KCBX to stop airing supervisor meetings

July 25, 2012


KCBX announced they no longer planned to air the San Luis Obispo County Boards of Supervisor meetings in a letter to the county received on Monday.

In the letter, KCBX General Manager Frank Lanzone said the station would no longer carry board meetings after July 31. However, county staff negotiated a tentative agreement with KCBX to continue broadcasting the meetings through the end of the year.

Through a grant, the county pays KCBX, which has carried the board meetings for 30 years, $20,500 a year.

Paul Severtson, KCBX development director, said that things have changed in the past 30 years with the board meetings now being available on cable TV.

“We also now cover three counties: San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Monterey,” Severtson said. “So it is not relevant programing to a large portion of our audience.

“Interrupting a normal weekday isn’t great radio programing and we get a lot of comments during our pledge drive. We lose listenership we would like to regain,” Severtson added.

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I would suggest a different explanation. I suspect that the county board of supervisors, who are well known for their unilateral if not dictatorial approach to management, suggested that the hearings be removed from the public airwaves. Transparency and good government are the least of their concerns. Disclosure invites comment, debate and participation which are not favored by these fellows. None of them have an inkling of what county government is meant to be in our country.

They only way your idea makes sense is if the county did away with the grant money or put so many restrictions or requirements on KCBX when doing the broadcasts. Otherwise this is likely just KCBX changing their minds. I would think other radio station might consider broadcasting the meetings for $20,500 a year, what is that roughly $1,700 a month.

Please don’t stop taking your meds, sam

Sure KCBX broadcasts in 3 counties, but if you have the chance to travel, you immediately see that a digital signal and mountainous terrain do not mix. Even in the city of SLO the signal is harder to pick up after the digital transition. What good is the monumental effort and expense (all paid with subscriber $$$) to set up the extra broadcast channels if the signal is so scrappy?

Lanzone can say there still is online access to the county broadcast, but we can turn that around just as easily and say, “Hello, Frank, I can stream any public radio station I want in iTunes, and I do.” And it’s not typically the ossified programming from KCBX, the wealthiest public radio station per capita in the U.S.

Agree that the digital transition has lowered the coverage at the expense of lessened transmitter power consumption/PG&E bills. The same is true of KSBY signal no longer available a mere few miles from Cuesta peak due to terrain, all was good before digital conversion. No cable where I live and why pay for pizza dish options to get local news! Funny thing is how many Latino networks seem to have no problem getting their signals here.

Do I understand correctly that “public” radio that I underwrite no longer finds it profitable to air public meetings of the county’s lead public agency?

That’s great if they want to be “advertiser” (ie pedge) driven. If that’s the case, then give me my money back.