Saturday, July 13, 2013

Comrade Chris Lowe: Hands off KBOO!

Comrade Chris Lowe battles the Dastardly Democrats Blue Oregon, who are threatening KBOO members by proposing viable programming!  The nerve! 


BlueOregon Action: Hands Off KBOO!

Chris Lowe

BlueOregon Action has launched a petition to bring Thom Hartmann's radio show to KBOO Community Radio. How this decision was reached is unclear to me, and it raises process issues about BlueOregon Action. BlueOregon Action should withdraw the petition, at very least until it can be fully debated. I personally believe it should be abandoned.

The action is ill-thought out, has not been adequately discussed, and poses a serious threat to KBOO as a progressive community resource. I believe that this threat is probably made out of opportunistic ignorance of current struggles at KBOO over the future direction of the station. If it is an intentional intervention in those struggles, so much the worse. There certainly will be current KBOO activists and listeners who will interpret it as a BlueOregon/liberal effort to make KBOO less radical. Regardless of the intention, the move will have a destructive effect on KBOO and on efforts to resolve KBOO internal debates constructively.

The struggles at KBOO are complex. There is a long term problem of fiscal stability that needs to be addressed. New management brought in by the Board to address the stability issue has also sought to reorganize the station and expand managerial prerogatives in ways that many long time volunteers, programmers and listeners think threatens the democratic character of the station. Corporate-style high-handed managerial actions led the staff to unionize with the Communications Workers of America. On the other hand, many Board members and some important volunteers perceive much of the staff and many volunteer programmers as hidebound, unwilling to make necessary changes, proprietary about shows and slots, and unwilling to give up air time to allow new voices, especially younger voices on the station, in order to broaden the station's base. There are other more specific issues, around fundraising for example.

One of the key claims made by the "station navigator" and her Board backers has been that the unwillingness to change means that KBOO is not adequately meeting its mandate to provide an outlet for marginalized voices from underserved communities in Portland. The willingness to turn over 15 hours per week of KBOO air time to one show controlled by one white man, however wonderful he may be, raises questions about the honesty of the diversity related arguments. Even assuming best motives, if the argument of lack of diversity is correct, Thom Hartmann's show represents a step backward, not forward.
The petition stresses that Hartmann is offering his show to KBOO for free. What it does not say is that he insists that the full 15 hours per week be broadcast.

If the Hartmann show were simply to substitute for current shows at the times it airs, it would displace about 5 hours of topical public affairs and cultural spoken word shows, and about 10 hours of music shows catering to a diverse set of musical interests including significant Spanish language broadcasting. Some of that programming could be shifted to other times by cutting or cutting back on Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman's show, which currently is the largest single block of time on KBOO I believe, and like Hartmann's is national in orientation. Unlike Hartmann's, its main producers are a white woman and a Latino man (Juan Gonzalez), and it broadcasts wide ranging interviews across a range of issues and topics from a left progressive and arguably democratic socialist perspective, including much more radical voices and much more critical perspectives than is usual in U.S. media, or than are likely to be heard on Hartmann's show.

I oppose that change. Portland needs the local shows, and Amy Goodman's voice, much more than it needs Thom Hartmann's talk format. Those shows also better fulfill KBOO's mission. The kinds of liberal to left liberal perspectives Hartmann conveys are reflected in other venues such as several shows MSNBC, Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert, or Bill Moyers on PBS. The more left progressive and diverse perspectives carried by Democracy Now! have no such counterparts.

My opinion, like any opinion, is debatable, of course. But it should be debated. And it should be debated within the KBOO context, not by a decontextualized opportunistic outside intervention from BlueOregon Action.

Thom Hartmann's show is great, and I understand the desire to have it on the air in Portland.

But unless his supporters are willing to commit to the whole of KBOO, to making the station work, to giving it money, to volunteering and participating, they should not try to make KBOO a vehicle for one narrow agenda about one man. The consequence will be to harm if not destroy a major community resource.
"But unless his supporters are willing to commit to the whole of KBOO, to making the station work, to giving it money, to volunteering and participating, they should not try to make KBOO a vehicle for one narrow agenda about one man. The consequence will be to harm if not destroy a major community resource."

Because the destruction of KBOO as a community resource is the sole prerogative of the Inner Party !    

We don't need Democrats!  We need Deck Chairs, dammit!

from post



Comments are predicatble, with Hoyne whining about "stuff" again:

Benjamin Hoyne · American
Chris,
Kudos for a fairly accurate description of what is going on at KBOO. I'd say you did a better job than the Mercury or WWeek. I think you are incorrect in saying that many of the Board view the staff as hidebound. That may have been the case, but folks I would call rational have left the KBOO board and been largely replaced with staff supporters. Feel free to read former Board Secretary Marc Brown's letter of resignation.
http://www.campaign4kboo.org/home/letter-of-resignation-from-kboo-board-secretary/
  • Chris Lowe · Top Commenter · Portland, Oregon
    Thanks Ben, evidently I am a bit behind the times. Personally I find the disparagement of people who disagree as "irrational" unhelpful, I don't think it's rationality that divides people. I see serious issues that I wish had been handled differently. Yours for a constructive way forward ...
  • Benjamin Hoyne · American
    I hear you Chris, I do my best to keep it above board. I think it's moved beyond disagreement. A Board member accused me of a crime and threatened me with a lawsuit that has no basis in reality (http://www.campaign4kboo.org/home/conduct-unbecoming-of-a-board-member/) This board member is overseeing an election in which I'm a candidate mind you.
    http://www.campaign4kboo.org/home/a-call-for-transparent-elections/
    The Board could not confirm that it understands a policy it passed months earlier http://www.campaign4kboo.org/home/kboo-board-cannot-confirm-its-understanding-of-a-policy-it-passed-a-few-months-earlier/
    There are reports that it plans to remove those policies and replace them with supposed illegal ones (we'll find out Monday I guess).
    I was lambasted by the Board last year for suggesting that Board Members should not accept free (expensive) passes to pickathon from staff that they directly oversee as it could appear to be a conflict of interest. Also, any suggestion that Board Members who host shows with, vacation with, or are in business with staff should recuse themselves from staff issues before the board get ignored.
    Then you have folks like Marc leave the Board, he sums it up eloquently.
    I'll try to choose my words more carefully next time. Apologies.
Ed Mellnik · University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
Thom Hartman, might be good talk radio but its not community radio. THree hours of him a day would displace a lot o f community programing. Bad Idea. and shame on BlueORegon for even suggesting it.
Carla Axtman ·  Top Commenter · Owner/Photographer at Carla Axtman Photography
Uh..wow.

I get that you feel strongly..but "shame for even suggesting it"?


Carla doesn't understand how we do things at the Inner Party.  Suggestions are an Enemy of the People.  At least suggestions the Party doesn't like.

 This comes of the heels of the Democrat invasion at Blue Oregon:


http://www.blueoregon.com/2013/07/help-bring-thom-hartmann-back-portland/


Help Bring Thom Hartmann Back To Portland!

Carla Axtman

When KPOJ ended their progressive talk radio format, the Save KPOJ movement spoke loud and clear: We want progressive talk on the air in Portland.
While Clear Channel didn't reverse course, the movement succeeded in restoring Carl Wolfson’s voice. Through his internet radio show, Carl is demonstrating that there’s a robust audience for progressive talk.

Together, we have a chance to take bring another progressive voice back to Portland: Thom Hartmann could be back on the air – live, on-your-FM-radio dial.
It’s true: Thom Hartmann has offered to let KBOO carry his show free-of-charge.
Thom is now the #1 progressive talk radio host in the nation. But with the takeover of KPOJ, he’s not on the air in Portland, one of the nation’s most progressive cities and where his show first started.
Sign the BlueOregon Action petition below to help bring Thom back to the region's airwaves.
KBOO’s nonprofit Board of Directors will be voting soon on whether or not to bring Thom Hartmann to their airwaves. We may not have been able to Save KPOJ, but we can get Thom back on the air in our area!
With all the insidious right wing talk filling the airwaves, it’s more important than ever for the region to get commentary on national and international news from a progressive voice.
Let’s bring Thom Hartmann back to Portland.

Readers weigh in:

  • John Calhoun · Top Commenter · Owner/Partner at InsideValuation
    I for one do not listen to KBOO now. If Hartmann is on it I will program the station into my car radio and will learn about other programs.
    • Carla Axtman · Top Commenter · Owner/Photographer at Carla Axtman Photography
      I think this a wonderful opportunity for folks to learn more about KBOO, ask questions and at the same time, advocate for more progressives on radio in our area.

      I think John Calhoun represents a lot of folks with what he says here.
    • Rick Nitti · Executive Director at Neighborhood House
      I am with you John.
  • Benjamin Hoyne · American
    Let me dispel a myth that is sure to get repeated. Thom Hartmann will eliminate 15 hours of local programming. It is correct that if Hartmann ran from 12-3 everyday, music shows would have to be moved (side note, hartmann could run for 1-2 hours a day as well). KBOO could also relocate the music programs or hartmann. Currently, democracy now (not local) runs for a second time from 4-5pm. Hard Knock Radio (also not local) runs from 7-8pm. That is 10 hours a week right there. Neither of those shows gain much revenue at membership drive, which generally indicates appeal. Also, on Saturday afternoon/evening, there are two 3-hour music shows which could be shortened to the standard 2 hours. That opens up another 2 hours. I've just found 12 hours in the schedule without doing much. I know there are 3 hours on kboo that are either very repetitive or not fulfilling the mission. Finding 15 hours for Thom is pretty simple. Would some shows have to be moved. Yes, perhaps its the music shows, perhaps Thom would be during drive time (and not be live). There are possibilities, it's not cut and dry, and saying Thoms will eliminate 15 hours of locally produced programming is not accurate.
    • Chris Lowe · Top Commenter · Portland, Oregon
      I address this over at http://www.blueoregon.com/2013/07/blueoregon-action-hands-kboo/
      The issue isn't just local vs. non-local. There are reasons to prefer Democracy Now! over Thom Hartmann, in terms of KBOO's mission, and in terms of recent arguments from station management that the station's programming is "too white" (not to put too fine a point on it) and not reaching youth enough, nor trying to.

      i am betting most people who want T.H. back want it live.
    • Benjamin Hoyne · American
      I'd be thrilled if the Program Director was willing to look at the schedule and have a strategy. I was on the program committee for much of last year. From what I can tell there is no strategy, no plan, perhaps its different now, but I'm told its not by folks that still attend the meetings. When word of change comes, people protect their slots. You raise valid points Chris, unfortunately I don't expect a conversation here or elsewhere to have any actual effect. You need people (board/staff) willing to embrace change, when right now change, just like progressive, is a dirty word at KBOO.
  • Benjamin Hoyne · American
    Chris,
    I'd like to address some of your concerns regarding KBOO.
    I've spoken to lots of people (I'd guess the majority of members) that have interest in only one show (Democracy Now, Music from the True Vine (Bluegrass), and Grateful Dead and Friends being chief among them). Pledge drive totals support my statement. If KBOO got rid of people that supported only one show, it would be in worse financials straits than it currently finds itself (for the record, I support the whole of KBOO).
    I'd like to think that folks interested in Save KPOJ and Thom Hartmann would indeed come out and support KBOO financially and also during pledge drive time by volunteering. It's a pretty active bunch on BlueOregon, why do you assume people would be unwilling to answer phones for Thom twice a year? How many phone banks have readers here worked over the years? Should we resist any new potential members unless they accept the entirety of KBOO before coming through the door? That doesn't sound like a good idea.
    • Chris Lowe · Top Commenter · Portland, Oregon
      I am pretty sure that most people who want T.H. would only be interested in that one show. I am worried that they might then try to make the whole station more like KPOJ used to be, in the T.H. model. That would betray the purposes of KBOO as laid out in its basic documents.

      Don't get me wrong, I used to listen to KPOJ and I supported the initial Save KPOJ effort. But changing KBOO that radically, to serve the KPOJ audience, would be a huge loss to Portland culture and progressive community.
  • Chris Lowe · Top Commenter · Portland, Oregon
    I thought BlueOregon Action was suppose to focus on consensus issues? This is not one. It is an ill-conceived opportunistic action that has the potential to be highly destructive to KBOO by intervening, intentionally or unintentionally, in some difficult politics the station is already going through, with no actual commitment to KBOO, only to one radio show.

    I call on BlueOregon Action to take this petition down.
    • Kari Chisholm ·  Top Commenter · President at Mandate Media · 176 subscribers
      Hey Chris, what we're talking about here is bringing a huge audience to KBOO. Sure, putting Thom on the air means filling a timeslot that would otherwise go to someone else.

      But as Tom C noted above, Thom's show has adbreaks. I suspect that KBOO would fill those slots with promos for other shows and fundraising requests.

      I get that there are all sorts of wild and wacky internal politics (that I don't pretend to understand), but this one seems like a no-brainer for KBOO. Expand the audience dramatically, start bringing in more listeners, and bring in money.

      What's wrong with that?

      And more to the point: Nobody's forcing KBOO to do anything. Thom's offering the show for free. And BlueOregon is providing a venue for former KPOJ listeners to say, "Yes, please! We'll listen!" The decision is still entirely up to KBOO.
    • Chris Lowe · Top Commenter · Portland, Oregon
      I didn't say anyone is forcing KBOO to do anything. If KBOO were not in the middle of an internal crisis about how to make decisions in which issues of perceived railroading internally were not at stake, having this discussion would make more sense, although I would still question whether this kind of petition would be the way to do it.

      However, your comment about not understanding "wild and wacky internal politics" is exactly to the point. This initiative can have serious unintended consequences due to the ignorance (meant in the most literal, limited and descriptive way, not as an insult) of those of you promoting it.

      A key element of what KBOO has to contend with is a) expanding the audience and b) how, and for which audience. KBOO is not a commercial radio station. It has By-Laws and corporate (non-profit) mission, wh...See More
  • Chris Lowe · Top Commenter · Portland, Oregon
    BlueOregon Action: Hands Off KBOO!

    Unless you are committed to the *whole* of KBOO, to making the station work, to giving it money, to volunteering and participating, do not try to make KBOO a vehicle for one narrow agenda.
  • Benjamin Hoyne · American
    Tom, supposedly there is a non-profit version of the show that accounts for the ad issues. I'd guess during that time KBOO would run underwriting, show promos, etc.
  • Tom Civiletti · Top Commenter
    I wonder how KBOO would deal with the ad breaks. If it can be handled, it would be great to have Hartmann on the air here.
    • Jamie Partridge · Works at National Association of Letter Carriers
      As a KBOO public affairs programmer myself, I resent the implication that progressive Talk Radio doesn’t already exist on KBOO. I myself make progressive talk radio for KBOO.

      You should also understand the opportunity cost of this change in programming. At 3 hours a day/5 days a week, Hartmann’s program would displace 15 hours of LOCALLY produced programming, including progressive talk offered in Spanish. You should also note that Thom Hartmann’s stance on undocumented workers is not at all progressive.

      I would take care to do more homework on this issue before promoting this further.
    • Sal Peralta · Top Commenter · Works at News-Register
      No one is saying that KBOO is not progressive. I don't agree that the station should put single issue litmus tests on its hosts; the rest of the lineup would benefit from having a stronger anchor; and the Portland market would benefit from having Thom back on the air.
    • Kari Chisholm ·  Top Commenter · President at Mandate Media · 176 subscribers
      Jamie Partridge: Nobody said that KBOO isn't progressive talk. We just want more. And given that Thom is the #1 progressive talk radio host in the country, and his show went from local to national right here in Portland, I know that a lot of KPOJ fans would love to have him back on the air -- at KBOO, or somewhere else.
    • Chris Lowe · Top Commenter · Portland, Oregon
      @Sal -- KBOO has a purpose defined in its fundamental documents. It is not to benefit "the Portland market."
  • Chris Lowe · Top Commenter · Portland, Oregon
    How do I resign from Save KPOJ? I supported the initial effort but I strongly oppose this.

    There are some real issues about agenda setting, democracy and voice in this, both for Save KPOJ and for BlueOregon Action. Who decides what actions are supported by BlueOregon Action? This kind of thing is going to undermine the claim that "BlueOregon" as such does not take positions on things.
    • Kari Chisholm ·  Top Commenter · President at Mandate Media · 176 subscribers
      BlueOregon doesn't take positions on things. BlueOregon offers its readers a chance to take positions on things. If no one agreed with this one, no one would sign it. And yet, it's been less than four hours, and already 2359 people have signed on. By this evening, it'll probably be our biggest petition ever (except the original Save KPOJ petitions.)
    • Chris Lowe · Top Commenter · Portland, Oregon
      But who chooses what things people get to take a position on, or not? Of course it hardly surprising that something posted to Save KPOJ as doing that would garner support. But do the people who have been told that understand other potential implications? I think not, since by your own admission above about not understanding what it means internally to KBOO, you (or Carla, or whomever) cannot have communicated that to them, and in fact what is visible does not even suggest there could be an issue.
  • Matthew Vantress · Top Commenter · Order filler gm dept at Unified grocers and staples
    Give it up Blue Oregon crowd progressive radio was a miserable failure before and thats why your precious Kpoj went off the air.There was never a high demand for it.
    • Rob J Harris · Top Commenter · President at Harris Law Firm
      Actually KPOJ is still on the air. As an all sports talk station. And as a talk station it did have a relatively small share at 1.0 Now, as sports talk the last four months ratings were .2, .2, .4 and .6

      And the other sports talk station (KFXX) was 1.6 this last month. The highest in the PDX area. So the ceiling for talk radio isn't much higher than what KPOJ was already earning.

      hmmmm
    • Rob J Harris · Top Commenter · President at Harris Law Firm
      ...clarification...as a liberal talk radio station it had relatively small share at 1.0....
    • Mike Mihalik · Works at Being Semi Retired
      While the new KPOJ has a smaller share of listeners, the station seems to have enough advertising revenue to satisfy the owners.

      It is advertisers (or owner benevolence) that pays the bills. Perhaps the sports listeners are valued more by the advertisers.

"Jamie Partridge · Works at National Association of Letter Carriers
As a KBOO public affairs programmer myself, I resent the implication that progressive Talk Radio doesn’t already exist on KBOO. I myself make progressive talk radio for KBOO.

You should also understand the opportunity cost of this change in programming. At 3 hours a day/5 days a week, Hartmann’s program would displace 15 hours of LOCALLY produced programming, including progressive talk offered in Spanish. You should also note that Thom Hartmann’s stance on undocumented workers is not at all progressive.

I would take care to do more homework on this issue before promoting this further."
Remember, Jamie Partridge  is a sooper sekrit Inner Party member right in the thick of launching Save KBOO and blaming Fitch for everything the Inner party didn't like, including a T-shirt designed and approved  by the Inner Party staff.
Notes from Keep KBOO mtg 4/26/13

Jamie Partridge

Apr 26
Committee to Keep KBOO as KBOO
Initial meeting --  Friday, April 26, 2013
Attendance: Jamie Partridge (chair & notes, 503-752-5112), Joe Crane, Bill Resnick, David Neel, Alan Wieder, Joanie Krag, Dave King, Paul Roland, John Walsh, Clayton Morgareidge, Linda Olson-Osterlund, Per Fagereng, Theresa Mitchell, Bruce Silverman, Michael Morrow, Gene Bradley, Joe Clement, Tom Becker, Robin Hahnel, Jan Haaken, Frann Michel
1.      What’s happening at KBOO? (see attachments)
Partridge, along with Glorious Leader, was also sent a memo by Lisa "can't get a break for acting dumb" Loving , that is suspected to be part of a failed coup at the last Board Meeting:

Jamie Partridge and Press Watch please check your email ASAP thank you.


 Whatever else Partridge  is, he is loyal cadre!  We don't need to stinking  Democats to run KBOO into the ground!   The inner Party is doing just fine by itself!

So there.

-MT


8 comments:

  1. A comment:
    "· Portland, Oregon
    I don't see why there can't be some middle ground here. Do we (KBOO) really need to broadcast Democracy Now twice a day? Why not put Thom on for an hour at noon and bump up the local programming while scratching the 4 p.m. re-broadcast of Democracy now? This idea has some traction with KBOO's programming staff, (although admittedly not in love with it). If the Board has the final say then this is what I will be lobbying for."

    It's amazing how some people can "stand up" to the Inner Party and never get attacked by it. Wonder if they ever "stand up" to the Inner Party when no one they're trying to impress is watching...*yawn*

    ReplyDelete
  2. What's especially annoying is the continuing lie that Hartmann wants to be paid by KBOO, or that he insists it's 15 hours a week or nothing. This has been debunked for weeks. How come some folks just cannot learn new information?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "What's especially annoying is the continuing lie that Hartmann wants to be paid by KBOO, or that he insists it's 15 hours a week or nothing. "

      Seriously. Ben tries to preempt it to no avail:

      Let me dispel a myth that is sure to get repeated. Thom Hartmann will eliminate 15 hours of local programming. It is correct that if Hartmann ran from 12-3 everyday, music shows would have to be moved (side note, hartmann could run for 1-2 hours a day as well). KBOO could also relocate the music programs or hartmann. Currently, democracy now (not local) runs for a second time from 4-5pm. Hard Knock Radio (also not local) runs from 7-8pm. That is 10 hours a week right there. Neither of those shows gain much revenue at membership drive, which generally indicates appeal. Also, on Saturday afternoon/evening, there are two 3-hour music shows which could be shortened to the standard 2 hours. That opens up another 2 hours. I've just found 12 hours in the schedule without doing much. I know there are 3 hours on kboo that are either very repetitive or not fulfilling the mission. Finding 15 hours for Thom is pretty simple. Would some shows have to be moved. Yes, perhaps its the music shows, perhaps Thom would be during drive time (and not be live). There are possibilities, it's not cut and dry, and saying Thoms will eliminate 15 hours of locally produced programming is not accurate.

      Delete
  3. KKK Purity PoliceJuly 14, 2013 at 8:13 AM

    Hands off KBOO you horrible Democrats! KBOO welcomes Tea Partiers so long as they don't bring their millionaires, but we don't want Democrats joining by being "gasp" members at $20 each! And who said anyone outside of KBOO could do a petition? Damn those pesky Democrats!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "KKK"

      So overdue to be memed.

      Do these ppl think about what they do and say looks like outside staff/cult/Inner Party?

      Delete
    2. Historian of Great StruggleJuly 15, 2013 at 8:50 AM

      No need to do so. It was done already by Glorius Leader on her own blog with the lovely picture of hooded, torch holding mob, ready to storm the station during the May Massacre meeting.

      Delete
  4. Grace Marian weighs in:

    https://www.facebook.com/grace.marian/posts/10201080467589331

    Grace Marian commented on blueoregon.com.
    4 hours ago ·

    Thank you for this article, Chris. It gives important information that was left out by Blue Oregon Action. Nothing against Thom Hartmann, but he isn't a good fit for KBOO--too commercial and too mainstream, which go against KBOO's programming charter.

    It would be more constructive for Blue Oregon Action to end their survey and direct Thom Hartmann fans to Thom's podcast, although I bet that if they are too cheap to pay for Thom's podcast, they probably won't support KBOO either!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "although I bet that if they are too cheap to pay for Thom's podcast, they probably won't support KBOO either!"

      Yeah,because tuning in when they're driving in the morning is just the same as buying an archive of the show.

      What a ditz.

      Delete