"Marathon public meetings became tense and emotional, prompting some board members to resign. Dueling factions backed separate slates of nominees for board elections, with a "Committee to Keep KBOO as KBOO" formed to beat back Fitch's efforts."
"Others who backed Fitch worry that KBOO has suffered self-inflicted wounds, compromising its ability to attract foundation funding or to grow the audience that provides its primary source of revenue, listener donations.
KBOO's staffers "want to do things the way they've always been done," says Marc Brown, a board member who resigned in May as the dispute grew more intense. "That's a big obstacle to KBOO's continued survival. . . ."
"Membership on the decline"
"KBOO doesn't buy Arbitron data, so its audience can't be measured. But its donor base has dropped almost 30 percent in less than a decade. It had 7,000 members in 2004, according to a 2008 National Federation of Community Broadcasters assessment. As of May, KBOO had 5,000 members, Fitch said in her KBOO appearance."
"In 2007, the station lost its annual $200,000 federal subsidy because it fell below minimum listener-support requirements for CPB's community service grant program. It has run deficits since 2008, covering shortfalls with reserves.
To reverse the decline, some staffers and board members argued, KBOO needed stronger leadership. Since the 2010 departure of station manager Arthur Davis, KBOO had been managed collectively by staff.
"We did not have the crucial skills, training and experience to manage and protect KBOO," wrote Debbie Rabidue, a former finance coordinator, in a May 5 post on Portland's Indymedia website. "Not much really got accomplished in that 2 and a half year period."
"The analysis found that many of KBOO's policies were outdated and "convoluted," Fitch said in her May interview. Job descriptions were not clearly defined: after Davis resigned, staffers had divided up his responsibilities among themselves. NFCB had recommended in 2008 that KBOO update its staff structure, Fitch said, and the FCC had frowned on its practice of allowing employees to hold interim positions over extended time periods."
""That's standard fare for corporate America," wrote KBOO volunteer Theresa Mitchell on Save KBOO, the blog of the Committee to Keep KBOO as KBOO. "[A]nd it is a big reason why we have KBOO, as an alternative." Mitchell hosts a show described on KBOO's website as a "weekly counterpropaganda and Left opinion program."
"I have been convinced that a small faction desired to remake KBOO as a toothless and inoffensive boutique station," Mitchell added.
Mitchell and other critics of Fitch allege that the station manager also intended to revamp the station's eclectic programming. Fitch wanted to "change the nature of the radio station from an all-volunteer station to having more syndicated programming and more paid hosts," said KBOO's Soderberg. "Her vision for what KBOO should be challenged its traditional focus on the underserved and underrepresented, giving a voice to the voiceless."
But during a May 4 station meeting, Fitch said, "I have never talked about watering down the programming. . . . I don't have time to think about programming," according to a transcript on KBOO's website.
At times, the tenor of the disagreements veered toward the personal. In a May 7 Indymedia post, Mitchell linked to an online record of Fitch's December 2012 arrest in Portland for driving under the influence.
Fitch discussed the DUI in her May 19 appearance on KBOO. She explained that she was falling asleep after leaving a KBOO event and had erred in trying to drive home.
Escalating personal attacks spurred Brown to resign from KBOO's board. "I'm fine with arguing issues and discussing issues," said Brown, an attorney who has also served on the board of a Portland food co-op. "But I don't do it in situations where people are going to make personal attacks and not listen to the facts."
A tarnished image?
Who writes this shit?