Copyright © Philadelphia Church of God
The year 1942 was by far our biggest year of progress up to that date.
The response to daily broadcasting on station kmtr (now klac) was an eye-opener to me. The effectiveness appeared to be more than seven times that of the once-a-week program. Response was immediate. And even though no request for contributions ever was made, voluntary contributions were sufficient, from the very first week, to pay the multiplied expense.
But after the three Sunday afternoon evangelistic meetings held at the large Biltmore Theater in downtown Los Angeles, the last three Sundays of July, it was necessary to return to Eugene, Oregon.
At that juncture I had to drop off the daily weeknight broadcasting. Recording facilities in Eugene were not adequate to carry on a seven-programs-per-week schedule from our home office in Eugene. Yet I had learned by this experience the tremendous power and impact of daily broadcasting.
Back in Eugene, after almost four months in Hollywood, our co-worker list had grown to at least double. In other words, twice as many or more were now co-workers with me, supporting God’s Work regularly with their tithes and offerings.
Although I was unable, because of lack of facilities, to continue the daily broadcasting at that time, it was most gratifying to be able to now make a big expansion in other directions.
As related earlier, that superpower station who, Des Moines, had offered me time. On our trip to Des Moines and Chicago the summer of 1941, this tremendous opportunity had opened.
Of course, in 1941, this giant who was still completely beyond our reach. But by early August 1942, with our income doubled, and with the very low rate offered by the manager of who, I felt ready to take this leap.
Before going to Des Moines, I decided to reinforce our radio coverage of the Pacific Northwest. Station kga, Spokane, had offered us time at the early Sunday morning time of 8 a.m. In Seattle, station krsc had moved us to the earlier time of 8 a.m. from the better time of 8:30. Once again I employed the old Postal Telegraph lines for a network broadcast between Seattle and Spokane. We called it the Liberty Network.
I overlooked mentioning that, before leaving Hollywood, I had arranged to release the program Sunday mornings over station kfmb, San Diego. At that time the old kmtr signal was so strong in San Diego, more than 100 miles distant, that kfmb was able to pick the program out of the air and rebroadcast it at the same hour, 9:30 a.m.
And so now, with coverage on the Pacific Coast over stations in San Diego, Hollywood, Eugene, Portland, Seattle and Spokane, I took the train to Des Moines, Iowa.
On Sunday night, 11 p.m. August 30, 1942, for the first time in my life I was speaking, from the studios of who, to a nationwide audience! I have before me, now, the script of that program.
The announcer’s voice—recorded, and I think it was the voice of famous network announcer Art Gilmore, as it is today—heard in all parts of the nation, was saying:
“The World Tomorrow! At this same time every Sunday, Herbert W. Armstrong analyzes today’s world news, with the prophecies of the WORLD TOMORROW!”
And then, for the first time heard nationally:
“Greetings, friends! We enter the fourth year of this war next Tuesday. We entered the ninth week of the supreme crisis of the war today! In all probability the ultimate outcome is being determined right now on the Russian front!”
And then followed an outline of Hitler’s “Thousand-Year Plan” for world rule by German Nazis. On this very first program heard nationally the coming United States of Europe was proclaimed. By that time it was already becoming apparent to me that Hitler would be defeated, and that this resurrected Roman Empire would precipitate a third and final world war, at a later time after another recess between wars.
Then, in that first nationwide program, God’s thousand-year plan was explained from the Bible—the coming Millennium! Hitler’s plan was indeed a satanic and clever counterfeit, aimed at producing diametrically opposite results. Where Christ’s millennial rule shall bring freedom and happiness, Hitler’s would have produced slavery. Where Christ’s reign shall give eternal life to multitudes, Hitler’s would have brought torturous death to enslaved millions.
Before going to Des Moines to begin the broadcasting over who, I had written and turned over to the printers in Eugene the articles for the August-September issue of the Plain Truth. We were not up to 12 pages, although it still was coming out bimonthly.
The leading article in that number revealed the amazing Japanese plan for conquering the United States. It was based on a Japanese Mein Kampf, called the Tanaka Memorial. This plan had been in process of development for 300 years—growing out of an ancient document dated May 18, 1592. The great national hero of Japan, Hideyoshi, had set forth in this document the great national plan for world empire and setting the Mikado on the throne to rule the world.
This had been a Japanese national dream for three centuries. Then on July 25, Baron Tanaka, then premier, presented the Tanaka Memorial as a definite blueprint for world conquest to the Mikado. This led directly to the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. It was based on the religious conviction that the Mikado is the direct descendant of the mother of heaven. Being, therefore, the son of heaven, the emperor had to be established on the throne of the world to show that he is god. Thus even the Japanese attack had vital significance as another counterfeit of Christ’s gospel of the Kingdom of God—and of Jesus Christ as the true Son of God, who is to rule the world!
An article captioned “The WAR, at the Moment” said this: “We entered the supreme crisis of this war the first of July. It came with the launching of Hitler’s supreme gamble for the Russian Caucasus. … The situation is this: We do not have to win the war this year, but Hitler does! United States power is mounting fast. It is only a matter of perhaps 10 to 12 more weeks until this nation shall be able to hurl such crushing power against the Axis that, with this power steadily increasing, the ultimate outcome will be assured, with victory for the democracies …. It might, even then, take us until 1945 to end it, but the outcome would be predetermined …. From now on Axis power cannot increase, while Allied power will ….
“And so it is a race against time …. The Germans, to win, must win before we get set with the power we shall have by approximately November 1. They must knock Russia out of the war. They must take Suez and drive the British out of the Mediterranean and the Near East. They must be ready to turn west, against the British Isles, without fear of attack from behind, free to hurl their whole power against Britain in one supreme final victory, before we can launch the much-talked-of offensive against Hitler’s Europe …. Hitler staked everything on his death-gamble that he could knock out Russia before the Allies can open the second European front.”
There, in summary, was the analysis of the war as of August 1942, as reported in the Plain Truth. Looking back in retrospect, the analysis was accurate. Hitler did take too big a gamble. United States’ might did turn the tide before the end of the year. And it did take until the spring of 1945, just as predicted, to end it!
The Work of God was now really beginning to “go places”! The message for which Jesus Christ was crucified—the message the world has rejected ever since—was for the first time being heard in every state in the Union!
But if God now was granting us to grow in power, He also allowed the persecution, opposition and pressures aimed at stopping God’s Work to increase in power. Never before had we felt any truly major-power opposition. But now we did.
Along about the end of January 1943, I received notice of cancellation from radio station who. I was in Hollywood at the time, broadcasting daily again for a few weeks on kmtr.
Consternation seized me. To be thrown off who at this stage might prove fatal to the whole Work. Even though the charge they made for time was exceedingly low for such a station—because of my uncle’s local influence, I had been given a local rate—and a religious rate at that, which was, as I remember, just half of the local commercial rate—yet it seemed very large to us at the time. After five months we had spent quite a sum of money, for us at that time, as an investment in who broadcasting. We had not been on long enough, as yet, with only three programs a month, to have established the financial support from new co-workers hearing the program on who. Remember, we made no request, even indirectly, for financial support over the air. Nor was there any in the free literature we sent to listeners.
The who broadcast, our most costly so far, was being supported by Pacific Coast co-workers. It was not paying its own way—yet.
Immediately I obtained train reservations for Des Moines. Then I wrote out a letter addressed to who listeners who had written me in response to the program. In the letter I told our listeners what had happened, and asked them, if they wanted the World Tomorrow program to continue on the station, to write the station and tell them how they felt. Then I dictated the letter to my secretary in Eugene by long-distance telephone, and asked her to mimeograph it and mail immediately to the entire who mailing list.
That list had mounted and multiplied into many thousands. By this time we had received letters from all 48 states.
I remember one who broadcast in particular. I had recorded it at the Studio & Artists recording studios at Columbia Square, Hollywood, on a Thursday night. I had been overworked, losing sleep and was tired. I was not up to usual broadcasting form that night. I knew it, and felt very badly about it. I tried, but for a half hour of speaking into the microphone it just seemed the usual spontaneous enthusiasm wasn’t there.
“Mr. Armstrong,” said the owner of the recording studio after I finished, “you ought to remember that who is a very important station. You ought to take it more seriously. This broadcast we just recorded was not good enough. You usually do better.”
Now I felt worse. I knew only too well how poor it was. But I had tried. I had done the best I could. I just was too tired to be at my best. But there was no time to do it over. I had to rush it to the airport.
But what I had lacked in that program, God more than made up. That Sunday night God caused the weather to be extraordinarily cold—all over the continent. In Iowa it was one of those 20-below-zero nights, without wind—cold and still! That is the kind of weather in which radio waves radiate with extraordinary sharpness. That very “poor” broadcast, as we thought when recording it, heard at 11 p.m. in the central time zones, at midnight in the East, brought a total of twenty-two hundred letters—2,200!
I think that was some kind of a national record for response to a half-hour speech starting at 11 p.m. on one station only! That one program brought mail from every state in the Union!
After that phenomenal record-breaking response, my sorrow over having thought I did poor work was turned to real joy!
Well, that was a record! It will give the reader some idea of the way the mailing list had grown from who broadcasts.
Many thousands of letters went out from Eugene to these listeners the same day I dictated the letter by telephone.
A few days later I arrived in Des Moines. The cancellation had come, not from Mr. Mailand, but from the sales manager. So I went first to his office.
He stared at me.
“Are you the man who has been flooding this station with all these thousands of letters of protest against canceling your program?” he demanded—somewhat angrily, I thought.
“Why, I suppose so,” I replied, rather startled. “Is that wrong?”
“Wrong? Why, man, don’t you know that showering such a downpour of ‘inspired’ mail on any radio station is the very last way to influence the station? That kind of mail has no influence on us at all—but it is a mighty big nuisance!”
“Well, I didn’t realize that,” I replied. “I thought you’d want to know how our program was being received by listeners. I surely didn’t mean any offense.”
“Well, let me tell you, Mr. Armstrong, I certainly learned that lesson! A while back we were appearing before the Federal Communications Commission in Washington. Before I went down there, we put out an appeal on the air for our listeners to write to the fcc. They did! And the officials of the fcc didn’t like it.”
“Well,” I asked, “if I had to learn by experience, the same as you, and if you made the same mistake I did, then do you think you ought to blame me?”
He had to laugh at that.
Nevertheless I found I was really on the spot—and in trouble. I had not met this sales manager before. Because my uncle had known the general manager and arranged an appointment for me, I had transacted business with him. I saw immediately that this sales manager was a very able and competent man for that job—undoubtedly very valuable to the station. But he did not like our program. He didn’t say why. And I rather guessed that he felt I had taken matters over his head in going to the general manager of the station. Further, he explained that very powerful pressure had been brought on him from New York against selling time commercially for religious programming.
We went into Mr. Mailand’s office. I learned that Mr. Mailand did like the program, and sat up Sunday nights until 11:30 so he could hear it. He was on my side, but his sales manager, a very aggressive man, was insistent the program go off.
I then explained to the two men our own position—how we were a very small church in Eugene, Oregon, and how hundreds of people, mostly very poor people on the West Coast, had made great sacrifice to finance our broadcasting on this powerful station heard nationally.
“Mr. Mailand,” I said, “I signed a year’s contract with you. All these co-workers have backed me in good faith. I signed the contract in good faith. I believed that you signed it also in good faith, and that when you opened the door of this great station to us, and signed a contract to keep it open for a year, that we could rely on your word being good. All these co-workers have backed me for 5½ months feeling that, in due time, a sufficient number of interested listeners would voluntarily join them as co-workers backing this Work financially to make the broadcasting to all the rest of the nation self-supporting. You know we never request contributions over the air, or in any literature. If you cancel now, you will cause very great injury to us! You have given us a year’s contract in which we trusted, and have taken this hard-earned money contributed by all these poor people—and now threaten cancellation before we have had a chance to be on long enough to relieve those people of this burden. If you had told us you’d keep the door open only 5½ months, we surely never would have signed the contract or started—or have spent any money with you. Would you want to injure a church by breaking your contract?”
“Well, Mr. Armstrong, of course we wouldn’t. The way you put it, you make it mighty hard for me. Would you mind if Mr. B. (the sales manager) and I talk this over privately a few moments, to see what we can do?”
I was shown to a reception room outside. I was alone there, and quickly knelt before a chair and appealed to the God of heaven. He had opened this giant door. He had said no man can shut doors He opens. I asked Him to intervene and save His Work.
When I was called back to Mr. Mailand’s office, I was able to talk to him alone. He explained that he had opened that time and signed the contract in perfect good faith—that he liked our program and was himself one of our interested listeners—that he certainly didn’t want to do us any injury—but on the other hand, he didn’t want to lose a very able and valuable sales manager.
“Mr. Armstrong,” he said, “if we compromise by letting you fill out your contract and complete the year, will that give you time enough to become thoroughly established, and possibly to get on other stations that will maintain your coverage?”
Well, of course, I could not be sure, but it certainly would be a lot better than stopping the broadcast right then.
“Well, if I leave the World Tomorrow on the station until the year’s contract is finished, will you agree to go off then?”
There was nothing else I could do—I certainly had no contract beyond that time. Reluctantly I had to agree to this—and actually it was a tremendous victory, after all.
I have mentioned that there were, at that time, only eight stations in all America that enjoyed absolutely exclusive channels. One other, which by its location I felt might have a better chance of being heard nationally than most, was 50,000-watt woai of San Antonio, Texas.
From my hotel I immediately called Mr. Hugh Halff, manager of woai. Did he have 11 p.m. Sunday nights open—could he clear it if he found the program acceptable? He could, but would have to know more about the program and audition it.
I caught the next train for San Antonio. I think Mr. Halff might have called Mr. Mailand, when I told him we were on who. Anyway, he had no objection to the program after listening to a transcribed broadcast, and the doors of woai swung open to us. The expense of adding this station 6½ months before going off who gave us a tight squeeze, but it seemed imperative that we get our listeners established to listening to woai before we went off who and lost them altogether.
And so, although through the years, the individual doors of some radio stations have closed to us, the general giant door of tv, radio and the printing press has never closed—just as Christ has said that no man can shut it!
And every apparent setback has proved like the cocking of a gun—it actually results in shooting us ahead faster than ever!
There probably are no finer, higher-prestige radio stations in the United States than who and woai, and today the World Tomorrow telecast is also heard on many of the most powerful stations in the world.Continue Reading: Chapter 45: More Opposition—More Growth