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.

 


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obispan

I agree that you’re more interested if it is live. My question: is the meeting live-streamed on the web? Radio is best as it is available in every home/office/car, most people have computers, the Charter channel is in no way public access. Between satellite TV, non-TV/OTA and internet TV there are too many people who choose not to pay a big bill for Charter’s Spanish-language/shopping/religion-heavy line up.


Pelican1

More jazz beats the complaining Ad nausium exhibited weekly at BOS meetings.

Congrats KCBX on a job well done.


justme

What an ignorant statement. It’s a BOS mtg. you go there to register your opinion OR complaint. It’s not for yoiur entertainment. Go to the movies for that. Another miserable response to a fruitful contribution.


Pelican1

Oh, it’s entertaining! In it’s own pathetic way.


justme

Ya know, it’s amazing. Your types (and all the other haters) don’t want to pay your outrageous sewer bills AND you hate people like Linde who busted their butts fighting to keep that from happening. You just hate.


I guess sitting back safe at home hating (latent jealousy) is your fix. That’s called “transferring”. You really hate yourself because you’re a “do nothing”. And you hate (jealous of) Linde and other Los Osans because they fight while you hide.


You’re being obvious. It’s not entertaining, it is truly pathetic.


pasoparent5

I agree 100% w/ Ms. Owen’s very last statement: “Shame on the Tribune and New Times for selling out on the issues. Cal Coast News gets my support.”


Say what you want about CCN, at least here they don’t suck up to local politicians and they don’t serve as government lap dogs like the Fibune has done for years.


easymoney

Personally I am tired of the constant begging for public support, the very too extreme jazz shows and now the end of the broadcast of the BOS meetings.

Like PBS I have a short fuse when we all as taxpayers pay to support limited broadcats and a very slanted viewpoint…


HospitalGuy

So, here’s what I did when I heard the news about the new programming — I sent a sizeable donation to KCBX and thanked them for coming out of the dark ages and finally offering some programming that the entire county will like. Non-profit or not, KCBX is a business and as the public radio station for all of SLO, Santa Barbara and part of Monterey County nobody gives a hoot about the SLO County Board of Supervisors broadcast. It is a business decision to provide programming more appealing to a broader audience. Part of my note to KCBX also said if they added more programming like they have added, I’ll send another check. It is no more the obligation of KCBX to broadcast the BOS (as one AM talk show host suggested) than it is for KVEC. In fact, if it’s such a “public service” and there is such a strong audience for the broadcat why isn’t KVEC or one of its affiliated stations doing so? If nobody is listening, is it really noise?


pasoparent5

“Nobody gives a hoot about the SLO County B.O.S. broadcast” is a false statement.


There are MANY of us who care for children or are at work during that time and couldn’t come in person to the mtgs in SLO. The live radio broadcasts served a valuable purpose to make those meetings accessible to residents who live 30+ miles away. Watching them after-the-fact on taped broadcasts is just not the same.


racket

I agree.


Also, the county minions and other bit actors in the weekly BOS meeting drama could use the KCBX broadcast to hear the meeting progress, and not have to waste their entire morning waiting for their three-minute slot.


The irony of “public” radio not being able to afford to broadcast the most crucial public meeting in the county is absurd.


hijinks

Obviously you like public radio to provide the same contentless opium that commercial radio dishes out. Actually, public radio has an obligation to provide a public service, which with the elimination of most of its local programming KCBX no longer does. Unlike you, I will pay them for good public service programming, like the BOS, and will cut my donations if they just dish out the canned NPR fluff they’re dishing out more of with their program changes. I mean, really, who needs hours per week of Stale Air or Marketplace? Those programs are just stupid!


Pelican1

Oh, the humanity! Just like the sewer, the cell site, the MB power plant, the estuary, nuclear power, fireworks, public officials, and now public radio.


R.Hodin

I agree on the meetings coverage. KCBX actually could have been much better over the years in this regard. Especially since the recent shift to digital broadcasts, which enables them to broadcast multiple signals. They could have created a local equivalent of CSPAN, by rebroadcasting SLO-SPAN’s live feed over the airwaves from its various meetings coverage county-wide, while at the same time running their subscriber-supported slate of programming. But no, KCBX would apparently rather serve just one demographic, because they are like a one-trick pony.


One of the richest listener-supported “public” radio stations in the nation, and all they know is what they already do. It’s as if its imagination, like its signal, is limited to a narrow band on the dial.


hijinks

Oh, Hodin. You expect them to have any imagination? With Marissa running the show? The CD-spinner? Actually, they have four stations that serve SLO, one regular FM and three HD (one of which is intended to duplicate the regular FM with better sound). But exemplary of their total lack of imagination, they broadcast the same stuff on regular FM, HD1 and HD3. HD2 is the nearest they come to offering anything with a brain behind it. You really would think they could do a SLOspan on one of them. Nobody at the station monitors the HD stuff, and it’s constantly going off the air, and staying off the air till some irate listener calls because typically nobody down there even knows its off the air. Rinky dink.


Jorge Estrada

We all hear government promoting their willingness to work with the public but for whatever reason, their utopia is forged with hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil.


I can remember KCBX at it’s start, ” we are here for you the public”. Today the public has a greater need to manage their government but KCBX has squelched their public’s access to government lip service.


Are we tax payers getting our money’s worth or would we sleep better at night if we did not hear the discussions surrounding new regulations and taxes, oops, fees. We should demand a dollar-wise government and require real time broadcast of board meetings.


Anthony V. Toscano

Did you say more jazz on Tuesdays? That’s great news! You “sense that certain people would like to quell public airing of issues that don’t embellish their behavior or decision making.” Is that a just your imagined conspiracy theory, or by “sensing” do you mean to say that you’ve spoken with other like-minded citizens? Perhaps you sat — disguised and oh so incognito — at a table within hearing distance of one or more of those “nice meals” enjoyed by Paavo, Bruce and the ghost of Sam Blakeslee. Then again, perhaps you just “sensed” the entire, candlelit, dining experience.