01 April 2008

Kuchta Responds...and Questions Remain

Mr. Tom Kuchta, Treasurer for the LCMS, has now responded to questions about David's Strand's "business/stewardship reasons" for canceling Issues, Etc. Read his comments here. (And, btw, why does he sound so much like the Fed. Chairman when explaining the money picture? I mean simple people like me need fiscal phraseology translated into the simpler language of money matters! :-).

And yet questions still remain. According to bringbackissues "Kuchta said he agrees with assessments that producing Issues Etc. cost about $250,000 out of the synod's pool of 'unrestricted net assets' last year." Okay. Fair enough. The figure of $250,000 is accurate, even expected and planned for in funding a "ministry." However, does that translate into just cause for canceling an active, effective "ministry" of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world (yes, "around the world" via the medium of the Internet, especially using podcasts!)?

Then bringbackissues reports: "[Kuchta] admits exact figures are hard to determine because of overlap between Issues and other KFUO programs." So, the picture is not necessarily so nice and clean-cut as saying, "Issues, Etc. lost so much money that we just had to pull the plug"?!

So, questions still abound! That must be why savethelcms posted an open letter to Mr. Kuchta and Mr. Dennis Stortz (KFUO Financial Manager), *after* Mr. Kuchta's response was posted over at bringbackissues. Read the whole open letter here.

Here's the heart of the matter on questions that remain:

Mr. Strand’s statement raises several questions that only the Treasurer of the LCMS and the Financial Manager at KFUO can answer fully:

1. Do Mr. Strand’s figures include Issues, Etc. revenue from Underwriters ($60,000), Church Sponsors ($18-20,000), Bott Radio Network support ($18-20,000), Issues, Etc. 300 support ($5,000 so far) and all Reformation Club support (they usually omitted about $20,000)? (Total: $121-125,000)

2. Can Strand calculate how much of KFUO-AM's general revenue was attributable to Issues, Etc?

3. Why was Issues, Etc. cancelled just as it was launching a major development initiative (The Issues, Etc. 300)? This campaign had the potential to eliminate the entire fiscal year deficit for KFUO-AM.

4. Were Issues, Etc. losses the primary factor in KFUO-AM losses?

5. Did Rev. Wilken and Mr. Schwarz bear primary responsibility for the reported $3.5 million losses at KFUO-AM over the last seven years?

6. Did a recent partial audit of KFUO (AM and FM) conclude that approximately $100,000 of KFUO-FM costs had been shifted to KFUO-AM?

7. Why was Issues, Etc. the only KFUO-produced program required to raise and account for its own revenue?

8. Were you consulted regarding the decision to cancel Issues, Etc. and terminate Rev. Wilken and Mr. Schwarz?

9. Do you now consider Mr.Strand’s stated reason sufficient justification for the cancellation of Issues, Etc. and the termination of Rev. Wilken and Mr. Schwarz?

We believe the questions above fall within the purview of your offices, and that you are able to provide satisfactory answers to these questions.

We await your response.

Still waiting for clarity and details in answering the question: "WHY?" (Sorry, gang, but "business/stewardship reasons," bureaucratic double-speak, and financial-ese just aren't cutting it. Put it in simple, Koine Greek and/or classical Latin, and then we'll be making progress. :-)

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