I've noticed that when teenagers see, hear, or experience something unbelievable, they simply say, "Wow," and with a subtle yet clear tone of dry cynicism. That's my response to today's installment of the Issues, Etc. saga. (And please pardon me for being late to the party, but being on the road all day will do that to you. ;-) So, at first I say, "Wow!" in the sense of astonishment at all that I missed today. But my more heartfelt reaction after catching up on the saga is "Wow!" in the sense of a teenager's dryly cynical incredulity.
Mr. David Strand has now issued a letter that supposedly explains more about the decision to cancel Issues, Etc. and fire Pr. Todd Wilken and Mr. Jeff Schwarz. You can read his letter here. I wonder: why did it take so long - nine days - to reveal this detailed information? Even more important and pressing: Why was none of this shared with Wilken and Schwarz when, on March 18 (Holy Tuesday), they explicitly asked for real reasons for the sudden, life-altering decision that sent them to the unemployment line?
Mr. Strand's letter has some incredible-looking details in it - massive budget deficits, low listener numbers, etc. But is this the complete picture? Perhaps we need to consult Dr. Erich Heidenreich's questions (given on Pr. Weedon's blog and at Augsburg1530, among other places) and receive answers to them. It sure appears that answering those questions would fill in some gaping holes given in Mr. Strand's letter!
The details of how many people listened to Issues, Etc. during its live broadcasts, according to Mr. Strand's letter, do look alarmingly low. I wonder, though. On what are these figures based? How are they ascertained? (After all, some listeners, like me, may tune in and out as we get in and out of our cars as we carry out our God-given daily vocations. Did I really get counted those many times I had the show on for 10-15 minutes between shut-in calls?) And how can the "average Joe" get access to such data? I also wonder: how do these figures compare to other programs in their respective, regular time slots on KFUO-AM?
What is glaringly absent, though, is the download activity. Sure, streaming audio during the live broadcast is indicated (can it really be that low?), but what about downloads for MP3 files? Many of us, myself included, simply cannot listen during live broadcasts, at least not the entire time, but we can download the files and listen when it's more convenient and when better attention can be given to the content of the show. You can look at some data on MP3 downloads here. And, as I've just read, this data does not include downloads on iTunes, which is the preferred method for many more listeners (myself included).
Once again, Wow!
And, finally, before swallowing the Strand letter's reasons and statistics hook, line, and sinker, I highly recommend looking at some more thoughts and questions here. "Obfuscation" does *not* seem like too strong a word! I must be honest as well as a bit blunt: something is not passing the smell test here. To which I can only say:
We're actually supposed to believe and accept these late-coming and seemingly incomplete "business reasons"? (Which, by the way, leads me to ask, with Augsburg1530: and when shall we hear about the "programmatic reasons"?)
So, we're still left asking WHY? And the fact that satisfactory answers are still wanting leads me to say, yet again, "Wow!"