The Radio Arts Foundation’s K297BI-LP on 107.3 has launched, replacing the old KFUO, which the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod sold for a Christian format after 60 years in the market. The new station, which launched on 4/8 with 250 watts, can also be heard on KIHT-HD2 at 96.3 FM.
Station manager Jim Connett told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch that fundraising side of the equation will now kick into high gear. “We’re sending out our rate card for advertising. We’re asking our donors for their donations now, if they can, or after the station opens. We’re also in the works sending letters to major businesses, asking them to support the arts. I hope that everybody opens their arms and accepts it, and if they don’t, let us know. We’re definitely going to be responsive to the community.”
The station will bring back programs from KFUO such as Composer’s Datebook, Classic Kids and Classic Tracks, and create new local programming as well. There will be a wide range of orchestra broadcasts from around the country, from and the WFMT Classical Network, the LA Philharmonic to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to the New York Philharmonic, as well as opera from Lyric Opera of Chicago and elsewhere. There will also be jazz and blues offerings.
KFUO (99.1 FM) was sold in July 2010 in a controversial deal that shut out classical music fans. Since then, the foundation, whose bid to buy the station turned down, has quietly worked to get St. Louis a new classical outlet.
For months, a deal seemed lose. Succeeding starting dates were repeatedly announced last year, as the FCC was slow in finalizing the license.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held Monday in the auditorium of the adjacent Centene Plaza building, attended by members of RAF’s board and advisory council, and distinguished guests.
The station’s musical database integrates music libraries including 7,000 works, from WRR-FM, the City of Dallas’ classical station. Another, with 12,000, is a copy of the old KFUO library, shared by the Lutherans, which still streams Classic99 at KFUO.org.