This station, which had a short, checkered history, was first licensed at 1400 Kc., 250 watts in April (or May 3), 1925 (conflicting reports). KFWF was owned by St. Louis Truth Center, Inc., at 4030 Lindell.
The frequency in 1927 was 1400 Kc.
On May 28, 1928, the station was told by the Federal Radio Commission that it would lose its license under the new radio reorganization plan. Then on November 11 of that year, the FRC announced another reorganization that moved KFWF to 1200 Kc at 100 watts, shared with WMAY and WIL.
WMAY was ordered off the air after its license renewal was rejected April 10, 1931.
On July 16, 1931, the FRC recommended that the license of KFWF be denied. Examiner Elmer Pratt testified the station was being used “primarily for dissemination of the views of certain religious teachers.” He said the broadcasts of Reverends C.H. and Emil Hartman resulted in the “devotion of public facilities to private use and, in view of the limited facilities available for broadcasting purposes, is contrary to a sound application of the standard of public interest , convenience and necessity.” The two ministers were not available to respond to his comments.
The FRC recessed without taking action on the recommendations. The station continued to operate in a frequency sharing situation with WIL. In January of 1932, they petitioned the FRC for permission to move the studios and transmitter into downtown St. Louis from the Lindell location. Authorization was granted with a time limit of April 30, 1932. (There is no indication that the move ever took place.) The commission also ordered a continuation of the frequency sharing, which gave WIL the majority of broadcast time. KFWF was on about 11 hours a week.
The appellate efforts of KFWF continued. On April 17, 1932, they petitioned for equal sharing of the frequency, while WIL sought banishment of KFWF from the frequency. WIL submitted evidence that KFWF used the station to solicit contributions under the guise of religion. WIL’s lawyer cited the 1928 notes of the FRC which stated that the KFWF operation “smacked of fraud.”
At the end of the 1932 hearings, Examiner Pratt recommended that KFWF be removed from the airwaves, giving WIL sole use of the frequency, stating “The programs and services of KFWF are of such a nature as to indicate that this station is used principally as the mouthpiece of Emil C. Hartmann in the dissemination of his personal religious views, and this, in view of the other facts and circumstances in this case leads to the conclusion that this station is devoted primarily to a private, as distinguished from a public, service.”
On April 14, 1933, the FRC officially ordered KFWF to leave the air. Elmer Pratt of the FRC wrote that although the Truth Center purported to be a religious group, there were only three members of the Center, and they were siblings. Reverend Hartmann was unable to give any accounting of what happened to the monetary donations gleaned from listeners, but it was noted that large sums were collected. In the station’s early years, at least $45,000 came to it, which was used to pay for the property at 4030 Lindell. That property would go to family members upon dissolution of the Center.
The Hartmanns appealed the order to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, but the injunction they sought was denied. The station was ordered off the air for the final time in May of 1933.