Company History

Dr. Percy B. CrawfordThe founder of the Crawford Broadcasting Company was Dr. Percy B. Crawford. He was a broadcast visionary. An evangelist, Christian educator and businessman, he realized early on the value of radio and television as a means to promote the Gospel and to reach people.

 In 1932, he founded the non-profit organization, the "Young Peoples Church of the Air" (YPCA) through which radio time was purchased. Dr. Crawford produced the very first religious network radio program heard on the Mutual Radio Network linking some 400 radio stations in every state of the Union. That national radio network outlet was supplemented by the purchase of broadcast time from local and regional radio stations, and in addition to the programming of the Young Peoples Church of the Air, Pinebrook Praises was also broadcast live from Philadelphia for some 25 years.

Ruth & Percy CrawfordIn 1949, Dr. Crawford founded and produced the first Christian television broadcast, which aired on the ABC Television Network with outlets in virtually every major city in America. That program continued for some four years on the network, followed by a series of releases of the same programming on regional and local television stations for an additional seven years.

In 1958, Dr. Crawford devised a strategic business plan for the purchase and acquisition of radio stations. From 1958 to 1960, seven stations were purchased or had construction permits issued by the FCC. The seven original stations were located in Miami, Buffalo, Des Moines, Portland, Chicago, Lancaster and Detroit.

Dr. Crawford passed away in 1960 after having acquired Channel 17 in Philadelphia, owned and operated by the YPCA. His estate operated the seven radio stations, selling three, maintaining three (Detroit, Chicago and Lancaster), and two years after his death, building the station in Buffalo. Ruth Crawford Porter, his wife, functioned as Executrix but the family's business interests were managed by Dr. Crawford's oldest son, Donald B. Crawford.

The company expanded rapidly from 1968 to 1979, acquiring stations in Birmingham, Houston, Dallas and Oklahoma City through the auspices of the Young People's Church of the Air. In 1979, a number of stations were sold and the remainder was divided among family members. Donald Crawford retained ownership or an ownership interest in Detroit, Chicago, Birmingham, Dallas and Buffalo.

In 1980, Donald Crawford acquired KBRT(AM) in Los Angeles. This station, along with the other five, formed the core of the Crawford Broadcasting Company from 1980 to 1991. An expansion program began in 1991, and key purchases were made in Portland, San Francisco, Denver, St. Louis, Rochester and Albany. Later acquisitions were made in Chicago, Rochester, Albany and Birmingham. The company's rapid growth was accomplished almost entirely through its own resources and its considerable ability to generate cash flow.

 

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