07 September 2006

gene scott's contributions to shortwave

I heard televangelist Dr. Gene Scott over shortwave last month, but decided to write a separate article rather than include it with my other reception reports.

I can't give the late man a proper introduction. Instead, follow the wikipedia link above for the biographical angle. My interest in Gene Scott was sparked by The Professor from WFMU, via his Adventures in Amplitude Modulation series of weblog articles. I'm not religious, so I find Gene Scott interesting primarily because of his antics.

I found a weblog post from former child actor and current cool guy Wil Wheaton. He was listening when Gene Scott's death was announced on the University Network. (Sounds like Wil's kitchen is much bigger than mine, and that's not a euphemism.)

My reception of Gene Scott on 6090 khz was on 25 August 2006 starting at 0702 UTC. I used my Eton FR250, powered by the hand crank, and connected to a DE31 active loop antenna to increase the shortwave signal strength.

When I joined the broadcast, Gene Scott was preaching in a tame tone of voice. It was a recording, as he has been dead for about 18 months. After he said "call me", a slow blues guitar song was played. A voiceover gave the 1-800 number several times during the song. The toll-free number can be used to make reservations for Sunday's service. (A reservation? Is it like dinner theater?) Then he started talking about horses. "If a horse gets caught in barbed wire, it'll tear itself to pieces." I forgot what point he was trying to make, but the topic was churches and fundraising. Churches used to ask him how they could raise more money. In particular, he mentioned a bad experience with some guy in Seattle. "Maybe he's listening tonight... what a jerk."

Then, "I did my doctorate at Stanford." This broadcast is full of Gene Scott's modus operandi. Only a video shot of his outrageous glasses and expensive cigars was missing. He offered a bible for those who call in and contribute $100 or more. Then he mocked churches for apologizing when they ask for contributions. He uses indirect methods to get people on his side and donate money to him. Part intellect, part religion, part showmanship, and part ridicule. At 0800 UTC, "Stir it up" by Patti LaBelle was played, which is from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack.

If you have a shortwave radio and you haven't heard Gene Scott yet, you should make the effort!

I decided to submit a reception report to the Caribbean Beacon via postal mail, along with an international reply coupon. I visited two post offices near the end of August before learning that new IRCs were being issued on the first of September. Tonight, I went to a third post office to get IRCs, but that station didn't have any either. My solution was to include a dollar bill in the envelope as reimbursement for return postage. It'll be sent tomorrow and I'll let you know if I receive a reply.

4 comments:

JB said...

Oh you haven't lived until you hear his widow on the air begging for money.
It's almost worth paying for.

weatherall said...

Ha! Well, I need to keep listening in order to hear her. In fact, I may call the number and urge them to put her on the air.

Anonymous said...

Drs. Scott (Gene and his widow Melissa) take an approach that may appeal to folks who prefer a more intellectual, emotionally detached form of learning Christianity. Gene was definitely irascible, especially in his younger days, but mellowed with age as he became ill with cancer, later dying of a stroke. He struck some folks as arrogant but IMO he was a straight shooter and his teachings on the subtle but important differences in translations was worth wading through the posturing. Melissa has carried on the tradition, tho' without the barking and posturing.

BTW, the Scotts call for donations far less than most other ministries. In fact, they often have said listeners and viewers should donate only if they benefit from the programs. And the reason for the reservations is two-fold: (1) It's a very popular church; (2) As with many denominations, despite downplaying it more, Christian churches have never considered their doors to be wide open. They always vet their visitors and prospective members. Sometimes it's so subtle visitors don't realize they're being vetted.

BTW, I enjoy your blog. Very informative and a good read.

Lex Jenkins

weatherall said...

Lex:
Thank you for the additional details on Gene and Melissa Scott. You provided some nice background which I was unable to do after my rather brief listens.