The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod will sell its 61-year-old classical music station, KFUO-99.1 FM, to Gateway Creative Broadcasting, the LCMS and Gateway announced today, for $18 million plus $8 million in interest over a 10-year term.
The sale will become final in March, pending the approval of the Federal Communications Commission and transfer of the license.
Des Peres-based Gateway, as Joy FM, broadcasts Christian contemporary music. It presently owns two “rimshot” stations, in Potosi and Bowling Green, that do not penetrate St. Louis County or city.
The thing is, no one seems all that happy about this sale, and its not just because they are all a bunch of Mozart nuts.
First there is the internal strife about the sale. STLToday goes in to detail on this in their article quoted above:
The station was never advertised, and the sale was handled in secrecy. LCMS treasurer Tom Kuchta and board member Kermit [Editor’s Note: Awesome.] Brashear, an Omaha lawyer and politician, were behind the sale. Brashear handled the negotiations.
LCMS second vice president Paul W. Maier, a professor of history at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, charged that the board had ignored a petition signed by 41 church leaders, and abandoned its responsibilities. At its August meeting, the board turned over full authority to sell the station to Brashear. No discussions within the Synod were ever held.
“That’s difficult to understand,” said Devantier, “why that group or any group within the church was never able to submit a bid to purchase the station.”
Its not just people inside the LCMS that are up in arms about this move, others in the radio industry are doing all they can to queer the deal as well. One of them is our friend-of-the-site blog STLMedia you flatly states that the “sale must be stopped at all costs!”
So whats the big deal? Well no one was allowed to make any offers! This whole thing seemed to have gone down after someone lost a hand at a back door poker game. Its not like there aren’t groups out there that wanted to make a bid, there is at least one apparently that wants to keep it a classical station, but they never got the chance!
There’s a weird line here with stuff like this though right. Who says you can’t sell something you own to whoever you want? Well its not that easy. For one, even the group of people that own it aren’t wild about this deal and two, when you start dealing with FCC controlled properties things aren’t as cut and dry.
I’ll never understand why they did just listen to other deals and say they didn’t “like” them and still sell to JoyFM. No one could have said a thing if they had just taken a damn meeting with the other guys. People are so lazy.
If you want to join in on the fight to keep Classical music pumping or just because you really really really hate Christian rock, check out what you can do on this STLMedia post.