Liberty circa the mid-Eighties 4: LBN
I hate to admit it, but I remember almost nothing I heard in chapel during my time at Liberty. After Jerry went to PTL and came back some number of chapel services a week were broadcast over the Liberty Broadcasting Network (LBN). Sadly, there doesn’t appear to be much evidence of LBN (a cable channel that had a satellite uplink from a studio in the Arts and Education building) anywhere on the Web; just a line item in Jerry’s official bio that I think might be misdated:
Moral Majority, Inc.: 1979-1989
Liberty Godparent Home for Unwed Mothers: from 1982
Liberty Broadcasting Network: President from 1985
Clergyman of the Year in America, Religious Heritage of America, 1979
and its mention in the ancestry of National Christian Network; evidently it became part of FamilyNet in 1988. Go figure.
It’s a shame LBN has vanished; I’d love to see archival footage of e.g. Doug Oldham’s morning talk show, chapel services, etc.
For the record, chapel is now called “convocation,” which I’m guessing is something different and isn’t just an example of syllabic inflation. Students apparently call it “convo,” if that signifies anything.
A late-Eighties chapel service typically didn’t involve any congregational singing; PowerPoint, praise choruses, and projection screens hadn’t yet revolutionized congregational singing. We were typically treated to a performance by The Sounds of Liberty when Jerry was in town, Light, Smite, or YouthQuest when he wasn’t. The earliest clips I’ve been able to find on YouTube for the Sounds date from 2005, but not much has changed; back then they had seven or so people on stage, and they lip-synced to a well-produced recording of them singing down-the-middle gospel music. The lower-profile singing groups typically sang live, I think. The only clues that the Sounds weren’t live was that their mic cords coiled at their feet and weren’t connected offstage.
Either Light or YouthQuest at this time featured two or three future members of dcTalk: Mike Tait and at least one of the blond guys. There was really no clue that they’d become superstars; they actually produced the first dcTalk recordings while they were undergraduates, and the cover art was shot over at the movie theater at River Ridge Mall. I wish I had a copy of that recording now, because it too appears to have disappeared altogether and left no trace on the Web.