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KFUO sale challenged, and some views on music research

Four petitioners hope there’s still a chance that the sale of St. Louis’s KFUO isn’t a done deal. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported today that multiple challenges have been filed with the Federal Communications Commission to block the sale of the commercial classical station to Christian broadcaster Gateway Creative Broadcasting.

One group is made up of members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, which is selling the station. Another is a fundraising group that has helped support KFUO. I was surprised to see Patty Wente speaking on behalf of this fundraising group — she used to be general manager of KWMU, the city’s main NPR station, until she was dismissed amid controversy last year.

Read Sarah Bryan Miller’s full article here. As far as I know, it’s rare for the FCC to block station sales — but I haven’t heard of many sales that have been so vigorously opposed, either.

Also — if you read my article from Current about midday music research that I posted last week, you might want to go back and read a letter from a reader that was posted more recently on Current’s website.

There are more aspects of classical music than are dreamt of. The Brahms Academic Festival/Tragic Overture choice goes beyond “One laughs; the other cries.” The first may indeed be lightweight; but the other is a heartfelt testament. Shunting “darker” music from midday to the fringe of the schedule belies what we know of listeners tuning in when it’s convenient for them, not for us. There are unpredictable aspects to listener reactions, and these may be the very works that would have reached in a meaningful way, and ultimately served, the listener.

Jeff Skibbe commented here about the similarity of the midday research to some studies done years ago within public radio — then known as “modal music.” For some extra history, check out this Current article about the modal studies. There are indeed some similarities between that research and this more recent effort to understand and cater to listeners’ tastes.

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