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The Death Of Classical Music In St. Louis August 27, 2009

Posted by Edward von Bear in Ducks, Entertainment, History, Movies, Music, Science.
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Here in St. Louis, radio station KFUO-FM has been playing Classical Music, Opera, and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra for over six decades. Unfortunately for the station, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod owns it and needs to generate cash to fill major revenue shortfalls. So, guess what the Lutherans want to do to plug the gaps? Hold a tuna casserole dinner? Recruit new people into their re-education camps? Sell beer at their services? Charge ad revenue on certain commetning sites with the proceeds to get laundered back to the re-education camps? Sell the radio station?

Ding, Ding, Ding! We have a winner. And the most depressing aspect of the sale? The buyer will probably not air Classical Music after they buy it, much to the dismay of many in town.

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, which has contracts with KFUO to broadcast live performances and other programming, has expressed alarm over the proposed sale.

The orchestra’s president and CEO, Fred Bronstein, said it would be difficult for a classical music station to build a viable business model with a hard-to-get signal.

“This is a major city, and a major city culturally,” Bronstein said. “It would be a terrible blow to the city to lose (classical music programming). You would lose that consistent voice of arts and culture in the city.”

The proposed sale is also cause for debate within the higher echelons of the church, which is based in Kirkwood but has nearly 2.5 million members and is one of the largest Lutheran denominations in North America.

Of the 15 on the board of directors, 13 live outside the St. Louis area.

Paul L. Maier, the church’s second vice president and a professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, said he is “concerned that the 15 board members do not represent the general feeling of (the church) at all.” Maier and others have asked that the board defer any decision on the future of the station until July 2010, when the full church, with 1,250 voting representatives, meets in Houston.

Maier cited a petition dated May 8, signed by 41 church “VIPs” — most of them in leadership positions — urging the board to reconsider its decision to authorize a sale.