Pastoral oversight at KFUO AM

Last month, I pointed out that the LCMS’s Board for Communications Services had approved the radio show “Time of Grace” as a registered service organization, and had waived the requirement that the show have an LCMS pastor on its own board. This didn’t sit well with many commenters.

But the thing is that there is barely more pastoral oversight of the other programming at KFUO AM.

The station had a full-time staff pastor. But, well, David Strand and the BCS fired him in early 2008. So who has been doing the pastoral oversight of the programming of KFUO AM since?

There’s Pastor Tom Baker who hosts “Law and Gospel.” But he works for the Concordia Mission Society; not KFUO AM. There’s Pastor Mark Hawkinson who hosts “Moments of Assurance.” But he’s not a full-time employee of KFUO AM either.

Let’s move up the chain of command at KFUO AM. Is the station’s program director Chuck Rathert, a pastor? No. Is the station’s Director of Broadcast Operations Dennis Stortz, a pastor? No. Is the Director of the Board for Communications David Strand, a pastor? No.

For the first time in 85 years, there isn’t a single pastor on the full-time staff or in the management at KFUO AM. Why?

Remember, this is the synod’s Christian radio station.

What about the BCS, the synodical board that oversees KFUO AM, are there any pastors there? Yes, two: Pastor John Bush of St. Paul, Trenton, Michigan and Pastor Kevin Vogts of Holy Cross, Dakota Dunes, South Dakota.

So, Pastor Bush and Pastor Vogts are the only pastors in the entire chain of command of KFUO AM. The BCS meets only 4 times a year. Do David Strand and his Board for Communications Services consider this sufficient pastoral oversight of the synod’s Christian radio station?

Do you think the programming of the AM station reflects sufficient pastoral oversight?


Pastoral oversight at KFUO AM — 9 Comments

  1. Regarding Pastor John Bush, I had close friends that I brought into the LCMS years ago. They changed parishes and worshipped at this church unfortunately named after Saint Paul in Trenton, Michigan. One Sunday morning, on the screen that was placed up on the wall, some crackpot preacher was beamed in telling the Lutheran faithful no longer to call themselves Christians, but rather “CHRISTFOLLOWERS”. And so my friends left the LCMS (no, not to Orthodoxy, sad to say) for evangelicalism. Such is the liturgical approach of one of the two “pastors” who sit on the BCS.

    Why am I writing this even though I am no longer a member of the LCMS? First of all because I still care. Second, to encourage you to FIGHT! Please do something radical like split, join the Western Rite of the Orthodox church, or something! Do not fry like frogs in a boiling pan over your salaries, health and retirements! Lose your life and you will find it.

  2. Mollie, you asked…”Do you think the programming of the AM station reflects sufficient pastoral oversight?”

    There have been well meaning pastors who have been on the payroll at KFUO in the past, but I ask…have you counted the number of LCMS clergy and lay people who participate and contribute to the programming on KFUO in a given day/week? These pastors, professors, and LCMS leaders are the focus of KFUO from sunrise to sunset. They volunteer to be on-the-air and are not on the payroll. They provide the bulk of KFUO’s content and direction, not the station facilitators. Why? Ask them. It’s apparent that from Dr. Dale Meyer to Rev. Matthew Harrison, KFUO AM is a reliable resource for advancing the good news of Jesus Christ on radio. BTW, KFUO is live and on-demand for everyone to hear and scrutinize 24/7. KFUO is subject to constant oversight by the entire LCMS membership and is now celebrating its 85th year.

  3. Am I wrong here? I hear laypeople hosting “The Morning Show” and “The Afternoon Show” frequently interviewing non-Lutheran guests. Who is scheduling these guests? We know that these shows aren’t hosted by a pastor. Is there a pastor who is vetting these guests? If so, he needs to go back to the seminary.

  4. Paul,

    First and again, remember you still work for LCMS Inc.

    Second, we’re not talking about pastors as on-air guests. We’re talking about pastoral oversight. We’re talking about the fact that there is no pastor on full-time staff or in the management at KFUO AM, for the first time in 85 years. We’re talking about the fact that the only pastors on the BCS (Bush and Vogts) appear to be enjoying their quarterly junkets to St. Louis, but aren’t paying attention to KFUO AM, and aren’t willing to hold their director accountable for the programming there.

    Third, BY ALL MEANS, someone should be listening and scrutinizing the program content of KFUO AM. It’s obvious that the PD isn’t doing it.


  5. Paul,

    Also, you wrote, “KFUO is live and on-demand for everyone to hear and scrutinize 24/7.”

    Live yes, but I noticed that KFUO AM only offers a few selected segments of the morning and afternoon shows on-demand. The majority of both shows is never posted it on-demand.

    You know that the on-demand audience is larger than the live audience. How are those on-demand listeners supposed to “hear and scrutinize” programming KFUO AM doesn’t offer on-demand?

    For instance, I heard recently one host espouse double-predestination. But I couldn’t find that segment posted on-demand. Unless someone was listening live (again, the PD’s job), they would never know what was said on the air.


  6. Paul,

    You ask, “Is that what you did at KFUO?”

    Oh, thanks for letting me make my point again.

    I tried. But I was told by the PD and by David Strand (both of them laymen) that I answered to them, that I couldn’t talk to the BCS or its individual members.

    Neither of the DP or Strand listened to much of what I said –especially when I complained about the shifty financial “arrangement” between the AM and FM, the lies being told to prop up the FM, the priority FM always took over the AM, and the amoral and atheistic bent of some FM staff, etc.

    I came to realize that I was the token pastor at KFUO.


  7. @Paul #2
    The “constant oversight [of KFUO] by the entire LCMS membership” doesn’t seem to make much of a difference, does it. 7,000 of the LCMS membership spoke up when Pastor Wilken and Mr. Jeff Schwarz were fired, and Issues, Etc., the best show KFUO had, was dumped. That seemed to make no appreciable difference. LCMS Inc. turned it’s back. Since I’m an LCMS member, I guess it behooves me to speak up. The pastoral oversight at KFUO is missing because the pastoral oversight of the Synod is missing. It’s been replaced by a praise band.

  8. Programming at KFUO changed today. There is a guest pastor every morning. All contemporary (not rock) music is now played by Pastor Mark Hawkinson during the noon hour, mixed with abundant Gospel exhortation. He programs his own selections. Pastor Hawkinson has been a steady Gospel presence on the station for two decades. His work on KFUO was instrumental in bringing me and my wife into the Lutheran church.

    There is now sacred / classical music 1-3 pm. There are other positive changes.

    This was all accomplished without staffing changes, thus proving the obvious, which is that all of KFUO (FM and AM) was and is under synodical control, attempts to blame problems on employees of the station, and to excuse inside-trading directors and others for misunderstanding and neglecting the radio ministry, preferrring to seek the almighty dollar and approval of heretics, notwithstanding.

    Dobson’s program remains. What can I say.

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