The Federal Communications Commission announced May 5 that it has approved the transfer of KFUO-FM’s 99.1 license from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) to Gateway Creative Broadcasting (“Joy FM”).
The transfer will take effect at a mutually agreeable date that has not been determined.
The LCMS will continue to own and operate KFUO-AM, the world’s longest continuously operating religious radio station, offering a format of inspirational Christian/Lutheran talk and music.
“The Synod considers it a privilege to have provided the St. Louis community with KFUO-FM broadcasts these past 62 years,” said Ron Schultz, chief administrative officer of the LCMS. “The church deeply values the heritage of the station and is immensely grateful to its donors, sponsors, and listeners for their support.”
KFUO Radio acquired its FM license in 1948 at a time when few people were interested in FM broadcasting. Until the mid-1970s, programming on both KFUO-AM and KFUO-FM was nearly identical. Beginning in 1975, in response to new FCC regulations, KFUO-FM (“Classic 99”) expanded its fine-arts broadcasting, and since then, with the blessing of Synod, has served as a cultural voice for the St. Louis metropolitan area.
The sale of KFUO-FM’s license to JOY-FM follows the recommendation of a committee appointed by the LCMS Board of Directors in early 2008 to study the role of KFUO-FM and KFUO-AM and the best use of those assets in the Synod’s mission. The committee recommended the sale of KFUO-FM, with a majority of the proceeds to be placed in a fund designated for “proactive ministry utilizing advanced media” such as video and audio streaming via the Internet or satellite radio to reach audiences beyond the St. Louis market.
In October, the LCMS Board of Directors approved the acquisition of KFUO-FM by JOY-FM for $18 million, plus interest scheduled over a 10-year period, for a total of $26 million.
Joy FM is a non-commercial, listener-supported station offering Christian music programming. The station currently broadcasts simultaneously on two signals, 97.7 FM and 94.1 FM, which together reach the City of St. Louis, the northern and western reaches of St. Louis County, St. Charles, and O’Fallon, Mo.
“We are extremely grateful for the dedication and professionalism of our KFUO-FM staff and for their faithful service, especially during these past few difficult months,” Schultz said.
The FCC’s approval of the license transfer enables the Synod to move forward with additional resources for new mission and ministry efforts in this country and around the world, Schultz said. “We are deeply thankful for the support the St. Louis community has shown for KFUO-FM over the years. Yet, we realize that the core mission of our church is to reach the world with the Gospel, the good news of Jesus. In these difficult times, we believe that a careful review and deployment of our assets best serves that purpose.”
Schultz said he encourages all interested parties to visit www.lcms.org to learn more about the church’s outreach, evangelism, education, human-care, and disaster-response work.
“Thank you for your prayers as we look to the future and seek the Lord’s blessings on this new chapter,” he said.
Posted May 6, 2010