Thoughts on the sale of KFUO-FM

I have previously announced my agnosticism on the matter of whether KFUO-FM should have been sold or not. And I should mention that I asked a number of radio industry experts what they thought about the terms of the sale and they gave very favorable responses. So I’m merely sharing this note as a matter of information and to show readers how people feel about the handling of this sale. It actually does not represent my own views on the matter — which I’m writing up for a separate post.

This note comes from the Second Vice-President of the LCMS, Dr. Paul L. Maier:

October 8, 2009

Selling KFUO-FM was a clear violation of Christian ethics. Primed with wrong information, the LCMS Board of Directors that authorized the sale ignored an appeal by 41 principal church leaders not to sell KFUO-FM, disregarded crucial ethical issues involved in betraying the trust of KFUO’s founders and supporters, and has now sold a vital mission of our church, gaining proceeds to which it was legally but not morally entitled. This was not Synod’s investment, but that of listeners across 85 years who prayed, worked, and gave sacrificially to support KFUO. Did the matter of basic ethics ever occur to board members, the obligation to do right rather than wrong? And in a church board, no less?

And all this while destroying one of our country’s great, pioneer radio stations and alienating the cultural community of St. Louis — and the world.

Moreover, radio experts wonder why the Board relegated so important a decision to a small committee (one which avoided other options for Lutheran ownership), and are mystified that it would sell such an asset at the worst possible time economically. They deem the sales agreement “dead on arrival,” since the millions claimed in the sale have little chance of realization. Joy-FM, the purchaser, is non-commercial and already owes $600,000 on its two “rim-shot” stations. One cannot escape the conclusion that this was one of the worst decisions ever made by any board in the history of our church body.


Thoughts on the sale of KFUO-FM — 10 Comments

  1. I find in rather hard to digest what Dr. Maier states. It is rather odd that those who use such procedures to gain their ends, find it a “clear violation of Christian ethics,” when it comes to something they really like. This kind of comment is truly disheartening when there was, to my memory, no such out cry from the likes of Dr. Maier when Christian ethics were set aside to rid the LLL of Dr. Schulz a Lutheran Hour speaker much more in the line of Walter Maier who begun the radio program than some of those who have muddy the air waves with their thoughts.

  2. Ok Rev. Sterle, however apparent hypocrisy does not negate the message presented by the messenger. There are those of us who have more than sternly suggested that the assets of the synod be kept in synod and used to better ends, but we have largely been ignored.

    What Second VP Maier reports to us is either true, or it isn’t. What he has done in the past is irrelevant. What matters is what has been done now.

  3. Matthew,

    I do find your comment to be a bit naive. What Dr. Maier has done in the past as a churchman should be the same that he does in the present–otherwise one cannot be held accountable for anything! While there is forgiveness for that for which there is repentance, I have found no repentance in those who felt that what Dr. Schulz received was correct. His situation was no different than when Dr. Meyer (Dale) was a synodical VP and made a similar ruling. Course, this kind of matter some will consider totally in the political realm/business realm and that Christian charity/ethics is not necessary. I totally disagree!

  4. I just keep trying to figure out why men who are supposed to be concerned with immortal souls are so enchanted with trying to be businessmen. May the Lord help us all to live in the vocations to which He has called us.

  5. Rev. Roger D. Sterle :
    I do find your comment to be a bit naive.

    Well, I’m sorry you find my comment a bit naive. It’s actually firmly logical. I’m not looking for repentance, nor allies either. I’m looking for answers. If that’s “naive”, then heaven help us. If what Dr. Maier says is true, then at the moment it’s totally irrelevant what happened regarding a “similar” situation.

  6. Ok so if there were 41 principal church leaders against this,
    and the community in general, then the FCC would be the next avenue for the 41 and others to contact. The FCC has the final say. The FCC seldom if ever will go against a sale but thats last try to stop it. If the dealings were questionable (at least not in good faith with LCMS members and the community that may be the stopper.

    Selling to a CM and doctrinally questionable group just doesn’t make sense. But what does lately?

    Should FM be sold I’m not sure. Could it be better used, OH YEAH. Will we be holding the short end of the stick? eventually.

    IE: orphan home property, CBC property etc..

    LCMS leaders have not been wise buisness men in the last few decades.
    Stick to doctrine and theology, Oh wait we forgot how to do that too.


  7. I fail to understand when we became a banking institution and hold notes for millions of dollars.

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