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latest on the KBOO democracy struggle

We have a brand new website....come to the May Day March....progress versus union-busting...stay respectful, stay "community"
tower of power
tower of power
The new website is  http://savekboo.org savekboo.org ...bookmark it and 'like' it please.... savekboo.org

--It contains the latest news and a link to the article on the struggle at the Portland Radicle. Savekboo.org was created last night and so does not yet have the official approval of the Resistance, aka the Keep KBOO As KBOO organization. So if you're just coming into this topic, I have put up a summary of goings-on. Will KBOO fall to top-down zombification? Not if we ORGANIZE.

The latest: no Staff have yet fallen to demoralization nor to the firing attempts. Several Board members apparently are ready for an about-face, and are waiting to hear from members (a "letter-writing campaign" was mentioned). One staffer told me that the usual boisterous atmosphere at KBOO has been deathly quiet.

Jenka Soderberg, the award winning journalist and News Director, has returned from Palestine. That should liven things up a bit; the Volunteer Coordinator is taking vacation time in Mexico, but the Youth Director is back. Drop in to KBOO and offer your support to the Staff--as you can imagine, having to work under the Damocles' Sword of Firing has been very stressful for them. To say the least!

Board Members, too, are hearing from Members about the need to immediately end the grossly inappropriate and expensive union-bashing effort ($2000 has already been sent to Bullard union busters, just as a retainer)! Time is of the essence as we race to prevent loss of valuable and experienced Staff due to demoralization, and of course we would never want to face the fantastically expensive scenario of "full reinstatement with back pay" if the union-busters were to win.

The information I have gleaned from volunteers and staff is that this "revitalization" is VERY hostile to anti-capitalist, anti-war, and pro-revolution viewpoints. (Full disclosure: I have broadcast PressWatch since 1990 at KBOO (and it was on an Austin community radio station before that), married the Volunteer Coordinator in 1995, and was on the Board of Directors, fighting the previous corporatization/zombification attempt, in 1996. My household would be more peaceful and would bring in more money and better health care without my Spouse's job, though I feel she is the best for KBOO with her patient organizing and mediation skills, and near-fanatic dedication.)

But remember: this is (or can be rescued as) COMMUNITY radio, so stay respectful and remember that even the craziest and most misguided schemers here are just trying to do what is right by their lights. Be gentle and persistent. We will win!

Here is the Station Manager's take on this, cut-and-pasted from the kboo.fm website:

Dear members information about special meeting

"Dear Members,

Some of you have heard me talk about the need for change at KBOO, and why we find ourselves at this crossroads. You may have also heard about some the actions underway to set KBOO on a course towards long term stability and sustainability. Change is hard, filled with emotion and requires doing things that are challenging and difficult. But the potential for KBOO to better fulfill our mission and support the evolving needs of our diverse and vibrant neighborhoods is within our reach.

The KBOO Foundation Board of Directors has called a meeting to discuss the current changes occurring at KBOO, provide historic context for the problems KBOO is facing, and provide details of how the Station Navigator intends to maximize available financial resources, build needed infrastructure and capacity, and create the foundation for future stability and growth.

If you care about KBOO and are interested in hearing details of the plans underway, "straight from the horse's mouth", you are invited to attend this conversational meeting. There will ample time for Q & A.

Date: Saturday, May 4th

Time: 1:00 - 4:00pm

Location: Tabor Space, 5441 SE Belmont Street, Portland

Thank you,

Lynn Fitch

Station Navigator


The KBOO website is moving to a new server and we are experiencing some temporary issues, including sound problems with our online stream. Thank you for your patience, we will be back in business and operating issue free very soon."


IN REBUTTAL: We have had "big changes" at KBOO Community Radio before, and they have been lengthy, open, transparent processes that resulted in satisfactory formats. This is a suden "top-down" change emanating from pro-business enthusiasts with tea-party leanings, in my opinion. Take a look at the comments on my previous posts, for example, and you will find attack after attack on the characters of the Staff, and even an example of the old secret-police ploy, of putting something so disgusting in the mix that it makes it hard to keep reading (a Holocaust reference....not just a nut, folks, but someone who knows what they are doing in stifling open process). The "Stability and growth" angle is an attempt to remove the lifeblood dynamic of community radio, the membership derive, so that it may be replaced with corporate donations. I'm not mind-reading here, just following history at similar community stations. To win, we need transparency big time, so please copy-and-paste, spread widely, put on social media, talk it up, et cetera. And do it NOW because history shows the whole thing could collapse into something that could, as Grover Norquist put it, "be strangled in a bathtub."

"....details of how the Station Navigator intends to maximize available financial resources...."--we already know that the Station Navigator (as Lynn has chosen to call herself) woudl pull the heart out of our economic paradigm, and replace it with...what is left? Sucking up to corporate America like NPR does?

Just to restate: hundreds of thousands in reserve, a cash flow from an enthusiastic member/audience...we are NOT in an economic crisis except to the point that this new Board minority has brought us, as we face tremendous outlays to union-busters, and the loss of disgusted and confused Members. We must fight, respectfully, but with our full strength behind the wheel! Eyes on the prize: a multi-media, more relevant, more transparent, more stable KBOO, using the experience and expertise of our dedicated Staff.



homepage: homepage: http://savekboo.org

Interesting blogs on KBOO.FM 01.May.2013 19:40


title says it all.

FWIW: KBOO Foundation Secretary Marc Brown's resignation letter 02.May.2013 13:09


Marc Brown's formal resignation letter to board President S.W. Conser. It's worth reading and offers an additional view point missing in these one-sided 'discussions':

Marc D Brown

Dear S.W. Conser,

I write to inform you of my resignation from the KBOO Foundation Board of Directors effective May 5, 2013.
As explained below, recent events have led me to the conclusion that a small but active minority of the KBOO membership will not allow the necessary changes to occur at KBOO. Without those changes, the KBOO Foundation will continue its slide into irrelevance and insolvency. For the past several years, KBOO has operated in a deficit. The Foundation has used most of it surplus to continue operations.
Now, that surplus is nearly depleted. Unless changes are implemented in the immediate future, KBOO will find itself without the necessary funds to continue operations. The resistance to change ignores that fact and the larger fact that the broadcasting landscape has changed in the past five years. What is happening in radio today mirrors a similar landscape change that occurred in the natural food business 15 to 20 years ago.
From the late 1960s to the early to mid-1990s, cooperative grocery stores ("food co-ops") were generally the only place to purchase natural food, organic produce, and bulk items. The 1990s saw a proliferation of commercial natural food stores (in the Portland area, Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Nature's NW, New Seasons). Faced with this new competition, some food co-ops adapted and changed to the new reality while others "stuck to their roots." For the most part, those that adapted survived while those that chose not to change did not.
Similarly, the landscape has changed in radio. For most of its existence, KBOO was the only place in Portland to hear its diverse mix of music and public affairs programming. However, with the proliferation of web streaming and services such as Pandora and Spotify, that is no longer the case.
Although the resources of the KBOO Foundation are greatly depleted, it still has has time to make the changes necessary to keep it relevant.
The Board of Directors, aware of these realities, set out to revive KBOO. Working in conjunction with the staff, the board decided to dissolve the staff collective and hire an interim station manager to assess the needs of KBOO and manage the station back to balanced budgets. As part of that process, the board determined that the Foundation policies required an overhaul. Working with an attorney experienced with non-profit laws, the board overhauled and approved a new set of board policies. As part of that revision process, it was discovered that, pursuant to the old policies, KBOO was a "for cause" employer but the job descriptions created "at will" employees.
To align the policies with the practices, the board changed the policies to "at will." The new policies also clarified that the board delegated the day to day operations to the executive director. Another part of the process involved a revision of the employee policies. Those policies had never been vetted by an attorney and contained many provisions that likely violated state and federal employment law. Those policies placed the KBOO Foundation at risk. The executive director contracted with a human resources firm to help revise the employment policies. Those policies were reviewed by legal counsel.

A third part of this process involved a staffing needs assessment and new job descriptions. The goal was to create efficiencies by reassessing the staffing needs and thereby reducing expenses. Unfortunately, certain staff members and a vocal minority of the members set out to stop those changes from happening. That was done through intimidation, the dissemination of half-truths, and the disruption of meetings. Instead of listening to the executive director and the board when an attempt was made to explain the changes including the reasons behind the changes and the larger context of those changes, that minority of members continue to disrupt the conversation.
That behavior is not new to KBOO.
A pattern has developed wherein a manager determines that changes are necessary for the longterm viability of the station, the staff and a minority of the members disagree, they vilify the manager and the plans, force the manager to resign, then blame the problems on that manager. That pattern continues to this day.
Honestly, I am not going to engage in this immature, short-sighted, and close-minded behavior any longer. I have better things to do with my time. It bears noting that the KBOO Foundation is a non-profit corporation. As such, the "owner" of the Foundation is the community and not the members. See ORS 65.001(28) (defining the term "member" for purposes of the statutes governing non-profit corporations in Oregon). The Board of Directors of the KBOO Foundation, while elected by the members, has an obligation to the community as a whole. That obligation includes ensuring the longterm viability of the Foundation. That obligation also transcends the personal interests of the staff and members. Although the board should consider the interests of those parties, it should not consider those interests alone. While the staff is given the tasks of day to day operations of the radio station, the Board of Directors is given the task of overseeing the KBOO Foundation. That responsibility includes creating and implementing a strategy to ensure that the radio station and the Foundation remain viable. The Foundation is heading into a downward spiral. Without making fundamental changes to KBOO, the station will continue to lose relevancy and membership. As a result, the resources will continue to diminish. Without swift and significant action, KBOO will not survive. The behavior I have witnesses over the past few months has depleted any hope I once had for the longterm viability of the KBOO Foundation. For the reasons explained above, because I see any time and energy spent on overseeing the KBOO Foundation wasted, I am resigning as a director of the KBOO Foundation effective May 5, 2013.

Very truly yours,

Marc D. Brown
KBOO Foundation Secretary