Criswell College trustees vote to sell radio station KCBI to Calif. corporation

DALLAS?The Criswell College trustees have recommended selling the college’s radio station, KCBI-FM, to a California-based Christian radio corporation.

Criswell College President Jerry Johnson told the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s Executive Board during its meeting April 19 that the Criswell trustees approved selling the station and its assets to Covenant Educational Media Inc., contingent on an acceptable contract and approval by First Baptist Church of Dallas, which owns the college and its related ministries, and the Federal Communications Commission.

The proposed deal, worth about $23 million, would help solidify the future of the school, which has struggled financially in recent years. The deal would also include 50 years of programming for First Baptist Church of Dallas and the college.

Criswell College, at 4010 Gaston Ave., near downtown Dallas, is under the ministry umbrella of Criswell Center for Biblical Studies, which includes the college and Criswell Communications, comprised of KCBI-FM and transmitter stations in San Angelo, Texas and Frederick, Okla.

“When we get a contract that looks good, the next step is that we go to the First Baptist Church, to the deacons and then to the congregation,” Johnson told the SBTC board. Criswell College is an SBTC ministry affiliate and receives SBTC budgeted funds.

“And I am a Baptist. I believe that the safest place for anything to be is in the hands of a local church. And I am glad our college is connected to a local church. We’re not going to move ahead, we can’t move ahead on this, without the blessing of the church.”

Johnson said he has met once with the church’s deacons and would likely meet with them again before the church would vote on the sale.

The potential buyer has given $100,000 in earnest money toward the station’s purchase, Johnson told the SBTC board.

“I think it’s a tremendous package we’ve put together, and I believe God wants this college to go to the next level for our sake, for the sake of Southern Baptists of Texas. You need a four-year college; you need a university. ? And I believe God could use this to move us to the next level,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the sale could possibly fund an endowment, new property or expansion of current facilities. He said the trustees’ long-range committee is planning and praying for how best to use the potential sale to further the college’s ministry.

“If this is the Lord’s will, he’ll open the door. And if not, he’ll shut it,” Johnson said.

KCBI offers local programming and a Christian music format during morning and afternoon drive times and radio preaching and teaching from evangelical leaders such as John MacArthur, David Jeremiah and Chuck Swindoll.

Covenant Educational Media owns KVTT-FM (91.7), a Dallas radio station with a Christian talk format.

TEXAN Correspondent
Jerry Pierce
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