KFUO Sale Contributes to Changes on Synod Board

Found on St Louis Today:

The sale of KFUO had an effect at last year’s Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod convention, says Paul L. Maier, third vice president of the synod. While it was not the only factor, Maier says, “every member of the (board of directors) up for re-election who voted to sell KFUO-FM was defeated at the Houston Convention last July.”

Not affected was board member and lawyer Kermit Brashear, whose term expires in 2013. Brashear voted to explore the sale and then handled every aspect of it. Although the exact figures have been kept confidential, LCMS insiders estimate that he and his law firm were paid about $500,000 for their efforts.

The synod has been cutting budgets and cited the need for cash in making the decision to sell KFUO-FM. They didn’t get much from it so far.

“Most of the $1.5 million first payment from (Joy FM) has been expended by the LCMS for legal fees” in connection with the sale of the station, to Brashear and others, Maier says.

Maier says Brashear had a conflict of interest as a board member handling and profiting from the sale and that such conflict is prohibited by the denomination’s bylaws.

The outcome of the sale was “one of the worst possible for the church and the greater St. Louis cultural community,” he says.

By Sarah Bryan Miller

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.


KFUO Sale Contributes to Changes on Synod Board — 52 Comments

  1. @Stan Slonkosky #50

    My remarks about HD are always about FM HD.

    KFUO’s AM HD transmitter was a gift from a donor. It is probably less than a 1,000 watt transmitter so it wouldn’t even cost much in electricity to keep it going. I’ve seen it. It sits in a rack alongside other stuff not far from the main studio. It’s not much bigger than an audio power amp.

    AM HD has been a bit of a bust, but there are two sides to the issue of KFUO using it. If you can pick up their HD signal, it sounds a lot cleaner than the analog signal.

    I think KFUO can be commended for trying something new, in this case. Not much is lost by having done so. I hope they don’t turn it off.

    FM HD has a great future. I have an FM (only) HD belt-top from Best Buy that was about $30 and tracks every station I’m interested on on my daily drive, using only the earphone cable as an antenna. Amazon has some decent in-dash radios for less than $200. Best Buy has a new boombox coming out. Availability is still fairly poor considering that the incremental cost to add HD to a radio is very little. The FCC could help us all by requiring radios to receive HD (while not requiring broadcasters to use it). This pattern has been used in the past with some success. AM stereo died because it was NOT mandated in any way — there was not even a standard — and the market failed.

    There’s been a lot of ignorant trashing of FM HD, and that is partly responsible for the slow-ish uptake.

    The closest phenomenon in market uptake that I can think of was color TV. It hit the retail market in 1954 and it wasn’t really mainstream for another 15 years. FM HD was approved as the only digital broadcast technology in 2001 or 2002. We are now at about year ten. See above the number of stations and channels using it in the US. Europe has handled digitization a different way – by completely trashing analog operation and having no compatibility mode. If the FCC made analog broadcast illegal, it would boost HD’s percentages, but I think that would be a bad thing to do.

    There is no either-or between FM HD and in-dash Internet. The reason for this is that FM HD as mentioned above essentially costs nothing to add to a car radio. I expect all new cars will have it within five years. Internet service is always two-way; every listener requires a virtual circuit. This is hundreds of times more expensive to make happen, in terms of physical infrastructure, than broadcast. There’s no either-or. I want and have both, but FM HD is free, and I pay for Internet access. And I will never suffer from poor reception just because I am sitting in traffic too close to hundreds of other cars using the same cell. I’ve had a smartphone for almost five years and we’ve just begun to see the effects of congestion due to heavy mobile streaming use. Broadcast, where each additional user costs nothing to the broadcaster, is not going away! And FM HD is the only way you can broadcast digitally. And digital is not going away. There you go.

  2. @Stan Slonkosky #50

    > If you check around, you’ll see that a lot of FM stations are shutting it off, too. Subchannels on FM IBOC have lower data rates than the main channel resulting in annoying digital artifacts.

    I am not aware of any trend of FM stations getting out of HD. The study results I’ve read, including very recent ones, indicate very low incidence of interference on FM (which from the beginning has been much less susceptible to all forms of inteference).

    Recent FM HD developments include
    – power increase allowed up to 10% of analog signal (-10 dB) from 1% originally. This power level provides somewhat _better_ area coverage than analog.
    – (very recent) asymmetrical use of sidebands to further limit encroachment to adjacent stations. The test results I’ve read look very good.

    Also – about switching from analog to digital – with the new power level allowed, digital reception should normally be stronger than analog, so cutting back and forth should be minimal. And there is a mandated delay on the analog signal, which is supposed to prevent the out-of-sync situation you heard. Most stations seem to do this part right, though it would be possible for it to be set incorrectly. I’ve been calling radio stations for a long time when they have a sound problem. They listen after you establish credibility.

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