Not So Hot!

Cecil Willis
Marion, Indiana

In the June, 1967 issue of TRUTH MAGIZE there was an article written by me entitled "James Walter Nichols Has Another 'Hot One Going!" The article was about Brother Nichols' collaboration with some others to start a fourth radio and television network, to be called United Network Company. According to NEWSWEEK, March 20, 1967, the founder of the Herald of Truth and a deacon at the Highland church in Abilene, Texas,, and his cohorts were going to feature "a two-hour program in color from Las Vegas five nights a week." These shows were to be beamed "from Las Vegas nightclubs."

Now I am not the business man James Walter Nichols is. He has promoted the Herald of Truth, in just 15 years, into a two million dollar a year project. But it appeared to me that with his featuring two hours of Las Vegas night club acts in color nightly, his newest venture would be an unparalleled financial success. A lot of people spend a good bit of money to get to Las Vegas to see those night club acts. I hardly could understand how a Christian could justify his promotion of such activities. But from a financial standpoint, I felt sure that it would succeed.

But not so. I believe they continued in business only long enough to put on 23 shows. They began operations on May 1, 1967. And according to a recent Newspaper clipping, "James W. Nichols, chief executive officer, said the corporation was unable to pay its debts, which included $25,000 to Bill Dana Productions. Dana was host of the Las Vegas Show." The New York-based network had its principal installations in Las Vegas. "It listed liabilities totaling $1,822,486 with assets of $1,132,410 - a $690,075 deficit." To lose half a million dollars in 23 days of broadcasting might be some kind of record. The newspaper further reported, "The loss to its investors is expected to run about $2.2 million." Total loss: About $3,000,000 in less than a month! However, it was said that the bankruptcy petition "is not a straight and involuntary program but is made with the thought of re-organizing."

Since I had mentioned this venture in TRUTH MAGAZINE, I thought I should keep you up to date on the latest promotional venture of our promoting brother. I have given some thought about why a man talented enough to make the Herald of Truth a $2,000,000 a year financial success should so miserably fail. But a little reflection will suggest that Nichols was now into an entirely new field. With the Herald of Truth, he was going to beg 98% of the money spent each year. They beg more than $2,000,000 a year. He found that it is one thing to run a business that thrives on $2,000,000 a year in donations and quite another thing to run a business that must depend on its own income for its continued existence. It is much easier to beg money than it is to make money. So the "Hot One" proved to be not so hot after all.

November 1967