Friday, July 31, 2009

Scott Wilder Update and Open Letter To Salem Communications

I wanted to give an update since I have received several emails from other listeners who also have left KWRD and are asking about the responses I have received from advertisers and/or the station. I also want to post the email that I just sent to Salem Communications CEO Edward Atsinger, III and cc'd to John Peroyea, and David Darling.

The response from listeners has been overwhelmingly in support of Scott and Lauren. I am amazed and gratified that there are new posts daily on many facebooks, twitter and blogs. This issue is not simmering down and going away. It is especially heartening to see the continual encouragement given to Scott and Lauren on his facebook and website. The responses I have received from advertisers have been as concerned as the listeners to the show and several that emailed me are no longer advertising or considering it. Another asked Salem: "Why would the station, in a down economy, eliminate the most popular and highest revenue producing personality for a station?" All of our calls and emails are most certainly being noticed and felt! You can read my last post as to the response I have received from station management.

Below is the email that I mentioned above:

-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Phillips, Sr.
Sent: Friday, July 31, 2009 12:19 PM
To: edwarda@salem.cc
CC: John.Peroyea@KLTY.com; ddarling@ksky.com
Subject: Scott Wilder Show

Dear Mr. Atsinger,

I have already emailed you, Mr. Peroyea, Mr. Darling, and several KWRD advertisers. I have received several responses from advertisers who have already canceled their relationship with KWRD, and/or are concerned about the effectiveness of advertising on KWRD. Some have told me that may cease to advertise on the station.

I do not understand why Salem Communications would cancel the most popular local Christian talk show in Dallas-Fort Worth (which is the 5th largest market according to your own Resource Guide) . His show even won the National Religious Broadcaster's award for Talk Show of the Year in 2004 according to your own Investor Relations site. As one advertiser put it: "Why would the station, in a down economy, eliminate the most popular and highest revenue producing personality for a station?" There clearly has been a mass exodus of listeners from KWRD since the Scott Wilder Show was canceled. Some listeners, including myself, have publicly posted that they will boycott all three Salem stations in the DFW area (KWRD, KLTY and KSKY). The postings on various facebooks, twitter feeds, and blogs continue to be strong and numerous. My own blog exploded in the number of hits and has been steady every day since with only the one post about the show. The analytics show that numbers of people are reaching my blog via Google search looking for Scott Wilder. Scott's own website and facebook continue to have new listeners post every day who are just becoming aware of the cancellation and they too are stating that they will no longer listen to KWRD. I expect when I post this open letter on my blog, that it again will explode with page views.

If I were a stockholder, I would be asking these questions at the next shareholder meeting:
  • Is Salem management being fiduciarily responsible to it's shareholders?How is eliminating a consistently reliable revenue generating program a sound financial decision?
  • The show may even be one of the most popular on all three stations owned by Salem in this market, and we are expected to believe it is for "budgetary" reasons?
  • What happens when the show is picked up by one of your competitors?
  • Has Salem management not just given away for free their most valuable local asset in the 5th largest market to their competition as well as the multiple thousands of listeners (and advertisers) to whomever picks the show up?
  • With the listening audience dramatically reduced, how will that have anything but a negative impact on advertising rates and revenue? Will they not demand lower rates and/or go to your competition to reach a wider audience?
  • With the listening audience dramatically reduced, how will that have anything but a negative impact on rates ministries pay to be on the air? Will they too not follow the listeners to your competition to reach a wider audience?
Please understand, that the listeners of the Scott Wilder Show are very loyal and we are going to be vigilant in this. We will not waiver. This is not going to blow over in a few weeks or even a few months. Our voices will be heard, and our absence from your listening audience will be a great financial drain upon your company. It will take several years for you to rebuild the trust of listeners in this market which I do not believe this station can survive.

The unnecessary mass exodus of listeners from KWRD, which will be followed by advertisers and then the ministries paying for airtime is entirely the responsibility of the person(s) who made the decision to fire Scott and Lauren and cancel the show. Sadly and most regrettably, the resulting financial losses to Salem need not have happened as this is a self inflicted wound.

Sincerely,

Ron Phillips, Sr.
Fort Worth, TX

UPDATE: 11:15 PM, July 31, 2009

Here is the response I received from Mr. Peroyea to the email above:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Your e-mail
Date: Fri, 31 Jul 2009 14:36:34 -0500
From: John Peroyea

Dear Ron,

Thank you for your comments. We appreciate hearing from you
about a change that obviously saddens you as it saddens us as well.

An estimated 35000 people have been laid off in our industry in
the last several years. No company is immune from the dismal economy
America is experiencing, and I know of no company that relishes having
to make these tough decisions and changes.

Our company is doing what we need to do in order to continue
furthering the Kingdom and providing our listeners with the absolute
best conservative talk platforms in radio today. We offer many people
ministry programming all day as well as conservative talk that they rely
on, and God willing, we will continue doing this forever.

I ask you to consider continuing to listen and support our
station during these rough economic times that America is totally faced
with. With one of three Christian Talk and Teach stations in Dallas-Ft.
Worth going out of business and selling to become a rock station, all
Christian radio stations need the support of our community. Other than
the few of hours of talk in afternoons on 100.7 KWRD, we have a great
number of hours each day delivering Christian teaching and ministry
programs that tens of thousands of our listeners rely on us for.

Janet Mefferd, our new host in afternoons is not Scott nor will
she attempt to be. Whenever a new air talent is introduced, the new
talent will always have their own styles and talents. To date, the
feedback we have been receiving on her show from the masses has been
extremely plentiful and very positive. I hope that you would consider
giving her some of your listening time to get acquainted. This company
decision along with many others were made totally out of necessity. This
situation with the Wilder show was not a firing, it was a necessary
financial layoff. I can assure you, our decisions have all been made
through an abundance of thought, discussion and prayer. Let me also
assure you that we will not be changing from our political positions or
core values as a station or a company.

We all wish Scott and Lauren well, as they are friends. They and
our company parted on good terms. We view any layoff of employees as an
extremely difficult task. This decision was made out of necessity and
was decided at the highest levels of our company. We do not take these
moves lightly, and I can assure you that our parting with Scott and
Lauren was done with dignity, compassion and professionalism.

God bless you Ron,

John


John L. Peroyea
Vice President of Operations
Salem Communications Corporation

94.9 KLTY, 100.7 KWRD, 660AM - 92.9 FM - 95.5 FM KSKY
Dallas/Ft.Worth
Vice President - General Manager


6400 Beltline Road Suite 120
Irving, Texas 75063
Direct Phone line: 214.561.2142
Direct fax line: 214.561.2143

Listen online at: www.klty.com
www.thewordfm.com
www.ksky.com

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Scott Wilder Show Canceled

UPDATE: Scott Wilder is back on the air as of Monday, March 8th, 2010. See my post here for more information. I keep seeing a lot of hits to his page from Google, so I wanted to let those of you coming to this page know that Scott and Lauren are finally back on the air!


For those of you in the DFW Metroplex, a staple of Christian talk radio has been canceled. The WORD FM (100.7 - owned by Salem Communications) has canceled the Scott Wilder show. Scott and his producer and coworker for over 20 years (Lauren Lintner) were unceremoniously fired for "budgetary" reasons. However, his show has consistently has been the most popular show on the entire station as well as in the entire DFW market. Please keep Scott and Lauren in your prayers during this time!

Scott is the type of talk radio host that conservative Christians need to have on the air. He is an evangelical conservative biblical Christian, who is also a social and political conservative. In my personal opinion, Scott is the best conservative talk show host in all of radio. I do not say that lightly. But the fact that he actually understands the Biblical Gospel and the need to let Scripture be our guide in social and political views gives him a unique voice that is rare in conservative radio. His shows were fun yet serious when needed. He has come under a lot of fire from callers on the left on his show since the election for his stands against the agenda of the President. Scott's replacement is the wife of a senior executive of Salem Communications. How interesting.


Talk radio is loved by corporations because it is cheap to produce and gives a great return on advertising dollars. How can a corporation realistically expect it's listeners to believe that this was truly for budgetary concerns? There is no way that this show was not making the corporation money. I do not know this years Arbitron's ratings, but the show was listed as 5th in the market in 2008 (according to Salem's own 2008 Resource Guide). That is a very high number for afternoon drive time for the DFW secular market when he is even competing with Sean Hannity (whom I also like).

Twitter and Facebook are on fire with listeners who are upset. I hope it makes a difference. I have already emailed the VP and have gotten two responses from him. I will post my email with all the replies at the bottom of this post. I will not listen to the three Salem stations here in the metroplex. I will be contacting KWRD's advertisers and ministries that buy time on the air letting them know that they need not buy air time, as there has been a mass exodus of listeners from the station.

One listener has posted all the advertisers and their contact information. I have posted on another blog and on a facebook entry that we also need to contact the ministries that buy air time on this station. I wrote:

Contact the ministries that buy air time too!!! In addition to protesting this to the Management of Salem and the advertisers that Michael Sissom graciously posted for us, we also need to let the ministries know that we will not be able to enjoy their programming because we are not listening to the station anymore. If each ministry received thousands of emails, letters and calls, they would quickly be concerned about spending their ministry dollars on a station that had a mass exodus of listeners. Each program buys time to be on the air. This is air time that the station does not have to pay for content to produce nor do they have to try and sell advertising. It is free money to the station.

We can effect change if we unite in our boycott of KWRD, KLTY and KSKY and if we contact management, advertisers and ministries that buy air time.


Forgive the formatting, but I am running late to a meeting at church. Here is the entire email and replies that I sent to management and received back:


Mr. Peroyea,

Based on Twitter, Facebook, and blogs and comments, I realize you have probably received numerous emails about this, and I thank you for responding to mine twice now. I apologize for the length, but I am responding to issues you raised.

You are right, I am angry as are a great many former WORD listeners based on hundreds of comments. Several have also said that they too will not listen to the WORD or KLTY anymore because of this action. Our anger is justified, as a corporation has decided to remove one of the most popular shows in Christian Radio.

In my opinion, the Scott Wilder Show is the best conservative talk show in all radio. That includes Rush, Hannity, Mark Davis, and many others. Unlike some conservatives, he consistently held to Biblical positions on the show and his character and principles are unequaled. Frankly, there is no one as good as Scott Wilder in any radio market that I have had the privilege to listen to. I have never understood why Salem has not taken his show nationally in the Christian radio market.

Salem Communications apparently does not appreciate nor desire listener loyalty. If they did, Scott and Lauren would still be on the air. According to Salem's own Resource Guide (which I just looked up for my blog article on this), the Scott Wilder Show was 5th in it's time slot here in the Metroplex. That is amazing for a Christian talk show during the afternoon drive time slot in a very secular market! I find it unbelievable that this was truly a budgetary reason. Talk radio is very popular. Both with listeners and the corporations that air them. They are cheap to produce and have a very high return from advertising dollars. This makes no sense from a financial standpoint.

I and the hundreds of others that are talking this weekend, do not want to destroy any radio station. We want Scott and Lauren back on the air. It is as simple as that.The only voice we have in effecting that decision is to go to the advertisers. As a corporation, Salem will listen to it's advertisers, especially if they start pulling their ads.

You castigate me for my loyalty to Scott and Lauren and state that my actions "will do nothing to grow God's Kingdom, but actually attack it." How does removing Scott and Lauren from the airways grow God's Kingdom? It doesn't. Salem has removed a voice that was a consistent witness for Christ. Scott has raised millions for causes for the Kingdom of Christ and he no longer has the ability to bring his listeners along in support of several Kingdom ministries.

Thank you for your prayers. I too am praying for you and for Salem to right a monumental mistake. I hold no animosity towards you or Salem, but I will join with the hundreds of others, who in the last day have decided to fight this with the only weapons we have available: our pocket book and listening choice. We will be recruiting fellow listeners, our church members, and co-workers and friends to bring Scott and Lauren back.

Finally, it is very Biblical to be loyal to friends and partners in ministry. It is also a Biblical axiom that one reaps what one sows. Salem has brought this upon itself. Though I have never met either, I feel like both are a part of my family - more than any other personality on the air. Paul and Barnabas had a great argument and fight regarding John Mark and decided to to their separate ways. It is well within Salem's ability to stop the mass listener exodus by bringing Scott and Lauren back. Otherwise we will have to agree to disagree on this and a great many of your listeners and advertisers will part ways with Salem.

Respectfully yours,

Ron Phillips
Fort Worth, TX

John Peroyea wrote:
Dear Ron,

If your decision is to tune out to the other wonderful ministry
programs we offer tens of thousands of listeners each day, it is your decision. If you choose to not support companies that advertise and support one of two remaining Christian Talk and Teach stations in DFW,
it is again your choice. I point out to you that not everyone that listens to our station or even other Christian stations may share your particular listening choices or preferences. You choosing to not listen to the great ministry programs on KWRD that have brought tens of
thousands of people to the Lord from your own words appear to be the result of your own personal anger, and these decisions you have expressed really do nothing to grow God's kingdom, but actually attack it.

Our company is doing what we must do under these trying economic times to further the Kingdom. If you feel that boycotting advertisers or your attempts to destroy a Christian radio station will help you, again that is your choice. I see nothing in my Bible where it says anything like that.

I will indeed pray for you Ron.
John

John L. Peroyea
Vice President of Operations
Salem Communications Corporation

94.9 KLTY, 100.7 KWRD, 660AM - 92.9 FM - 95.5 FM KSKY
Dallas/Ft.Worth Vice President - General Manager


6400 Beltline Road Suite 120
Irving, Texas 75063
Direct Phone line: 214.561.2142
Direct fax line: 214.561.2143

Listen online at: www.klty.com
www.thewordfm.com
www.ksky.com

This electronic mail message contains information which is (a) LEGALLY PRIVILEGED, PROPRIETARY IN NATURE, OR OTHERWISE PROTECTED BY LAW FROM DISCLOSURE, and (b) intended only for the use of the Addressee's) names herein. If you are not the Addressee's), or the person responsible for delivering this to the Addressee's), you are hereby notified that reading, copying, or distributing this message is prohibited. If you have received this electronic mail message in error, please contact us immediately at (972) 870-9949 x152 and take the steps necessary to delete the message completely from your computer system. Thank you.

Dear Ronald,

Thank you for your comments. I am sad as well about losing Scott & Lauren, and know that they will both be fine wherever God places them next. Unfortunately we are not allowed to discuss personnel related matters outside our own company; I am sure you understand that.

Most radio companies today have been faced with financial challenges like never in the history of radio broadcasting. Some of the largest companies have laid off as many as 7,000+ employees, and with some recent announcements, more are certain to follow. One of the three Christian Talk and Teach stations right here in DFW is now going out of business, selling to a company that is going to program rock music on
it. Two separate national radio companies yesterday were taken over by their lenders. We also are doing changes that we do not like doing, but we will survive. I would appreciate you listening to Christian Talk with Janet Mefferd who is currently on afternoons on 100.7 KWRD. I believe you will find her program to be very relevant and interesting. As with any change of personality in a timeslot, there will be differences. Every air talent has their own styles. I am sensitive to your concerns,
and simply ask you to consider giving this new host a fair chance to gain your listening. The feedback on her first show yesterday was plentiful and extremely positive.

We have already cut the KWRD "infomercial" Consumer Magazine in half, and soon, it will be moved to night time. Over the last 6 months KWRD's infomertial content has reduced from 27+% to less than 6% in total. Our mission is to reduce it to zero.

Soon, we will be adding some additional, very well known and highly respected Ministry programs at various times. A few programs will move slightly, however the Christian teaching lineup will be the strongest in KWRD's history. We are committed to making 100.7 KWRD a pure, relevant Christian Talk and Teach station, and are making progress in doing so rather quickly.

If you wish to speak with me directly, my personal direct number is listed below, and I would be happy to talk with you anytime.

Blessings,

John

John L. Peroyea
Vice President of Operations
Salem Communications Corporation

94.9 KLTY, 100.7 KWRD, 660AM - 92.9 FM - 95.5 FM KSKY
Dallas/Ft.Worth
Vice President - General Manager


6400 Beltline Road Suite 120
Irving, Texas 75063
Direct Phone line: 214.561.2142
Direct fax line: 214.561.2143

Listen online at: www.klty.com
www.thewordfm.com
www.ksky.com

This electronic mail message contains information which is (a) LEGALLY PRIVILEGED, PROPRIETARY IN NATURE, OR OTHERWISE PROTECTED BY LAW FROM DISCLOSURE, and (b) intended only for the use of the Addressee's) names herein. If you are not the Addressee's), or the person responsible for delivering this to the Addressee's), you are hereby notified that reading, copying, or distributing this message is prohibited. If you have received this electronic mail message in error, please contact us immediately at (972) 870-9949 x152 and take the steps necessary to
delete the message completely from your computer system.

Thank you.


-----Original Message-----
From: Ronald J. Phillips, Sr.
Sent: Saturday, July 18, 2009 11:19 PM
To: John.Peroyea@KLTY.com; ddarling@ksky.com
Subject: Scott Wilder Show

Dear Mr. Peroyea,

I have been a WORD listener since it came on the air here in the Metroplex. I am very upset that Scott Wilder and Lauren Lintner have been fired and the Scott Wilder Show canceled. This show is the main reason that I listen to 100.7. Though I enjoy some of the other
programming (Dr. Jack Graham, Alistair Begg, Adrian Rogers and others), Scott's show was the principal basis for my listening to this station.

I and my family will no longer listen to this station, KLTY, nor KSKY in protest of this decision. Instead, for Christian music and preaching, I will listen solely to KCBI henceforth. For conservative talk, I will listen to WBAP. I will no longer support any advertisers of the WORD FM either. I plan to join with others who are preparing to begin a writing
campaign to the WORD advertisers.

When I got in my car Friday and heard Janet Mefferd, I thought Scott and Lauren were just out for the day. I was not at all impressed with her and did not even listen to a full segment before the next commercial came on. I was actually going to write the show an email next week stating that I did not like her as a fill in host.

I believe that this decision will result in a great many listeners to abandon this station and her advertisers. Twitter and Facebook are just now starting to become ablaze with irate listeners who are upset with this decision.

Sincerely,

Ron Phillips
Fort Worth, TX

NOTE: This post has been changed to try and clean up some text and html above the posted emails. No content has been changed.

Blessings,

Ron P.
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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Elephant In The Room of SBC Declining Numbers

There is an "elephant in the room" of the Southern Baptist Convention when the issue of declining numbers is brought up. I must admit up front that I have a lot of questions and few answers. I keep hearing about the latest programs and strategies that experts tell us will grow the Kingdom of God. I also keep hearing about the problems that plague us and are the cause of decline such as legalism. We then have those that argue we need to enlarge the Baptist tent by setting aside theological differences to only the most primary doctrines (i.e. salvation). There is no end to the criticism within the SBC. But what is not being talked about is a sad reality that I wish was not ture and pray that it is not. But the evidence is to the contrary, and we need to admit to its possibility as the real reason our number of baptisms are declining in the SBC, and why every evangelical denomination is seeing a decline in numbers.

So what is the "elephant in the room"? Could it be apostasy? Has the United States turned her back on God? We once humbly, publicly and officially proclaimed God as Sovereign and Lord and we as a nation repeatedly asked for His blessings and guidance upon our land and our leaders. But no more. As a nation, we have forsaken the Lord God. Has not our country become so secular, pluralistic, materialistic and humanistic that we are becoming more like Europe, where the hearts of the people are outright rejecting any semblance of anything to do with God? Is God turning our country over to the evil desires of her heart?

What is some of the evidence of a national apostasy of the United States of America?
  • Pluralism - America has rejected the One True God.
  • Antagonism towards God - working hard to push God completely out of the public square.
  • Abortion - we as a nation have murdered nearly 51 million babies since 1973.
  • Gross sexual immorality - America is fast becoming one of the most sexually hedonistic cultures in history.
There is a plethora of evidence that one could use, but might not our declining numbers be indicative of a nation that is apostate and thus we are reaping what we as a nation has sown? We can not ignore the possibility that the decline in numbers is due to sin, and like in the days of Noah, most will not repent. Scripture and history are both replete with examples of the faithful proclamation of the Gospel yet with limited or no conversions. Though there is nothing inherently wrong with looking at our numbers, I would say that it is more important to be faithfully about the business of God no matter what our numbers are.

Simply put, might our declining numbers be (at least in part) due to an apostate unrepentant nation? My final question is this: How do we contend with apostasy?

Again, it is by being faithful to all of the Word of God. It is in working to fulfill ALL of the Great Commission:
  • Going.
  • Making disciples of all nations.
  • Immersing (baptizing) those disciples in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • Teaching them to observe ALL that Christ commanded.
Doing this does ot necessarily mean our numbers will not decline. It does not even mean that we will see apostasy abated in our nation. But not doing this (ALL of the Great Commission) relegates anything else we do to be for naught.

Blessings,

Ron P.
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