Return Issues, Etc. to KFUO!

Mollie here. In a previous comment thread, Chris Rosebrough suggested:

Since the synod claims that Issues, Etc. was cut for “financial reasons.” I think it is time for the next round of cost cutting measures for KFUO AM.

KFUO AM needs to cancel the Afernoon Show and fire Diane Summers and the Rev. Steve Siegel (hosts of the Afternoon Show) and put Issues, Etc. back on the air in its normal time slot.

This would save KFUO AM at least $150,000 per year in employee overhead. Lutheran Public Radio may even be willing to pay a ‘nominal fee’ for the air time at KFUO AM. That being the case, KFUO AM could be making a profit during that time slot rather than losing money.

As I see it, canceling The Afternoon Show is the ONLY financially responsible thing for them to do.

Excellent point. If David Strand and the Board for Communication Services were telling the truth about why they canceled Issues, Etc., this is basically their only option.

Also, many of us were proud to hear Issues, Etc. on KFUO radio. We’re in a wonderful church body and one that I’m elated to be a part of. Being able to say that Issues, Etc. is broadcast from KFUO would make a lot of people very happy.

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


Return Issues, Etc. to KFUO! — 15 Comments

  1. Not being a listener of The Afternoon Show, and regardless of what has been done in the past – is it right to callously and whimsically advocate firing two employees without any cause based on what they have done?

  2. I would suggest that perhaps there are others higher up in the “Communications” area that ought to have their employment reevaluated. I wonder if KFUO would air the program if it were offered free of charge–not that it should be?

  3. ITA with James. Diane Summers is a heck of a good worker at KFUO and does lots in addition to co-hosting Giggles, Etc. Like what? She helps produce (get guests for) the two-hour Bible study five days a week, handles PSAs (public service announcements), records spots (ads and promotions) for AM and FM station (she has a very elegant and yet unintimidating voice for ads for fine retailers, etc.) and knows the boards (control and electronics) as well as anybody there. She served for years as a very able co-host with Paul Clayton on the morning show. I’ve honestly never met her and have only set foot in KFUO’s building once but from years of listening to the station a lot during the day, she just seems like a great employee and team player over there.

    Let’s leave Diane out of talk of firing, say I, in all humility and seriousness.

  4. I understand that the suggestion regarding cutting the Afternoon Show was slightly tongue-in-cheek. What is sad is that we know the truth – Issues Etc. was not eliminated for financial reasons. A radio station in such dire financial straits would have undergone a complete makeover. Positions eliminated, costly programs dumped, remaining management personal to “wear more hats,” so to speak. All of those changes and more would be implemented in order to stop the bleeding of red ink. None of this was done. One program and two employees were axed. Meanwhile, the problems facing the stations remain and the present leadership continues on. And one of the best tools the LCMS had in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ has had to make its own way…which in the end may be the very best development of all.

  5. We need to put the best construction on what Mr. Strand told us about the financial matters. Even if it doesn’t seem right that the cause was financial, that’s their story and they’re sticking to it! That being the case, we should see a congratulatory response on the return and success of IssuesEtc any time now.

  6. I think we need to see more cost cutting measures from the International Center period. What is the ‘purpose’ of all of the employees at the International Center anyway? What are they doing with the $80,000,000 a year congregations of the LCMS are sending them? How are they serving the churches of the LCMS, and the mission of Christ? I have read that only 2% of the budget goes to Synod’s Seminaries and universities. I have heard the number of missionaries commissioned by the LCMS is dropping. I have seen the large commercial buildings across HWY 44 from the IC purchased by Synod within the past 20 years and the old Catholic boys school next to the Seminary bought in the past few years. If we have budget concerns maybe we need to sell some property instead of buy it. Perhaps we should send some IC employees back to serve in our parishes. Maybe we should cut down on some conferences and meetings, and hold the ones we have in less elaborate ways.
    But what do I know? I am sure a lot of good is being done at the IC like Lutheran World Relief. I am sure there are many good uses for all of the buildings we own. I am sure church execs deserve a nice get away as much as anyone else. I am sure I will never be sure about a lot of things that go on in our Synod. God have grace and mercy on all of us in the LCMS.

  7. I need to respond to Chris Roseborough’s post, since I know about many of the people involved in this affair.

    First, it would be great to have Issues, etc. back on KFUO. That is really where it belongs.

    Second, innocent people should not be punished for other persons mistakes. Innocent people are the good folks who work at KFUO, including Diane Sommers, Paul Clayton, Chuck Rathert, Tom Baker, the engineers, the maintenance men, the receptionist, et. al. I don’t believe that any of them draw a very large paycheck. They do it for the love of the work, the audience, and the Gospel. I know many of these people and they don’t deserve this treatment.

    Third, the complaints should be directed to the persons who are responsible. David Strand is not necessarily that person. He is in the situation I used to be, that is, according to LCMS bylaws “he serves at the pleasure of the board.” He may be very unhappy about the decision of the Board for Communication Services to discontinue Issues, etc., but he is obligated in his position to obey and execute their decision. He might voice a protest in a board meeting, off the record, but never outside. If he gave the board any resistance over their decision, he would lose his job. David is a very amiable and cooperative man, in any event.

    Fourth, the persons responsible are the board majority of the Board for Communication Services. I know that Mr. Garbe, Pastor Vogts, and Dr. Berger have always been very supportive of Issues, etc. I doubt that they would have voted to close the program, but I don’t know for sure. That leaves four persons probably responsible: Dr. David Kluth of Concordia-Austin, Mrs. Candace Mueller (I believe a sometimes writer for Lutheran Witness or the Reporter), Rev. John Bush of Brownstown, Michigan, and Mr. Dennis Clauss. Clauss’ name rings a bell from seminary class lists, but I can’t locate it, and he is not on the LCMS ordained roster. I believe Clauss is the chairman of the board. If people are going to complain about the decision, complaints should be directed to Kluth, Mueller, Bush, and Clauss, not to the innocent folk who work for the church sacrificially.

    Fifth, in the broader scheme of things, people need to understand that the synodical offices really are undergoing a severe financial cutback this year. The Treasurer of the Synod and the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Funding the Mission did an excellent job of analysis of the problem of operational funding and suggesting solutions in the last triennium. Their report was submitted to the convention, where it was basically ignored. Now all of the offices and boards that are in the “corporate synod” are going to have to make cuts in staff. There really is no other choice in most departments.

    Sixth, the Board of Communication Services did have other options, such as selling KFUO-FM, and using the millions from that sale to keep KFUO-AM afloat for the next decade or so. This option was proposed by many different people in the last couple of years, with extensive debate on the subject in the Board of Directors of synod. Check the minutes of both boards going back for the last five years, available on synod’s website.

    Seventh, and I think this is the main issue, the BCS chose to close down a national ministry that had an evangelistic, educational, and apologetic focus, instead of a Saint Louis arts station, with no religious function at all. This suggests, at first glance, that the board majority at the BCS has a preference for Saint Louis over the rest of the USA; and a preference for classical music and the arts, over evangelism and religious education. But that really makes no sense, does it? Why would they keep a Saint Louis specific function, and ignore the rest of the USA, when the Lutherans in the rest of the USA are the ones who send in the dollars that keep all the ministries of BCS afloat? What makes Saint Louis so special that the rest of the nation should pay for its arts program? And I love classical music!

    I am glad that Todd and Jeff are willing to continue their program, and I pray that they get lots of financial supporters. It won’t go for long without that folks! Talk to your congregations, and ask them to commit to regular monthly payments, because that regular stream of unrestricted funds is what keeps these ministries afloat.

  8. James, et al: Mollie was just noting that terminating Miss Summers as a radio host (not necessarily from employment altogether, though that should have been made clearer in Chris’ post) would be the result of applying David Strand’s logic.

    I agree there is a better way. And, though Mollie’s point is well taken, I think we all know this is not a personnel issue.

    Let’s be sure people know we’re not suggesting that KFUO continue in the ways of Mr. Strand’s logic. Sometimes hyperbole and sacracsm can be missed – especially over the net. We don’t need to give our detractors any ammunition!


    Phillip Magness

  9. Re: above post by M. Noland, I thought the BCS claimed no knowledge of the decision to cancel the show, so how is it the board majority is responsible? Did the board majority make the decision behind the backs of the minority?

  10. As far as I know, the BCS was not informed about the cancellation of Issues, Etc., until AFTER the the show was cancelled by David Strand, but at the meeting after that cancellation, the board voted to keep the show cancelled. Someone else can post a link to the minutes of that meeting. So even though David Strand did not initially act with board direction, the board DID approve his action and refused to reverse it.

  11. Martin Noland, good to “hear” from you and hope you are doing better than I imagine.

    In God’s love,
    a very sad life member of CHI

  12. Just to clarify: the decision to cancel Issues, Etc., and terminate the employment of its host and producer was made by a staff member, the executive director of the BCS, with the knowledge only of the chairman of the BCS and apparently the president of the synod. The board was informed after the fact.

    See BCS minutes of April 17-18, 2008 —

    Any decision on the potential sale of radio licenses, whether FM, AM, or both, will eventually be up to the Board of Directors. A task force has been set up to deal with questions regarding the future of KFUO. See the BOD minutes of February 2008 for details. (At present, the February minutes seem unavailable.)

  13. D. Berger has a very important point about the future of KFUO. The fact is that the IC is in terrible financial condition. The axe will have to fall and the most likely thing to take place is the sale of the station to cover the bureaucratic mediocrity of the IC.

    LCMS Inc and all of its entities is a 4 billion dollar company. However, it is all tied up in its different programs, but the IC cost is getting cut regularly.

    OTOH, I’m not as sympathetic as Dr. Noland when it comes to the financial crisis of the IC. It’s their own fault along with DP’s who are also just as interested in creating and sustaining their own kingdoms.

    The bottom line is that there is no trust of the bureaucracy at any level because of the lack of confessional commitment on every level.


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