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With a strong show of support from Democracy NOW fans and local labor leaders, KKFI board members hold their hostility to the community somewhat in check.
Things looked just a little different at the KKFI board meeting at Californo's in Westport Wednesday evening.
Unlike at previous meetings of the KKFI board, board members did not sit with their backs to the crowd, and actually let some of the attendees express their concerns. First-time attendees expressed concern about what some called a sense of hostility to the community by board members, while veteran attendees were struck by how well the board held their hostility in check with the good turnout of community radio supporters and local labor leaders shining a light on them. Only former programmer Mike Murphy was threatened with expulsion for daring to videotape the public meeting.

Democracy NOW fans were allowed to voice concerns about the possible move of that show from 9am to 9 or 10 pm. Programming director John Jessup eloquently put a reasonable spin on programming changes, but the board refused to answer questions about why public affairs programming wasn't promoted and why fundraising efforts didn't capitalize on these shows.

Local labor leader appeared in force, and asked to meet with board members and management to resolve issues relating to why General Manager Robert Barrientos has refused union underwriting dollars for the Heartland Labor Forum while he is apparently all too eager to have underwriting from ClearChannel and a local strip club. The board's lawyer claimed that the Institute for Labor Studies, affiliated with UMKC and Longview Community College, is (suddenly after many years?) not a viable entity capable of entering into a contract with the station, and therefore the station can cancel the contract and refuse the underwriting dollars while in the midst of a financial crisis. When the labor leaders indicated they were committed to staying on top of this issue until it is resolved, the board moved to table their attack on the Heartland Labor Forum for the time being, and made some tepid comments about a commitment to some kind of labor show presence on the station, implying some watered down show more to their liking. (reminds me of John D. Rockefeller Jr's "company unions" for coal miners, subsequently outlawed by federal law).

As the board moved to closed session, rumors flew that General Manager Robert Barrientos was tendering his resignation. We will have to see how that turns out.

Members of Friends of Community Radio who were present expressed great appreciation for the turnout of public support, and hope that the public will continue to turn out for future KKFI board meetings.
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"Only former programmer Mike Murphy was threatened with expulsion for daring to videotape the public meeting."

I videotaped the entire open portion of the meeeting. Following several eloquent pleas against the marginalization of Democracy Now (Which were met with utter apathy from the board, when I stepped forward to speak, I handed the camera to another community member. At this point, VP Jim Murtha, who was filling in for President Chuck Tackett, who was filling in for Secretary Vivianna Frias, who was absent, told me that I had not asked for permission to videotape, and in fact had been told at a previous board meeting not to record the meeting. I asked him if he meant at a previous active member meeting, and he said, "No! It was a board meeting." I told him that I never brought a video camera to a board meeting, and asked him if he was engaging in revisionist history. Amidst his incessant badgering that I was out of order for speaking during my turn, and his reminiscences about some imaginary board meeting, I managed to work in complaints about the venue for the meeting: Californo's restaurant(where speakers had to compete with the din of what sounded like a Bar Mitzvah and a couple of Sweet Sixteen parties), the format of the meeting (The community was allowed to speak only at the beginning, before even hearing what the board would say), and I started to get in my complaint of the attack on the progressive community by marginalizing public affairs. It was at this point that Jim Murtha told me my 2 1/2 minutes were up, though he was not looking at a watch at the time. Apparently this time limit was made at the outset of the meeting, but I had not heard it due to all the hoopla of little Myron becoming a man in the next room. At this point, Murtha, seeing all of the other video cameras in the room, said "I'll leave it up to the board, as to whether to allow video cameras." The board, realizing they had no choice as this was a public meeting, mutteringly acquiesced. At various other points during the meeting, members of the community engaged in dialogue with the board, but when I went to join in, discussion was immediately silenced. At one point, I apologized to Murtha, saying I forget about the anyone-but Mike Murphy-can-speak format. Murtha, who was relatively silent during his first year as Board VP, has really stepped it up recently in hopes that Barrientos & Olenick would let him join their little axis of evil. His disengenuous account of a board meeting where videotaping was banned is not the first fictional work he has authored this year. At an active member's meeting months ago, he stated that the Friends of Community Radio had cost the station $20,000 in legal bills. When I called him on that at a subsequent board meeting, he said, "Well, I gave that number more out of anger than accuracy." No apology, no remorse, he just shifted the burden onto others to interpret his mood and factor in the appropriate margin of error. This is why video cameras are necessary at these meetings. Perhaps if he wears some type of mood-hat to the next meeting, this will make it easier on the public.