KCBX gone less Public?

January 9, 2013

Linde OwenOPINION By LINDE OWEN

KCBX turned off a 22 year old community tradition last week when they followed through with their removal of the Tuesday airing of the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors weekly meeting. Their reasoning was that it wasn’t financially covering the 6 1/2 hours of programming time and had little support from listeners and subscribers.

The past six months have brought changes to the station and a lust for new programming.

The end of the Tuesday Board of Supervisor’s live meeting broadcast dimmed public participation in a big way for those involved in following county issues. Who knows how many listeners have lost access to the going-ons at a county level. Spending your evening watching the 6 1/2 hour re-broadcast doesn’t compare. Issues like the Diablo Seismic testing, Oceano Dunes air quality, the proposed Cluster Ordinance, the Bruce Gibson affair, they’re now far less accessible.

I sent an early email, as well as two typed letters with my concerns. I wonder how many others contacted their pubic radio station to bring up concerns. It appears that we’ll never know.

KCBX, under Frank Lanzone’s direction has ended their public service to board followers. The December 15 Tribune article says interest has diminished over the years as residents have acquired new ways to listen, cable and live streaming. Who has the expertise to do that while they drive or work outdoors? The article says that listeners want to hear Democracy Now and other types of programming. Democracy Now has aired for over three years at noon daily.

Another curiosity is the fact that the county has paid $20,500 annually for the coverage. That’s $1,600 per month, for thre, sometimes four meetings each month for a 6 1/2 hour spot. Was there any attempt to get sponsors? We’ll never know. How much will the alternative 6 1/2 hours purchased programming produce with profit? This couldn’t be a financial decision.

I’m a KCBX supporter and have been for 23 years. But the new programming changes didn’t invite any of us to provide input.

On Dec. 27, I got this email from Marisa Waddell, similar to the ones you get when you write to Lois Capps or Sam Blakeslee.

“Hello Linde,

“Thank you so much for your very thoughtful letter of December 4th. I apologize that I have not yet responded. Besides the holidays, I have been out due to illness many days this month. I’d like you to know that your letter has been very much in my mind since it crossed my desk. I have begun working on a response to you, and will mail it soon. I just wanted you to be aware that we received your letter, and you’ll hear back from us.

“Happy New Year!

“Marisa Waddell

Director of Programming and New Media

KCBX”

She never sent a further response.

Then I hoped for some response from the Tribune with a letter to the Editor I wrote December 17. I had hoped it could run as a Point of View but Stephanie Fincune proposed an edit down to the 200 word max, which I approved with her Dec 21. It eventually appeared in the December 29th edition. Two days before KCBX went dark. No other negative letters were published.

On Dec 28, 2012, at 10:37 AM, SLO Editorial Letters wrote:

OK, Linde, I got it straightened out and made the couple of edits you suggested. I’m putting this on tomorrow’s page – that way I will be here and can make sure it actually gets in. Stephanie

A large shift in local and county coverage of political activities just occurred at the start of 2013, at a time when one laments adequate or easy access to the process of addressing local and state decisions on policy and projects that affect us all.

The public issue coverage now depends on the Tribune and New Times information of county supervisor issues or hours of watching channel 21 to get the full version of what occurred if you have cable.

I sense that certain people would like to quell public airing of issues that don’t embellish their behavior or decision making. Next I sense that the Trib and now New Times enjoy too many nice meals and contracts with SLO County, Paavo Ogren, and Bruce Gibson, with Sam Blakeslee’s invisible support.

In San Luis Obispo County, if you want to be the down and dirty Supervisor and honor standing deals, you put a halo on and bring the media to your side. It seems to work quite well.

Both the Tribune and New Times defend Bruce Gibson’s six year affair with his assistant, a HUGE liability for the County aside from a question of integrity. Those fidelity lunches and dinners seem to work.

I rant but hey… it’s out of total boo-hoo for loss of KCBX concern for what was important to us listeners who relied on the coverage. More jazz on Tuesdays leaves me empty. My station tossed community coverage of an important weekly access. Shame on them.

Shame on the Tribune and New Times for selling out on the issues. Cal Coast News gets my support.

 


35 Comments

  1. Jorge Estrada says:

    The computer is not a good replacement for the radio. For the working class there are many reasons why a computer can not be used for listening to board meetings. There we have it, squelched from public access. We have been FUBLICKED

    Fublicked is a new word that starts with an “F” just like another bad word and best sums up the adversity to public input.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  2. Rambunctious says:

    The less propaganda the better if you ask me…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  3. Bluebird says:

    I contacted KSBY as soon as I heard they were no longer going to broadcast the BOS. Basically the response was its a done deal. When asked to pick my favorite programs Morning Cup of Jazz is #1, BOS #2.
    The station says they plan to do more local news. They did a terrible job when it came to interviewing candidates running for local office. Basically the spots were a PR opportunity for the candidates. No probing questions. It was boring and uninformative. KSBY will be very careful not to offend any local supporters.
    I have been a supporter for 20 years, I will continue to support them but my contribution will decrease by $100.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  4. WiseGuy says:

    Commercial radio broadcasters like KVEC get to use the public airwaves for FREE and profit mightily from it while shutting others out. If broadcasting the board meetings are important to our community, why not require commercial radio stations–that profit from using the PUBLIC airwaves–to air the meetings?

    There is NO logical reason why KCBX should be more obligated than KVEC to air the meetings. Quite the opposite, in fact.

    Instead KVEC broadcasts shows that krap all over our community, promoting the efforts of the biggest liars and bigots in all of broadcasting, while getting to use the public airwaves for selfish interests without compensating tthe public in any way. We are a very mixed up society.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 5

    • kayaknut says:

      You couldn’t be more wrong, free, not quite. They pay a regular fee to the FCC for all licenses held, and are required to spend money for equipment and ongoing regulations. Commercial stations do not receive money from the government as do public broadcasters and do not recevie grants for new equipment as KCBX does.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

      • WiseGuy says:

        Commercial broadcasters pay a nominal licensing administration fee to use the public airwaves. So do non-commercial broadcasters. Commercial broadcasters don’t pay to use/hog their place on the radio band. Use of the public airwaves is NOT “sold” or leased out by the government. It is given away.

        It’s like driving cars. Drivers pay a small fee for a drivers license, but they don’t pay a fee to use the roadways. But unlike roadways, the airwaves are not available for use by the general public. Rather, they are monopolized by a relatively few companies.

        Commercial broadcasters can also SELL their rights–that they got for FREE– to use the airwaves–which can sell for millions of dollars–but the government and taxpayers receive NOTHING when they are sold.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

        • kayaknut says:

          “nominal” I suppose it depends on everyones definition? Several thousand to one could be nominal and not to some one else. Non-commercial stations pay much less. They do pay for their license, which it what allows them to use the public airwaves, again depends on someones definition. “given away”, again definition, allowed to use with requirements costing tens of thousands. Any problem with the other government give-aways?? Obama care, food stamps, welfare????? or do you only rant about broadcasters?

          Sorry to inform you but drivers do pay a fee use roadways, starting with Toll roads and then in the form of gas taxes,

          You can thank Clinton for the creation of large broadcasting companies, he signed the Telco reform act in 1996, it was under Bush that the FCC allowed low power FM’s, which opened up the airwaves to locals

          Again sorry to correct you, but when stations are sold, many of the forms reqired to be filed by the FCC also require fees to be paid.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

          • WiseGuy says:

            Nitpick all you want, kayaknut, but anyone who is honest can’t deny that commercial radio broadcasters get a hell of a great “sweet deal” from the government for the opportunity to hog an extremely limited public resource,

            For the most part, commercial stations backed out of their traditional efforts to be a public service long ago. Now its primarily just a forum for selling crap and spewing propaganda of the worst kind. Radio, in general, sucks. Most radio station management folks are bored senseless with the lame programming they broadcast. They, more than anyone, know it sucks. But for the most part they hold their nose and go along with it because they are weak. Those are the folks that end up in radio for the long run. Anything for the almighty dollar.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

            • kayaknut says:

              And I guess you cand whine all you want or get some resources together and buy, build, or aaquire a station and actually be a benefit, instead of just a complainer.

              You may not know, but broadcasting is a business, just as any other business. Should Miners Hardware just give away their inventory, should Nans bookstore just hand out free books??

              In case you didn’t know 2013 is the year all California radio stations have to re-license themsevles and during this period every member of the public has the chance to speak to the FCC about any concerns they have, and if they feel a station as not served the public interest, maybe you will take advantage of this opportunity or just continue to whine that everyone else has it better than you.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

              • WiseGuy says:

                Seriously, I don’t even know what your point is, kayaknut. A commercial radio station can broadcast public meetings AND sell advertising. The two are not mutually exclusive. I never said anyone had to “give” anything away.

                Also, I EVER said anything remotely close to claiming “everyone else has it better” than me. I think you got mixed up there for a minute.

                So, let me get this clear: Do you or do you not believe that radio stations should be required to “serve the public interest”?

                And are you a fan of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and other hate-radio broadcasters?

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

                • kayaknut says:

                  Wrong again Wiseguy, the contract with teh county for broadcasting rights to the meetings required them to be broadcast without interruption, except for breaks taken by the board, in real time, no recordings, and no commercials during the meetings.

                  I, as any citizen is allowed too, would use my right to contact the FCC should I feel a radio station is not serving the public intrest, and as I stated, this year 2013 is the re-licensing year for CA stations, so rather than just rant about how sations are stealing ariwaves I suggest you take you opportunity and contact the FCC.

                  Rush, in the begining did help radio, AM especially, I by no means am a fan of his. But Rush and Beck have no exclusivity on hate radio, Randi Rhodes, Thom Hartmann, Ed Schultz, and many others on that side do a fine job at hate radio too.

                  Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  5. paragon says:

    Don’t blame KCBX for this one. Blame the county – they were unwilling to cover the costs of the broadcast. Being a public radio station does not mean being required to lose money by giving out freebees to any government agency that demands it. In addition to being carried on cable, the meetings are streamed live on the internet and there are many many ways to get cheap or free internet these days. I would be surprised if there are more than a handful of people who want to listen to the BoS meetings and do not have internet or cable. For those people, you could take that $20,000/year and set them up cheap internet access or a better yet a phone line at the county they can call and listen to the meetings on. $20,000 a year could go a long way towards servicing the few people that want this service and don’t have internet or cable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

    • kayaknut says:

      Your are also wrong, the county did and was willing to continue paying a fee to KCBX to broadcast the meeting, but KCBX wanted more money.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

      • WiseGuy says:

        KayakNut:

        Do you have a problem with KCBX wanting more money, or not? Do you think KCBX should just give away their broadcasting time to anyone who asks for it?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • paragon says:

        “Your are also wrong”

        Sorry, it is you (and your grammar) that is wrong. I never said the county didn’t pay a fee to broadcast the meeting. I said they were unwilling to cover the *costs*. The fee they paid only covered half the cost of the broadcast. If the county wanted the broadcast so bad, they should have stopped being cheap and actually paid the full value of what they were getting.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. WiseGuy says:

    I think it is a smart move for KCBX. Broadcasting the Board of Supervisors meetings is a task better suited to KVEC 920 AM. But that station would rather broadcast hate radio programs that spread animosity and divide our community.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3

    • stopagenda21 says:

      I agree the 3 – 7 spot should go to Michael Savage

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

  7. isoslo says:

    I thought the reason the government gives money to public radio is so that they would carry public events such as the BOS meetings. I for one liked listening to it. Perhaps we should stop supporting KCBX with anymore tax dollars for now on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 10

    • easymoney says:

      You, are sadly out of touch. It is all about money and the numbers of listeners which relates to money.
      The reason why has little to do with reality. KCBX has a long history of liberal leanings and prognostications, even though they are supposed to be neutral and public oriented. The programing is selected by paid empolyees who have a certain taste and steer that programing to suit their own tastes.
      I stopped supporting KCBX long ago because it does not report the news or facts, it reports opinions. And I can get that for free on the mainscream meda…

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 12

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