Sunday, March 30, 2008

Issues etc. with the Numbers Game

Recently, a letter was posted on the official LCMS website purporting to explain why Issues etc. was canceled. The reasons, in my opinion, are rather spurious, and as someone is more familiar than most what Internet download numbers mean, I have to address something important concerning the reason by David L. Strand, Executive Director Board for Communication Services on the recent canceling of Issues etc.

Some may also be under a misapprehension about the size of the “Issues” audience. In 2005, station management decided it could no longer justify paying for expensive ratings reports in light of the predictably low and static nature of KFUOAM’s audience numbers. At the time, a blending of the spring 2004 and spring 2005 “books” showed an average listening audience during the “Issues” Monday-Friday timeslot of 1,650. There is no indication these numbers have grown appreciably since.

First of all, Mr. Strand, if you aren't keeping track of the numbers because it's not justifiable in your mind to keep track of the numbers, you shouldn't be saying anything about numbers in the first place. If you don't know what the numbers are, don't talk about what the numbers are.

As for the audio streaming of “Issues, Etc.” via the Internet, the numbers are similarly low. During the last full month (February 2008) for which we have reports, the average number of live, streaming listeners during the “Issues” Monday-Friday timeslot was 64.

That's actually pretty high numbers considering people absolutely have to arrive at the website to access the feed. What should have been happening is the station streaming audio should have been MADE accessible in as many places as possible. Plus, someone should have been looking other popular ways in which streaming media is distributed on the Internet. is a place where many radio stations and shows are broadcasting their content, live as it happens.

Also, are you saying that the people who were calling the show, some regularly, and some not so regularly, were not pretty amazing numbers? Shawn Hannity doesn't get as many callers as Issues etc. did, but he's doing rather well for himself.

Now, I want to address an issue that David Strand didn't even address. Radical Grace Radio lives and breaths by downloads per month. We can find out what are ratings are for on the air if we want to, but I personally have decided not to worry about that until after we've been on the air for at least a year. Pastor Gary and myself frequently check our downloads daily, and lately for a show so new and still relatively unknown, we're posting impressive numbers, especially since it's mostly been word of mouth that drives our numbers. I recently came upon numbers by a friend at Wittenberg trail that shows that Issues etc. was having around 300,000 downloads per month, and that figure was very steady. If we at Radical Grace Radio had one quarter of that right now, we'd be considered a huge success in the secular world. Your average secular radio station doesn't do anywhere near that size of downloads for any given show nor for the most part combined downloads for the entire station!

Again, I have to ask... What's happening here people?

Friday, March 21, 2008

What happening people?

This has to be the cheap shot of all time. Let me say something here folks, this isn't about a talk show or the hosts thereof. It's about a Church Body, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, wanting to throw away it's Lutheran heritage along with the trappings of old world German Culture. In doing so, they are turning from Grace and leaving the word behind.

What am I talking about? Unless I'm sorely mistaken, this is the current model for Lutheran Church.

Take a look at the sermon videos, all the band instruments dwarfing the alter, no space set aside for the work of God, a "youth pastor" styled pastor who's yelling and screaming and giving good advice. He tries to placard Christ and him crucified up before the people, but he winds up driving the verbs the wrong way. It's subtle, but it's there.

Pastor Todd Wilken has taught me too well. Where other world religions are growing by remaining authentic, we're throw any chance at authenticity we have out the window. While Islam and it's Imams still say that Allah is not the Christian God, we are comprimising the Triune God's identity to attract people. While other religions are not concerned about numbers, we are counting the heads and the beans.

What's happening people?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Issues etc... RIP

Apparently, somebody high up in our Synod has decided to pull the plug on the most successful outreach and news program that ever was produced by our Church body. Issues etc, was cancelled Tuesday, March 19th. Rev. Todd Wilken, who was serving his call to be the show's host, and Jeff Schwarz the producer of the show, were fired. The buzzword that's being bandied about is "terminated". This happened during Passion Week.

This blogger, who has been busy with a radio show of his own, is appalled that a pastor could be ripped from his call so easily. I'm equally appalled that a program, that aired for 14 hours a week and was the premier catechisis for many of us new Lutheran Converts, was taken down when it was so successful and was such a money maker for the station it ran on, KFUO in St. Louis. Nearly everyone you talk to who has become a Lutheran in the past five years will mention the profound impact that Issues etc. had on their walk of faith, and now that it's gone, there's a huge void left behind. Who will pick up the mantle?

There's been talk on Wittenber Trail of continuing the show via the internet. I'm all for that, but I'm all for us lay people and pastors taking a greater role in the future of our Synod. We can, as has been proven in so many internet venues today like Youtube, Stickam, and others, as well as numerous podcasting services, make a huge difference in the world today. Since our message is the message of the Gospel, it's not beyond God's ability to bless this world with a huge outpouring of materila with a polished and professional look, while all the time proclaiming our Risen Savior and standing by our confessional heritage.

What we need is resolve. I've learned that God is interested in doing what he wants to do, and not to argue with him when he wants us to do what he wants. He's already, literally, thrown a radio show at us. He's throwing more. It's going to happen whether we want it to or not. We're just caught up in the drama of God's work.

Peace to you all. Let's show these emergent/evangelicals types how we do things down town!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Blogger just shut down my Pastor's Blog...

The new blog I opened for my pastor and co-host, Pastor Gary Held, was shut down by blogger supposedly due to "terms of service violations". I'm concerned that someone out there is flagging our blogs in an attempt to shut down Radical Grace's web presence. If this happens, everyone needs to have this feed saved. Radical Grace Feedburner Feed

I'm posting this on all the blogs. Link this feed.

the big test

Since someone, somewhere, has seen fit to deprive the world of Issues etc and take a huge bite out of confessional Lutheranism at the same time, I will not take up the mantle of working to see that those who did it answer for their actions.
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