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KBOO radio Disfunction is a kind description.

Different year, same story, same villains, same internal corruption

Disfunction is a kind description.

The new station manager (hired after the staff collective management was a disaster) has said some fairly provoacative things about a new direction for KBOO ... one where the definition of "community" for community radio is cast wider than the very narrow definitions enforced by current staff when making program decisions.

There has been a lot of resistance to change by the current staff (I've heard some interesting conversations first hand and been told some second hand) and this is the pivotal moment where either KBOO reforms to become relevant and actually serve more than the 0.2 market share that still listens ... or goes off the air.

The previous station manager was forced out by a trumped up charge of harrassment that was proven unfounded, but he also was trying to save KBOO by changing the makeup of the board to have a percentage of appointed, stable, members of community rather than 100% elected board members. At this point, I belive the two things are related and he was shown the door to keep him from implementing change. Currently only about 300-400 persons vote and determine the wild swings in board direction. Stability is only a bad word when you run it past the extreemist elements of the current staff who view radicalism as an intrinsic value, rather than a tactic to use when other means fail.

The last several membership drives have been financial disasters, and I don't see how KBOO can last unless it's going to make serious and lasting change in how it's operated.

KBOO has called a membership meeting for 1pm Sat May 4th at Tabor Space, 5441 SE Belmont. If anyone cares about local community radio, show up. Should be interesting, hope it doesn't degrade into a hopeless name calling fest.
Posted on April 29, 2013 - 01:04 PM #

Portland desperately needs another community radio station other than KBOO. KBOO is so deeply entrenched in it's own mission to be a place for radical, offensive and controversial content, that this extreme content seems to become the dominant message ... to the exclusion of all other viewpoints.

With classical music covered well by "all classical", Jazz by KMHD, local and national news by OPB, what market is left for KBOO?

I cannot count how many people I have spoken with who "used to be at KBOO", but got sick and tired of the politics that drive the place, and the instability of the institution itself.

It also seems that many of the quirky music shows at KBOO are disappearing, there was some talk on their website about program changes to gain more market share and listeners. So KBOO is torn between needing listeners, and serving the underserved ... all while being deliberately radical and offensive!

Posted on May 14, 2010 - 02:49 PM #

RadioGeek is certainly on to something. Any semi-healthy person who attempts to present change at KBOO is harassed and hounded until either they leave KBOO or are kicked out of KBOO.

RadioGeek is also correct that a small group of staff and volunteers has an iron grip on the station - they use that "iron grip" to exert control and manipulation at KBOO.

Ani, Andrew, Jenka - the triangle of power at KBOO and they are about to throw away another station manager.
Posted on April 30, 2013 - 09:08 AM #

"how you'd fix it if you were king for a day."

Clean house. Everyone. Re staff. Allow current employees and volunteers to reapply and compete.
Create a budget and stick to it.
Tighten security. Extraneous people coming and going make for bad business, and a non profit serving the community is still a business. KBOO has always impressed me as thinking they are something special and unique and above all that. The news is they aren't.

The most important positions/functions are fund raising and public relations.

Simplify the programming schedule. Diversity can be achieved without chaos.

Author a rules and procedures manual and every employee and volunteer must sign off as having read and understood it. This makes it easier to get rid of mis-hires and renegade volunteers.

"1) If Portland with a full time jazz, full time classical, and full time NPR news station has any unfilled needs that KBOO can and should cover."

This takes some out of the box thinking but involves some of the same parameters a commercial station trying to find a slice in the pie to serve. You can make yourself so un mainstream and aberrant that you will indeed be unique but have no listeners. Morning and afternoon drive are still morning and afternoon drive. If you want to compete in those time slots with a plethora of signals offering just about everything, you need to have a target and make sure you're programming to the target. Eclecticism can often be mistaken as arrogant elitism (often the problem at jazz stations) and the more off the beaten track programming is the more delicate you have to be in assigning the time slot for it. Are the consumers of this even listening when you schedule it?

If I really had a hard answer for this, I wouldn't hesitate to share it but without some extensive analysis (which means more than talking about it to a few "radio" people) and market studies of other metro NCE's and their performance there is no one sentence answer.

"2) Even if KBOO never is a major player, do you see the future of "volunteer produced" media being best distributed on the airwaves, or via the intenet, and why."

Both. Streaming the on air signal is mandatory. Offering additional on line material is warranted. Farming social media interaction is also required in this day and age. Developing HD2 and HD3 programming or selecting the best outside programming is also important if and when its implementation is affordable. Success is limited if all you are is a single signal on the air anymore.

"3) If KBOO were to redo it's basic governance and management structure to be self-sustaining and credible as an alternative to corporate media, how should it be so structured so it can avoid the continuous fights for control and serve diverse community?"

I agree that the current and longtime problem with KBOO and the KBOO foundation is a lack of credibility because of the way its structured. In order to succeed there has to be a more structured chain of authority that is not easily usurped by underlings. KBOO has too many idealists in its history and not enough organization. Basically one might write they are out of control now and have never been really in control of what the heck is going on within their own ranks. I could answer this question more succinctly if I took the time to study their organizational structure and bylaws, but that's not something I've done.

"to Andy in particular, as you've been regarded here as a person who is listened to in matters of engineering, legal issues, programming, business, etc." "Just asking, as you're regarded here as being an experienced hand in media, radio in particular."

Thanks for the compliments. My experience is strongest in engineering and legal/business issues. My input on programming is a combination of gut feel and common sense. Common sense is a commodity often not found in stations that have internal power struggles regardless of their commercial or non commercial status. When I started out in radio I produced and programmed what was then considered edgy and non conforming music and although it was ahead of its time then, a good portion of it became "hits" and "classic rock." My show was interactive using POTS to connect with the audience. Those days of radio are said to be gone because no one programs live on the fly anymore. Yes, some shows are delivered live but they are programmed almost to the letter in advance and usually by someone else who's not there. An NCE is the best place to revive some of that old time radio approach. Much more care has to be taken in choosing people to do that.

The real solution at KBOO is complex, but it involves handing a lot of authority to one person to orchestrate a rebranding of the station and giving the person a contract and staying mostly out of their way. This notion in the threads about a few power players creating a brick wall that management can't cross is bullshit. Non profits I've worked for have mostly been in the formative stage before there are even any staff positions and volunteers, and there usually have been few problems like KBOO seems to generate every 12 years like locusts. I've known many people that have volunteered/worked at KBOO and most of my opinions are based on what they've shared with me in conversations over the 37 years I've been in Portland, supplemented by some of the cross media coverage.

It would be easy to say that the foundation should find a new licensee to invest and take over this mess but it appears that their organizational structure is so dysfunctional it won't be able to do anything but provide more of the same b.s. that they are known for.
Posted on May 1, 2013 - 12:40 PM #

This sounds like a right wing attempted coup 02.May.2013 18:18

Jim Thompson

A few comments on what I read... I really wish people would use real names. It becomes oh so difficult to understand who's who. We can all guess but anyway, you know who I am.

The post mentions, "... handing a lot of authority to one person to a more structured chain of authority that is not easily usurped by underlings."

Whoa. Authority to One Person? What kindof governance is that? Lookit up it's well defined, but that is not anything that KBOO stands for. Nothing that the U.S.A. stands for. That kindof governance is only tolerated in the corporate world or perhaps the military. "A lot of authority to one person" really goes against the grain in an organization where most folks are strongly anti-authoritarian. And, 'underlings'? Is that what you call volunteers? I take that as a personal insult, sir! Shall we face off at ten paces, sir? Just kidding, I'd probly just stand there looking stupid.

Also, "Tighten security. Extraneous people coming and going make for bad business."
Oh, imagine armed guards at the door. So many, many folks come in and out of those doors that the hinges must wear out from time to time. Staff, volunteers, their guests and dare I say it, folks from the community who want to come in and have a conversation. Yeah keep out the riff-raff and folks who want to use the restroom.

"Author a rules and procedures manual and every employee and volunteer must sign off as having read and understood it. This makes it easier to get rid of mis-hires and renegade volunteers."

OK. As a volunteer I think I signed one. And there have been actions against mis-hires and renegades. Where is the problem? What different rules are proposed? Who wrote this crap? Are you on the board sir? If so I'd like to know your name so's that I don't vote anymore for you.