Velie banished by KVEC’s Ron Roy
January 10, 2014
By DANIEL BLACKBURN
CalCoastNews’ Karen Velie has been bounced from the airwaves of KVEC/920 following station management’s receipt of a critical letter from San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson.
Velie, the news site’s publisher and co-founder, was informed of KVEC General Manager Ron Roy’s decision in an email from Hometown Radio talk show host Dave Congalton. Parkinson was angered by Velie’s reporting on a drug raid early in December, and elucidated his concerns in a two-page letter on sheriff’s department stationery.
After taking issue with a number of elements of the article, Parkinson wrote, “I would ask you to please investigate this matter and take all steps that you deem appropriate which I hope will include an apology to the law enforcement officers from the SLO Sheriff’s Office who were involved.”
KVEC manager Roy said he had been “concerned” for some time about controversies surrounding CalCoastNews. Several months ago, Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo served a letter on the El Dorado Broadcasting office in Los Angeles threatening legal action if the KVEC continued to have CalCoastNews reporters on the air.
“On a relatively regular basis there have been questions regarding her (Velie’s) reporting,” Roy said, “and I just got to the point where I am not willing to take a chance on letting something on our airwaves that will get us in trouble.”
Roy said “the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. My responsibility is protecting my license, and my people. I’ve got to make these decisions. I’ve talked to Dave (Congalton) before and I don’t want to deal with this any more. There’s been five years of this nonsense.”
The executive said he made his decision without considering the accuracy of the article questioned by Parkinson.
Congalton wrote on Jan 6, “It is with much regret that I inform you that El Dorado management is no longer comfortable having you appear as a guest on my KVEC radio show. This morning, our vice-president and general manager Ron Roy affirmed his decision to remove you from the broadcast, effective immediately.
“I can’t speak for management, but I know there was concern raised over a recent letter from Sheriff Parkinson disputing your reporting in the restaurant owner drug bust story and subsequent appearance on my show on December 17.
“I’m sorry to be the bearer of such bad news and I remain appreciative of all that you have done for my show, and all that you have done for the community. However, you will also understand that I can have no further comment on this issue.”
San Luis Obispo City Councilman John Ashbaugh and County Supervisor Adam Hill have openly discussed their “boycott” of Congalton’s show as long as Velie was allowed on the air. Ashbaugh has claimed in the past that Parkinson shared that sentiment.
KVEC’s Roy said his decision does not impact other CalCoastNews reporters.