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KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

KKFI, once known as Kansas City's community radio station, is now doing announcements for media conglomerate, ClearChannel. ClearChannel currently owns over 1200 radio stations nationwide, and has been wielding its corporate muscle to stage pro-Bush events throughout the land.
While tuning in to KKFI 90.1FM over the last two Friday nights, this writer was dismayed to hear that the nationally syndicated Grateful Dead Hour and the locally produced Second Set are being underwritten by ClearChannel Entertainment to announce the upcoming Phish concert at the local corporately named amphitheater. Warrensburg's 'The Bridge', a college NPR station, has also been airing these announcements. A search of ClearChannel's website(CC.COM), revealed that ClearChannel is promoting 27 concerts in the Kansas City area, including Neil Young, Dave Matthews, Bela Fleck, and most surprisingly, Pearl Jam, who has historically attempted circumnavigation of Ticketmaster.

ClearChannel currently owns over 1200 radio stations nationwide, up from the forty or so prior to 1996's Communcations Act. It also stands to benefit greatly from the further erosion of regulations currently put on the table by FCC Chairman Michael Powell. ClearChannel has been using the security of its current entrenchment to promote/orchestrate pro-war/pro-Bush rallies throughout the country. ClearChannel, a major Bush contributor, will be able to own even more radio stations if Bush administration efforts succeed. On the television side, Rupert Murdoch's Fox is also engaged in an apparent I'll-cheerlead-for-you-if-you-deregulate-for-me dance with the administration.

KKFI, founded as an alternative voice for Kansas City, first went on the air in the late 80's. Since GM and CEO Robert Barrientos seized the reins a few years ago, the station has been gradually, but not always subtly, nudged toward the mainstream. Early on in his tenure, Barrientos decided that calling KKFI a Community Radio station was not as desirable as his new marketing moniker: Kansas City's Public Radio. There were many in the community who saw this as a thinly veiled shot at his former employer, KCUR 89.3(which is, coincidentally, Kansas City's public radio station), which he left under hushed-up suspect circumstances.

Barrientos then brought in current board member Jim Olenick, whose business is in commercial radio advertising. Olenick, who does a great deal of business with Entercom( a sort of poor man's ClearChannel owning a half a dozen or so media outlets here in town, and who locally choreographed the infamous Dixie Chicks CD burning rally), was tasked with spearheading a community advisory/programming board. He filled this board with three local legends in commercial radio broadcasting, including one whom, he says, is credited(his word) with bringing Top 40 radio to Kansas City. It is unknown if this group ever met. Olenick has gone to some effort to downplay his Entercom ties, even posting a fax to him from Entercom at the station denying any employment or consultancy of Olenick by Entercom, citing that Jim works aggressively on behalf of his adverstisers in his negotiations with Entercom.

It is unknown whether the KKFI/ClearChannel deal was brokered by Olenick, who recently attempted such an arrangement with local strip club, Bazooka's, whose owner is Olenick's friend. It may have been brokered by Kathleen Kruschaur, KKFI's new marketing director, or Barrientos himself. It is also unknown what KKFI received in return for these announcements. KKFI, under Barrientos, has been known to accept tradeouts for nothing more than concert tickets, much to the detriment of KKFI's bottom line. It is also unknown what type of commission was awarded to Kruschaur and/or Barrientos for the deal.

PostScript: In the interest of full disclosure, it must be stated that this author is a former music programmer at KKFI, and whose show, You Name It, aired on Friday nights immediately prior to the Grateful Dead Hour. In all likelihood, You Name It would be underwritten by ClearChannel as well, if it were still on the air.
 
 

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Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

Sad and troubling news but not surprising. The rumors around town about an eventual sale of KKFI to Clear Channel may be true after all.
 

Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

The media consolidation cancer that Clear Channel exemplifies is likely to get stronger if the FCC votes as expected on June 2 to further deregulate the market.

Use the AFL-CIO comment site and tell your congressmen and women, the media, the FCC -- anyone that will listen -- that the airwaves belong to the PEOPLE, not Murdoch et al.
www.unionvoice.org/campaign/fcc/i588dizvj6xd
 

union woes?

ahh... the good 'ol afl-cio. the afl-cio has a sketchy history with endorsements. campaign contributions to the republican party and several local PACs set up during the elections have me questioning if the teamsters are looking out for the best interest of their members.

i'm formerly of a cwa local here, who would NOT endorse dennis moore BECAUSE of his opposition to FCC loop holes.

hm.
 

Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

No, the AFL-CIO does not have a pristine record, but if Election 2000 taught us nothing else, it made crystal clear that purists have no place in politics whereas pragmatists do.

And on this issue, they were right.
 

Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

KKFI meant for Community Radio must be managed and administered by the Kansas City community.
 

Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

Yesterday on KANU's Sunday programming, Bob McWilliams announced Bela Fleck's upcoming concert in KC, produced by ClearChannel. What's to be done about these artists, such as Pearl Jam which you mentioned? Are they aware of the whole controversy but not concerned, or are they just busy doing shows and not paying attention . . . I've been listening to Bela for YEARS and appreciate his constantly progressive style. But I'm surely not going to support Clear Channel by attending his concert here...
 

Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

Yesterday on KANU's Sunday programming, Bob McWilliams announced Bela Fleck's upcoming concert in KC, produced by ClearChannel. What's to be done about these artists, such as Pearl Jam which you mentioned? Are they aware of the whole controversy but not concerned, or are they just busy doing shows and not paying attention . . . I've been listening to Bela for YEARS and appreciate his constantly progressive style. But I'm surely not going to support Clear Channel by attending his concert here...
 

Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

Not too surprising. Clear Channel manages Sandstone and Memorial, and recently aquired the local House of Blues franchise that was booking smaller venues like the Uptown Theater and City Market summer concerts.
 

Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

Since writing this article a couple of weeks ago, there have been some new developments. On Tuesday, June 3, I attended the KKFI board meeting at Californo's. Before they went into closed session at the end of the meeting, I was permitted to speak. I made my concerns quite clear about KKFI being in bed with this organization and said it was just another example of the selling of KKFI's soul. The confused looks around the board table told me they had no clue what I was talking about. There was one board member whose face I couldn't see. Jim Olenick, who sat with his back to the public the entire time, like a priest who didn't get the word about Vatican II, or an intruder at the Last Supper, muttered something about Verizon to the board members, and asked me rather rudely, if they should have turned the money down. I replied that that was my first question, whether or not there was money received for this. He replied, again rudely, that indeed there was. When I spoke of the pro-Bush/pro-war rallies orchestrated by Clearchannel, Olenick, asked if I would be willing to pay the money received from ClearChannel. I should have asked him how much, but didn't think of at the time. What I did ask him was, how come he knew enough to bring his proposed Bazooka's underwriting scheme to the board and active membership, but saw nothing controversial about ClearChannel. At this point, George Biswell, KKFI Active Member, and ex officio board member, said that while Bazooka's was a sensitive issue, ClearChannel was merely a matter of opinion and that he didn't share my opinion that ClearChannel was pro-Bush. I told him that this was not a matter of opinion, that these rallies really happened and were promoted by ClearChannel. What I should have told him and should have included in my original article, was that ClearChannel was the media conglomerate that issued the now infamous "Don't Playlist" in the wake of 9/11. Hundreds of ClearChannel stations were told not to play such volatile songs as John Lennon's Imagine, Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Waters, and Frank Sinatra's New York New York.

I think that may have fallen on deaf ears, however, as earlier in the meeting, Olenick & Biswell giddily spoke of their recent fieldtrip to the AAA Radio conference in Kentucky. AAA is radio marketing speak for singer-songwriter radio. While there are a lot of worthwhile artists who fit that category, what's disturbing is the volume of worthwhile artists that don't fit in that category. The rigidity of it is the antithesis of the spirit that founded and fostered KKFI for so many years. While Olenick cited example after example of how throughout the country, station upon station turned AAA programming into profit, General Manager Robert Barrientos, uncharacteristically, reminded the board of KKFI's mission, "...and that mission includes", "Entertainment!", Olenick interuupted him. Board member Jim Murtha jumped on Olenicks' bandwagon, and then Barrientos finally wrested the floor back to finish his statement, that KKFI should celebrate its local heritage, including blues, jazz, and current local music.

Also discussed at the Board Meeting, were the pending schedule changes including moving Democracy Now to 10PM. New Program Director John Jessup said that so many people turn KKFI off at 9am, the current time for democracy now. I asked if that was because people were getting to work at that time? They agreed with that, but DN is still moving to 10PM at the end of July, or the beginning of August.
 

Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

I listen to KKFI, and they still play more local music than all other KC radio stations put together. Nothing has changed since they started playing the Phish ads. No pro-war stance, no corporate-think. Democracy Now is playing as I write, speaking out against King George Jr.!

So, with your thinking, KKFI can't promote ANY concerts at Sandstone, The Beaumont Club, Memorial Hall, Kemper, The Music Hall, Starlight or The Uptown, or the bands that dare to align themselves with Clear Channel by playing at those venues? Yes, they are all Clear Channel venues!

With your thinking, KKFI couldn't promote so much live LOCAL music that KKFI would be blacklisting more bands from airplay than Clear Channel ever has!

This all seems more like sour grapes from former KKFI DJs.
 

Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

I listen to KKFI, and they still play more local music than all other KC radio stations put together. Nothing has changed since they started playing the Phish ads. No pro-war stance, no corporate-think. Democracy Now is playing as I write, speaking out against King George Jr.!

So, with your thinking, KKFI can't promote ANY concerts at Sandstone, The Beaumont Club, Memorial Hall, Kemper, The Music Hall, Starlight or The Uptown, or the bands that dare to align themselves with Clear Channel by playing at those venues? Yes, they are all Clear Channel venues!

With your thinking, KKFI couldn't promote so much live LOCAL music that KKFI would be blacklisting more bands from airplay than Clear Channel ever has!

This all seems more like sour grapes from former KKFI DJs.
 

Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

KKFI Supporter,

If ClearChannel obtains KKFI, there'll be no more Democracy Now, no more local music, no more Radio Nation. It's good to be weary about who is paying for advertisements.
 

Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

Anthony,

You have made quite the leap of illogic... from the underwriting of one Phish concert to "If Clear Channel obtains KKFI...".

Why not ask "IF the world ends tomorrow... IF the sun refused to shine... IF the molten core of the earth turned to stone...".

First the rumor was KKFI was going to be sold to Entercom- of course, that was TWO YEARS AGO. Now it will be gobbled up by Clear Channel... IF you believe a bunch of disgruntled former KKFI programmers, that is.

Please keep in mind, this is the same group of people who have tried to defund KKFI by making every argument and wild accusation possible for the past two years, and now complain that KKFI accepted 20 underwriting spots for a Phish concert!

It is also good to be weary of those who make wild accusations, too! What is THEIR agenda?
 

Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

Anthony,

You have made quite the leap of illogic... from the underwriting of one Phish concert to "If Clear Channel obtains KKFI...".

Why not ask "IF the world ends tomorrow... IF the sun refused to shine... IF the molten core of the earth turned to stone...".

First the rumor was KKFI was going to be sold to Entercom- of course, that was TWO YEARS AGO. Now it will be gobbled up by Clear Channel... IF you believe a bunch of disgruntled former KKFI programmers, that is.

Please keep in mind, this is the same group of people who have tried to defund KKFI by making every argument and wild accusation possible for the past two years, and now complain that KKFI accepted 20 underwriting spots for a Phish concert!

It is also good to be weary of those who make wild accusations, too! What is THEIR agenda?
 

Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

Well, I once was a supporter of KKFI Community radio.

I long for the days of "community" radio, when it was local, when you could voice your opinion, when you could tune in at 2AM or 2PM, and hear voices of people of color, who spoke the truth, straight - out truth!
Without fear of retaliation. Who gave up their time because they wanted to spread the word, or the sounds.

Now I still tune in, but they won't get MY money! And I'm very selective, doncha' know, only listen Democracy Now, then BC, and the jazz on Monday & Tuesday, and Friday's for Harry, and the crazy rockabilly gals. (Love Ya!)
I only hope that people will wake up soon.
I do have one question.
If Clear Channel is the same company who sponsors Rush Dimbaugh and his like, and the anti - war things, I wonder what they think when they deal with these goofy dudes? Maybe it's a Michael Jackson kind of thing. You know, a complete denial and Money is God thing..........

Peace
 

Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

Money is a necessary evil... not God.

KKFI operates on a shoestring budget (1/10th that of KCUR). And a few spots promoting one Phish concert doesn't mean they have sold out!

Once again, Mike and his "friends" have been trying to defund KKFI for the past year with every wild accusation they can throw out...

Open your eyes (and ears), folks. You are not getting ALL the story here! Maybe you should find out the rest of the story by volunteering at KKFI like I have for the past five years. Mike and his "friends" almost destroyed KKFI, and yet they now claim they want to save it?

Listen to KKFI, and you still hear the most diverse radio station in KC. They play more local music and public affairs programming than all the other station in town put together!
 

Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

To those of you who took the time to write me at my email address... and my apologies for wasting the time of those who did not:

Many, many thanks to those of you who deemed it necessary to flood my mailbox with veiled threats, insults and some of the poorest grammar I have read in years!

Talk about trying to stifle free speech... I dared to disagree with you folks and all of a sudden I am hit with an avalanche of mail calling me a "corporate lackey", a "fool", a "sorry bast...” and far worse that I don't want to post in a forum that may be read by kids. I'll just put it this way, I have never had sex with my mother, and she is not a female canine!

And not one of you even knows me!!!

For years I have supported liberal and populist causes, and now that I dare point out that there is more (and far less in some ways...) to this story than Mike and his "friends" have shared, I find myself having to defend myself against baseless accusations and petty name-calling.

I cannot answer all of your emails, so please take this as your answer, depending on the insult you might have thrown out:

1. I do have a life. I don't need to get another. Thanks for your concern.
2. I really don't care what you think of me, as you do not even know me.
3. No, I am not a supporter of George Bush.
4. No, I am not a fascist supporter of John Ashcroft.
5. No, I am firmly against America's attacks on Iraq.
6. No, I am not Robert Barrientos. I do, however, sometimes agree AND sometimes disagree with him, depending on the particular subject.
7. My nose is not shoved up Robert’s... or that of Clear Channel. In fact, I was not aware that corporations have excretory orifices.
8. I am not Jim Olenick. I have only met him a couple of times, and found him to be a most disagreeable person.
9. No, I do not have a program on KKFI or trying to suck up to Robert in hopes of getting a program on KKFI.
10. I am all for free speech, but also know that there is usually more than one side of any story.
11. I am not ashamed of myself. In fact, I am rather proud of my accomplishments, charitable work, and ability to think for myself.
12. I do sleep very well at night. Thank you for your concern.

I hope this helps answer your many messages. Due to the volumn of hate mail these posting have generated, I am killing the mailbox, so please don't waste your bandwidth with further juvenile attacks.
 

Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

Oh, the webs we weave ... how very sad. MKG
 

Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

How is the decision made to put an article from the right side into a "feature" spot? It seems arbitrary, considering that two articles listed as features are about the KKFI topic.
 

Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

With an emergency fundraiser going on now at KKFI, one must wonder about where the raised funds go. Does the General Manager take a cut off the top? Check out letters in the Pitch:
www.pitch.com/issues/2003-06-05/letters.html/1/index.html
 

Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

With an emergency fundraiser going on now at KKFI, one must wonder about where the raised funds go. Does the General Manager take a cut off the top? Check out letters in the Pitch:
www.pitch.com/issues/2003-06-05/letters.html/1/index.html
 

question

Roberto asks:
"How is the decision made to put an article from the right side into a "feature" spot? It seems arbitrary, considering that two articles listed as features are about the KKFI topic. "

A submitted Feature is voted yay or nay by the editorial
committee (I was out of town for this one).
 

Re: KKFI to Demote Public Affairs Programming

'trust me, we won't let them influence any decisions'
beware when someone says (literally, or in effect, "trust me, it's not what it looks like".) (trust in Allah, but tie the camel to the hitching post just in case)
 

Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

grinaloteb (at) aol.com wrote

>'trust me, we won't let them influence any decisions'
>
>beware when someone says (literally, or in effect,
>"trust me, it's not what it looks like".) (trust
>in Allah, but tie the camel to the hitching post
>just in case)

I looked at all of the posts here, but the only person who has posted such a comment is grinaloteb (at) aol.com!

One more example of one side of this issue clearly being willing to distort the issue!!! It sure make you wonder what else they are making up???

KKFI Supporter
 

Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

I have re-posted the entire comment below. In it was a link to an article about a Los Angeles area public radio station that had entered into an underwriting partnership with Clear Channel Communications.

Here is a quote from the article:
"But station general manager Brenda Barnes said her marketing staff is too small and has too much turnover to drum up those sponsorships effectively. So she has outsourced the job to Clear Channel, which owns eight commercial stations in the Los Angeles area and about 1,200 nationwide.

"It's not a huge effort for them, but it makes a big difference for KUSC," she said. "The bottom line is: Nothing changes for the listener."

She said the volume of announcements will remain capped at a minute and a half per hour. Currently, only about half of those are underwriting messages, while the rest are various placeholders.

Clear Channel will get commissions for every sponsor it signs, with the percentage increasing if it's a new client."

I paraphrased the KUSC GM as saying in effect "trust me". There was not suggestion that someone else had posted those comments. I WAS suggesting that getting in bed with Clear Channel Communications didn't strike me as a good idea, either for a public radio station in LA or a community radio station in Kansas City, and I WAS suggesting that if anyone is a real supporter of KKFI, they might be a least a little bit skeptical of such arrangements. If this was too subtle for listentolivemusic (at) yahoo.com to understand, I apologize.

Get involved in community radio, ask questions, participate.

Here is the comment in question to "KKFI to Demote Public Affairs Programming" - read it ( here, or read it under that feature) and tell me who is trying to distort what.

beware when someone says (literally, or in effect, "trust me, it's not what it looks like".) (trust in Allah, but tie the camel to the hitching post just in case)
See also:
www.calendarlive.com/templates/misc/printstory.jsp?slug=cl-et-carney7jul§ion=%2Ftv
 

Re: KKFI doing underwriting announcements for ClearChannel

The good news:

Robert Barrientos resigns

The bad news:

Barrientos is replaced by Jim Olenick's handpicked crony:

NOTICE!

8-29-03

Effective September 1, 2003 Robert Barrientos has resigned as General Manager of 90.1FM KKFI.
Effective September 2, 2003, Bob Terry has accepted the position of General Manager.
Under no circumstance are you to make any announcement, comments, etc... to the media, press, etc..
The Board of Directors has assigned Jim Olenick as the official spokepserson.
If the media or press approaches you, please refer them to Jim Olenick at 816-931-3122.


Thanks!

Chuck Tackett
President
MidCoast Radio Project Inc. / 90.1FM KKFI
 

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