Petition against the sale of KFUO (FM)

I previously mentioned my agnosticism on the sale of KFUO (FM) and, in fact, my view that the LCMS got a pretty good deal on the sale. And I have to tell you, I’m one of the very few people out there who feels that way, from the sounds of it! I have been hearing from Lutherans who I haven’t talked to in decades and folks all across the country. People are not happy about this sale. Their objections vary somewhat. Most people just don’t like that the Synod has found itself so mismanaged for so many years that we’re in a place where selling off the radio station is even considered. Lots of people are angry about the secrecy. Many people think this sale is a sign of further Synod, Inc. attempts to sell off seminaries and other valuable assets. Some view the broadcasting of classical music to be a point of pride for the LCMS. Some view the fact that the owner will broadcast false doctrine over the same airwaves to be particularly shameful.

Before we get into some of these discussions, I wanted to point you to a petition signed by 41 prominent members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod to the Synod’s Board of Directors. Sarah Bryan Miller at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch previously reported that the Board of Directors responded to this petition by ignoring it. Well, now she put the petition and the names of those who signed it online.

And before we look at the petition, it’s worth noting that there was a time when the Board of Directors was marginally controlled by people with a different political persuasion or church vision than President Gerald Kieschnick. That hasn’t been the case for years. The board and President Kieschnick are politically aligned and what they choose to do (and not do) reflects the views of Synodical President Kieschnick. While he is a full voting member of the board, he’s been lying low on this issue. Of course, from the sounds of it, the entire board is being pretty tight-lipped about what they’ve chosen to do — and why. This is not terribly surprising given the financial picture of Synod as a result of marked giving declines during Kieschnick’s tenure. Here’s the petition:

May 8, 2009 (List of names augmented June 29, 2009)

Dear Members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Board of Directors,

Not unmindful of your responsibilities, and aware of the challenges presented Synod by current economic conditions, we ask you, nevertheless, to reconsider your decision on behalf of our Synod that authorized the sale of KFUO-FM. A sale, in our view and that of many others, would be very unfortunate. We are convinced that:

– A vital mission of proclamation, nurture, outreach, and community relations is being conducted by KFUO-FM and these missions can be expanded and enhanced in the future;

– A sale would damage the good name and reputation of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in its headquarters city and around the world;

– A sale would disenfranchise and severely disappoint many thousands of individuals and organizations that have provided virtually all the financial and volunteer support for the station throughout its history;

– KFUO-FM is the source sustaining KFUO-AM. Its sale would surely be followed by AM’s demise.

– There are attractive alternatives for retaining KFUO-FM, thereby also ensuring the future of KFUO-AM. These should be explored with time and opportunity being given for their advancement.

Respectfully yours in Christ,

The names of those who signed the petition can be found after the jump:

Dr. Andrew H. Bartelt (Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Concordia Seminary)
Dr. Karl L. Barth (President Emeritus, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis)
Dr. Robert Bergt (Director, The American Cantorei and “Bach at the Sem” concert series)
The Rev. Keith Boheim (The Marvin M. Schwan Charitable Foundation)
Dr. Ralph A. Bohlmann (President Emeritus, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod)
The Rev. Larry Burgdorf (The Marvin M. Schwan Charitable Foundation)
Senator Conrad Burns (United States Senator, Retired)
Dr. Paul W. Devantier (Senior Vice President, Advancement, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis)
Richard W. Duesenberg (Attorney at Law; co-founder, “Bach at the Sem” concert series)
Robert H. Duesenberg (Attorney at Law; co-founder, “Bach at the Sem” concert series)
Dr. Charles W. Dull (Former Director, Hong Kong International School)
The Rev. Alan Erdman (President, Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri)
Dr. Jean Garton (Former member Board of Directors, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod)
Oscar H. Hanson (Former member Board of Directors, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod)
Dr. John F. Johnson (Former President, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis)
Dr. James W. Kalthoff (President Emeritus, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod)
Dr. Robert H. King (Former Vice President, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod)
The Rev. Jerry Klug (President, Clara and Spencer Werner Foundation)
Ruth M. Koch (Chair, Concordia Publishing House Board of Directors)
Thomas Kopatz (Managing Partner, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans)
Dr. Jonathan Laabs (Executive Director, Lutheran Education Association)
Michael Louis (Senior Vice President, Financial Planning and Administration, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis)
Laurence Lumpe (Executive Director, Lutheran Hour Ministries)
Dr. Paul L. Maier (Second Vice President, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod)
Dr. Walter A. Maier, II (Former Second Vice President, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod)
The Rev. Ulmer Marshall (Former member Board of Directors, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod)
Dr. Dale A. Meyer (President, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis)
Dr. Judith W. Meyer (President, Lutheran High School Association of St. Louis)
Michael Onnen (President, International Lutheran Laymen’s League)
Gerald Perschbacher (Editor, “The Lutheran Layman,” International Lutheran Laymen’s League)
Dr. Richard D. Peters (Former member Board of Directors, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod)
James F. Ralls (Chair, Board of Regents, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis)
Dr. Walter Rosin (Secretary Emeritus, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod)
Representative John Shimkus (United States Congressman, Illinois)
Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto (Former Religion Editor, United Press International)
The Rev. Jonathan P. Stein (Regular Pastor on FKUO-FM for more than 20 years)
Dr. Richard L. Thompson (Former Chair, Board of Directors, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod)
Edwin A. Trapp, Jr. (Former member Board of Directors, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod)
Dr. James Voelz (Dean of the Faculty, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis)
Phyllis Wallace (“Woman to Woman,” Lutheran Hour Ministries)
John D. Wittenmyer (Vice-Chair, Board of Regents, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis)

One point from the petition that I would like to mention is the statement that “KFUO-FM is the source sustaining KFUO-AM. Its sale would surely be followed by AM’s demise.”

That’s not true. I’ve discussed the mismanagement of KFUO in previous posts but even apart from general mismanagement by the station management and its overseers on the Board for Communication Services, here’s what the last Board of Director minutes report:

“Regarding KFUO, [the synodical treasurer] noted a loss of $443,000, although the loss by the AM station is currently being covered by designated bequest income, likely to be depleted in another year. The FM share of the loss will need to be covered by unrestricted assets, this $254,000 loss in large part due to reduced support from the St. Louis arts community.”

While one could argue that it’s just THIS year that the FM station can’t subsidize the AM station, it’s also true that the AM station costs very little to run and the FM station could make a lot of money (or serve the church better) if it were run properly. It’s a common saying that the FM station funds the AM station but it’s much more complicated than that.


Petition against the sale of KFUO (FM) — 37 Comments

  1. Great post, Mollie.

    Here’s my challenge to anyone who claims or thinks that the FM funds the AM: Call Tom Kuchta, Synod’s treasurer and ask him if that’s true.

    Don’t call KFUO, don’t call David Strand, don’t call Paul Devantier, don’t call the music critic at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

    Call Tom Kuchta. He keeps the books. He is honest. He will tell you the truth.

    Then, please stop repeating the lie.


  2. The truth was written in Scripture when The Disciple denied and lied to the maiden. Then he went out wept bitterly. Need anymore be said!

  3. Quite an impressive list of LCMS personalities to say the least. I can’t believe the BOD and/or the SP turned a deaf ear. Their desperation for $$$ must be overruling any common sense or churchmanship. How sad and preventable.

  4. Their desperation for $$$ must be overruling any common sense or churchmanship.

    YEAH .. but they AREN’T getting significant $$$ until the 10th year, and from the looks of things the buyer will have no way to pay for it in the 10th year! This sale makes no sense!

  5. It’s understandable that a lot of “LCMS personalities” would regret the sale of KFUO FM, even as many “LC-MS non-personalities” do. Unfortunately, so few of the former stepped boldly forward to sign the petition protesting the selling-out of ‘Issues, Etc” not all that long ago….especially in light of the fact that “Issues” host and guests on AM format proclaimed Christ and Him Crucified more consistently and with greater scriptural and confessional clarity than classical FM music can. Not that both can’t co-exist and even complement each other on a great Lutheran AM/FM station. They once did. Thanks to the debatable actions of a few, they no longer do. Change is needed, all right…starting with the ‘changers.’

  6. Norm,

    Is $$$ more important than the Gospel?

    Can we sacrifice some $$$ so that the Gospel can be a priority at KFUO?

    Take a lo$$ on a the property? God forbid!

    Take a lo$$ on the proclamation of the Gospel? Good business!



  7. It’s obvious that these dignitaries have not looked at the financial statements for KFUO in the last three years. If so, they couldn’t have attached their names and reputations to points #4 and #5.

  8. I have two questions:
    1. Did the new buyers purchase the property on the seminary campus along with the radio station?

    2. What happens if the buyer can’t make any of the scheduled payments? The LCMS can’t take fellow Christians to court, so what recourse is there? Does the synod get the radio station back; the buyers having simply ‘rented’ it?

  9. The LCMS can’t take fellow Christians to court, so what recourse is there?

    @Rev. Jack A. Kozak #9

    I guess you are being sarcastic, Pr. Kozak.
    Or do “evangelicals” have privileges with lcms inc. that its own member congregations don’t? (See Jack Cascione about the congregation in Oakland CA, which lcms inc. has no trouble suing.)

  10. a reader comment on the “” website:

    “The proposed “sale” of KFUO-FM can be stopped. Experts rightly say that it is unlikely the FCC would stop it.

    But, the legal experts say, a derivative action (a lawsuit brought by a member of the LCMS in the name of the Church) against the Board of Directors of LCMS and Kermit Brashear, their rogue negotiator, could very well stop it and bring all parties back to Square One.

    The grounds of the action would be as follows: (1) the proposed “sale” to JOY-FM was not properly authorized by the LCMS Board which failed to follow proper and established procedures in (a) ignoring widespread Church membership sentiment against any sale which would not preserve the classical music format, (b) abdicating its responsibility to the Church by granting carte blanche authority to Brashear to do practically whatever he wanted with KFUO-FM without Board oversight and guidance and (c) pursuing the sale of the station in secret and favoring one “bidder” to the exclusion of all others, including a group with far more financial resources than the ownership of JOY-FM and which proposed to keep the classical music format intact; (2) Brashear did not act in accordance with the Board’s resolution regarding the disposition of KFUO-FM inasmuch as he did not explore sale options which would have maintained the classical music format and very likely would have also yielded the Church far more money for the station on a realistic basis from its disposition than the JOY-FM “deal” would ever do; and (3) the terms of the proposed “sale” concocted by Brashear in concert with JOY-FM are not in the best interest of the Lutheran Church for a number of reasons including the fact it exposes the Church to claims by those who have contributed roughly $800,000 to KFUO-FM over the years only to discover their contributions were perhaps diverted to the support of KFUO-AM instead (and may very well involve self-dealing by Brashear, a man known in Nebraska for engaging in what can only be described as “serial conflicts of interest” which, interestingly, always seems to redound to his financial benefit).

    A judge in St. Louis, where this derivative legal action would be brought, could set aside Brashear’s “deal” with JOY-FM on any of these grounds or other grounds.

    In the course of the “discovery” process, everything would come out – Brashear’s relationship with members of the LCMS Board, its Treasurer and with the ownership of JOY-FM. And it will do not for Brashear to hide behind the cloak of the attorney-client privilege for this privilege is the Lutheran Church’s privilege to claim or waive – not Brashear’s – and the derivative action would be brought in the name of the Church itself. Discovery would also reveal the truth about JOY-FM’s finances and probably show the small likelihood of the Church ever realizing even a small fraction of the amount due it way down the road under the terms of Brashear’s “balloon note”, heavily financed “sale”.

    The steadfast Lutheran needed to launch this action – the only way in which the truth in this matter will ever come out – need not worry about the legal fees involved. Members of the classical music loving public in St. Louis have already pledged their financial support and, ultimately, following the predicted success of this action, the Church itself would be petitioned to reimburse those fees inasmuch as the Church itself would be the benefited party. This, of course, following every effort to seek full repayment – and retribution – from Kermit Brashear himself. ”
    — samuelco
    11:38 am October 18th, 2009

  11. Hmmmm. Wasn’t a derivative action tried before by some synodical members against the Kieschnick machine?

    I wonder whatever happened to that case and how much it ended up intimidating the Violet Vatican.

  12. I have no doubt the secular St. Louis arts community will find a some pastors or congregations in the LCMS to act as their proxies and bring this legal action.

    It will probably be successful. Or, it will at least delay the sale until convention time, when Classic 99’s apologists within the LCMS can crank up the spin machine yet again.

    It’s fitting. When you make yourself beholden the secular $$$ –as Classic 99 and its apologists have done– this is what you come to. The St. Louis arts community has paid the piper, and there are enough in the LCMS more than willing to dance to their tune.

    When I was at KFUO I warned management, David Strand, and LCMS leadership about their deal with the devil. They made it anyway. This is the result.


  13. I wonder if this is an attempt to buy time – specifically 10 years.

    LCMS, Inc. can temporarily get rid of KFUO-FM but when Joy-FM can’t pay for it in ten years (and the Issues, Etc. heat is off), LCMS, Inc. can quietly take back KFUO-FM.

  14. Pastor Wilken, I can understand why someone may be for or against the sale of KFUO, but to brand classical musicians as the devil is not going to bring them to Christ. Remember that there are non-believers reading this blog.

    “21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 1 Cor. 9: 21-23

    And why have my comments been removed?

  15. Christian Classical…

    I don’t think any comments have been removed. Were your comments on a diffenrent string?


  16. Perhaps so…I’ll check and if so, apologize for the error.

  17. Christian, Classical Musician, member of LCMS,

    I wasn’t referring to classical musicians with my Faustian reference. I was referring to the decidedly secular monied interests in the St. Louis arts community that Classic 99 courted for donations.

    The management of Classic 99, realizing that dwindling ad revenues weren’t going to sustain the station financially, decide to seek donations from decidedly secular monied interests in the St. Louis arts community.

    That in itself wasn’t a bad idea. But the management at Classic 99 didn’t go about it honestly.

    The station minimized and sometimes hid its association with the LCMS when dealing with these secular donors. At one time it was routine for the station to produce two versions of the Libretto newsletter, one for its Lutheran donors, full of religious references, replete with the name and logo of the LCMS, the other for its secular donors, with no religious references, with no mention of the LCMS.

    To the Lutherans Classic 99 presented itself and some kind of Christian ministry (which it wasn’t). To its secular donors it presented itself as secular classical music station (which it was).

    I complained about this dishonest practice. So, one of the versions of the Libretto was discontinued. The religious version. The management had clearly decided who was paying the piper.

    Your reference to St. Paul is misguided. Paul never hid his association to Christ or the Church. Paul accommodated himself to his audience, he never accommodated his message. Paul did all this “for the sake of the Gospel.” Classic 99 did it all for the sake of money.

  18. These dignitaries either relied upon financial information from decades past or were given misinformation about KFUO. The misinformation might have come from the same person who solicited their signatures for this petition.

  19. I would be interested in finding out who solicited the signatures to this petition, and whether the petitioners were given misinformation. I know that many of the petitioners would be very unhappy to find they were “fooled,” if that is what happened.

    The correct details of the deal between LCMS and JOY, Inc. can be found at this link:

    In essence, JOY Inc. offered a total of 26 million. The KFUO Radio Arts board offered a deal where it would pay LCMS 4.1 million, demote LCMS to minority ownership, and require LCMS to bear all operating costs, to continue KFUO-FM as is. That is hardly a “deal.”

    In my opinion, the synodical board of directors made an above-board and smart business decision. That is what we LCMS folks elect the Board of Directors to do, and that is what they did.

    I am, by the way, a great fan of classical sacred and secular music. It is the only music I listen to on a regular basis, or for which I attend concerts. It is not that I feel it is “superior” to other music, but this was part of my college education and is what I like, what I play, and what I understand.

    I realize that there is declining interest nation-wide in classical music of all sorts. If I want that music for my listening pleasure, I know that in most places of the country I will have to pay for it (CDs, satellite radio, podcast, etc.) or borrow from a library. The vast majority of classical listeners can afford to pay for it. We know that is the cost for our “hobby.”

    The real question is who is going to pay for classical music in Saint Louis. LCMS Board of Directors has concluded that the fans of classical music should pay for it themselves. I agree. The petitioners apparently believe that LCMS should pay for it. By the way, I bear no ill will toward any of the petitioners and I consider all of those I know to be good friends.

    I suppose I may lose some friends over these comments. But the LCMS and its purposes (Constitution, Article III) are a higher priority to me than my friends or my hobbies.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  20. Marty,

    Great post. I too would like to know who authored and solicited the signatures to this petition, and if the signers were told that the FM funds the AM when they signed it. That would be misinformation.

    I suspect that if most of the signers knew how money is really handled between FM and AM, they would remove their names from the petition. A few wouldn’t.

    The real question is, will the signers who care about the truth now check (perhaps by calling Tom Kuchta) to see if they were asked to sign under false pretenses?


  21. I would like to know where “JOY” expects to get 26 million.

    From “Transformed congregations” and our much discussed ‘new mission’ starts?

  22. Perhaps this blog entry is too old for anyone to be monitoring it any more, but Hemingway and Wilken, if you’re watching . . .

    Wasn’t the GM, before he was gagged, acting the part of a poor, downtrodden employee suffering at the hands of a mean Board of Directors, garnering sympathy of those who want to save the station? Be that as it may, people need to see through some of that, don’t they?

    Remember the two Christmas ads for KFUO-FM a few years back — one was a Christian version and the other a generic one? (I still have them in my BCS minutes, but they’re boxed up somewhere.) I really think that people need to see THAT. The duplicity of Stortz and others needs to be exposed.

    In addition to the continued misinformation that they are giving (that the FM keeps the AM side alive), this kind of thing ALSO needs to aired. There is plenty more behind the curtains which is not even being addressed in the “arguments” to keep the station. For example, what about those occasions when employees were directed to adapt the programming because we (members of the BCS) were in town?

    If those kinds of things were going to continue, then there is no question that the station should be sold. I would only be in favor of saving the station if there were to be a serious house-cleaning (but in some people’s minds, that might alter the station in such a way that public [financial] support would be lost.

    If the AM side survives, who would be the GM? Would it be an extant staff member who had been doing programming ?? Argh.

  23. J. S. B A C H
    9 +18 + 2 + 1 + 3 + 8 = 41

    I’m sure the learned on this site know well of Bach’s practice of assigning a numeric value to each letter based on its position in the alphabet in order to create signature symbols in his work. And of course, now that we’ve found his Bible and notes, we know that he was a real believer, not just hired to do a job.

    I know no one’s probably on this page anymore, but for anyone who might browse through at a later date, note that the number of people who signed the petition expressing concern about KFUO is……..tada…..41. I just love that. 🙂

  24. I’ve enjoyed this site’s coverage of the proposed “sale” of KFUO-FM to Gateway Creative Broadcasting, Inc. (aka “JOY-FM”) as there are some very sharp-minded contributors on board.

    Although not a Lutheran, I grew up the son of a devout Christian missionary to China who went on to service in several ecumenical settings, becoming, prior to retirement, Dean Emeritus of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. Although not a regularly practicing Christian myself, I am therefore somewhat familiar with religious settings. I am a retired businessman and, unfortunately, familiar with the likes of Kermit Brashear. I am also a passionate lover of classical music, which prompts this post.

    I thought you might enjoy my “take” on the situation for it is my opinion that Kermit Brashear has snookered the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in the “sale” of KFUO-FM. It is my guess that, in “executive (i.e., secret) session” at the LCMS Board Meeting last February 2009, Kermit persuaded Tom Kuchta and his fellow Board members to let him find a purchaser of KFUO-FM in exchange for a fee equal to a percentage of the purchase price he obtained. Like a real estate agent, Brashear’s fee depends solely on the total purchase price payable – in this case $18M – regardless of how much of the price is ever paid to the Lutheran Church. And like a real estate agent, his fee would be payable at closing, again regardless of whether another nickel (on account of the $16.5M Note) is ever paid to the Church. This “deal” has the earmarks of Kermit Brashear all over it. Google this character and you will soon see how it is in keeping with his “MO” and reminiscent of other “deals” he has engineered (read, for example, about “Sarpy County” Nebraska’s baseball team….).

    Let’s say I’m right and Brashear is getting a fee of, say, 6% of the purchase price Gateway (JOY-FM) has agreed to “try to” pay. Assuming there is a closing, Brashear would be entitled to a fee of $1,080,000 (6% x $18,000,000) payable at closing. Interestingly, a review of the Purchase Agreement between the LCMS and Gateway (JOY-FM) shows that at closing, Gateway is required to pay $1,500,000 cash – more than enough to pay Brashear’s fee plus his firm’s legal fees – but little more. Under the Agreement, Gateway is not required to pay another nickel until the end of the 24th month following closing when it is obligated to pay an additional $1,500,000 in principal and interest at 5.25% on the unpaid balance ($16.5M) for the second year’s interest (with the first year’s interest being deferred for 10 years!). Obviously, Brashear personally could care less whether or not Gateway (JOY-FM) ever pays a penny after closing; his fees will have been paid in full and back to Nebraska he goes, smiling all the way.

    Why, you might ask, would Gateway ever agree to pay the astronomical high price of $18M for KUFO-FM when it is worth by any professional estimation approximately $8-9M in a straightforward, cash-based transaction? The answer is because Gateway has nothing to lose and everything to gain. {Parenthetically, JOY-FM doesn’t have a “dime” ($200K on hand as of May 31, 2009), has lost money for the last 2 years on annual revenue of $1.5M according to its Form 990 filings for the past two years and is now engaged in a massive fund raising effort to raise the $1.5M necessary to close (see its website)}. After that – and as for the remaining $24,500,000! in principal and interest payments over years 2-10 following closing, well, “We’ll be praying…and hard”, you can hear them say.

    For only $1.5M, JOY gets ownership and use of this valuable Church asset for 2 years. If it can’t raise the funds to continue the payments under the $16.5M Note, it figures that worst case it can sit down with the LCMS and try to renegotiate terms. For would the LCMS really stoop to an expensive and undoubtedly much publicized and embarrassing lawsuit against this “fine” Christian undertaking to enforce its unrealistic deal or to try to recover its station due to JOY’s default…or at least recover what’s left of it?

    My theory explains many things. It explains the absurdly high price ($18M) Gateway is agreeing to (try to) pay; it explains Brashear’s bristling issuance of a “gag order” – he doesn’t want his percentage fee-based arrangement to get out; it explains his refusal to answer the very pointed and appropriate letter written to him by Bob Duesenberg in an effort to bring to light the nature and terms of his relationship with the LCMS Board; it explains Brashear’s breaking off of negotiations with Naomi Neidorff and friends – for after all, when your fee is based on a percentage of the purchase price, who cares about pursuing a $6-8 million deal when some hard praying “Christians” out west will agree to $18M?

    A derivative action brought by Lutherans against their Board is the only way this deal can ever be “stopped” and the parties brought back to Square One. Apart from the loss of this excellent classical music in St. Louis, the proposed “sale” to Gateway – assuming Gateway can raise the $1,500,000 to close – represents the squandering of a very valuable Church asset by your Board which, one must conclude, was asleep at the switch when this snake Brashear entered its chambers….

    Good luck to all of you.

  25. FROM LCMS’ webpage, Questions about the sale of KFUO:
    ‘……..Is this sale a sign the LCMS is struggling financially because of the country’s economic decline?
    No. This sale is intended to enable the LCMS to pursue new and exciting opportunities in the area of digital communications that can be used to accomplish our mission: In grateful response to God’s grace and empowered by the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacraments, the mission of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is vigorously to make known the love of Christ by word and deed within our churches, communities and the world. Discussions about the possible sale of the station began before the economic downturn occurred….’

    Obvious LCMS’ mission ‘the love of Christ to word and deed within our churches, communities and the world’…..does not include the arts community in St. Louis. Please pray for classical musicians and those in the arts. LCMS does not care about artists knowing Jesus.

  26. Hello, Tim, Todd, Mollie, Marty, and everybody else here at John the Steadfast.

    I very much appreciate the good work you’re doing, and I thank you for the contributions by Sam, Christian Musician, etc. I understand the unhappiness with the Synod’s Board, but I would be careful when discussing individuals. Sam, I appreciate what you have to say, and Tim, you must as well, because you have repeated it elsewhere on the web site. But is there any way to document that Kermit Brashear is going to receive any money from the sale of KFUO’s FM band? I don’t think the web site wants to be in the position of asserting this without some verifiable evidence. However, if there is some way to document this, then it needs far more exposure. It would be breath taking for a member of any Board of Directors to benefit in this way from a sale of assets. But until there is evidence for this, I think Kermit deserves the same consideration we would all want.

    In my limited experience, I have found that simple and elegant explanations are often true. In this case, it appears to me that the Synod has been broke for some time. It needs cash, and is desperate to sell whatever it can to raise it. But more cash for this particular leadership at this time is like giving money to a crack addict. The cash is soon gone, and the Board will be looking for the next valuable asset to hock.

    So I would oppose the sale of KFUO FM on these grounds. It would be very bad stewardship, and would dispose of a valuable asset that could be used for a very good purpose, for only temporary gain. The management, format, and content of KFUO FM can change. I would very much like to see them return more vigorously to their former “Sacred and Classical” format, with more emphasis on Sacred. J.S. Bach is called “The Fifth Evangelist” for a reason, and there is, now, an enormous catalogue of Renaissance and Baroque sacred music.

    I have nothing much for or against “Christian Contemporary Music”, Joy FM, or Gateway, but if it is what I think it is, an argument can be made to the FCC that the audience for insipid fundagelical Christian lounge music is not under served (in fact, if there were only one such station, I would say it is vastly over served). The audience for Sacred and Classical music, however, may be, at least on the FM dial.

    But I’m only catching up on this now, and I fear to tread any farther. Sacred music is where the Church and the Arts meet. I would be surprised if the KFUO Radio Arts Board would object to more Sacred music in the format, but I don’t know either way. As Todd points out, it isn’t right to present two different faces to two different constituencies for fund raising.


  27. Gordon,

    Thanks for the post.

    Todd has asserted several times that KFUO FM does not support the sacred side of classical music as they should. It is not run from a Christian point of view. He worked right there in the building for 7 years so he ought to know. He also reports that the Board for Communications Services has not shown any initiative to do anything about it.

    In terms of Brashear, we are merely posting Sam’s theory. A couple of people on this string have already mentioned that they are contacting Tom Kuchta for more information.

    BTW – I knew a Gordon Bynum who went to Concordia, Seward. Is that you by chance?


  28. Hello, Tim,

    Why, yes, we did go to Seward together, and Saint Louis as well, one year off. I finished another degree between Seward and Saint Louis, and then I spent the second year of seminary in school in Germany and England. But don’t believe anything you hear about that fellow, especially if it is positive!

    I think the KFUO discussion has move to another thread on this site, so I will post more there. Feel free to contact me from the info in the annual, if you like, and keep up the good work here.


  29. @sam glasser #27

    It looks like Brashear and others can bill for time and materials, but not a percentage of the sale price. Credit to Norm Fisher for finding and citing 5.5.

    Any lawyers here?

    From the “Asset Purchase Agreement” at

    12.5. Fees and Expenses.
    Except as otherwise expressly provided in this Agreement, all fees and expenses,
    including fees and expenses of counsel, financial advisors, accountants and brokers incurred in connection with this Agreement and the transactions contemplated hereby shall be paid by the party incurring such fee or expense, whether or not the Closing shall have occurred.

    5.5. Finders and Brokers.
    No person has as a result of any agreement entered into by Purchaser any valid claim
    against any of the parties hereto for a brokerage commission, finder’s fee or other like payment.

  30. @Miles Whitener #33

    See also 4.14, which is actually what Norm cited and more relevant.

    4.14. Finders and Brokers.
    No person has as a result of any agreement entered into by Seller any valid claim against
    any of the parties hereto for a brokerage commission, finder’s fee or other like payment.

  31. There are several parts of this deal that bother me. First, it appears that Mr. Brashear has made a very good deal for himself that may or may not be a good deal for the Synod. It appears that the Synod’s realizing any money from this deal is up in the air–but his money is firm and up front.

    Second, the outfit buying the station will not be a Lutheran group, but an amorphous “evangelical” group pushing “praise” music–the new image of LCMS as the present ruling faction would like to make it. If KFUO-FM had become insufficiently Lutheran in recent years, the answer was to make it more Lutheran, not to sell it to those who would make it not Lutheran at all.

  32. On the other hand, the main drum-beater against the sale is a liberal Episcopalian who flat-out hates LCMS. I know her pretty well, and we have had some real knock-down, drag-out theological arguments. So none of her arguments will have the well-being of LCMS at heart.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.