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Pat Robertson recalls CBN’s humble beginnings

NORFOLK, Va. - CBN founder Pat Robertson remembers the lean, early days of the ministry when he purchased Channel 27 in Portsmouth.

“We didn’t own a monitor. So, to find out if we were on the air, there was a little convenience store on the corner of the block where we were on Spratley street in Portsmouth, and I would run down there to see if we were on the air,” Robertson told News 3 in a rare interview.

Robertson told News 3 anchor Les Smith that he started CBN with just $70 and was able to purchase the land for CBN with the help of a friendly banker.

“He said, 'How do you want to pay for it?' Well, of course we didn’t have any money and I said, ‘Well, nothing down.' I didn’t have any money. I said, 'I’ll pay you interest only for two years and pay the rest over 20 years,'" Robertson said.

From those humble beginnings, Robertson created a global ministry. His signature show, "The 700 Club," is seen in 180 countries. Its largest audience is in India.

As CBN grew, Robertson traveled the world. He founded Regent University, which now has 11,000 students, and he envisions a day when Regent is educating students in India and China. Robertson also created Operation Blessing.

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“Operation Blessing has distributed probably $4 billion dollars’ worth of stuff. We’ve helped 300 million people around the world,” Robertson added.

He also ran for president in 1988.

“Christians had thought that politics was something dirty and I was able to show them that Christians need to be involved in politics," he said.

Robertson plans to write another book. Smith asked him what he would to have written about him.

“I’d like to say servant of the Lord. That would be the best designation anyone could ever give me.”

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