Something doesn’t add up here, part 87

Remember last year when David Strand fired Todd Wilken and Jeff Schwarz and canceled Issues, Etc. without explanation? When people expressed outrage that the Synod’s only nationally syndicated program had been canned, Strand said — amazingly — that the show had been canceled due to the low number of listeners to the program. Well, not that anyone believed him at the time, but check out these statistics below. Why, again, did Kieschnick’s team at Synod, Inc. get rid of Issues, Etc.?

A Comparison of Unique and Total Website Visitors
Issues, Etc. vs. KFUO AM & FM

Comparision of Issues Etc v.s. KFUO Website Visits

(click on the graph for the original PDF)

Unique Visitors only counts a person once no matter how many times they visit a site in a given month. Unique Visitors are typically used to determine how popular a site is.

Visits are initiated when a user enters a site during an internet session. Visits are considered live until the user’s interaction within the entire internet session has ceased for a 30-minute period. Visits are unique to a session.


Something doesn’t add up here, part 87 — 40 Comments

  1. It’s nice to be counted! I’m in there somewhere for every month during the last year. A year ago I was sliding out the door of my praise-worship, Jesus-is-my-life-coach, moralistic-therapeutic-deistic, Powerpoint-happy church. Then last summer I connected the dots from the White Horse Inn to Issues, Etc. to Brothers of John the Steadfast and now worship our Risen Savior in Word and Sacrament every Sunday at an LC-MS church in Boston. It’s all I can do to keep myself from skipping down the aisle to take the Body and Blood of our Savior every Sunday. I know I can’t be the only one who has followed that path. Thank you! A million times, thank you! I hope I can make the BJS clambake (sorry, New England, you know) in February to meet more of you.


  2. At about 15 segments/week, that looks like 5000 podcast listeners. Cool stuff. I suppose that just doesn’t measure up to KFUO-AM’s strandards.

  3. Under the gulag of Synod, Todd & Jeff were given two tin cans & a piece of string, to get the Truth to those who need to hear it.

    Now…the run the PA at the Superdome. And Synod is now where?….

    “I know the plans I have for you, not to hurt or harm you, but to give you a hope & a future”

    Our Father’s promises are sure, He walks before His own…He cannot lie….
    but men can & Synod does. Questions?

  4. Maybe Synod could hire Todd and Jeff as consultants. Or maybe they could contact Pastor Rossow to get some help getting Fan into Flame to accomplish something.

  5. It is great to hear that so many downloads are taking place. It is good to know that even though LCMS, Inc. tried to squash the Gospel message and replace it with gospel-lite, that so many are hearing Issues, Etc. via a new outlet.

  6. It’s great! Congrats. I’ve always loved that show and am glad to see the Word spread this way.

  7. I would be curious to know what KFUO-AM web traffic was like in the months leading up to the cancellation of Issues Etc. How many of the current Issues Etc. visitors are people, like myself, who used to visit the KFUO-AM website almost everyday, and who took that opportunity to listen, not only to Issues Etc., but also to the other programs on the LCMS radio station? And how many of those visitors, like myself, almost never visit the KFUO-AM website anymore specifically because they cancelled their best and their most popular program?

  8. Pr. Wilken, does the 71,804 contain those who subscribe via iTunes (like myself), or only those who download directly from the website? I’m not sure how that all works. 🙂

  9. Zant,

    I don’t know. I assume that the 71K includes iTunes. I prefer to underestimate the rather than overestimate the number.

    If the 71K doesn’t include iTunes, then the real number of downloads is going to be significantly larger. But we don’t yet know how to determine that.


  10. Do these stats mean that IE’s bandwidth consumption and ISP bills exceed that of KFUO?
    Are any of the downloads old programs from the synod’s server?

  11. Paul,

    Nice try. No, none of the downloads are from the KFUO site or LCMS Inc.’s server.

    And, I’m pretty sure we can pay our download bills. Can you guys pay yours?


  12. And Paul,

    Didn’t Chuck Rathert issue a memo forbidding all KFUO AM employees from communicating with me, Jeff and Craig?

    Be careful. I’m pretty sure Chuck reads this blog.


  13. Paul,

    You asked, “Are any of the downloads old programs from the synod’s server?”

    I answered “No.”

    But don’t take my word for it. Here is a PDF record of all our mp3 downloads for the last week –85,344 of them. Look at it for yourself. You can see that none of these files are from LCMS Inc.’s server, and none of them date before June 30, 2008:


  14. Todd,
    This has little to do with the thread, but here goes. Thank you so much, for doing what you did, standing your ground, and trusting your Lord. I had no clue about any of this present business (I do mean all of the gory bits of EC/CGM etc). Until it happenned in my church & to me. The Issues, Etc. debacle, was how I found out it was in the LCMS & how I found BJS. They may not think that is so great, but I certainly do. Thank you for being so faithful to the Truth, oh…that would be His Truth.

  15. It’s just amazing that these people (KFUO leadership) can keep their jobs. In the business world or any organization except maybe Congress, such inept actions would lead to dismissal or at least, a serious demotion. It’s a good thing for them that there ineptness is apparently surpassed by some of their superiors. Bad business decisions and poor theological discernment…what a combination!
    May God continue to bless your ministry.
    Jim K.

  16. You are most heartily welcome Todd! Just keep it up & expose that which is false for what it is! To many are in great peril, & not the Pythonian kind!

  17. As far as whether or not the numbers include downloads from iTunes, my understanding of how iTunes works with podcasts is this: iTunes simply acts as a program to point you to the available podcast and a way to mange podcast which you have downloaded. It really works exactly like an RSS Reader. No podcasts are stored on Apple’s servers. iTunes is just directing your computer to the Issue’s site (or any other site which has podcasts to which you have subscribed) to download the files. Bottom line…even if you subscribe through iTunes, you computer is downloading the files from the Issues site.

    Hope this helps.


  18. Just looking for some full disclosure and my question wasn’t answered. It’s logical that the higher the bandwidth consumption (downloads/streaming)…the higher the cost. Do these stats mean that IE’s bandwidth consumption and ISP bills exceed that of KFUO?

  19. Paul,

    Well, for me to answer that questino, you’d need to tell me what KFUO’s bandwidth consumption and ISP bills are. You know, full disclosure.


  20. Since Paul has raised the issue of full disclosure… I think full disclosure is a good thing.

    Will KFUO AM disclose its web stats publicly?

    We already know KFUO AM’s general web traffic is a tenth that of Issues, Etc.’s. Will KFUO AM disclose its specific on-demand download stats, as we have disclosed ours?


  21. Full disclosure

    The one stat that is the mother of all stats:

    When I want fluff and praise music (which is never), I head over to KFUO. When I want something that is Christ-centered and cross-focused, I download the latest batch of Issues, Etc. segments onto my iPod. Doesn’t that really end all of the other debate?

  22. Todd,

    Your friend Tom the “T” has all the numbers and you are chums. I mean come on, you said, “he’s out of town this weekend.” You two must be really tight on the agenda of selling of Classic 99. Where did you get the stats you posted? Gimme a break! You should also have the bandwidth consumption numbers from him. Show them if they surpass KFUO’s. Unafraid of truth, Paul

  23. Ummm … most likely whoever obtained these charts did it from one of the website comparision sites that are around the web. I’m sure Pr Wilken does not have direct access to KFUO’s stats as he does stats for IssuesEtc.

    Let’s not be so quick to accuse him of having the information that he is asking for.

  24. Mollie,
    You asked, “Why, again, did Kieschnick’s team at Synod, Inc. get rid of Issues, Etc.?”

    That’s an easy one. They don’t like Lutheran theology.

  25. Paul,

    I knew that Tom Kuchta was out of town this week because I called his office and his secretary told me he was. — something anyone could have done. Anyone also could have discovered this from the BOD meeting schedule posted at the LCMS website. Really Paul, no conspiracy theories are necessary.

    The KFUO AM & FM stats posted here came from, as Mollie has said.

    I am happy to compare KFUO’s numbers with Issues, Etc.’s anytime –but I can’t, KFUO won’t publish them. Again, you’d need to tell me what KFUO’s bandwidth consumption and ISP bills are. You have access to this information. Publish it and let’s compare.

    As for the sale of Classic 99, I do agree with Kuchta’s reasoning, I’ve made no secret of that.


  26. What’s Chuck’s email address? I’ll email him and ask.

    [[editor: Um, please don’t post an email address on this list; email Pr Wilken if you want to obtain it.]]

  27. Before people get too excited there are two things to remember:
    1) There’s an apples and oranges comparison here between web based and broadcast based media. KFUO probably has more day to day consumption in broadcast than webcast (can’t prove it but I would assume it true)
    2) total band with consumption is also a far more accurate reading on how much content is being streamed over the web than a unique visit counter. It’d be good to see those numbers side by side.

  28. John,

    You wrote, “It’d be good to see those numbers side by side.”

    Yes, it would.

    Will Paul publish KFUO AM’s website data? Will he delineate how many of KFUO AM’s downloads are old Issues, Etc. shows still available at their site?


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