Marlin's Vision...a Look Back
Marlin Maddoux 1933-2004
Marlin Maddoux 1933-2004
Marlin’s Vision…a Look Back
He was called the “Dean of Christian Talk Radio”. His voice became as familiar as a welcome friend to millions of listeners across America.
Marlin Maddoux, was the Founder and Host of Point of View radio talk show and one of the most trusted men in broadcasting. One of the first broadcasters to utilize satellite technology for radio, he brought his insight into critical issues and his passion for truth to a generation of Americans.
It all began more than thirty years ago during turbulent times in this nation. While young men were fighting and dying in the jungles of Viet Nam, here in America the streets were aflame with rebellion and anarchy. Upon their return home, young soldiers, war-weary and scared, had to run the gauntlet of angry mobs that shouted obscenities at them and spit on their uniforms.
The nation’s primary sources of information were the three television networks: ABC, CBS and NBC. Watching the networks give a national platform to the mobs that were calling on the people to burn America down, Marlin grew concerned. ”For months I watched the networks’ unremitting drumbeat of coverage of campus radicals who were calling for the destruction of America,” he stated. “Something was wrong in the way the networks were playing up to the protesters, almost making them out to be the new American patriots. Man of us feared that the country was on the verge of armed revolution. Somebody needed to challenge then.”
After months of soul searching, Marlin made his decision: He could no longer sit on the sidelines. He had to get involved, to speak out. He knew he might fail, but he had to give it his best shot. Radio would be his medium. It was 1972, and that decision was the beginning of the “Point of View” radio broadcast.
Things started slowly. He approached a local Dallas station and agreed to purchase fifteen minutes of daily airtime, Monday through Friday. Keeping to the talk format, Marlin would invite a guest and they would tape five fifteen-minute segments to be aired the following week. The “studio” was actually a closet with a table, two microphones, and a tape recorder. Although response to the program was good, he wasn’t on the air long enough to build financial support. After a few months, he ran out of funds and was forced to cancel the show.
A few days later, Joe Willis, the manager of the station, phoned and asked if he would consider being the regular host of the station’s afternoon interview program. A few days later, Marlin returned to the air in the afternoon slot that he has occupied for thirty years. When the station he was on changed format, he moved to KVTT in Dallas. The popularity of the program began to soar.
Searching for a way to expand the program across the nation, Marlin ventured into satellite broadcasting. That decision turned the local program into a nationwide voice. The first satellite broadcast was on September 15, 1982. The number of stations carrying Point of View immediately began to grow.
The “news/talk” format that he had adopted was on the cutting edge of radio broadcasting. This format allowed Marlin to interview some of the top people in the nation, bringing commentary and insight that challenged the thinking of millions of listeners. The program became a force that educated and mobilized Christian to action. Two events early on demonstrated the power and immediacy of satellite radio.
The first was the Nebraska case. Stories had been coming out of Nebraska about a pastor who was jailed for operating a Christian school in his church without a state license. The story sounded too bizarre to be true, but Marlin pursued the story and brought it to the attention of the nation. His interviews with the pastor, with the elders of the church, and with Christian leaders helped document the growing hostility of government agencies toward churches and Christian schools. Through the broadcast people were alerted to the growing tensions between church and state.
But the event that demonstrated the power of live, satellite talk radio surrounded a bill in Congress named H.R. 6. In February 1994, an amendment was added at the last minute to a major education bill pending before Congress. Congressman Dick Armey (R-TX) noticed that the new definition of “school” used in the bill and additional amendments could be used to effectively require teachers in private Christian schools, and home schooling parents in every state, to be certified by the government.
Mr. Armey offered an amendment to keep that from happening. When his amendment was rejected in committee, Armey called Mike Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association for his legal opinion. Mike did some research that convinced him that the bill needed protective language. When he tried to get a meeting with the committee chairman, he was rebuffed.
With the floor vote only nine days away, Mike Farris felt he had only one option left: to go on radio and make his case to the listeners. He called Marlin. When he told the story of H.R. 6 on Point of View and other outlets, there was an immediate response by the listeners. An avalanche of calls and faxes opposing the measure poured into congressional offices. When the dust cleared, Congress had received over one million phone calls. Listeners to Point of View were part of a larger army of concerned citizens who effectively shut down Capitol Hill because of the high volume of calls. The amendment that was expected to pass was defeated by a vote of 424 to 1.
A reporter with the New York Times Syndicate wrote, “Mr. Maddoux feels that talk radio has empowered the general public to express their opinions, and by all accounts, it works.”
Caught by surprise, the national media wanted to find out how so many people could be mobilized so fast. CBS Evening News sent a crew to tape an entire Point of View broadcast and used portions of it on their newscast. ABC Evening News also taped one of the broadcasts and reported on it on their evening newscast. Later, Nightline did a piece on Point of View.
Marlin stated that he felt that the reason for all the interest was that the national media just doesn’t understand what’s going on. “They’re trying to find out how all these people are getting their information, and how they can mobilize such a tidal wave of activism” he stated. “They want to know who they’re listening to, who’s furnishing these alternative views, and why they are losing control of the national consciousness.”
These, of course, are just isolated examples of success. Over the years Marlin Maddoux has interviewed thousands of guests on hundreds of topics. Untold numbers of lives have been affected. For thirty years. Point of View has been there to alert listeners to critical issues that pose a threat to our American freedoms.
It has provided a national forum for discussion of bedrock issues, educating Americans and giving them much needed ammunition to fight the battles for our faith, family and freedoms.
With the expansion of the broadcast team, Point of View has kept pace with the soaring popularity of the news/talk format. Several people have co-hosted with Marlin through the years. But the longevity of Kerby Anderson, John Clemens and Penna Dexter will always be part of Marlin’s legacy.
And Marlin was always thinking about the future. His careful development of the on-air team would ensure that Point of View continues the mission; to defend a Biblical Christian worldview and to restore the greatness of Christian thought and values to every area of American Life.
Today, one year after Marlin’s passing, Point of View is continuing the vision. Kerby Anderson, Carmen Pate and John Clemens now provide a solid broadcast team that is continuing to educate millions of Point of View listeners. Through the activism of the listening audience, Point of View continues to have a powerful impact on the future of our nation.
All of this began with small steps, simple faith and Marlin’s desire to make a difference.