Cal Poly radio station at risk after sexually explicit fundraiser

July 17, 2014

getting it onBy CCN STAFF

KCPR FM, Cal Poly’s student-run radio station, could be sold away from the campus following a fundraising promotion in which two student DJs offered to sell photos of their genitals in return for cash donations. For $20 dollars, the students would make the sexually explicit photos available on Snapchat.

Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Douglas Epperson said in an email shortly before the story broke that he saw no need to keep the station, which has been operated by students for more than 46 years.

“I am beginning to believe that we should sell the radio license” (we have had an offer),” Epperson wrote in an email sent May 19. “What were they thinking and how could it go so far with the faculty completely unaware!!!”

Epperson confirmed in an email to Cal Poly’s interim Director of Media Relations Matt Lazier that also went to Provost Kathleen Enz Finken, that he had been warned earlier about conditions at KCPR.

“I can confirm that the secretary approached me early this year regarding a number of issues,” Epperson wrote on May 27. “One of these was her desire to be taken off the FCC license for the radio station and another was her concern about the lack of oversight provided for the radio station.”

Epperson told Lazier and Enz Finken in the email that he had had multiple conversations with Glick about oversight of the station.

In another email following the promotion, Epperson asked Journalism Department Chair Mary Glick and Associate Professor Richard Gearhart, the faculty advisor for the station, to put together an organizational plan and structure for the station. That plan would have to prevent additional controversies and improve the educational value of the station, Epperson wrote.

“I am very serious about this — it is just one problem after another at a much greater frequency and magnitude than the other student media outlets without nearly the educational value of the other media outlets,” Epperson wrote in an email obtained through the California Public Records Act.

Epperson laid the blame on “poor student selection and/or poor faculty oversight.”

Gearhart, a graduate of Cal Poly and a news reader on KSBY TV, was hired three years ago as a tenure-track associate professor whose duties include advising the radio station. He had taught part time in the journalism department and College of Agriculture for a number of years before that.

More than a week before CalCoastNews published the story, Glick sent an email to Epperson in which she said that she saw the need for a manager for KCPR “preferably a faculty member with professional experience who can maximize the station’s potential.”

Some of the student staff at the station were aware of the fundraiser before it became news.

“In regards to the fundraiser, I was aware that this was happening and at first was slightly uneasy,” a staff member who’s name was redacted by Cal Poly, wrote in an email to Glick on May 19. “However in the signup//waiver form, they took full responsibility and stated that all retribution was due to them, not the station, so I dismissed my concern.”

One of the students involved said that the sexually explicit promotion was mentioned in at least one broadcast on the station.

“We mentioned the activity in a sense that it was ‘check out our Facebook for this promotion,’ ” the student whose name was redacted by Cal Poly wrote. “We didn’t explicitly walk through it on air, and it was not called to any action to take part in the promotion.”

Glick has announced a “Blue Ribbon Panel” to devise a formal plan for station oversight.

David Weary, a 1984 graduate, spent three years working at the station. After hearing about what was happening at the station, he offered to put together a committee and donate his time.

Glick responded with an email inviting Weary to serve on the panel. Weary had not heard from Glick as of July 16.

The College of Liberal Arts declined to make any person available to answer questions. CalCoastNews left a message for Glick but had not heard from her by press time.

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22 Comments

  1. kittie says:

    Sad! I like the station but usually change it when the DJs come on and talk. They slur their words and are very hard to understand! Some times I think they must be high or hung over. And every once in a while there are eye popping moments. . .

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  2. godislanguage says:

    Good grief, a sad situation when you have faculty and staff with such an enormous budget, they can’t even find the where-with-all to manage KCPR. It’s a hands on lab for crying out loud! To lose it says more about the incompetence of these intellectuals.

    Well, I guess President Armstrong priority is with expanding enrollment to process more of these students into productive members of this society….shame on you. Cal Poly “Learn by Doing” hah what a joke…maybe it should be “Throw the baby out with the bath water”.

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    • Dirk Anderson says:

      I listened to KCPR from time to time yesterday with an open mind. The music that was being played was garbage. I get the University College age demographic, but they are Licensed by the FCC.

      Besides producing Students that are productive members of Society. Universities historically have been the propagators and bench mark standard of Culture, Cal Poly is not. Culture is the glue that provides the cohesion that holds the society together. Typically these Presidents don’t get the notion of Culture, they make economic decisions based on the bottom line and don’t give a rats-behind about much else. Explains why you get simple-minded grown adults acting like two year olds.

      Cal Poly produces a culture of excessively inflated egos, childish narcissism. The admin of edu-crap crowd with their jobs for life- the lights went out a long time ago.

      I am aware that I stand out like a sore thumb; that said, seems like every time I get near the place I run into some sort of whack job; whether Faculty, Staff, student, guest, or whatever? This morning on the bike path someone (middle-aged) on their way towards stepping in front of me and obstructing me, for what purposes I don’t know? I run around stepping in front of bicycles all the time don’t you? So much for this culture.

      KCPR does have a valid role to play in case of an Emergency, to me that goes along way towards justifying it’s existence. That said, KCPR should diversify and improve it’s programming content. If not lower the power output and use directional antennas beamed at the idiots in the Dorms, so as not to excessively pollute the Public airwaves. I think I have the right station, no wonder there has been a lack of supervision, I would not want to have to listen to that trash either.

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  3. rogerfreberg says:

    Seems to me that every time that Cal Poly has a problem with something they either try to ban it or get rid of it.

    I still remember their effort to terminate the Honors Program.

    Maybe this is the new administration’s effort in ‘learning by doing’ poorly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  4. Dirk Anderson says:

    I have in the past briefly listened to the Station “Broadcasting” with it’s attempt to be cutting edge with the various “tasty jams”, explicit language etc. Oh boy, you kids are killing an old man.
    I don’t know how relevant an old radio station is for today’s University.That’s for someone else to decide. A couple of knuckle head students is one thing ( I remember my College years) but for a paid faculty, staff or administrator to say: ” how could it go so far with the faculty completely unaware!!!” It’s like for the past oh so many years, you have been receiving harmful interference between your ears or what ? Over the years there was never any language or content that might be indicative of perhaps some issues? Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s rain.
    My numbers my be off, but did not one of these Provosts retire with a pension in the neighborhood of 200 grand a year. Cal poly is not exactly South Central L.A.
    Does not the President of Cal Poly make about as much as the Governor of the State? I forget the name of the past President, but he makes the case for a 10 year term limit in my opinion. It is the job of excessively paid Administrators to oversee the day to day operations: faculty, staff (union I think?) and to make College the kind of Educational, enriching, transforming quality of life experience it is supposed to be.
    I am a Graduate of the State School System. I’m not at the age of 59 personally interested in child development. In the interests of pursuing a brutal legitimate Academic Discipline I have used the Cal Poly Library, it is a Public Library. And while I have achieved my goal (never again, I’m done) I have certainly noticed some peculiarities. A couple of standouts come to mind. This incident is tied with another one for first place. I stumbled on this video a couple of years ago, just as the new Provost was coming aboard and commented on it as being illustrative of today’s World Class University Library. I think the whole thing could be the product of some sexually frustrated coed’s
    degenerate imagination. I hope I never find anything in the public record as result of commenting on this video. http://youtu.be/VmWqXOefjAY. This video whether their was any validity to it or not indicated to me that there maybe some issues with the kind of culture that obtains in a “World Class University Library”? There still are. Apparently these administers can’t be fired or what? Oh well, it’s the Culture. I went to lowly San Diego State. I remember the Spanish Professor whom, when and if he bothered to ever show up shook with the dt’s reeked of alcohol, stumbled and slurred all over the place to the point he was ineffective as a instructor and should have been removed.
    The one thing I do know it was not my job to deal with an obvious, blatant absurdity. Thank God I graduated 35 years ago. Maybe Stanford, these State Mills are beginning to disgust me.

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    • Dirk Anderson says:

      Although awhile back, but maybe I should tell you about the two dirt bags that were up on the 4 th floor of the Cal Poly Library ( a designated “Quiet” floor) playing a dub step type of music (Rap music ain’t got nothing on that). I was informed by the front desk they were Cal Poly students. The very next day I see these two Cal Poly “Scholars” hustling some old woman in a grocery store parking lot?
      Hopefully she has retired but old Librarian at front desk use to inform me that the Library was a “Quiet” Library. It was obvious that she had not been off that pancake ass in decades, therefore how would she ever know?
      Than there is the cute and funny video featuring the trials and tribulations of a Cal Poly Students quest to find a reasonably quiet suitable place to study. The solution? The Cal Poly Library. Which is bull crap because there have been times where every annoyance, distraction, etc. depicted in this video and than some has been observed by me.
      You take a World Class Library, turn it into a lounge/McDonald’s than you sit around like the tub of guts featured in all his hash mark glory in the above video and wonder why it always seems to be the Library? Marketing/Economic decisions are being made across the State System at the expense of what is the right thing to do. I have a technical background myself. I’ve met some of these Engineering Grad Students. NASA, Mexico, China, etc can have them the Culture is diseased.

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