Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Petitioners challenge KFUO sale

Reports published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch say that three petitions have been filed with the Federal Communications Commission in an attempt to stop the sale of radio station KFUO (90.7 FM). KFUO is the only radio station in the St. Louis area that broadcasts classical music, and also is home to Don Wolff's long-running program I Love Jazz, which airs on Friday nights.

In two blog posts and a news story, classical music critic Sarah Bryan Miller writes that petitions now have been filed with the FCC by three groups:

* The Committee to Save KFUO-FM, made up of local members of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, which currently owns KFUO;

* The Radio Arts Foundation, a group of St. Louisans drawn from the Radio Arts Board, which over the years raised more than $800,000 to support classical music on KFUO and sought to buy the station from the LCMS;

* A group calling itself Citizens of Metropolitan St. Louis and Citizens of the United States of America, which is inviting anyone interested in the issue to join their petition:
"Those who wish to have their name included as part of the public form of this document may contact buzzmusicmedia via email so their names can be given to the FCC, if and when The Commission asks for the list of citizens’ names and addresses...emails may be sent to buzzmusicmedia@gmail.com — I will gladly forward those names and addresses to those who hold the document."
Miller's story said the first two petitions raise the issue of whether prospective buyers Gateway Creative Broadcasting are financially qualified to purchase the license, and whether they filed all the FCC’s required forms and documents. The third group of petitioners "allege collusion in the sale - which wasn’t seriously opened up to anyone beyond the Joy FM folks by Omaha lawyer-LCMS board member-paid counsel Kermit Brashear, who will apparently pocket a bundle from the transaction - along with impact on the community and alleged insolvency on the part of Gateway."

In another post today with more details on the specific individuals involved with the petitioning groups, Miller adds: “The petitions are not lawsuits. Sources within the groups fighting the sale of the station said that separate lawsuits on other grounds might still be forthcoming."

In other recent related posts, Miller also has reported on the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra's efforts to mobilize opposition to the sale, and the widening of a "gag order" imposed on employees of KFUO and the LCMS to prevent them from talking to the press about the sale.

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