Friday, July 11, 2008

What We've Learned From Issues Etc., the First Week

I looked back at my old blog at Homeschoolblogger the other day, and found a statement that I now consider quite ironic. I said "I'm not a very political person, so that is my political statement for the year." I spent about five minutes looking at that statement, and then I laughed. I think it was more the timidity of realizing that I was actually being read by somebody (anybody) and getting used to that idea rather than my actual nature, which has since come to the front.

We've learned some things from the first week of Issues, Etc. (forgive me, I'm not far beyond that....I'm listening a segment at a time).

1. That these guys are TRULY classy and have good heads on their shoulders. Maybe everyone else knew that, but I was not a frequent listener to the previous incarnation because of my lack of technology or my lack of ability to type and listen to something at the same time. They have amazingly put forward the truth of their experience without doing more than seek to provide an accurate picture of why they were off the air for three months.

2. That they will have no problem maintaining guests on their shows. They have had professors from both seminaries, political figures, and good theological minds from within the LCMS and without. The only thing that will be different at this point in time is the ability to do remotes. They do not at this time have the equipment to do so.

3. That, as we pretty much knew already, they were the only show required to generate their own revenue. Maybe that is because they were syndicated.
4. That if you donated through the Reformation Club, not all of your donation went toward supporting Issues, Etc. If you lived within 100 miles of St. Louis, ALL OF IT went into the KFUO General Fund. Issues, Etc. benefitted from this in as much as they benefitted from the General Fund, but so did every other show on there, even though you were donating to support Issues, Etc. in particular.

5. The LCMS Foundation, the fundraising arm of the LCMS, to the best of their knowledge, did indeed take 40% of all revenue generated for KFUO to cover their costs for generating revenue for KFUO (even if they really didn't do the work to generate it, to my understanding). This is FAR higher than any industry standard, which is around 10% (just like with managing agents of all kinds).

There is no doubt why KFUO received poor grades by charity watchdog associations. This is unethical business practice for non-profits. When someone donates money to a charity for a specified use, they actually can get in serious trouble if it is discovered that the donation was used for something else.

This is not always a good thing. I used to work for Arrowhead Lutheran Camp in California, and we had lots of people donate for specific things like improving the cabins, but not enough people donating to our general funds. So this made us obligated to improve the cabins (and put some of our own funds toward completing the job), but we didn't have enough money to pay the bills. But, never the less, a designated fund is just that. Designated, not general.

6. That the predominant interest of KFUO was not in proclaiming God's Word, but to not offend anybody who would decide not to purchase advertising on KFUO's FM station, which is not Christian, it is a classical station. If they spoke about such very important issues such as Seminex/The Battle for the Bible or theological issues regarding Roman Catholicism, they were told to "watch out" and were given a "talking to." It created a very frustrating environment that generating revenue for their secular radio station was more important than God's Word and educating the laity on the Lutheran perspective of current events. (Stand Firm has transcribed the statement that Todd Wilken made on air, here. Many thanks to Scott Diekmann for doing so for all of us).

Good things to learn. Thanks to Todd Wilken and Jeff Schwarz for not signing the gag order that the LCMS wanted them to sign, and for sharing all of this.


Dakotapam said...

I've learned so much as well. I listened to a lot of Issues Etc. when we were in St. Louis for sem, but not as much after getting out into the parish...not so much time, energy etc. Isn't it funny how when something is taken away, it becomes all the more important? I listen regularly (on my own schedule via podcasts) now, and I have been impressed by many of the same things you have been impressed by!

Barry said...

What a wonderful blog post. Our friend from Texas really messed up. Before the Easter Tuesday massacre he had Issues on a leash. Now he makes them a cause celebre and he has no control. JK makes enemies and gives them a national profile.

He is lucky that Todd and Jeff are such great guys. Some people especially Texans need to realize that that the Bible is the Word of God. It is not just a wax nose that says whatever the majority voted at the last convention.
The Easter Tuesday massacre maybe the best thing that has happened to the LCMS since 1932.
Best wishes,
Barry O'Connell

Thursday's Child said...

I'm so glad that I first heard of these guys on your blog. After reading your posts and posts on WT, I was so excited that it was up and running again. I haven't missed an episode yet.

Thank you so much!