Latest on KFUO-FM sale

February 18th, 2010 Post by

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a committee opposed to the sale of KFUO-FM to Joy FM has filed a supplement to its petition to the FCC.

I really have no idea how seriously the FCC will take any of these complaints but they are interesting none-the-less. LCMS layman Robert Duesenberg asserts that the LCMS Board of Directors made the decision to sell KFUO in one of their eleventy billion executive (closed) sessions. The specific session was held on February 19, 2009. And then while an experienced media broker named Robert Cox tried to inquire about the possible sale, he was told for months that it was not for sale:

Cox, who had clients who were interested in buying the station, kept trying over the next few months, and kept getting “negative responses” to his queries, “which ranged from a denial of any knowledge about the potential sale of KFUO-FM to a reiteration of the March 2009 answer that the station was simply not for sale.”

The petition continues: “Cox first learned that that station had actually been for sale when it was announced in October 2009 that LCMS had executed an agreement to sell KFUO-FM to Gateway.”

That suggests that the LCMS board ( in the person, presumably, of Omaha lawyer Kermit Brashear, who, after voting to sell the station was given full authority and responsibility to handle the sale without further input from the other directors, and who will be paid for his services) did not tell Cox the truth.

It also suggests that Brashear wasn’t telling the whole story in his statements, after the sale was announced, that “Gateway was the only party to present an offer meeting the sale price sought by the Church.” As the supplement to the petition notes, it “rings hollow, as the seller never provided an adequate opportunity for other interested parties to make an offer for the station.”

So the petitioners mention all this because they believe that the LCMS incorrectly stated that it had complied with the “letter and spirit” of the FCC’s rule against discrimination in sales of broadcast stations.






Rules for comments on this site:


Engage the contents and substance of the post. Rabbit trails and side issues do not help the discussion of the topics.  Our authors work hard to write these articles and it is a disservice to them to distract from the topic at hand.  If you have a topic you think is important to have an article or discussion on, we invite you to submit a request through the "Ask a Pastor" link or submit a guest article.


Provide a valid email address. If you’re unwilling to do this, we are unwilling to let you comment.


Provide at least your first name. Please try to come up with a unique name; if you have a common name add something to it so you aren't confused with another user. We have several "john"'s already for example.  If you have a good reason to use a fake name, please do so but realize that the administrators of the site expect a valid email address and also reserve the right to ask you for your name privately at any time.


If you post as more than one person from the same IP address, we’ll block that address.


Do not engage in ad hominem arguments. We will delete such comments, and will not be obligated to respond to any complaints (public or private ones) about deleting your comments.


Interaction between people leaving comments ought to reflect Christian virtue, interaction that is gracious and respectful, not judging motives.  If error is to be rebuked, evidence of the error ought to be provided.


We reserve the right to identify and deal with trollish behavior as we see fit and without apology.  This may include warnings (public or private ones) or banning.

  1. March 16th, 2010 at 00:19 | #1

    Furthermore, for example, on March 1, John Roberts was kind enough to interview me during his noon hour program several weeks ago. We discussed the 200th birthday of Chopin this year, and my all-Chopin piano concert the following day at the Sheldon concert hall.

    Just prior to the beginning of our interview, he was – God bless him – coincidentally playing one of my favorite CHRISTIAN pieces of CLASSICAL music: the “Alleluia” from Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate, K165. What a joy this piece is, especially at Easter time. John probably didn’t even know he was glorifying God, and blessing his listeners, and ‘doing ministry’!

    NO MINISTRY??!! Indeed! As I recall, doesn’t Luther say that even the farmer in the field glorifies God with his daily work??? Even that is a ministry, right?

    KFUO ministers to the St. Louis community with edifying classical music, and even proclaims the Gospel on Sundays!

  2. March 16th, 2010 at 00:31 | #2

    Todd Wilken :
    Miles,
    Classic 99 plays a Sunday morning service for the same reason any other secular station does: 1) it fulfills the FCC’s public service obligation, and 2) the church that is broadcast pays to be on.
    My point is: if you say Classic 99 does ministry, you have to say all the other secular stations that play a Sunday morning service do ministry too.
    There are dozens, if not hundreds of secular stations all over the country that play an LCMS church services on Sunday morning, why doesn’t the LCMS own them too?
    TW

    Todd,
    Please. Now you’re hedging. You’ve just admitted that KFUO FM does ministry! Maybe they’re not doing it with the same gusto, intent and quantity that we’d all like, but they are doing ministry! You should clarify you’re accusation by saying KFUO FM does SOME ministry, halfheartedly, in your opinion. But you have to admit that KFUO FM does DO MINISTRY.

  3. March 16th, 2010 at 00:37 | #3

    @Todd Wilken #114

    Todd Wilken :
    Miles,
    Classic 99 plays a Sunday morning service for the same reason any other secular station does: 1) it fulfills the FCC’s public service obligation, and 2) the church that is broadcast pays to be on.
    My point is: if you say Classic 99 does ministry, you have to say all the other secular stations that play a Sunday morning service do ministry too.
    There are dozens, if not hundreds of secular stations all over the country that play an LCMS church services on Sunday morning, why doesn’t the LCMS own them too?
    TW

    I would rather have KFUO FM playing their one Sunday service, and the handful of choral/religious programs and selections each week, than 24/7 of JoyFM!! You’d likely get more pure Gospel from Chapel of the Cross than a week of Joyfm.

  4. mbw
  5. mbw
    March 16th, 2010 at 20:12 | #5

    @Mark Laverty #201

    Mark: please ask everybody (Symphony and Botanical Garden people and others) to MENTION what is happening during their on-air time each week. The employees are gagged but YOU AREN’T.

  6. mbw
    March 16th, 2010 at 20:44 | #6

    @Mark Laverty #202

    I also showed that KFUO-FM is not comparable at all in terms of its church broadcasts either to any commercial activity or to any other station in STL other than KFUO AM. KFUO-FM gives Lutheran preference to a Lutheran congregation and some other programming. Commercial stations in STL do not air Lutheran services; Joy FM denied Chapel’s request to do the same, and KFUO-FM runs ads on Sunday morning that pay in a minute and a half what Chapel pays for an hour. KFUO-FM is distinctively Lutheran and other stations are distinctively non-Lutheran.

    It was brought up that small town stations across the US air Lutheran services. That is extremely good and a very good reason to live in a small town. In the big metro of STL where liberalism and all kinds of evil are rampant, we have two Lutheran stations per 3 million people.

  7. March 17th, 2010 at 12:26 | #7

    Todd Wilken :
    Miles,
    You know that I have qualified my statement about Classic 99 doing no ministry.
    Classic 99 does no more ministry than any other secular music station.
    TW

    Todd,

    You have stated that “Classic 99 does no ministry”. This is a false statement. I would argue that Classic 99 DOES ‘ministry’ 24/7!

    Consider what ‘ministry’ is. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, to ‘minister’ means ‘to give aid or service’. Can you honestly argue that Classic 99 gives NO aid or service to those who listen? I think this is wrong. The station provides ENORMOUS God-pleasing peace, comfort and inspiration via His gift of music to perhaps tens of thousands of people, or more, each year. Does this mean the station proclaims the Gospel 24/7? No. But, contrary to your statement, they do ‘DO Ministry’!

    Furthermore, does the farmer in the field ‘DO ministry’? Does the teller at the bank, the accountant, the soldier, the salesman, the truck driver, the radio announcer, the engineer, the program director ‘DO ministry’? Yes, indeed! And so does Classic 99. Could we ALL do better ministry? No doubt, in our eyes. But thanks be to God through Christ Jesus, our ministry is perfect!

    In addition, to say that ‘Classic 99 does NO ministry’ is really a terrible, unkind thing to say. In fact, it’s an incredibly BAD (even sinful?) thing to say, and puts the worst construction on their service, and indeed, indirectly, on my service as a member and supporter of the LCMS and Classic 99!

    To say that ‘Classic 99 does no ministry’ is actually saying that the station is doing a disservice to the community, or in fact doing an evil thing. Nothing could be further from the truth! They are either doing good or doing evil. In my mind and conscience, I believe they are doing good, MUCH good, and therefore DOING MINISTRY that is pleasing to God!

    Just as a Lutheran (or anyone, for that matter) nurse or doctor or mechanic or farmer or accountant or sales clerk or musician does his/her job, they are DOING MINISTRY! No one, and no institution, can explicitly ‘preach the Gospel’ 24/7! Congregations don’t even do that. But, by God’s grace, we all do ministry, in one form or another. When Walter Maier founded KFUO, he and his colleagues agreed that to fill the daily airspace it would be appropriate to broadcast – in addition to the Lutheran Hour – all sorts of edifying programs that MINISTER to people, especially of a cultural nature, including classical music. Was he in league with the devil, and NOT doing ministry?

    You have also stated that “Classic 99 does not broadcast the Gospel.” This, too, is a false statement. As I have stated before, every Sunday, the Gospel, and indeed, an ENTIRE LCMS worship service is broadcast on Classic 99, much like a congregation conducts worship every Sunday. Therefore, CLASSIC 99 DOES BROADCAST THE GOSPEL. Maybe not with the frequency and intensity that you or I might like, but they DO BROADCAST THE GOSPEL, thanks be to God! And that is a GOOD thing! Let’s encourage them, or probably the BOD and BOCS, to do more, not toss them out on their ear!

    So neither of your arguments ‘hold any water’.

    Now, could/should Classic 99 do BETTER ministry? NO DOUBT!
    Could I do better ministry? NO DOUBT!
    Could you do better ministry? NO DOUBT!
    Could the LCMS do better ministry? NO DOUBT!

    Therefore, to say that ‘Classic 99 does no ministry’ is false.

    Now, could/should Classic 99 proclaim more Gospel? NO DOUBT!
    Could I proclaim more Gospel? NO DOUBT!
    Could you proclaim more Gospel? NO DOUBT!
    Could the LCMS proclaim more Gospel? NO DOUBT!

    So, let’s work to do that! Unfortunately, and ironically, we CAN’T! If we think we’re preaching the Gospel, I believe we’re sadly mistaken. God is the One who is doing the preaching.

    In any event, I would rather hear the relatively small amount of pure Lutheran Gospel broadcast on KFUO FM Classic 99, than the dubious religion that might be broadcast on a CCM 99.1.

  8. March 17th, 2010 at 12:44 | #8

    Mark,

    Historically, in English, the LCMS does not use “ministry” in the broad sense of “service.” It is used in a particular sense, i.e. “the minister.” It is only in the last generation that this term has evolved to be closer to how the dictionary defines it. What Todd is referring to is the specific work of the office of the holy ministry, not ministry in general which any radio station does since they “serve” some sort of needs for someone.

    TR

  9. claypez
    March 17th, 2010 at 15:01 | #9

    http://interact.stltoday.com/blogzone/culture-club/uncategorized/2010/03/kfuolcms-another-volley-served/

    KFUO/LCMS: Another volley served
    By: Sarah Bryan Miller
    Post-Dispatch Classical Music

    The very slow tennis game over the license for 99.1 FM continued late Monday, as the Committee to Save KFUO-FM filed the latest – and, possibly, the last – in a series of responses and counterresponses with the Federal Communications Commission.

    On March 3, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod responded to the Committee’s previous volley, which claimed that the FCC’s anti-discrimination rules had been violated because interested parties – including a radio broker who belongs to the MoSyn – were repeatedly told that the station was not for sale over the course of a year, including an occasion just a few weeks before the sale to Gateway Creative Broadcasting was announced.

    Not true, irrelevant, and too late to be considered anyway, said the LCMS’s Washington, DC, lawyers, who came onboard after it turned out that Synod board member/negotiator/paid counsel Kermit Brashear [3]’s idiosyncratic approach to selling the license violated some FCC rules. They claim that the final decision to sell the station was not made until August.

    Now the Committee is back, with sworn depositions which say the MoSyn has been untruthful. Their new filing points out inconsistencies in the LCMS’s statements, which first claim that the entertained offers for an extended twelve-month period and then state that the station was only for sale for six weeks.

    According to statements by three respected Lutheran leaders – Paul Maier, Robert Duesenberg and Paul Devantier – the board of directors voted to sell, and most likely to sell to Gateway Creative Broadcasting (a.k.a. “Joy FM”), at their meeting on February 19, 2009, when they gave Brashear full authority to handle all aspects of the sale without reporting back to them. LCMS treasurer Tom Kuchta, a strong, longtime advocate of selling the station, was to work with Brashear.

    A meeting was held almost immediately afterward between Maier, Duesenberg, Devantier, Dennis Stortz, (the managing director of the radio station), and the Rev. Dr. Ray Hartwig, secretary of the LCMS.

    Hartwig, say the sworn depositions, told the group that the board had decided to sell, and that it was an “unequivocal” decision; that a committee of three staunch advocates of selling had been appointed for that purpose; and three possible buyers had been identified: “a company based in Salt Lake City, Utah” (presumably Bonneville International, wholly owned by the Mormon religious organization, which is headquartered there); Joy FM, later identified by its legal name, Gateway Creative Broadcasting; and “a possible group from the KFUO arts board.” Hartwig “stated that the most likely buyer among them was Joy FM, because it was a Christian radio broadcasting operation.”

    The next day, Stortz and Hartwig met with Noemi and Michael Neidorff of the Radio Arts Board, which raised over $800,000 for classical broadcasting over the course of two years, and told them of the board’s definite decision. The Neidorffs, in turn, called a meeting of the RAB, which decided to cease its fundraising efforts.

    The Neidorffs and their broker met with Brashear and made an offer, expecting to have it countered; instead, Brashear tried to sell them Joy FM’s two outstate “rimshot” stations, an HD channel, and “intellectual property” for $5 million.

    On Monday night, Duesenberg was asked if he’d say that Brashear, Kuchta, and the Synod’s lawyers were guilty of telling lies. “I’m not sure I’d want to go that far,” he replied. “Guilty of mendacious conduct, yes.”

  10. March 18th, 2010 at 01:09 | #10

    Pastor Tim Rossow :
    Mark,
    Historically, in English, the LCMS does not use “ministry” in the broad sense of “service.” It is used in a particular sense, i.e. “the minister.” It is only in the last generation that this term has evolved to be closer to how the dictionary defines it. What Todd is referring to is the specific work of the office of the holy ministry, not ministry in general which any radio station does since they “serve” some sort of needs for someone.
    TR

    Pastor,

    Thank you for interjecting. I’m aware of, and understand that distinction. Thank you for reminding me. However, in the past few decades, the term seems to be used more and more loosely. Moreover, it seems he used the term in a casual sort of way. In any event, I took it to mean KFUO does ‘no ministry’, i.e., Christian service. I think in the context of this public forum it would be helpful if he would clarify that. And by holy ministry, does that mean the office of a pastor?

    Nevertheless, even if he is referring to the office of the holy ministry, e.g., a pastoral office, his argument is still weak, if not groundless. When saying that ‘Classic does no [holy] ministry’, is he implying that it should? I can’t believe he means that. I don’t think anyone expects KFUO to perform the office of the holy ministry. Wouldn’t that would be absurd?

    What radio station could ever fully perform the holy ministry of a human pastor? Even when Rev. Dr. Walter Maier was preaching and broadcasting on KFUO, I can’t believe he expected the station to conduct itself as a ‘holy ministry’. Indeed, is it even feasible for KFUO to conduct the office of the holy ministry? Doesn’t that imply the administration of Word and Sacrament, and everything else that a parish pastor does? Obviously, I’m not a theologian, and don’t even play one on TV!

    To carry it one step further, I ask, does Lutheran World Relief and Human Care ‘do ministry’? When the workers and/or volunteers hand out material relief supplies to needy people, are they conducting the ‘holy ministry’, or simply ‘ministry’, or service? If the latter, then I would have to conclude that Todd will start arguing to sell LWRHC along with KFUO FM. Or is LWRHC a ‘holy ministry’ because the faithful Rev. Dr. Harrison is at the helm (whereas KFUO is not led by a pastor)? I’m a little confused by Todd’s distinction.

    In the end, I think one has to ask, ‘is the work of KFUO Am or Fm God-pleasing’. Am I correct? Is that a fair question? Is their work good or evil? I think they do much good. Sure, they could probably do better, and I pray they might have the opportunity. Frankly, I would like to hear more Gospel on the station. However, I think they do better, edifying work for its listeners than the potential CCM buyers would do.

Comment pages
1 3 4 5 9218
If you have problems commenting on this site, or need to change a comment after it has been posted on the site, please contact us. For help with getting your comment formatted, click here.
Subscribe to comments feed  ..  Subscribe to comments feed for this post
Anonymous comments are welcome on this board, but we do require a valid email address so the admins can verify who you are. Please try to come up with a unique name; if you have a common name add something to it so you aren't confused with another user. We have several "john"'s already for example. Email addresses are kept private on this site, and only available to the site admins. Comments posted without a valid email address may not be published. Want an icon to identify your comment? See this page to see how.
*

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.