Oprah Goes National – 30 Years Ago


It happened 30 years ago today. On September 8, 1986, The Oprah Winfrey Show was broadcast nationally for the first time. A huge success, her daytime television talk show turned Oprah into one of the most powerful, wealthy people in show business and, arguably, the most influential woman in America.

Winfrey, who was born in rural Mississippi to a poor unwed teenage mother on January 29, 1954, began her TV career as a local news anchor in Nashville and then Baltimore before moving to Chicago in 1984 to host a morning talk program. She quickly turned the show into a ratings winner, beating our a popular talk program hosted by Phil Donahue.

At the urging of the Chicago-based movie critic Roger Ebert, Winfrey signed a syndication deal with King World and The Oprah Winfrey Show was broadcast nationally for the first time. It went on to become the highest rated talk show in television history.

I still remember visiting a lady in the hospital in about 1987. I offered to pray for her, as she was facing major surgery. But she had The Oprah Winfrey Show on in her hospital room, so she asked me to come back later. I’m not sure I ever did.

We are always looking for the next “star.” The fact is, the Star has already come – and stayed. In Christ, we have all the “star” we need. While it will always be human nature to follow the rich and famous, it is far better to bow before the King of kings and Lord of lords.

It’s okay to watch Oprah. But bow only to Jesus.


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