ShareThis Page

Black completing ministry circle as Cornerstone's CEO

| Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
Norma Bixler and new Cornerstone Television CEO the Rev. Don Black look forward to a bright future for the Christian station.
Norma Bixler and new Cornerstone Television CEO the Rev. Don Black look forward to a bright future for the Christian station.

The Rev. Don Black is home.

“In many ways it is a completing of the circle of our ministry calling,” said Washington native Black, 59, CEO of Wall's Cornerstone TeleVision Network since January.

Its WPCB-40 and WKBS-47 in Altoona cover some of the areas where he grew up.

After years in TV ministries in the South, Black was called to head the network founded by Norma and the late Rev. R. Russell Bixler.

Russ Bixler and successors Oleen Eagle and Rev. Ron Hembree, all now deceased, had ties to WPCB's earliest days along Signal Hill Drive.

“They were looking for a leader, they were looking for someone who came with some new ideas and some new ministry perspective,” Black said.

“He is truly an answer to our prayers,” Norma Bixler said. “Don Black brings the expertise, insight, and humility needed to effectively manage and lead our Christian television network.”

Norma Bixler still is active.

“She is a real pro,” Black said. “She's a wonderful, godly lady. She's 84 going on 45.”

Black said he will build on a foundation laid at the former Western Pennsylvania Christian Broadcasting Co.

“There are a couple things we are kicking around,” he said. “I don't come in with any idea of ... changing things for change's sake.”

Black's three-year plan includes such ideas as a “sister-to-sister” show with “three, four, five women (in) a semi circle talking about life from the perspective of a Christian woman” that isn't “preachy but heart to heart.”

He also would bring “pastors, Christian leaders and communicators” together “four or five at a time” before a live audience and for questions off texts and Twitter.

“People need to know the truth and to know that the Gospel applies to every situation,” Black said.

He'd focus on what God still is doing in lives of musicians and others from the “Jesus people” era, “bring those folks together and interview them and let them do a little concert.”

He even foresees a reality show, citing “Duck Dynasty,” which opens a third season Wednesday on A&E.

“These guys are Christian guys,” Black said of brothers Willie and Jase Robertson in the Louisiana bayous. “They have a moral at the end of the story. I'd like to do a story like that in this area.”

He foresees CTVN's return to syndicating programs and has ideas for WPCB's digital subchannels. Bible Discovery Network is on WPCB-40.2, and CTVN can use 40.3 and 40.4.

“We want to do things with local pastors and to air local ministry events,” Black said.

Black does not want to forget the Great Commission.

“Our call is to get the Gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as we can as quickly as we can,” Black said. “We are living in the end days.”

He is reminded of the story Jesus told of 10 virgins, five wise, five foolish, whose torches went out while waiting for a bridegroom to arrive.

“The five that did bring the extra oil were prepared for the sudden coming of the groom,” Black said.

He wants to update CTVN's website and continue emphasis on ministries Hembree promoted.

“Cornerstone is involved in helping kids around the world,” Black said. “It was part of Ron's vision.”

Black hails from “coal country.” His father built structures for the mining industry.

“Mom was Catholic, dad was a construction engineer,” Black said. The latter wouldn't change for decades.

Meanwhile, he said, “it was in Ebensburg where I came to Christ as an 8-year-old boy watching Billy Graham.”

Ebensburg was part of a bustling coal industry at that time. “I was the youngest member of the United Mine Workers,” Black said. “It was at age 15. I was doing above-ground grunt work.”

Black went to high school in West Virginia and Illinois, then to South Carolina's University of Charleston and the Rev. Pat Robertson's Regent University in Virginia Beach.

At Regent he met his future wife Teri, a native of Butler.

Don Black earned a master's degree in communication, had law school training and was ordained as a minister in the Full Gospel Fellowship of Churches and Ministers.

He served as impact sales manager for Robertson's CBN Family Channel; vice president of sales and development for INSP/The Inspiration Network; and had various roles from 1998-2006 with Dr. Charles Stanley's In Touch ministry in Atlanta.

“Part of the motivation for going was because God used that program to touch my father,” Black said, referring to how his father came to know Christ at age 70, not long before his death.

After rising to the role of chief operating officer of In Touch Ministries, Black became managing partner of Black and White Strategy, an agency based in Franklin, Tenn., that works with non-profit organizations.

The Blacks live in Franklin, a suburb of Nashville, and have two daughters in college and two sons in high school.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.