Sale of KFUO FM reported authorized by the Board of Directors

This letter which was originally addressed to 250 pastors came to our attention from one of our steering committee members; BJS felt we should publish it immediately. The original letter can be viewed here.

Pastor Wilken commented on this post soon after it was up.  He has a very important clarification and opinion on it. Here is his comment:

You should make it clear that the Board has authorized the sale of ONLY KFUO FM, Classic 99, the secular, pop-classical music station.

The board is NOT considering the sale of KFUO AM.

For all my differences with the LCMS BOD, they are right on this one. Classic 99 needs to be sold. Classic 99 does not broadcast the Gospel.

Many of my thoughts on this can be heard HERE.

Those who have long opposed the sale of Classic 99 have intentionally confused the AM and FM stations, simply referring to “KFUO.” The posted letter does this as well.

TW  

We would add one more comment. If you go to the  the story on the February BOD meeting on the LCMS Inc. site you will see that the synod is $4.9 million dollars behind in revenue for the fiscal year. It is no wonder that the synod needs to sell off assets.

Here is the letter that was received.

Robert H. Duesenberg
9026 Whitehaven Dr.
St. Louis, MO 63123

2 March 2009

Dear Pastor(s),

The LCMS Board of Directors has authorized the sale of Radio Station KFUO; a shocking development. Back in November, when I first learned this matter was being considered, I wrote:

KFUO is a remarkable asset to this major community, and even to the world as it can be heard on the internet around the globe… Here we are, heirs of the Reformation and centuries of a great culture and we are moving to close off the greatest avenue for communicating these blessings ever available.

Since at least the middle ages, the church at large has been at the center of culture, and longer than not, the sole creator and keeper of what is good, great, and has survived. That’s a great role to play… Our Synod is a small part of the church at large, but with a voice, a medium, with a potential that has hardly been tapped. Keep KFUO! Be creative with it…

These words received no consideration; the drive toward sale has proceeded, by intent, under cloak of secrecy. While my words express just one person’s view, the opinion of many who have spoken to me is one of stunning disbelief, for many reasons, that a sale of KFUO has even been considered and is now authorized.

KFUO began in an attic of the old Concordia Seminary in South St. Louis. Now on the campus of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis County, the funding for KFUO in both cases came primarily from the Lutheran Laymen’s League, the old Walther League and others, not the Synod. KFUO is self-supporting and not an expense, but a contributor, through fees, to the LCMS at large. Countless individuals and others, including and beyond our church membership, have supported KFUO. Imagine the sense of betrayal a sale will ignite in the minds and hearts of these benefactors.

Before a sale happens, under wrap of confidentiality, without transparency of action and without appraisal of the interests of members directly to be affected, concerned listeners should make their voices heard. Please announce in church, post this, or publish this information in your bulletin suggesting that interested listeners send their views, NOW, to LCMS Board of Directors, c/o Dr. Gerald Kieschnick, Synod President, 1333 S. Kirkwood Road, St. Louis, MO 63122

Respectfully,
(signed)
Robert H. Duesenberg

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.

Comments

Sale of KFUO FM reported authorized by the Board of Directors — 45 Comments

  1. KFUO has been spreading the true Word of God over the radiowaves almost since there was any radio at all. It was KFUO who brought the world the Lutheran Hour, one of the most expansive evangelizing media efforts.

    We CANNOT allow the demise of KFUO to happen. To allow this great tool to fall by the wayside would be to deny and completely undo the great Godly efforts that have been made by it.

    You’re right, Pastor, we need to get the word out about this as much as possible. Let’s begin mobilizing on Facebook, my efforts will begin there.

  2. Pastor Rossow,

    You should make it clear that the Board has authorized the sale of ONLY KFUO FM, Classic 99, the secular, pop-classical music station.

    The board is NOT considering the sale of KFUO AM.

    For all my differences with the LCMS BOD, they are right on this one. Classic 99 needs to be sold. Classic 99 does not broadcast the Gospel.

    Many of my thoughts on this can be heard HERE.

    Those who have long opposed the sale of Classic 99 have intentionally confused the AM and FM stations, simply referring to “KFUO.” The posted letter does this as well.

    TW

  3. Ah, I see. Sorry, I wasn’t clear on that. Thanks for clarifying, Pr. Wilken. I don’t know how a secular pop station has been under the financial control of LCMS corporate, but if Synod is needing some kind of extra source of revenue, then I guess there’s the chopping block.

  4. TW Wrote: “For all my differences with the LCMS BOD, they are right on this one. Classic 99 needs to be sold. Classic 99 does not broadcast the Gospel.”

    Two questions arise in my mind:

    (1) Should it be sold or transformed into a station that DOES broadcast the Gospel? Certainly operations costs/etc. of an AM vs. FM station need to be had among other things (Only half a joke and in an effort to induce a bit of irony… how much would it cost to make KFUO-FM a Pirate Christian Radio/Lutheran Public Radio repeater?).

    ALL missions are EXPENSES… we oughtn’t be wasteful, but we oughtn’t delude ourselves into thinking that missions can somehow be “self funded” either.

    (2) Relatedly – WHERE WILL THE MONEY FROM THE SALE GO? What is the SPENDING PLAN for it? Obviously someone has a use for several million dollars (at least that’s what I’ve heard the FM license is worth)… what is it?

    How many LLL or former Walther League members would consider making a multi-million dollar unrestricted donation to the Synod? Isn’t this, in fact, what is being proposed?

    I know it’s too much to hope, but perhaps it would be enough to finish off St. Louis’ Seminary’s capital campaign… or finish paying for the new library at Ft. Wayne?

    If the sale moves ahead (preferably BEFORE the sale moves ahead), it seems there needs to be a push for transparency on how the funds are to be spent…

  5. Matt, as much as I would like the proceeds from the sale of ONLY the Classic99 station to go towards genuine, Christ-centered missions, guiding the spending of LCMS corporate is like trying to steer the stampeding “elephant in the living room” of Pastor Blazek’s cartoon. This is my hope and prayer, but I think right now what should be accomplished is making sure the voting board members know, as Pastor Wilken pointed out in the open mic session, that it’s not a “Siamese twin” situtation, where it’s either both the stations will be sold or not sold, but that one NEEDS to be sold, and one needs to NOT be sold. Controlling the flow of revenue into Christ-inspired channels will be a much greater battle for later.

  6. It doesn’t look like the .pdf link is working at the moment.

    Are there any other options to a sale? If the Synod ever does want an FM station again someday, say, to ACTUALLY PROCLAIM CHRIST, won’t we regret letting this one go? Maybe not; Pirate Christian Radio is proving that an old-school radio station really isn’t necessary. In that case, I agree with Matt: WHERE EXACTLY is the money going to go?

    I keep coming back to thinking though that there are other things that could be cut/ dropped first. How many administrators work in the International Center again? Hmmmm?

  7. From the Issues, Etc. information of KFUO-FM, it is most certainly currently a station ashamed of the gospel. I can’t see any desire or capacity in the synod to convert this into any sort of a station that is not, and any attempt would certainly leave us with KABLAZE.

    But look at the bright side. With the money we raise selling a radio station in the worst economic collapse of the last half century, we can pay the legal fees for challenging the Issues, Etc. trademark.

  8. Jon,

    The AM license is probably worth $1m maximum. It’s a 5000 watt, dawn to dusk signal in the 20th largest US radio market. And the prices of terrestrial radio signals is dropping every year. Depending on how long it would take to sell it, it might cost almost as much to sell it as it’s worth.

    TW

  9. The only commercial classical music station in the L.A. area (the #2 media market in the US) changed to country western a few years ago. Classical music was shifted to AM and then to an HD sub-channel on the FM station it used to be on, but it’s gone completely now. The only classical music station here is KUSC, a non-commercial FM station at the University of Southern California. Thus it should not surprise anyone that the much smaller St. Louis market might not be able to support such a station. It’s too bad that LCMS, Inc., didn’t sell KFUO-FM a few years ago when it was worth more.

    I found a couple of interesting articles. I didn’t know that LCMS, Inc., had tried to buy another FM station in the St. Louis area some years ago. Does anyone know what they proposed to broadcast on that station?

    http://www.stlbeacon.org/music/classical_music_radio_station_kfuo_explores_possible_sale

    http://www.issues-views.com/index.php/sect/1004/article/1071

  10. “bubbles” has got it right.

    IF there’s a buyer, the money won’t be worth worrying about,
    (and is probably already spent).

  11. Here’s my two cents.

    I enjoy listeng to the FM station. I raised my kids on it, as we drove back and forth to Lutheran schools (when Issues and Law and Gospel was not on the air.)

    I prefer by far the FM music to the tired old AM ditties. I’m rather proud that we run the FM station. It has cornered a truly unique nitch in the St. Louis area.

    I’ve only turned the AM on once to hear Diane and Steve, and was so dissapointed by the mismatch of personalities and the same old same old that I haven’t been back.

    So I’ve got no complaints with classical music. Bach after all, fits into the genre, and there are always sacred music preformances being announced around St. Louis. This is exciting. And I think salutory. I’ve never seen it anywhere else in the country. Its a good fit in my estimation.

    I think the genre is good ground for the gospel.

    What I think they should do is switch places. I always wished the AM would be were the action is… on the FM dial.

    Michael

  12. Michael,

    No one is complaining about classical music per se.

    But classical music isn’t the Gospel.

    Bach is great, but his choral pieces are very rarely played on Classic 99. The truth is, Classic 99 programming management takes a disparaging view of sacred classical music.

    You write: “I’m rather proud that we run the FM station. It has cornered a truly unique nitch in the St. Louis area.

    I’m glad you’re proud. But listen to Classic 99 tomorrow. If you didn’t know it already, how would you know that the LCMS runs the station? When I was at KFUO, the LCMS was mentioned briefly two times a day (at 6:00am and midnight, I believe). After some complaints they increased the frequency to four one-line mentions a day. That is the extent of LCMS’s on-air presence.

    Do you know how many Classic 99 full-time employees are LCMS? One. One out of 18. None of the program management or on-air personalities are.

    As for the two stations switching places? Under current management, nothing could be more unlikely.

    TW

  13. Helen,

    You write, “IF there’s a buyer, the money won’t be worth worrying about, (and is probably already spent).

    Well, just do the math. LCMS Inc. owes LCMS World Relief and Human Care (alone) $14m in borrowed designated money. That must be paid back.

    Classic 99 might fetch $15m, if they sold it today. It will take a long time for a sale to be final and the market price isn’t going up.

    Not to mention all the other LCMS Inc. debt that needs to be repaid…

    Yes, the money’s already spent.

    TW

  14. While a student at St. Louis seminary, my fieldwork congregation was Emmaus Lutheran in Dorsey, IL. Every Sunday on the way out (about a 50 min drive) I enjoyed listening the “Joy” program on KFUO-FM (http://www.classic99.com/pjoy.htm). I found the music of Bach, Handel, Rachmaninoff and others to be helpful preparation for my service there on Sunday morning.

    This program may be the exception, but there is at least some sacred content on KFUO-FM.

    I have considerable respect for Pastor Wilken (and have signed both IE petitions), but his characterization of KFUO-FM as entirely secular needs some qualification.

    I rarely listened to KFUO-FM other than on Sunday mornings, and cannot comment on their programming during the rest of the week, nor can I comment with any authority on the financial issues involved. But I did appreciate at least this one program.

  15. If LCMS, Inc. sells the FM station, would Classic 99 still retain its call letters? I know of a number of radio stations that have changed hands repeatedly. The format of these stations changed and maybe it went from Magic 105 to Mix 105 or whatever, but the call sign stayed the same. I believe that as the seller, the LCMS should spell out in the terms of the sale that the buyer would have to obtain a new call sign from the FCC so that “KFUO” only appears on the AM dial… at least in the Saint Louis market. Maybe someone else can start a radio station in Montana or something and use KFUO. (I assume that the LCMS still has the rights to “KFUO”)

    And what exactly is being sold here? Is only the FM license for sale? We’re not selling the tower or the building are we? Will 99.5 still transmit from the Concordia campus or will the buyers set up shop elsewhere?

  16. Pr. Wilken,
    Where does one get those figures?
    I ask because I quoted something I’d read when the borrowing was about $7 million.
    I was challenged and I couldn’t find the citation. (Matt Harrison, I think, tho.)
    The individual (on LQ) probably wouldn’t consider you sufficient authority,
    (although I do).
    Thanks,
    Helen

  17. Helen,

    The $14m figure was discussed at the latest COP meeting.

    TW

    Mark,

    Thanks for your kind words.

    I haven’t argued that Classic 99 is entirely secular or that there is no sacred on-air content at Classic 99. I have argued that the public portrayals of Classic 99 programming as sacred or even semi-sacred are false (two versions of the Libretto newsletter, the pre-convention Reporter inserts, the pre-convention delegate promotional CD, hiding behind “religious freedom” during the 1994 lawsuit, etc.).

    Mark, since you live in the area, I suggest you go over to KFUO and talk to the FM (not the AM) program director about his religious views.

    TW

  18. Something else to consider here: terrestrial radio programming is a technology that is fast becoming obsolete. As it does so, the market value of these assets to the church will drop. We would be wise to unload the FM station before it becomes worthless.

    Also, at best, these stations only serve the St. Louis metropolitan area; and deliver no value to Christians in other places. Meanwhile, Internet-based broadcasting is available to the church around the world.

    Lutheran Public Radio is a great case study on the future of broadcasting. Very low overhead, minimal staff that does their own fundraising. Internet-based but carried by a local AM station for the benefit of drivers and people who are Internet-connected.

    I think it might make sense to hang on to KFUO-AM, but it really needs a content overhaul to bring it into line with what Lutherans want and need to hear: More theology, not less!

  19. Pr. Wilken-

    Thanks for your reply. To clarify, I am no longer in the St. Louis area; I graduated from the seminary in 2004.

    I did have a chance to listen to the link, and that helps to clarify your characterization as of KFUO-FM as “secular”. I guess my experience was atypical, as the only time I listened to KFUO-FM regularly was one of the few times that they had sacred programming.

  20. Pr. Wilken writes:

    LCMS Inc. owes LCMS World Relief and Human Care (alone) $14m in borrowed designated money.

    I feel like blockquoting that about 14 million times. “Borrowed designated money.” Can you imagine the outcry if your congregation was borrowing that heavily from designated gifts? The pastor wouldn’t just be ‘removed’, he’d be drawn and quartered.

    I recall in the LCMS BoD minutes a couple of years ago Matt Harrison (and, if I recall, members of his Board) going into the BoD meeting and begging just to have the interest from the money that people had donated to things like tsunami aid (2004-2005) and Katrina aid (2005-2006) and they were told “No”! No, the interest would go towards general funding of LCMS, Inc.

    It’s funny, to me, that while the BoD has done this, giving Harrison a fantastic opportunity to fail, his work in World Relief and Human Care has, nonetheless, thrived. Of course, that’s what happens when you let theologians run things: deprive them of everything, and they’ll just start talking about the Theology of the Cross and how God reveals Himself through opposites and will show the need for the application of mercy to the end that people, spiritually nourished, will give twenty dollars in the hope that even one finds its way into the theologians’ hands.

    EJG

  21. Thanks, Todd. (The people who challenged me probably knew the numbers were right, if not too small.)

    Thanks, Eric. I remember the discussion about with holding interest. Saves a lot of money (on paper) if you can borrow $14 million (+) at 0%!

    I won’t plan to hold my breath till it’s paid back either.

  22. KFUOFM is a tragedy. The greatest music ever written is Lutheran, and a confessional Lutheran synod owns a classical music station that broadcasts through the internet over the world. Yet, you’d never know the station was Lutheran by listening to it.

    They could have played Bach’s cantata for the week every day with the week’s reading. They could have played Lutheran choirs singing great Lutheran sacred works. They could have played Matins, Vespers, and Compline each day at set times and spread the beauty of the Lutheran liturgy. They should have done all of this, but they didn’t do any of this.

    If they aren’t going to pursue their mission, shut them down. But, how much better would it have been to display the beauty of Lutheran music? What a wasted opportunity by our miserable bureaucrats.

    How about Pirate Christian Radio taking up the void left by KFUOAM’s consistent failure to celebrate Lutheran music heritage? Or this site? Or one of the seminaries? Get Lutheran Choirs to contribute public domain performances, and stream it online.

  23. I don’t care what they do with the station as long as they keep broadcasting classical music. I would hate to see that as another casualty in the coarsing of our culture.

  24. Chill out! Don’t be a pietist!! (Click on the topic above: ‘No Pietists Allowed’!)

    I think most people wishing to ‘trash’ and sell KFUO FM are being a bit ‘pietistic’.

    Classical music is an invaluable blessing from God, and as Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto (‘Hawking the Holy Spirit’s Tool’, article on his website) and Dr. Martin Luther (‘What Luther Says’, Vol. II, p. 982) have said, music is a tool of the Holy Spirit. It blesses and inspires multitudes, whether it’s written by Bach, Beethoven, or Carl Schalk (the Grateful Dead, probably not so much).

    Consider also what Luther says in ‘What Luther Says’: “Nor am I at all of the opinion that all the arts are to be overthrown and cast aside by the Gospel, as some SUPERSPIRITUAL PEOPLE [my emphasis] protest…” (Vol. II, p. 981.)

    I think if KFUO FM started playing nothing but Steven Curtis Chapman, Steve Green, Amy Grant, Point of Grace, etc., then I would be nauseated and say ‘SELL KFUO FM’! But I suppose then it would be a ‘Christian’ radio station, because those people are all sacred and not SECULAR.

    Or, what if a church organist or musician plays a piece of music that has no overtly ‘Sacred’ or ‘Religious’ context in a worship service, e.g., a Prelude, or Toccata, should that be banned as SECULAR?

    Because the good people at Lutheran World Relief and Human Care give out blankets, food, water, medical supplies, etc., – which, by the way, may have all been ‘created’ by atheists, or non-Christians, just like some classical music is – instead of proclaiming the Gospel 24/7, should we shut down LWRHC?? I think not. They are blessing people with those material gifts; and occasionally those people hear the Gospel, just like they would hear on KFUO FM. Indeed, I don’t preach the Gospel 24/7, but I believe my life is made SACRED by God, and not SECULAR.

    Classical music is an intangible gift – from God – that lifts up peoples spirits, and playing it on KFUO FM is a noble and worthy CHRISTIAN endeavor.

    Search your conscience. God will show you the answer. Don’t be a pietist! Enjoy classical music on KFUO FM!

    Then, the next time you talk to your atheist, or even Methodist, friend, co-worker, etc., who enjoys classical music, you will have a point of witness and say, ‘Hey, guess who brought you that beautiful classical music: MY CHURCH, the LCMS!’ Then you can talk about JESUS!

  25. Mark,

    In his article, Uwe openly equates selling Classic 99 with the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

    Do you really want to get behind that?

    You don’t have to own and operate a whole radio station (18 full-time employees, a $3 million budget) to stream classical music to the Internet.

    The LCMS could stream the very same playlist that Classic 99 uses now (without commercial interruption) automated, 24/7, from one computer at the International center.

    I don’t think it’s pietistic to think Classic 99 is a waste of money.

    And, do this: call KFUO FM (not AM) and ask to speak to the program director (FM, not AM). His name is Jim Connett. Ask for Jim Connett. Run your idea past him about using his classical music station as an entree to the Gospel to his atheist listeners, donors and benefactors. Ask him what he thinks of the idea.

    TW

  26. Regarding KFUO-FM,
    As a listener of both KFUO-AM and FM I have wished that the FM station carried some Christian programming along with its classical music. I have felt that this is an opportunity to reach others with the Gospel who might not often listen to Christian radio. Also much of our clssical music was written by Christians or has a Biblical theme. Another idea is for the Christian programs be broadcast on the FM station and sell KFUO-AM whose broadcast schedule is limited to daylight hours. Another way to reduce expenses is to employ the seminary students part time as is done with college radio.

  27. I know those who have been working to retain KFUO. They know that KFUO AM alone is not self supporting. KFUO FM in effect supports KFUO AM. If KFUO FM is sold KFUO AM will not survive. KFUO AM IS the Gospel voice of KFUO. But, I have been paying special attention to FM since all of this started, and I hear Lutheran mentioned often. I hear wonderful programs proclaiming the Gospel message in the Classical music that is presented. How about the program SING FOR JOY on Sunday mornings?….(I listen to this before I get out of bed on Sundays to prepare for church and I learn about the lessons for the day ) How about JOY also on Sunday Morning?…..How about the Sunday morning worship services EVERY Sunday morning which many many folks who are homebound count on?…….
    Our Lutheran Heritage is sacred and if KFUO goes out of existence one of only about 20 Classical stations all over the country will be gone. There will no way to recoup this lost treasure for our church and for our members. It would be a tragic mistake to sell this precious asset.
    The folks in the Arts community KNOW the station is owned by the LCMS as is often stated. They, too, will be sorely disappointed to lose this precious jewel. We will have lost forever the opportunity to reach these people. IT IS THE GOSPEL VOICE BRINGING CHRIST TO THE NATIONS AND THE NATIONS TO CHRIST. Think about this: What would happen to the Lutheran Hour?

  28. Donors to KFUO-FM need to be aware that this is NOT simply an issue of what is right or faith-based radio.

    The sale may actually be in voilation of Missouri charitable trust law.

    The story also sounds very similar to what has happened to radio stations WCAL, WGTS and WMCU. You can read more about this at:
    http://savewcal.net/2007/09/29/striking-similarities-between-wcal-wgts-wmcu/

    WCAL donors are currently before the Minnesota Court of Appeals with a VERY strong case of breach of trust law.

    WMCU donors are currently in federal court for the same reason.

    Opponents of the sale need to get educated quickly.

    The most important issue here is not just losing a Christian voice — it is the illegal destruction of a charitable trust and the pocketing of the assets by the trustee (LCMS).

    The Missouri Attorney General needs to be brought into this situation as fast as possible to investigate a possible breach of trust.

  29. Dear SaveWCAL,

    It appears the other stations you mention were totally ‘listener supported’, as opposed to KFUO, which is, apparently, largely supported by commercial advertising.
    So, does the KFUO situation still compare to WCAL and the other stations’ situations?

  30. Sad to say, there are fewer than twenty radio stations broadcasting classical music in the entire country.
    Taking away one more from this shamefully short list would be a real tragedy.

  31. I can appreciate LCMS wanting/needing to sell KFUO-FM. At the same time, I think it best to sell it to an entity that will continue to broadcast classical music and Lutheran related programs such as the Sunday morning service from Chapel of the Cross and the show Joy. KFUO-FM is a great St. louis cultural tradition and deserves to remain on the air. If we lose it, it may eventually lead to the loss of our symphony, opera theater, classic guitar society, etc. which rely on KFUO-FM for advertising and promotion. The loss of KFUO would also diminish the positive presentation of germanic and to some extent Lutheran cultural tradition as reflected in the music from the great german and austrian composers. How better to present our culture and religion than to expose the public to Bach, Beethoven,Handel,and Mozart interspersed with Lutheran chorales and other christian based music?

  32. Losing Classic 99 will be like the death of a friend. Beautiful classical music throughout the day or night is a link to sanity in a noisy world. Classic 99 in traffic is soothing. I think this is tragic!

  33. Classic 99 is one of the strongest classical stations in the nation. It has a strong following and superb on-air talent. It’s what makes the station and St. Louis so unique to classical music fans.

  34. this is a total loss, the deal seemed all about money in my sense, The Gospel was really in Classical 99.1 all along, I’m sorry that people have failed to realize this.

  35. “KFUO FM, the secular, pop-classical music station.”

    “Classic 99 does not broadcast the gospel.”

    The gospel is once again put into the proverbial box. Pop-classical music station???

    I just got through listening to ‘Joy’ and ‘By the Way’ on this secular station. Is classical music devoid of the gospel??? Sell the rights to the station, if you must, but save us the denigration!!!

  36. TW Wrote: “Classic 99 does not broadcast the Gospel.”

    Todd,

    This is a false statement, and you should retract it. Classic 99 DOES, INDEED, broadcast the Gospel, and not just at Christmas and Easter (at which times they do a superb, glorious job, every year!), as you have stated in your Issues broadcast. They may not broadcast it 24/7, but they DO broadcast the Gospel.

    Even Walter Maier, founder of KFUO, and his colleagues said that KFUO could not constantly preach the Gospel and religious programming. To my knowledge, he and the other KFUO founders suggested – and aired – many arts related topics, like classical music, book reviews, etc., and other issues to promote the welfare of society. Even my own congregation doesn’t preach the Gospel 24/7. I dare say even Jesus didn’t ‘preach’ the Gospel 24/7, did He? On the other hand, I suppose He IS the Gospel!!

    Anyway, Classic 99 broadcasts the Gospel every Sunday via the Chapel of the Cross worship service. Every week (although I don’t always hear it), the Gospel is proclaimed by this faithful LCMS congregation. Who knows how many unbelievers tune in and hear the precious Gospel. In addition, every week there are at least several other Christian music programs which promulgate either the Gospel, or some other Scripture.

    Could the station proclaim the Gospel more? Indeed! Is there room for improvement at the station? No doubt. There’s room for improvement in every human, and institution. Is it a sin to broadcast classical music. No. If the station wins one soul a week, or every other week, via the Chapel broadcast, the station has done a good thing.

    I feel that selling the station is wrong. Something ‘smells’ terribly wrong in this whole transaction. I hope the Lord will preserve Classic 99, because they DO preach the Gospel, and DO provide peace and solace and a witness to the St. Louis community – and the world – through its ministry. I can’t wait to see what the Lord has chosen for us come March 1, despite what any of us think! What poor, miserable sinners we are!!

    BTW, you keep saying that Classic 99 is a pop-classical station? What on earth does that mean? It really is an oxymoron. Pop music, as I understand it, refers to, e.g., the Supremes, or the Beatles, or Neil Diamond, or Neil Sedaka. Is it also a rock-classical station, or a blues-classical station? I don’t get it.

  37. While searching for something else on the web, I ran across this series of posts. Thanks to Mark Laverty for setting the record straight. I am a member of Chapel of the Cross, which broadcasts faithfully every Sunday for decades. We don’t know how many listen, but we receive letters from accidental listeners on a fairly regular basis. Are there thousands listening in to our service? Probably not. But we know that some do. Some of these are homeboound and can’t attend a church service. Some are truckers who are driving through St. Louis. We’ve even had letters from Catholic priests driving between churches. Through the blessing of the internet, my in-laws listen in from the east coast. This ‘secular’ radio station reaches out with God’s word…..the buyer of the station, JOY-FM, which plays contemporary Christian music, has already informed us that they have no place for a worship service on their station. Barring a miracle, this is all water under the bridge, but the Synod, as a whole should be ashamed of closing down this arm of outreach. They have structured the deal so that they receive virtually no income for years down the road. They put a gag-order on the employees of KFUO and are even reviewing their e-mail to make sure that all information on the deal is controlled. It’s sad and shameful behavior.

  38. Thank you, Mr. Schmidt. Here is another KFUO story: I am a classical musician in St. Louis. One day three of us went to Hogan Street detention center. We were a trio and all three of us are Christians. We were faced with 30 or so teen men who have done pretty serious crimes like assault and battery, etc. We began playing Beethoven/Mozart/ other trios, assuming we would soon be met with rolling eyes and worse. But the guys began to listen as we explained the lives of the composers and what they were saying through music. At one point, my African-American sister, Charlene, a violinist, got up and began to give these guys what-for. She told them there was still hope with God and they needed to put Him at the center of their lives. She then told them to stop listening to rap (she knew a lot of artists which surprised them) for it was demeaning to women and instead, they should listen to classical music, which explores the beauty of God’s creation. THEN she told them to listen to KFUO-FM, where they would hear God’s beauty and would oftentimes hear God’s Word, which would also change them from the inside out. Many of them wrote down the call letters.

    I also went recently to a middle school in East St. Louis and told them the same thing. They are now listening to KFUO, for at least as long as it is still running. Please pray that the FCC would not allow the sale to go through!
    Diana Zimmerman

  39. Dear John Schmidt and Diana Zimmerman,
    Thank you for your encouraging and heart warming stories of KFUO FM actually ‘preaching the Gospel’. Glad to hear that others hear the Gospel on Classic 99.
    Thanks be to God for the ‘ministry’ of KFUO – AM and FM. They are both BLESSINGS to our community and world! May they preach the precious Gospel of Jesus Christ ever more clearly and prominently.
    Mark L.

  40. I really really miss KFUO I spent a total of one hour listning to KLJY (also known as Kill Joy )

    I was sad and have removed it from my radio settings 99.1 will not be listend to again by me or my family

    untill such time I figuer a year or two that they go off the air and another Classical/symphonic music station takes the air

  41. @Jeff #44

    Jeff,

    Classic99.com continues on the web, with 30,000 classical CDs and three volunteers.

    Check it out.

    Also, KFUO AM has started playing some classical music 1-3 pm weekdays.

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