CSN International

Few things can be more unpleasant than a religious organization with an internal feud.    Details are sketchy, and I”m not interested in saying which side is right, etc…   just trying to figure out who is running America’s radio stations.   If you want to delve into the specifics, here are some places with information: [1] [2] [3]

Calvary Satellite Network (CSN ) was built from two groups of stations – one group licensed to the Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls, Idaho, and the other to Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, California

The roots of the Calvary Chapel Churches goes back to  1965, when Chuck Smith was hired by the Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa.  The Calvary Chapel organization has tried to avoid denominational squabbles, and churches that belong to it may have very different beliefs.    The main thing they share is a strong reliance on what the Bible says.   Many of its members (at least in California) were converts who had been “hippies” and like “Jesus Music”.  The church has been very successful and planted new seeds all around the world.

Mike Kestler is the head of the Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls, Idaho, one of those seeds.

In 1996, the two churches joined forces to create CSN.  A very high level view is that Costa Mesa provided the money and the leadership of Chuck Smith.  Twin Falls knew how to get radio stations up and running.  In 2003, Chuck Smith left the board of CSN, leaving his son Jeff Smith and Mike Kestler to run CSN.   Shortly thereafter a number of lawsuits were filed back and forth.   In FCC filings, Jeff Smith asserts he is now the only member of CSN International‘s Board of Directors.

Each group controls the licenses of some of the stations.   Twin Falls controls most of the translators.  The CSN web site either lists all of the stations, or only the Twin Falls stations, depending on where you look.    Twin Falls controls the CSN network and the CSN Website, and lists Mike Kestler as the President of CSN International.    The History of CSN International (according to Twin Falls) is that CSN International was started by Mike Kestler alone in 1995 and has no connection to anyother organization with a similar sounding name.

The dispute seems to be about where donations go and then how much of that money winds up in Costa Mesa.  At the moment (May 2009), the situation appears to be unresolved. 

The Costa Mesa web site mentions nothing about CSN, and only has a link to its own local radio station in California.    Based on that, at least temporarily, I’m attaching the “CSN” label to Twin Falls.    If you know what is going with the CSN affiliates owned by Costa Mesa, I would welcome updates.

*** Update:  I found a web site for “Calvary Radio Network”, http://www.calvaryradionetwork.com/  which is a group of Costa Mesa stations in the Midwest – however the web site hasn’t been updated since 2007, so I’m not sure that it is a current web site.

Just to confuse people, there are several other “Calvary Chapel” churches that have radio stations that are not affiliated with either Twin Falls or Costa Mesa (not part of CSN).

Stations licensed to Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa.
Stations licensed to Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls 

Since the owernship and history of CSN is in dispute, trying to describe the finances of either owner is not possible at this time.  Neither church is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

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