Despite multiple efforts to stop it, a deal sending St. Louis Classical icon KFUO-FM from The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod to Gateway Creative Broadcasting has received the blessings of the FCC, paving the way for a Christian format on the station.
The St. Louis Globe-Democrat offered an early RIP to the station and its Classical format, which it says has been a municipal fixture for 61 years. A new contemporary Christian format is expected to kick off 6/1/10.
The sale of the station attracted a great deal of attention, eventually drawing in the attention, and protests, of US Representatives John Shimkus (R-IL) and Lacy Clay (D-MO), and Senator Kit Bond (R-MO).
Shimkus said earlier, “As a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, this is not a position that I take lightly, but I truly believe that the sale of our area’s lone classical music station does the church and the community wrong.”
“We have seen that losing the arts can wreak havoc on a community,” added Clay. “If Classic 99 is converted to a different music format, the cultural and economic consequences will be dismal.”
Bond had asked for an FCC inquiry. But the FCC had to look into and sign off on the deal whether Bond asked them to or not, and the programming implications of a transaction are not a part of that process.
RBR-TVBR observation: We join with many concerned individuals in regretting the wasting away of commercial Classical radio. But the way to keep a format alive is to get enough people to listen to the station and make it a robust and profitable business. Unfortunately, although Shimkus, Clay and Bond represent the St. Louis area, they spend much of their time in Washington DC, where they can only support the commercial Classical stylings of the legendary WGMS-FM.
Oh, yeah – that one is long gone too. And if you can’t keep the format alive in a town like Washington, it’s hard to imagine very many other cities that might support it.
It’s sad, but times do change, and it looks like Classical is going the way of old-fashioned MOR and Beautiful Music into the dustbin of radio history.