The Path Was Made Clear
Shortly after his trip, Dr. Allen was told by Channel 12, that a new policy was in place, opening the possibility for First Baptist Church to purchase air time. However, the church would have to furnish cameras and related equipment to send the picture to the station. Dr. Allen called together a church-wide meeting of adults in the sanctuary where he told the adults of the congregation that television time was now available at a cost of $450 and hour, but the church would have to provide all of the equipment. While Dr. Allen was stressing the needs of a downtown church and the importance of a live television broadcast, this message was inadvertently heard by a radio engineer who wanted to contribute $100 and offer his services, free of charge, to turn on the microwave unit when the first broadcast was ready.
The Lord Prepared The Way
The sudden realization of a long hoped for opportunity brought some problems. Chief among them were the lack of equipment and knowledgeable personnel and the need of considerable amounts of money. The problem of knowing what equipment to acquire was resolved through the contact Dr. Allen made while accompanying the youth choir in New Jersey, Mr. Bill Howard of NBC. The "Today" show on NBC had recently changed out much used equipment for new materials. Mr. Howard knew the equipment had been sold to a company in Philadelphia. He told the men of the church that he could get the cameras for about $5,000 each (new cameras cost from $35,000 to $135,000 each at this time).
There were several men in the church with an active interest in television and knowledge of electronic equipment. Within a few days a total of $85,000 had been paid or pledged to the church to begin this ministry. When it was learned how much it would cost to ship all of the equipment from Philadelphia to San Antonio, a few men from the church decided to fly there, rent a truck and transport the equipment themselves. These two men drove a rented truck the entire distance from Philadelphia to San Antonio to deliver the equipment. After the equipment was here, platforms had to be built and holes were needed throughout the ceiling over the balcony in order to pull wires to the three cameras from the control room to eliminate the danger of people tripping over wires.
The night prior to the first live telecast, a number of people worked all through the night to finish and fine-tune the equipment. The first live telecast of a Sunday service in the Sanctuary of First Baptist Church of San Antonio was on October 3, 1971 on channel 12 (KSAT).
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the whole television project is the suddenness with which it happened. It was April that Dr. Allen was first informed that the new management of Channel 12 might allow us to rent air time. By The first Sunday in October the church was televising a weekly Sunday morning broadcast.
It was the last day of May, 1971, when Dr. Allen had asked the people to finance the television ministry, and by the following March all of our own equipment had been paid for and we were broadcasting with three cameras.