KFUO Sale Draws Dueling Petitions, Baseball Star's Involvement
January 4, 2010 at 4:32 AM (PT)
The bitter dispute over the sale of Classical KFUO/ST. LOUIS by LUTHERAN CHURCH-MISSOURI SYNOD to Christian station operator GATEWAY CREATIVE BROADCASTING, which plans to flip the station's format to Contemporary Christian, continues with the opposition, the RADIO ARTS FOUNDATION and the COMMITTEE TO SAVE KFUO, filing a response to the SYNOD and GATEWAY's filings against the petitions to deny the sale.
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH columnist SARAH BRYAN MILLER reports that the filing by the opposition groups alleges that GATEWAY did not have the required funding to buy and operate the station when it initially applied for the deal, questions whether the station was offered to sale to all potential purchasers, and reiterating the claims that the loss of Classical programming would hurt the community.
MILLER additionally reports that in response to the allegations, lawyers for GATEWAY and the SYNOD provided evidence of GATEWAY's funding, coming largely from a NOVEMBER fundraiser headed by ST. LOUIS CARDINALS superstar first baseman ALBERT PUJOLS and former pitcher ANDY BENES and the players' wives, the pledges from which were used as the basis for a loan from a local bank on DECEMBER 9th. The opponents note that the sale filing was made in OCTOBER, before the funding was secured.
The $18 million sale of KFUO has been controversial, with claims that the church, through OMAHA politician/lawyer, board member and spokesman KERMIT BRASHEAR, resisted plans to sell the station to either another Lutheran organization or a citizens group dedicated to saving the station's Classical format. The FCC does not reject station sales on grounds of format changes. BRASHEAR told MILLER that "does not expect that (the SYNOD or GATEWAY) will respond to the new filings."