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KKFI to Demote Public Affairs Programming

Do you want your democracy in community radio now?
From its inception, community radio in Kansas City has meant giving voices on issues of political, social and economic import to those who were excluded from the corporate media. The voice of the people at KKFI has had a distinctly working class, minority, and left perspective. Whether it was the first Gulf War from the point of view of Iraqis being bombed or from a Texas town where half the African Americans had been sent to jail on trumped up drug changes, KKFI’s national programs like Democracy Now, Pacifica Network News, Counterspin, Wings, and Radio Nation have brought Kansas Citians perspectives unavailable anywhere else. Local shows like Ron McMillan’s What’s Going On?, The Tenth Voice, or The Heartland Labor Forum enrich the airwaves with voices and issues essential for a real democracy.

All of that is going to change, says KKFI’s new program director John Jessup. At a series of meetings with programmers, Jessup said that such information is a luxury KKFI can no longer afford. So they’re moving all public affairs to nights and weekends, and cutting the number of shows.

During the week, the only public affairs shows on the schedule will be evenings from 6-7 and after 10P.M. Some local public affairs producers have been told either they can have the precious 6pm slot or Democracy Now can have it and they can produce their shows and try to get guests on at 10pm. What a deal! We now get to compete with DN for prime time, and if DN loses, it’ll be blamed on the local public affairs programmers. Whatever else survives of national and local public affairs will be on weekends.

Why? With the dubious statement that public affairs are a “foreground activity” meaning they demand a hundred percent attention, Jessup justified banishing them to nights and weekends when people presumably aren’t doing anything else. Without any argument or justification as to why this format change was the best route, Jessup stated that this was the financial step that was needed to build funds for the station. Funny how a few years ago, programmers were told by station management at the time, that the perfect time for public affairs was mornings. Lots of retired people listened then, and of course there’s the night shifters and the people who listen to radio at work. Back then, Arbitron ratings were given and research was presented on block formatting and how it increased listener time listening to the station.

More to the point, however, is that according to KKFI’s new math: music equals twice the money of public affairs during pledge drives. Therefore banish public affairs to the nether times when people don’t have their wallets handy. Never mind that in expanding music they’re going to hire another DJ for the mornings, replacing volunteers who cost them nothing. Never mind that they did no fundraising or concerted effort to promote during the last two pledge drives during any of the public affairs shows except DN, and the pitch on DN was an insult to the listeners of what they referred to as a “niche market.” Never mind that KKFI has systematically neglected public affairs by never replacing the cancelled Pacifica Network News, failing to recruit new voices from the community who actually represented life and movement, and failing utterly to support existing public affairs shows with any training, improved equipment, or even constructive feedback. As we’ve learned from the government privatizers, if you want to get rid of a service, just destroy it little-by-little, neglect it, or ignore it until the people no longer care if it’s there.

A case in point would be the firing of Every Woman producer feminist Sharon Lockhart by General Manager Robert Barrientos, for having, allegedly “a bad attitude.” Not only did Lockhart never receive due process or even a clear statement of why she was fired, but Barrientos, installed a new programmer for Every Woman who began her show with “Behind every successful woman is a good man.” She also gives advice on her show on how to keep your man. The numerous protests calls, have, of course, fallen on deaf ears.

But it’s clear that people do care about the information they get, and recent research shows that there is a large listener group that represents the millions of people who consider themselves left or liberal who are being ignored by the media. When John Jessup so willingly gave up KKFI’s claim to alternative news by stating that KKFI’s “sister station,” KCUR already covered it, he demonstrated the superficiality of his research in making this decision.

Current information from the media industry points to the rising numbers of left public affairs programs and talk shows. Right wing talk shows have stalled in their numbers and in some cases are starting to drop. Those same people voted for Gore and Nader in the last election. They are in the demographics that most stations want to attract. KCUR just has NPR. KKFI has not explored or promoted the alternative programming that would attract this group. That is where we can distinguish ourselves. More music is not the answer if you look at the research.

What’s ironic, though is that KKFI management did promise to expand one area of public affairs. They promised us more of the 11pm to 2am variety of talk radio pioneered at KKFI by Limbaugh clones. So it appears that KKFI’s great service to the community in the area of public affairs will be more right wing talk shows filled with ignorant chatter and uninformed bigotry.

Aside from the fact that KKFI’s mission was not miseducation, the data show that the market for know-nothing radio is already saturated. There is, however, a ready-made market for intelligent, progressive talk and public affairs if we promote it right. We have the students and the young population who are savvy and cruise the web. We can with the right promotion and dedication make our station a definite lock on the dial. We propose that would be the better road to take. If you agree, let the new programming director know how you feel. Call the station and let them know what programming you feel makes KKFI unique and in tune with KC.
 
 

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KKFI fund raiser

where do the funds go?
KKFI is doing an emergency fundraiser on air. After reading a letter in the Pitch, one has to wonder where the raised funds go. Does the General Manager take a cut off the top?
www.pitch.com/issues/2003-06-05/letters.html/1/index.html

Broadcast Feuds
www.pitch.com/issues/2002-03-07/stline.html/1/index.html

more Pitch letters:
www.pitch.com/issues/2003-06-12/letters.html/1/index.html

www.pitch.com/issues/2002-04-11/letters.html/1/index.html

www.pitch.com/issues/2002-03-14/letters.html/1/index.html

www.pitch.com/issues/2002-02-28/letters.html/1/index.html

"you are not allowed to speak,"
www.pitch.com/issues/2001-05-31/feature.html/1/index.html

www.pitch.com/issues/2001-07-12/letters.html/1/index.html

The FCC's Strange Non-Profit
FCC Chairman Michael Powell runs venture capital firm that claims it’s private
www.openairwaves.org/telecom/report.aspx?aid=31

CPI investigates Michael Powell
www.alternet.org/mediaculture/2003/06/001011.html
 

Re: KKFI to Demote Public Affairs Programming

KKFI is doing an emergency fundraiser on air. After reading a letter in the Pitch, one has to wonder where the raised funds go. Does the General Manager take a cut off the top?
www.pitch.com/issues/2003-06-05/letters.html/1/index.html

Broadcast Feuds
www.pitch.com/issues/2002-03-07/stline.html/1/index.html

more Pitch letters:
www.pitch.com/issues/2003-06-12/letters.html/1/index.html

www.pitch.com/issues/2002-04-11/letters.html/1/index.html

www.pitch.com/issues/2002-03-14/letters.html/1/index.html

www.pitch.com/issues/2002-02-28/letters.html/1/index.html

"you are not allowed to speak,"
www.pitch.com/issues/2001-05-31/feature.html/1/index.html

www.pitch.com/issues/2001-07-12/letters.html/1/index.html

The FCC's Strange Non-Profit
FCC Chairman Michael Powell runs venture capital firm that claims it’s private
www.openairwaves.org/telecom/report.aspx?aid=31

CPI investigates Michael Powell
www.alternet.org/mediaculture/2003/06/001011.html
 

Re: KKFI to Demote Public Affairs Programming

Should community radio be saved? Most of the public affairs programming is depressing bad news. It complicates the patriotic swellings we can get from mainstream sources. Work hard, get ahead, by an SUV, don't worry, be happy.
War is peace. Ignorance is strength.
Happy birthday, Mr. Orwell!
 

Re: KKFI to Demote Public Affairs Programming

KKFI, with Democracy Now and local free programming are among the last sanctuaries of the conscious man. Wake up! Programming like this isn't going to last unless we speak up and support it financially. OK, maybe you have issues with John Jessup. But KKFI is all KC has for free radio, other than what's on the Internet. So defend it! The FCC isn't going to help out, they're out to squash independent thinkers, judging by their latest decision to allow media consolidation to grow. Call the KKFI station, tell them what you think. Put your money where your mouth is. And thanks to whoever is responsible for pulling this site together. I'm very glad KC has finally joined the Indy network.
www.kkfi.org/NewSite/contact.asp?page=contact
(816) 931-3122
(816) 931-KKFI
 

Re: KKFI to Demote Public Affairs Programming

***KKFI, with Democracy Now and local free programming are among the last sanctuaries of the conscious man.***

Amen!

***Wake up! Programming like this isn't going to last unless we speak up***

Amen!!

***and support it financially.***

well, yes, but let's look at this ..

***OK, maybe you have issues with John Jessup.***

I agree with much of what you say and all of the general sentiment. But this gets into much more than a trivial disagreement with John Jessup. This goes to major fundamental problems with the current board and management. Yes support the station itself and the concept of community radio. Yes, call the station and tell them what you think. But get involved a little more deeply. Look at what has been happening, and think about what will happen yet. The Friends of Community Radio reluctantly formed to reclaim real community radio in Kansas City after seeing long time programmers arbitrarily removed, and the board packed with cronies. We need the COMMUNITY to get involved and ensure that this track towards the loss of community radio is followed no longer. Get involved, pay attention, and see what YOU think, based on that observation and attention. Ask questions about how your contribution will be used. See if they will take a donation restricted to equipment upgrades. Many of us feel strongly that left to their own devices the current board and GM will continue to erode, and will eventually destroy the only community radio that Kansas City has in a time when it is more vitally important than ever. Don't take my word for it, and don't take their's that I'm wrong. Get involved. Community radio is too precious, provides too much, and holds so much potential for providing more to let it slip away due to community indifference and incompetent and narrowly self-interested management. And that is where things are headed.

***But KKFI is all KC has for free radio, other than what's on the Internet. So defend it! The FCC isn't going to help out, they're out to squash independent thinkers, judging by their latest decision to allow media consolidation to grow. Call the KKFI station, tell them what you think.***

Amen!!
 

Re: KKFI to Demote Public Affairs Programming

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)
 

KKFI board on (relatively) good behavior at meeting

see link
 

Re: KKFI to Demote Public Affairs Programming

This is a terrific expose on the illegal and unwanted Board at KKFI, 90.1 FM. I can only hope the truth sees the light of day, before Nazi Barrientos fires and banishes anymore programmers.

Alex
 

Re: KKFI to Demote Public Affairs Programming

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
 

Re: KKFI to Demote Public Affairs Programming

(a reprint from another thread, but appropos hear as well)

It seems like the best thing to do is to stop the bickering and get to working.

Does anyone even know Terry? Has anyone met him? Seems like reclaimkkfi should be retitled reclaim-my-kkfi. All I ever read in connection with reclaimers is "We lost. We want it back. We are the real left."

Waaaaah.

Left is open. Left isn't prejudgmental. Left gets to work.

All it seems like with the reclaimers is they were left behind.

I found KCindymedia on a search engine. Kind of excited to find a free-speecher group in KC that I hadn't visited.

Imagine my dismay when I get here and find so much retread pablum from ex-kkfi disgruntleds.

I read all this stuff in the poseur Pitch (you remember it's corporate too).

Please cover other issues:

The City Council.

The School System.

The increased use of roadblocks by KCPD.

The lack of coverage of real issues by the rest of the press.

Why continue to beat up the only community voice in town?

I was always told by friends of mine that were busting ass to get KKFI on the air, that it was aiming to give a voice to the underserved interests in KC.

I don't think that means that every radical with an hour to kill gets a show, or gets to run a radio station.

Let's talk about the real issues, there's plenty of em here in KC.

Quit whining. Start working. If you really want to accomplish something take your friends and get back to the station. Quit starting fights and start working.

Every time the reclaimers rant in public about "I lost my radio station." They sound like little kids who lost the spotlight.

Is reclaiming KKFI about serving the public with diversity and insight? Or is it about recreating your own private fantasy land where all the talentless get to be DJs?

Remember: KKFI is for the underserved ... NOT the undeserving.

Tune in. Turn on. Or, drop out.

But please quit the whining.
 

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