PTL Satellite Network - Background


In 1960, Jim Bakker met Tammy Faye LaValley while both were students at North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Tammy Faye worked in a boutique for a time while Jim found work in a restaurant inside a department store in Minneapolis. They were married on April 1, 1961, and left the Bible College to become itinerant evangelists.

In 1966, the Bakkers began working at Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia Beach, Virginia, which at the time barely reached an audience of thousands. The Bakkers would make great contributions to CBN as a nationally recognized television ministry. The couple hosted The Jim and Tammy Show, a variety program hosted by the Bakkers and several puppet characters. The program was aimed at young children, whom they entertained with comic routines with the puppets, as well as airings of "Davey and Goliath", a claymation Bible-story series. Due to the success of The Jim and Tammy Show, Robertson made Bakker the host of a new prime-time talk show called The 700 Club, which would gradually become CBN's flagship program, and become syndicated on numerous cable channels and network affiliates.

In the early 1970s, the Bakkers left CBN and traveled, holding telethons at Christian TV stations. In Charlotte, North Carolina, the Bakkers set up Trinity Broadcasting Network with TV executives Sandy and Martha Wheeler, who began airing a local version of Praise the Lord on WRET, Channel 36, owned by Ted Turner at the time. The Bakkers moved to California, teaming with their former youth pastors Paul and Jan Crouch, to create the Praise the Lord show for the Crouches' new Trinity Broadcasting Network in California. However, the relationship only lasted about eight months due to a falling-out between Jim Bakker and Paul Crouch, causing the Bakkers to leave this ministry as well. Trinity Broadcasting Systems was based in Charlotte, NC and the California entity was named Trinity Broadcasting Network, which would grow to become the world's largest faith-based network in later years. Before leaving and moving east, the Bakkers managed to retain the rights to use the initials "PTL". What began as a local TV broadcast in Charlotte changed when several members of the Bakker's staff in California moved to Charlotte in February 1974 and with the local staff built Trinity Broadcasting Systems into what became known as the PTL Television Network. The parent company changed its name to Heritage Village Church & Missionary Fellowship in 1976–77. The purchase of the Heritage USA properties in Fort Mill, SC began at that time. The PTL Satellite Network uplinked from Heritage Village on Park Road in Charlotte until December 1986. The Heritage Village Property was sold and satellite and video tape editing operations moved to Heritage USA.

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