Raising Funds for KYFC-TV

Construction of a television station is an expensive undertaking. Equipment purchases make up the greatest portion of the expense for a new start-up station. There are also licensing and permits along with the associated legal fees that must be obtained. All of this translates into dollars. Dr. Al was bold in his faith and knew that God could and would provide the funds that were needed. Overall, it was estimated that it would cost around two million dollars to build the TV station. After that there would be the operating costs involved in producing and transmitting the programming out to the viewers. Dr. Al proposed a number of ways to raise the needed funds to make all of this possible.

The brochure below was published to share Dr. Al’s vision and how it would be done. As the old saying goes, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Dr. Al knew how to inspire people to take on one small part in their giving and collectively raise the money needed. Dr. Al often said, “Plan your work, then work your plan.”

The flip side of the brochure shown below tells about how the vision of KYFC-TV began. There is also a breakout showing how the two million dollars will be spent. The photo shown in the lower left and in the center were taken at the KCMO-TV studios where KCYFC’s program “Christ Unlimited” was taped before the KYFC-TV production facility had been constructed. The source of the photo in the lower right is unknown but is believed to have been taken at the Hallmark production center that was in Kansas City at that time.  

In a filing submitted to the FCC in December 1978 the breakdown of where the necessary funds needed to construct the station would come from. These estimates are shown on the left below.

1977 Walk-A-Thon


1978 Walk-A-Thon




Tower Pin fund drive


Cash gifts from over 27,000 people





The hand-out below is of the TV-50 groundbreaking ceremony held prior to the first Walk-A-Thon. Dr. Al is addressing the crowd. On the right is Ronnie Metsker. Joe Snelson, TV-50 Chief Engineer is in the foreground. While typical ground breaking ceremonies utilize shovels this one included a backhoe seen to the right of Dr. Al. This groundbreaking was primarily for the new studio addition which would be built over the top of the existing KCYFC office complex. This new addition included a basement area in front of the office complex to accommodate needed space for the current KCYFC staff.   

Lapel Pins

The Tower Pin fund drive was mentioned as a way of raising funds for KYFC-TV. The camera pin on the left was worn by KYFC-TV staff members.

The bronze pin (center) with a ruby was an initial level for giving for donations under $1000. The pin on the right with the five point diamond was given to those that contributed $1000 or more. Additional stones would be added at the bottom of this pin for each additional amount given of $1000.


Another interesting fund raising event that was held was an auction. For this event people donated various items ranging from electronic equipment to furniture. Students from a local auction school donated their time to come and practice their vocal skills at auctioning.

Joe Snelson shares a story regarding the picture shown on the right. This picture was one of the items up for auction. It is a three minute time exposure taken during a very severe thunderstorm over the Kansas City area. This picture was taken over the old Kansas City airport just west of downtown. It was taken in June, 1961. If you do a count you will see eight significant lightning discharges during that time. When I saw the picture I just had to have it.

Auction bids were being taken over the phone as well as those in the live studio audience. I forget what the opening bid was for, but I think it was around $50. Several were bidding on this picture including myself. There was one bidder on the phone that kept hanging in there as well as myself. Bidding went along and the bidders began dropping out leaving only me and the one person on the phone. Interestingly, the operator talking to the person on the phone happened to be my wife! I met my wife shortly after starting at KYFC-TV. She was a graduate of the second Christ Unlimited Bible Institute (CUBI) class. We hadn’t been married too long and here we were going back and forth with bids and the auctioneer urging us on. I had decided that my limit was $100 and was going to stop there. When bidding reached $100 I think the person on the phone said $110. The auctioneer looked at me and I said a firm no! My wife told the person on the phone they had the winning bid and won the picture. They responded by saying they didn’t want it and hung up. So, the auctioneer looked back at me and said my $100 bid was still standing. I said yes, and the picture was mine. Being such a unique picture I had a negative made at Custom Color Corp. I keep it locked in a safe place just in case something were to happen to the picture. I am glad I did that as the original has faded over the years. My copy is mounted in a frame with ultraviolet protective glass to protect it from sunlight. Was it worth it? Absolutely, because the monies raised helped to launch Christian television in Kansas City.

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© 2023 Joe Snelson


The next fund raising event was held on October 8, 1977, it was a Walk-A-Thon. The map below shows the route with the beginning being at the KCYFC headquarters building shown on the left. The midway point is shown on the right being at the Colonial Presbyterian Church. This was an all day event and concluded in time for the weekly Saturday Night KCYFC Rally.

KC Star ad

On the right is a large newspaper ad that was taken out in the Kansas City Star. Click on the ad to see a full screen view. You will see a handwritten date in the upper right of the ad showing it was published on December 22, 1977. This was just a week after KYFC-TV signed on.


There was another Walk-A-Thon that took place in October 1978. It took a different route. It went from the KCYFC headquarters building out to the new tower site near 56th and Bennington. By then tower erection was well under way. Walkers got to see close up view of the tower sections that were assembled on the ground. The Walk-A-Thon concluded back at KCYFC headquarters and, again, before the Saturday night rally started. The excerpt below from Conquest tells about that Walk-A-Thon.

[Joe Snelson recalls one rather unforgettable experience about this groundbreaking ceremony. During the set-up prior to the ceremony the backhoe was being moved into place to the northwest corner of the building. There was a line of shrubs in front of the building. These shrubs hid a a gas meter that was near the corner of the building. The backhoe bucket inadvertently slammed into the gas meter breaking the pipe that fed to inside the the building. Mind you, this was not your typical house type gas meter. This was a large commercial type meter that supported all the heating needs of the building as well as the commercial type kitchen in the basement. The gas line was two inch in diameter! So, when the pipe broke it was serious business with high pressure gas being discharged into the air. Joe ran across the street to the gas station on the corner of 47th and Rainbow and asked if they had a wrench we could borrow. They did! Fortunately, the pipe that broke was after the main shut-off valve. The gas station attendant grabbed a wrench and ran over to the meter and was able to close the shut-off valve. All was now good so the ceremony could proceed as planned.]

A view from the rooftop of the KCYFC office building showing a good attendance at the ground breaking event.

At center stage is Dr. Al Metsker, speaking at the mic is Joe Snelson, Chief Engineer. David Lewis is on the roof with trumpet in hand. The person on the left is assumed to be John Flournoy, Architect for the studio building.

Even after KYFC-TV signed on the air there were ongoing operational costs that needed to be raised. A primary way to raise the funds was through telethons. These would typically be held annually or if there was a special need that would arise. In the photos below Marilyn Lewis, David Lewis and Ronnie Metsker are reading pledges that were made for the Decade of Destiny Telethon conducted in 1980. David would often play a victory fanfare on the trumpet when certain giving goals would be met.