel, Vision TV/S-Vox, Joy TV and Salt and Light.
In the past the CRTC has been heavily invested in enforcing and nursing it’s religious broadcast policy. I think with the huge ongoing shakeups in media the CRTC is too busy to pay much attention to speciality channels right now.
One of the questions I’ve had around this purchase was, why Youngren? Who came to his door with this offer? How did the licence not only go through so quickly, but how did Youngren manage to get the channel on Shaw by March 2010?
Was he set up, or does it matter? Was he handed a golden goose or a golden calf? Is there a silent partner who may benefit no matter how Grace TV does under Youngren? Those are questions I doubt there are answers for. Youngren was unknown to the Canadian public until he bought this media venture. Ministries are run by human beings andÂ numerousÂ problems in the life of World Impact Ministries, Celebration Churches and Youngren holdings were not on the radar of the general public. The particular evangelical sub-culture Youngren is involved in doesn’t operate transparently. Silence is golden in more ways than one. Grandiose language is part of the sub-culture and dissent is seen as sin. Long buried issues in Youngren’s life and organization bubbled up to a more public level of awareness once he acquired Grace TV.
So how is Grace TV doing?
On May 31, 2010 Grace TV started running a ‘red alert’ campaign – begging for money to meet supposed needed payments. Given the concessions the CRTC gave this religious station, asking the public to hand them for 400 thousand dollars by June 10th, 2010 and another 350 thousand by June 30th, blatant begging is probably going to become a pattern.
… we’re all going to die if you don’t give us a half million bucks. This is part of what drives people like you and I nuts, the constant – as in ‘never ending’ fire alarm.
If Peter Youngren received the 400 thousand this month there would be a new crusade with a new cap/deadline next month. Peter Youngren – and Grace TV will always have a new campaign going on every month. If they received two hundred billion dollars this week, next month there would be a new theme and a new campaign. - a Canadian Christian
From Encounter, Grace TV June 17, 2010.
” We’ve laid out facts and figures More than you’ve ever seen any preacher on television do today this is a family talk.” Peter Youngren
TV is a money pit, a driven and cutthroat business, not a family. We are consumers of the produced product, not family. While religious programs and channels have a sub-set of loyal viewers, World Impact Ministries is an isolated outfit.
These are notes I jotted, from the Encounter update, which was a mixture of bravado and begging. I will say, given facts that have surfaced the past year, this is the most transparent I’ve seen this ministry. That isn’t saying much. Does it mean this station is ” Canada’s Gospel Voice to the World?” It’s a TV station, not Canada’s gospel voice, a supposedly catchy slogan for marketing has little to do with reality.
Youngren sees three ‘enemies’ Grace TV is facing.
1. Recession. The world in a recession, we (Grace TV) have as many Cdn shows as we are allowed to have with the licence contract.
Many Grace TV producers come from other countries, mostly US which has been affected by recession.
That recession occurred one week after Grace TV agreement.
In the past two years ministries have cut back or maintained, WIM grew 40% last year.
“I don’t know of any other ministry that has grown like we have.” Peter Youngren
Grace TV doubled it’s distribution.
When negotiating the purchase in 2009, distribution costs were 1.4 milion a year, now distribution costs are 2.9 million.
Grace TV reaches 50% of Cdn households and is now now reaching 110% more than when purchased last year.
“Insiders are probably shocked by the growth.” Nathan Thurber
“Grace TV is the Canadian success story.”
931 Grace TV partners give monthly (but it’s up and down), nearly 5 thousand people gave the past year.
Operational deficit has to break even.
-$392,000/month needed for operations
-$215,000 thousand has to come in through partners every month
Youngren stated reserves were gone a few months ago, but that Grace TV was growing every month.
I don’t know what ‘growing every month’ means.
-currently Grace TV is operating with a 80,000/month deficit
When Grace TV was purchased in June 10/09, World Impact Ministries made a down payment of 750 thousand dollars. Another 250 thousand dollars was paid toward purchase in December 2009.
The cost of the Grace TV is payable over 3 years; 1 million of the 4.19 million was paid off in the 1st year.
June 2010 appeal
$311,322.00 received in two weeks, both in gifts and investments
Interesting. The most interesting thing was that twice Youngren stated he was in sensitive negotiations with secular media and that he couldn’t say anything further.
Youngren also begged for investors, stating that there was a 6% return on investment loans and that in the 35 years World Impact Ministries had operated WIM had never failed in returning investments.
Crossroads Christian Communications Inc. has embarked a capital fund campaign of 20 million – with an eye of increasing productions by 50%. CTS lost money in 2009 and told the CRTC it will operate in a deficit in 2010. I don’t know how The Miracle Channel is doing, they are running about 4 fundraisers a year, and again, these charities don’t have some of the leeway to raise money Youngren has been given.
Doctrine, performance, professionalism, skills, results, quality, professionalism and stewardship take second place in many religious media endeavors. I’m disheartened 5 thousand people have decided Grace TV is worthy of thier financial donations and loans.
Whatever age they may be, most religious media outlets are still owned or managed by men and women with the baby boomer mindset. For them media is a one-way conversation, because that’s all they’ve known. But sooner rather than later, that paradigm needs to change, because the audience is changing – and the audience isn’t happy with what they’re seeing and hearing. Phil Cooke The Last TV Evangelist, page 117
Update: Grace TV negotiated a longer purchase payment period, when the June 10th payment goal wasn’t met.