Thursday, September 27, 2007

WMCU Going Out of Business

Radio Station WMCU, Spirit Radio, 89.7 FM, is on all the time at our house. It is owned by Trinity International University, based in Deerfield, IL. Under the TIU umbrella is also, for example, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School ("TEDS"), a famous place in certain Evangelical circles. On Tuesday morning, a recorded announcement on WMCU said that the "Trinity International University Foundation" had sold the radio station. In the Miami Herald that same day, an article appeared indicating that a national non-profit had purchased the station for $20,000,000 and intended to establish a classical music radio station at 89.7, of which there has been none in the South Florida area for several years.

It is definitely a reverse for South Florida to have the radio station close down. There are so few unifying institutions in our part of the Christian world, the community here is so riven with the disarray that comes from exotic cultures washing up against each other, that closing WMCU seems contrary to what one would think God's will would be.

Because of my position on the board of a foundation that supports TIU here in South Florida, I may be able to find out the "inside" story on this event. There may be good reasons for the decision. I would be interested in knowing what they are.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please, any additional information would be helpful. I am absolutely devastated to here that WMCU is closing down.

Anonymous said...

The purchase comes less than a week after a planned deal (for a similar amount) by American Public Media to buy WGTS, a Christian radio station in the Washington, D.C. area, fell through.

HMMM, what gives? Very sad indeed.

Carol said...

Why did the deal in Washington fall through? Maybe this deal will fall through, too.

I'm very sad that the station will be closing down!

Paul said...

I will be meeting with two officials of TIU next week to discuss this (not that what I think will make any difference to the outcome). I will have my "foundation board member" hat on, and that is my ticket to talk with these folks, one of whom is from HQ in Deerfield.

Anonymous said...

It looks like three things:

1. Love of money: By their own admission Trinity did not sell WMCU because of financial duress. Their own literature identified WMCU as one of the top ten Christian radio stations in the country.

2. Cowardice: This now represents the second time that TIU closes down a ministry in South Florida with nary a notice. The first time they closed down the famous 'day school'. This time they closed down a radio station without consulting the Christian community and churches in South Florida.

3. Lack of ethics: Specifically, the Christian ethic of love. Trinity International University shows no respect for their employees, for their supporters, for people in the Regional Center who now have to support a school without WMCU to help promote them, and for the community who has upheld it for years.

Why should anyone keep supporting Trinity — at any level?

Nordstrom— a secular institution— treats their employees better.

Here's what Nordstrom says:

"At Nordstrom, our company is our people. That is why we are dedicated to hiring outstanding individuals and empowering them to unlock their talent and creativity with a career they feel passionate about.

The phrase "Through these doors pass the most courteous people in the world" is found at the employee entrance of many of our locations and probably says it best: We hire people like you because you have shown what we consider to be exceptional qualities, courtesy being just one. Nordstrom is committed to the highest standards of ethics and business conduct. Those standards apply to our relationships with our customers, our suppliers, our shareholders, our competitors and the communities in which we operate. They also apply to our relationships with each other at every organizational level."

And, speaking of 'doors'. Why doesn't South Florida show TIU the 'door'? Leave our Christian community alone. Take their overpriced EXCEL and everything else and leave. We have enough sub-Christian and un-Christian influences in South Florida. We certainly do not need this kind of belief system here.

Anonymous said...

Here's the "inside":

MPR: Do you want it in hundreds, twenties, or tens?
TIU: Yes

Paul said...

I have decided to cancel my meeting with the TIU officials on Tuesday and have no plans to meet with anyone from TIU.

I was also very disappointed when Trinity several years ago closed the college for full time students located in Downtown Miami, with little or no notice to its Miami constituency. By then Trinity's visionary president, Ken Meyer, had retired. Not only had he supported the continuation of Miami Christian College in its Trinity College form in Miami-Dade County, his leadership also transformed WMCU into the powerhouse it became. He was a giant. At the time that Miami Christian College "gave" itself and the radio station to Trinity, Dr. Meyer promised that the station would remain in Miami. For as long as he served, Trinity kept that promise.

Carol said...

I have written a letter of protest to Robert Kleinschmidt, the Chairman of the Board of Trinity International University. I am interested in filing an objection with the FCC against this sale. Does anyone know whether there is a coordinated effort to protest the sale?

fake_henry said...

I too am devastated by the decision to close down WMCU. I have listened to this station since my teens and the positive impact it has had on my life has been nothing short of revolutionary. I'm sure there are at least thousands of others who could say the same so I won't bore you with my personal details here.

I agree with what Carol stated about doing *something* to protest (read: STOP) the sale and closing of WMCU. Is there any kind of effort to save it? I have heard NOTHING on the station regarding this; the only thing that plays from time to time is a goodbye message from each DJ. Is there anything at all that I can do? As most posters here have concluded it doesn't seem to be closing due to lack of funds which makes its closing even more difficult for me to understand. Whatever the case may be, if there is anything at all I can do to protest or help spread to prevent its closing please email me at fake_henry@yahoo.com as I would do just about anything to keep WMCU operating and influencing many for Jesus.

What follows is my own personal rant. If interested read on, if not, move on to the next post :).

I cannot imagine how closing down a radio station which has a limitless potential to influence thousands for Christ would be a more favorable decision to keeping it. "They" say that they will apply the money to train pastors; perhaps I'm limited in my vision but I don't see how that would be better to keeping WMCU on the air. Closing down WMCU will remove the ability to influence thousands for Christ who would otherwise never walk into a church or pick up a Bible. How many thousands have become Christians after listening to the Gospel presented over the air?

I'm of the opinion that the majority of unsaved cynical jaded (read: HOPELESS) people (of which there are many in Miami---I used to be one) are more inclined to listen to the message of the Gospel if it comes through the radio than if it comes from clergy. There's just something inviting about listening to someone over the airwaves. Many who would never give a preacher the time of day might be willing to listen to a caring disembodied voice with a message of hope. Somehow closing WMCU and using the money to “train pastors” is a better alternative to keeping it on the air and influencing many for Christ?

In my mind keeping WMCU is the only choice but then I have no choice in this matter. I noticed that there was only about five days’ warning before it closes. Why did we not hear this in January when perhaps something could have been done by the listening community to stop this? Why were we given only 5 days’ notice? Can anything be done by us little people to stop TIU from selling it? Paul I noticed you posted that you were going to meet with a person on the board and then changed your mind. I’m no one to tell you what to do but wouldn’t meeting with someone on the board and expressing your extreme displeasure perhaps help in some way to convince someone with say to stop the sale? Anyway I’ve ranted enough if there is any information anyone can give please email me at fake_henry@yahoo.com and I will be in contact. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Paul— why cancel the meetings? At the very least you can communicate to them some of the outrage down here.

Carol — You will not hear anything on the radio because of TIU's cowardice. They don't want to give people a chance to get riled up against them (start petitions, and such). If you noticed the radio station website had a place to leave "comments" — but you cannot see what anyone wrote! Even The Miami Herald let's you see comments about this sale (sorry, selling out) of WMCU. [Also, people in the pews may not know much.]

Part of the problem … we can come close to violating the biblical instructions about not putting our disputes out in front of non Christians (if not actually doing it). (At least this = an 'in house' forum.)

Here's something to do: Get people to send anything they can to everyone they can at TIU. Emails, letters, faxes to anyone and everyone over there.

People need to show their deep disappointment at not only what they did … but how they did it.

Henry— not sure how much outrage people will show in this town. We lost Kennedy, WMCU, and have a man who calls himself 'antiChrist' in Doral. In the words of the WMCU rooster, "good morning, good morning, good morning, it's time to rise and shine"

many blessings to all

Anonymous said...

From an MPR source:

"Kling says despite the coincidence of the two purchase offers, APMG is not on a buying spree.

"It's hard to say that in a believable way. But you've got two unusual opportunities ... everything is an unusual opportunity, but these are very unusual. You don't get the opportunity to take one of your primary services and put it in a significant market, such as Miami or Washington, very often," he said.

WMCU was sold by Trinity International Foundation, whose purpose is to support the educational ministries of Trinity International University, an affiliate of the Evangelical Free Church of America.

WMCU is the foundation's only station. Spokesman Gary Cantwell says the foundation board regularly received offers for the radio station, which reaches about 150,000 listeners a week. Cantwell says Trinity did not sell WMCU because of financial duress.

"It's not to solve a problem, but it's an opportunity for us," he said. "We haven't decided what to do with the funds yet. But the funds will serve to expand and strengthen the educational mission of Trinity University. We feel like we play a significant role to what God is doing globally, and these funds will help us do that better."

Cantwell declined to comment on whether American Public Media was the highest bidder among the most recent batch of interested buyers. Cantwell says WMCU will likely have its last day of broadcasting in the next few weeks.

The deal comes as an interesting surprise to some observers in Florida."

Carol said...

To anonymous -

It's very hard to even find any sort of address to send any communication to anyone who might have some influence over the situation. I did a lot of looking around on the internet yesterday and could not ever find even a list of names for the people on the Foundation, who are the ones who voted to sell the station. I finally decided to send my letter to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and even then the only address I could come up with was to send it to his corporate office. Frankly I have my doubts about whether he'll ever see or pay attention to the letter. Can you provide any mailing addresses or email addresses or other suggestions?

Macon said...

This is quite sad, indeed!

Paul, please keep us posted on events as you hear about them.

Anonymous: I appreciate your anger and disappointment, but it doesn't help to call people names (like "cowardly" and "unethical") while hiding behind "anonymous." They very well may be both, but it hurts the force of your argument to do so while anon. Also, do you have a link for your MPR source?

On a slightly related subject: with WMCU going out of business, perhaps there's an opportunity for an enterprising group of Christians in South Florida to start a new radio station? Who knows, maybe it could be even better than WMCU? (Probably not, but here's hoping!)

Anonymous said...

Carol,

Look on the TIU.edu website. I could not find any foundation members. However, they do they a presidential search suggestion link. [Apparently, they disabled the 'comments' portion on the WMCU website—they still have an 877 number to call.] They also have individual teacher's website addresses.

1 Cor 6:1ff should guide our actions on this. Someone at TIU needs to show some courage. Should the whole South Florida TIU staff quit in protest? I like that idea — except for the fact that it would hurt the students.

Sadly, Christians can do some really evil things. Remember "Alexander the coppersmith" in 2 Tim 4:14? Perhaps that's analogous to this situation.

Legally, I don't know if someone can make a case that WMCU = a de facto public trust of some sort. I do not know how the FCC looks at this. Also what Kenneth Myer's promised —would they see that as a verbally binding commitment? I do not know.

Anonymous said...

Hi Macon

I already thought about the 'anonymous' heading before choosing to do so here. (By the way, more than one anonymous on this site.) I have not remained anonymous in every instance where I have spoken on this subject. I also have no qualms with speaking face to face with anyone who can actually do something about this. As for anonymity check out Acts 23:22— sometimes you have to keep the proverbial low profile.

I chose to go anonymous here because I do not know Paul— or anyone else on this site for that matter. (Not a negative comment about Paul — I did not know he existed till a day or so ago!) In fact, I thank him for providing this forum. I ran into this site looking for a place where Christians could air their opinions about this thing "in house" — seeing that TIU (so far anyway) has not allowed people to actually see the comments people sent in. In fact, last time I checked they had even disabled that part of the WMCU website. Now you can only send your support or inquire about giving.

As to the adjectives— I know whereof I speak when I chose the adjectives I did. I stand by all three on the basis of TIU's behavior which sadly anyone can see—no secret there.

Now... as to your comment you hit it with the word "enterprising" — that's the problem. When you mix commercialism with Christianity you end up with some of the messes we see in big Christian organizations. They build all this stuff and then have to perpetuate it with more money. In the process some of them give in to unethical decisions for their version of the 'greater good'

Here's your link: minnesota.publicradio.org/display/ web/2007/09/25/miamipurchase/?rsssource=1

God bless you.

Anonymous said...

My correction: Acts 23:22 not really applicable to this anonymous thing. The young man did not remain anonymous— he just did not speak to anyone else about it.

— Anonymous (!)

P.S. Blogger does allow a valid 'Anonymous' option.

Carol said...

to anonymous at 3:12 -
I saw those links on the TIU website, but it doesn't seem to me that those people would have any connection to or influence over the situation we have here with WMCU. It almost makes you think they don't really want to hear from us or know what we think! :)

to Macon -
Yes, we've thought about another Christian station starting or somehow strengthening their signal to fill this gap. One of the outrageous things, though, is that Trinity would take this $20 million out of South Florida. What I wrote about that in my letter was that money belongs to the body of Christ in South Florida which created and built up the station through its gifts and labor. It does not belong to Trinity. WMCU was not their "property". God gave them stewardship over it, but it did not belong to them to sell. And the loss of that money hurts the prospects of a new station. Starting up a radio station is a very expensive and lengthy proposition which requires available bandwidth, equipment, approval by the FCC, etc., etc. Of course, I'm sure God is more than able to accomplish it - but it seems so needless for us to be in this situation to start with!

Anonymous said...


Their addresses here (Section II, #7)

Anonymous said...

"TRINITY INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION, INC. ('TIF') IS UNDER THE CONTROL OF TRINITY INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY ('TIU'), >>>>>WHICH IS UNDER THE ULTIMATE CONTROL OF THE EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH OF AMERICA ('EFCA').<<<<<"

Carol said...

to Anonymous 6:50 -
Thank you so much for the link to the names and addresses of the Trinity International Foundation members. I urge as many people as are willing to write their own letters to these people and to pass on the names to their churches and friends who would be willing to write.

Here they are:

Board Member -
Howard Dahl
2308 27th Avenue S
Fargo, ND 58103

Board Member, Chairman of the Investment Committee -
Jim Gilbert
16 Battery Ridge Drive
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Chairman of the TIU Board of Regents-
Robert Kleinschmidt
4135 Wild Meadows Drive
Medina, MN 55340

Board Member -
Edward Hearle
1331 N First Street #1002
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250-8307

Ex-Officio Director -
Jeanette Hsieh
1328 Wauchope Drive
Elgin, IL 60123

Ex-Officio Director -
Paul Eisenmenger
952 N Stark Avenue
Palatine, IL 60067

Ex-Officio Director -
Mike Picha
478 Nuthatch Way
Lindenhurst, IL 60046

President of the Foundation -
Paul Maurer
823 Whitman Court
Libertyville, IL 60048

Carol said...

I have revised my earlier letter and am now sending it to the President of the Foundation and the other Foundation members. Here's the letter I'm sending. I urge you all to write and send your own letters. Possibly we might have some impact on the outcome. -

Mr. Paul Maurer, President
Trinity International Foundation
823 Whitman Court
Libertyville, IL 60048


Re: Trinity International Foundation and WMCU


Dear Mr. Maurer:

I am writing to you as president of the Trinity International Foundation to express my great dismay and sadness over the sale of WMCU to Minnesota Public Radio.

I can only conclude that your foundation had no idea of the harm it would do, but it should have known. WMCU was not just a piece of property. God gave the foundation stewardship over this vital ministry in South Florida. The radio station did not belong to the foundation to sell. I cannot begin to measure the cost of this action to God’s work in this area. Spiritually, South Florida is a dark place, and ministry is very difficult and challenging here. WMCU was a great light in this community. It ministered to people who had never been in a church and many here were brought to faith in Christ through the station. It encouraged and gave instruction to believers. It served as a unifying agent for believers and churches in this very culturally diverse area. Now all of that is lost to us, and it is a very great loss! At our home in Miami Springs we have no radio reception for any other Christian station, and other Christian stations I’ve heard from time to time have never compared to the quality of the programming on WMCU.

In addition to the spiritual issues there is the economic cost to this area. The $20 million Trinity is to receive belongs to the body of Christ in South Florida, which created and built up the station through its gifts and labor over the last 37 years. The money does not in any ethical way belong to Trinity to be used outside this area even if it is to be used to educate Christian pastors and leaders. Even if there were economic issues driving the foundation’s decision, how could it feel it had the right to take this action without an appeal for help to the Christian community here? How can such an action which has taken the Christian community here completely by surprise be in any way consistent with your responsibilities as a Christian institution?

I urge you and plead with you to reconsider your decision and cancel the sale of WMCU. I trust Christ to bring good out of your actions, but I do not believe that the sale of this station to Minnesota Public Radio would be pleasing to Christ in any way.

Sincerely,



Carol C. Stokes


cc: Other members of the Foundation

Anonymous said...


12:10AM, Oct. 1: WMCU FCC sale filing (view attachment links)

Anonymous said...

Nice job Carol! Thanks.

— Anonymous at 3:12

Anonymous said...

There IS an effort being organized to save WMCU. Go to the website:
churchwebsites.com/wmcu
for further details.
(After anothe day or two, we will have the address:
savewmcu897.com)
In just two days we have had over 300 hits and the word is just starting to spread. Please tell everyone you know about the site. We will be posting links to all of the info we know of including this blog.
Stan the Hurricane man
savewmcu897@bellsouth.net

Anonymous said...

This goes far deeper than people realize. You need only look at what happened to church college stations WCAL (MN) and WGTS (MD/DC) to see a developing pattern...

http://SaveWCAL.LiveJournal.com
http://www.SaveWGTS.com