KBOO Special Membership Meeting @ Tabor Space 050413
This is a recording of the meeting from the point when members moved outside to its conclusion. Wind noise and distance of some speakers from recorder affect quality. The written transcript, along with Board comments will be posted by KBOO. The written transcript has six time cues. Both the audio file and the written transcript begin at time zero for easy cross referencing.
KBOO Special Membership Meeting – Tabor Space – May 4, 2013 – 1 p.m.
FIRST GROUP OF TEN QUESTION – 00:00
Moderator: Number One.
Robin Wright - I'm Robin Wright. I'm a reporter for KBOO and I'd like to read this statement. Local 503 SEIU has been allies in the fight for social justice. For the welfare of working families and for quality of public services that are so vital for helping Oregonians fight to ensure quality of life. In a state in which we can all be proud of and benefit from. Our union has contributed both financial and moral support to ensure that KBOO programming reflects these values, for example the labor radio show. SEIU local 503 treasures its long-standing relationship and especially appreciates KBOO's partnership in events that support our members and all working Oregonians, such as our march across the Hawthorne Bridge in the spring of 2009. KBOO has consistently been there for SEIU Local 503 members and working Oregonians. At times our members have also appeared on KBOO and many are longtime KBOO members. It disheartens us to hear that there are labor disputes within KBOO, and these disputes might well be rising from unfair and poor treatment of staff. I'm just going to go ahead and skip to the last few paragraphs. We urge you the KBOO leaders and management team to honor and respect the staff's right to organize a union and collectively bargain for a fair contract, not to interfere in that process and certainly to not engage in any retaliation of staff that are active in the organizing effort. A position of neutrality by the KBOO board and management team while your workers are choosing to organize a union will enhance our admiration SEIU local 503 has for KBOO. And I have copies for the board.
Moderator: Thank you so much. Thank you. Number Two.
Carla: My name's Carla. I'm a 12 your volunteer of KBOO. I'm a KBOO member. I'm also a programmer with the out loud radio show Tuesday nights at 6 o'clock. I have a statement of support for Lynn and the changes that the board are making. Lynn has created many new partnerships directly on behalf of requests that I have made for KBOO to engage in the lesbian and Gay and transgendered community. I appreciate the work that she has done. I have many more examples of positive things I can say. So I'm just voicing support for what's going on. I stand with Lynn. I also have a request. I am a long time fan of our engineering department and once our money is figured out, I would like to ask the board that we give a pay raise to Tommy our brilliant engineer and give him more than 20 hours a week. Keep up the good work. Thank you.
Moderator: Number three
Don Merrill: My name is Don Merrill. I'm a volunteer with KBOO. I have a simple question. My question is will the members of the board that are now present please identify themselves and their position on the board.
SW Conser, president of the board.
Mark Brown, secretary
Paula Smalls, treasurer
Lisa Loving, I'm just on it
Jeff Kilbleman, governance committee
Robbie Yeaman, liaison to the programming committee
Hadrian Micciche, governance committee
Moderator: That it?
Unnamed audience member: Michael Papadopoulos is here somewhere. But he doesn't hear well
Moderator: There we go. All right, I think that's all the board members. Is that your question?
Don Merrill: Yes
Don (Not the same one): I'm Don, I used to live in Corvallis. Now live in Portland. I'm looking forward to getting more involved with this outfit. And just amazes me that on a Saturday afternoon with rather minimal announcement to the congregation that as many of the KBOO congregation are here as they are given what we could do if we wanted to do something else. So I look at this is a very high commitment community. We care about this thing. And I don't see any enemies in this crowd. I don't see any enemies in this crowd. Now with that said, I've worked in a lot of conflicted organizations before and things happen and there's problems with leadership evolution, there's problems with inclusion, there is problems with communications there is problems with administration, but the one thing that this group tells me is money is not our problem. If you get this many people, you've got the money if you come to some agreement about why KBOO exists and what its there for. I would go back to membership activation as the key to financial success and the key to everything else. And so if we go that way. I would say that this is a great meeting and let's have a party.
Moderator: Thank you so much. All right. Number five I believe
Linda Olson Osterlin: That's me. I'm Linda Olson Osterlin. (crowd says louder). I'm sorry. Linda Olson Osterlin. Programmer. Longtime volunteer and member. I'm glad that Lynn made the decision that she did today, but I want to go back a couple weeks ago or a few weeks ago when we had mandatory programmer meetings and I questioned her at that time about why we needed to have an employment policy where at will means she can immediately fire us. And there was a lot of disgruntlement about me asking that question, but lo and behold I think it was the very next week she attempted to fire all of our staff on Friday night. It's not the kind of leadership I want. I don't want top-down leadership. I think Lynn has done a great job as a development director in a lot of fields. However I do think it's disingenuous what was put out about our monetary situation. The board and others chose not to do the winter drive. It would've raised us $50-$70,000 more. Were not in a crisis that requires us to be saved by Lynn. So I want to make that clear. And I'm not sure that all of these ideas for visions who she's vetted them with. But if you're a programmer, has she asked you what you see going forward? When we made substantial changes years a few years ago, there were listener surveys, there were volunteer meeting, there were programmer meetings. It was difficult, it was messy and we came out with tremendously good changes. These changes are being made from top-down and she's now saying trust me. I don't.
Moderator: Number six. Stand over here. You're going to get the projection
Mark Sherman: Can you guys hear me? First I have no intention to badmouth anybody. I think anybody who volunteers and works at KBOO does an important role. KBOO is extremely important to me and I'm not necessarily here to cause a conflict. However I tried to ask KBOO starting on Monday to get PSA's out about this meeting and was unsuccessful doing so. I can't understand why an organization that makes PSA's couldn't do one for this meeting. Number two. I don't know why we have a transparency issue. If any of these changes were positive everybody would've endorsed them and believed in them and we would've gone forward and said great job, keep going. When I called up and asked Lynn to just give me an example of what will going to talk about today, I never got a response. To emails and a phone call but I had to read it in the Portland Tribune. The transparency is enough of an issue for me. What I'm calling for is we'll create a member, we'll call for a membership meeting, we'll get a quorum, we'll back off all the voting that the board did, we'll go back to something six months ago, we won't fire anybody and we'll create an open process for all these good things can happen. Otherwise I'm not buying into this stuff. I will pass out something that will allow you to sign your name because I've asked for a membership list and I haven't gotten it yet. Put your name on it. We'll call you up we'll have a meeting. We'll come up with something that's fair. KBOO is responsible to the membership, not the other way around. You fill in your name and number and I'll call you back.
Unnamed audience member: Who are you?
Mark Sherman. I'm a potential volunteer. Been a KBOO member for five years. And we paid $25 bucks a month until this shit started to happen. (audience laughs).
Moderator: Thank you so much. Number six. Yeah, six. Number seven.
Bruce Silverman: I've written about six minutes worth so I'll be mostly ad-libbing. My name is Bruce Silverman. I've been a volunteer for 21 years and I was a staff member for 11 years. I believe Lynn is sincere in her belief that the actions she's taking will make a better organization. My problem is the way she's going about them. I know that the staff is committed to a strategic plan that was contracted out and published two or three years ago. And I know that because at the staff meeting the staff showed its commitment to meeting time deadlines long-term and short-term and carrying out almost every detail of that plan. And they were doing so. They're committed to those thing. And most of the things, the improvements in fiscal practices and businesslike practices that Lynn and the bookkeeper Debbie have been promoting, the staff is actually in favor of that. So I'm really disappointed that the staff has been discounted so much. The staff has come up with most of the good ideas that have been implemented at KBOO all or at least discussed at KBOO. Most of the rest have come from volunteers and members and listeners that have been put on the table, brought forth by the staff. So, boy I wish I had a lot more to say.(Audience member says let him talk. Rest of audience says no). I will finish it. I'm calling for action. I don"t want to just complain. The actions I propose are change the job descriptions back to what it was, bring back the committees which included all stakeholders, and I'm sorry but I think we need a different manager who is committed not to profit but the KBOO program mission.
Moderator: All right. Thank you. Number eight. And again that's the best spot for projection.
Jill Severson: So my name is Jill Severson. I've been inconsistent member and an inconsistent volunteer but recently back as a member recently and as a volunteer recently. So anyway I just wanted to voice that I came with an open heart and an open perspective today. I am a union member in support of unions and I want to say I appreciate that it sounds like you are supportive of the unionizing of KBOO staff. And similar to what other people are saying, but I want to add that I have a fair amount of unease of the lack of transparency. And so about what has been happening recently, I think a lot of us that I'm aware of came to the meeting today to find out some of the background that's happened over the last period of time. It may be that we can find that out from membership with different committee meetings. But I would make a request of Lynn or other people that are in the know that you produce some kind of document or documents kind of going over some the transparency about what's been happening lately because a lot of us are not aware and to make that available including your thinking. Those are my thoughts. Thank you.
Moderator: thank you very much. Okay number nine
Mark Bass: I think I'm nine. My name is Mark Bass. I'm a longtime member. I had just a couple of comments and one question. My comment was I really appreciated Ms. Smalls discussion about the financials and I thought that type of talk should be incorporated in our drives so that the people know what's going on if things are dire, what we need. And I also think every show should devote maybe two minutes one in the middle of the show and one of the end, to keep it going and look for the the 90% who listen and don't contribute, try and get them throughout the year one when we're not having the drives. And quick comment, we've got KBOO has to walk the progressive walk and coincide with the talk that we stand for. And my question, I heard I heard that we are selling and I don't know the terminology, our Corvallis presence. And if that's true hopefully that's not true because that's an important market we should stay in.
Moderator: So the question is are we selling our Corvallis translator?
Paula Smalls: No, but the reality is it cost money to run all of our signals. So it's not that we are cutting it, but it is something that every time we look at the budget we do consider where can we make cuts. So is it going to be up for consideration again this budget cycle. Probably because every year everything is up for the budget cycle discussion.
Moderator: Great. Answer your question?
Yes. Thank you.
Moderator: All right. Number 10.
Fred Leeson: Hi my name is Fred Leeson. I've been a longtime member until about until recently. I was a programmer for about 15 years on the morning folks script. I just want you to know that every nonprofit in the city and every nonprofit in the state is having the same kind of discussion, the same kind of issues, the same kind of money problems that your hearing about today. If this is news to you don't let it be. I'm involved in very deeply involved on the board of another nonprofit. We been doing a strategic plan, we're trying to raise money, we're trying to do development. This is happening everywhere. So don't think it's something weird has happened at KBOO.
Michael Popodopolos: Is that a membership nonprofit?
Fred Leeson: Yes.
Michael Popodopolos: Thank you.
Fred Leeson: Second, you don't want to hear this but it is all about the numbers. I am glad that KBOO has agreed to work with the union. I hope that it's a collaborative process, the only way this is going to work is if both management and staff know every single number and know every single issue, and know what's coming in the door and know what's going out the door and where it's going. I have complete confidence that that can happen. I've been very impressed with what I've heard by the board here today. They are taking it seriously. I encourage you to work with them and stay with them and work with the staff and stay with staff. Let's do it.
SECOND GROUP OF TEN QUESTIONS – 15:45
Moderator: Alright. Thank you. Thank you to the first 10 people. That was really great. Really clear. So I'm going to start over here. One, I'll get you all on the next round, One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and 10. I'll get you next time. Alright, did you all get that? Alright, Number one.
Ben Hoyn: Hello my name is Ben Hoyn. I'm a former board member. I was actually on the board/staff committee that unanimously hired recommended the hiring of Lynn as the station navigator. I've been a part of five different community radio stations and volunteer it is a programmer from rural Alaska to Pacifica and our nation's capital. I also want to commend you guys for coming out today. I would also note that I haven't seen nearly this interest at a finance committee meeting over the past year nor at a board meeting other than last week. So had folks been engaged previously they would've know what's going on. If they'd come to a finance committee meeting they would actually understand what the numbers are. I think everybody here supports unionization from Lynn on down. We need to make sure that we have the proper staff hours allocated for positions for KBOO to succeed. Also I would like to note that this looks like including myself a very homogenous group. Portland is rapidly becoming less homogenous. We need to reach out to communities that are not here. I brought this up with programming frequently while there is some programming limited programming for Native Americans, Pacific Islanders are excluded, eastern Asians are excluded, Latin Americans minus a few Tejano shows and a great Tuesday afternoon show is largely excluded.
Deven: That's bullshit. That's total bullshit. Sorry.
Ben Hoyn: … Brazilian music, South American is excluded. East Asian again Pacific Islander, all sorts of communities are excluded. We need to recheck to the broader community and bring them in so that were not so homogenous thanks.
Moderator: All right thanks so much. And we really do invite feedback and conversation in the structure that we created. There had been a strong request that they're not be interruptions if we can do that. So number one. Number two right here. Thank you so much.
Mary Orr: Hi. I'm Mary Orr. I was on the staff in 1977. I'm also union steward and a former vice president of a AFSCME. And I joined the staff to help organize against a takeover of the station which is going to substitute a lot of winetasting programs in order to get a wider audience, something that we should really watch out for. I miss the talk this morning the introduction and so I would like to hear some of things that were said in that. I'll get back to that in a second. Is anybody taking notes? I see a tape recorder over here. Is someone taking notes to take down some of the points that people bring up today so we don't lose them. Anybody? So I would like to see a handout put on the web or something that has a few bullet points, dot points on there to answer some questions. Thirty seconds - programming changes, what how, how to reach a wider audience without sacrificing what makes KBOO a true alternative voice to mainstream corporate media. All the questions that were raised today I'd want to see the answers to those. List the facts. I heard a PSA on the air. Why was there no fun raising drive? Was an anti-labor lawyer hired? I need to hear this stuff before I know what my feelings are about that. We our focus needs to be distributed between programming, fund raising, audience outreach volunteer development, transparency/democracy whatever you want. You get four out of five of those we'll be doomed. You got have them all. Thank you very much.
Moderator: Thank you. Good to have clear suggestions for moving forward. So number three
Lou Canabe: I'm Lou Canabe. I've been a member for about 10 years. I like to begin with a point of order and I still think I can get my remark in. If we can use the silent applause as we agreed inside as a time saving measure that would be helpful. Anyway, my question, I actually have a question. I heard roughly about a year ago I'm guessing Andrew Geller who announced on the air that KBOO was going to begin a program of local business sponsorships. I remember hearing this and then starting to hear, although I never heard that much of it, but I'm hearing basically commercials for local businesses on the KBOO airwaves. And I remember when I heard that I was a little nervous because I thought and it sounded like the proverbial camel's nose under the tent. We don't want have a lot of commercials on the air and we want to stay away from that use up time for that. As I say it never seemed to have developed a whole lot. I don't hear much of it but I hear some of it and I'm curious what that program entails, if it's going to continue, are there plans to expand it or what is the plan with that because prior to that he never heard anything that sounded like a commercial, a business commercial announcement on KBOO, and now we are hearing them. There aren't that many yet but I'm a little nervous about that. Thank you.
Moderator: Can someone concisely answer about the corporate
Lynn Fitch: They are not sponsorships they are underwriting. Underwriting has been at KBOO for several years now. Justin is our coordinator for that. What you are hearing is more of them. It's a revenue stream that we depend on now. It's a way for businesses to align with us and get recognized. They are in no way commercials. There are very strict FCC regulations about them. We actually have been doing very well with those. You can talk to Justin about the increase in the money that were earning off of those.
SW Conser: That's Justin Miller underwriting coordinator
Moderator: All right. Thank you. So I think were at number four.
Chris Low: My name is Chris Low and as somebody said before, I'm kind of an intermittent member depending on my employment status. I appreciate KBOO a lot. Portland punches above its weight in progressive politics nationally. The culture of KBOO is a crucial reason why that's the case. I stand here ready to commit to put more into KBOO in time and money provided that the changes that go on do not change the fundamental culture of the station. I also want to say that in terms of the idea of professionalism that has been advanced in this meeting, I'm all for competence but the professional organizations that were talking about in terms of law firms and consultants, professional in this country means antiworker and antiunion and KBOO needs to use a different method of achieving professional competence without entering into that professional culture. Same thing. Cindy Comfer is a very smart person but she works with a different kind of nonprofit and we need to keep KBOO the kind of nonprofit it has been relying on its members. And I call on the board, somebody said where were you last week. I didn't know about the meeting last week. I wasn't engaged enough. I'm here today. There are 250 people here today. Use this energy to get people reengaged.
Moderator: Thank you. A lot of fingers there. Good to show your hands and I really support the way that it's not applause with your hands. So, number six. Seven. Five.
Unnamed audience member: I just have a question. A point of information because I haven't been involved in the website blah blah blah. What is this $200,000 need that was created by a grant that now has to be perpetuated and why is it causing a funding drain?
Moderator: What I'm hearing is request for more information about the CPB
Paula Smalls: So very very quickly, the $200,000 was what the grant provided and that was back in 2007.
Unnamed audience member: It started in 1977 and it went all the way through 2007. We lost it in 2008 because it didn't have a large enough audience.
Paula Smalls: One the caveats of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's grant is you have to have a certain amount of revenue which we fall very short of to qualify. That is correct, so we no longer qualifed for it. But the last grant cycle that we had was the grant we received in 2007 which gave us a bit of cushion. Without the grant we no longer had $200,000 worth of revenue but we still had $200,000 worth of expenses and that's what I was saying earlier. And every year since 2008 we've had a deficit and it has varied on what we can cut, what we couldn't cut, what monies we could raise. We only have about three different revenue streams, and its really like 2 1/2. We have membership, thank you to all the members here. We have underwriting that Lynn mentioned so thank you to the business partners for that. And then we get a little bit of money from events that we have and that's selling T-shirts, I see some people wearing T-shirts here, all of that kind of stuff. We need to diversify our revenue streams because being dependent on just those few, you know we're hearing complaints maybe about the underwriting. Well it is one of the things that sustains this foundation. Without it we, I mean the deficit that we already have would grow. So these are some things to keep in mind when you think of KBOO. Think about ways that we can maybe reach out differently to earn more money.
Unnamed audience member: KBOO movie night Thursday night, this coming Thursday at Clinton Street theater.
Moderator: So number six
Unnamed audience member: A point of information question. Somebody came up and talked and I could hear what she said. It might've been Barbara. Could we get the CPB money back?
Moderator: Essentially she was saying it's been there for a while. (various, unnamed audience members talking simultaneously). Since the 70s and the criteria changed. We don't qualify. Do you folks really want to hear details about CPB?
Unnamed audience members: Yes
Barbara(?): We started getting the CPB grants somewhere time before I started getting involved with KBOO which was 78. I was just the membership coordinator then. And we got them pretty easily up until the late 90s. And we were getting CPB money as part of our budget and the grant for $200,000 or smaller. It was a big part about 30% of our budget every year. In the late 90s, 98-99 CPB started changing their requirements and having a higher threshold. At the same time that KBOO's listenership was dropping off, our revenue was dropping off so we were going the opposite direction. And that's why we lost the money. In 1998 I fought very hard with the CPB board and the national Federation of community broadcasters at a meeting and the head of radio, she was there. And she was trying to negotiate with me to help KBOO keep our funding. And I was on the phone constantly with our station manager trying to get him to track the grant paperwork for the CPB grant and forget the other thing because if we didn't do it we were going to lose the funding. We kept funding for a few more years but then I think it became a lower priority and once we lost it we realize we lost a lot of money.
Lori Sonnenfeld: I am number six.
Moderator: All right number six is right here and then we go to 7,8 you know. And it's a little bit but we'll figure it out.
Lori Sonnenfeld: I'm Lori Sonnenfeld and I've been a member since 1979. I spent eight years on the Board of Directors and I host a folk music so-called moving on. And I'm not of the Board of Directors now. That was in the 80s and 90s. And I want to point out in reference to something else someone else said, we are designed as a membership organization. That is very different from most nonprofits in Oregon. I don't know all understand all the details of how its different but I believe it does mean that the board is accountable and the foundation is accountable to the membership. And it's very very different. And we need to research that and see exactly how it's different and make sure that not just our culture but that our adherence to that difference continues. And so I will say that in the last year I have noticed that the energy at the station has been more positive and fresher from the perspective of a programmer. I feel really good about a lot of things that have been going on. But I have a question. How could the personnel committee be disbanded without a revision of the bylaws. I remember it being in the bylaws.
SW Conser: The personnel committee was not disbanded, the committee gets stuff referred to it by the board and the board just hasn't been able to refer to it in the past few months. The committee still exists but there's nothing for to do right now. It hasn't been disbanded.
Moderator: Thanks for that, does that answer your question
Lori Sonnelfeld: … in the bylaws and it was not only the word of the board. There was, well I thought it included board and staff, and there were always things (unintelligible)
Moderator: So the question about the personnel committee, how it's functioning and perhaps a desire for to be re-invoked.
Lori Sonnenfeld: I feel very unhappy that it's not an operation and that the committee structure spelled out in the bylaws should not be changed.
Moderator: Thanks, number seven. Maybe you're seven. I think you're seven and then you're eight and then you're nine and you're 10. And we'll get 11. We'll do the best we can. So number seven
Ira: Long-term volunteer. Ira, long-term volunteer. I've heard a lot of what I said so I won't repeat except to say that I agree that it should be a community radio station, not just something it hires professional consultants. And I do agree with this fellow over here I don't know. What I hear are not underwriting. I hear commercials. I love the Aladdin theater but they mention every show that they're having and I hear a lot more information like how to contact with their phone number and all that. That's not underwriting that's a commercial. So there's a lot that I agree with that I want to hear again. I think we need another meeting to hear this again. So we should avoid becoming another ordinary station. Thanks.
Moderator: Thank you so much.
Corvallis KBOO: First of all, I'm given 10 bucks. I'll contribute money myself. Maybe this money will help. Anyway I am the Sweetheart of the Valley from the Pie in the Sky Ranch in Corvallis Oregon. I am the other half that helped bring the translator down to Corvallis along with Prof. Papadopoulos here. As far as I know according to nonprofit law, those are the dedicated funds. We have a receipt from the Corvallis Emergency Room Physicians for $7000 or $5000. You may not sell that translator. Or else you'll have another suit on your hands and I'd hate to see that. As far as the personnel committee since it got brought up, I worked at a nonprofit as a staff member and I can't imagine having a staff member on the personnel committee. It also has to be very secret and private. And I'm so glad to see everybody here. The other thing I want is I want us all members to be able to communicate with each other. We have an email list out of the database. I would like to see us be able to opt in to be part of a directory so that we can talk to each other. This has been something, I don't what your Portland paranoia is about it but that's what we do in Corvallis. We have a member directory so we can work together. We need lots of more committees, we need people to help run the pledge drives and all of this stuff so that it's not just staff doing it. What else can I say?
Unnamed audience member: That's enough (audience laughs)
Corvallis KBOO: And here is my first friend at KBOO, Walt Curtis. Yaaay.
Walt Curtis: I'm an old dying man walking dead man but I do want talk at some point.
April Buress: I just want to say that I've been I've been kind concerned about hearing the station navigator reports (audience member asks who are you). Oh, my name is April Burress. I'm a member. This is actually my first meeting. The station navigator reports sound very corporate to me. I personally find them very irritating. I also have heard in the station navigator reports that decisions are underway. Well when was the membership consulted? I mean in my understanding the reason I'm a member of KBOO is because all of us are the people who run the station and that's what so valuable about KBOO. That's why we contribute money and have pledge drives to keep KBOO alive. So I would like to hear something about why changes are underway without us having been consulted.
Paul Roland: My name is Paul Roland. Many years ago I had a regular weekly show on KBOO and I recently come back and I'm a public affairs volunteer and member now. I wanted to say that a lot of people have talked about the need of getting more engaged in the station, get more out of the community. I think that's really obvious. A lot of people have pointed to sort of indirectly or directly at the fact that there is these committees that do a lot of the work and make the nitty-gritty decisions but they're not, generally not a lot of people participating in them so it's obviously up to all of us to participate more. Obviously within our constraints of time and energy and everything. But that's where a lot of the work gets done on it on a week to week basis is in the committee's. But I think the suggestion of getting communicating more amongst ourselves, having some kind of organization amongst the members, the volunteers, the programmers, I think even the programmers, the public affairs programmers haven't really had much of a cohesion at KBOO over the years according to my memory. The translators is an issue. I don't think that KBOO has ever really done enough to really get out reach out and really empower those communities to get involved with KBOO. There needs to be more of that. I think KBOO could have more exciting radio personally. And it's no reflection on anybody in particular but I think that the situation that were in is very distressing and dire. And I think people are really thirsting for a lot of different perspectives on it not limiting ourselves to one or two or three. But I think we really can do a lot more of engaging. I want to look more toward may be a community organizing model instead of just community service just education. I think we need to really help organize these communities in the crises that are facing us.
Moderator: all right. Thank you so much. Number 11. Yes.
Richard Koenig: My name is Richard Koenig. Sometimes member. Earliest board meeting back in the 80s. Let me say this. Without a vision the people are lost and one thing that I don't remember hearing enough lately is a mission statement of KBOO. I'd like to give the rest of my time to anyone who can recite it verbatim.
Walt: What does that mean?
Unnamed audience member: That means you have to know it internally.
Richard Koenig: That means that we don't have a vision. KBOO shall be a model of programming, filling needs that other media do not. Providing programs to diverse communities and unserved or underserved groups. KBOO shall provide access and training to those communities. KBOO news and public affairs programming shall place an emphasis on providing a forum for unpopular, controversial or neglected perspectives on important local national and international issues reflecting KBOO's values of peace and justice, democracy, human rights, multiculturalism, environmentalism, freedom of expression, social change. KBOO's cultural and music programming shall cover a wide spectrum of expression from traditional to experimental and reflect the diverse culture that we serve. KBOO shall strive for spontaneity and programming excellence both in content and technique. I want to see a show of hand, how many people remember that. When was the last time you heard it? Anybody.
Walt: I've been 43 years of KBOO. I know all about it.
Moderator: I just want to make an announcement. It's about 1:35. 2:35. We're about halfway through and I just was approached by the people who are organizing the wedding that's about to start and they've got another 250 people coming for the wedding. And the parking lot is full. So they would like to respectfully request that people who are parked in the parking lot could move your vehicle because of the double booking somewhere else so that there space for guests for the wedding. So I committed to pass that invitation or request on to you all.
Unnamed audience member: May I request a future meeting for those of us who can't handle the sun and can't hear very well?
Moderator: And were going to continue here is my expectation until we move around the circle and at least everyone has had at least one chance to speak. I know that some people are going to have to leave and I think that is a reality but I want to invite us to keep going. Yeah? Is that what people want to do? Okay, and I do want to make sure that we have a chance for people to speak who have been waiting very patiently.
Walt: Joe Uris.
Joe Uris(?): Walt Curtis.
Moderator: So are going to start right there? (a member of the audience asks if we can have a five minute break. Audience response no)
Moderator: I'm going to request that we just keep going because I'm concerned about how much time it will take for that coordination. If you have to go and move your car you're welcome to come back and get in line again.
THIRD GROUP OF TEN QUESTIONS – 41:00
Moderator: So number one. Number two over there in the back, number three, number four, number five with the glasses, number six sitting down, number seven on the grass, number eight in the black hoodie and number nine and then number 10, you. Just one moment,
SW Conser: and we have had multiple requests for an official meeting. We were mentioning to people who asked that it does require 14 days advanced notice through ORS law to go out with a meeting. But we are working on that so please keep an ear to the ground for announcements. You all listen to KBOO. A lot of you stop by the station. We also always welcome participation in at board meetings. There will be one coming up on the fourth Monday of the month, thank you
Moderator: Okay so a commitment from the Board President to schedule a special meeting, a formal one. Working on it.
Crystal Elinsky: Hello my name is Crystal Elinsky. And I love you all very much. I'm so glad to see her today. This is about communication and that's always control thank you. I used to record the board meetings for short time and I really suggest that you open that up somehow. But it is online you can listen to them and like the other half of the Corvallis translator lady said, we should have some kind of a forum where we can communicate these things at least online and then other things later. I'd also like to bring back, wow, the thing I used to be really passionate about, community calendar because it truly represents the underrepresented as opposed to the underwriting. There are other events that cost money but these events don't cost money and it kind represents everything else is out there and we don't have it anymore. I have a question for clarification. A question for detail and a question I'm just curious about. The question for clarification is earlier Lynn Fitch was mentioning something about how we don't need to have an election anymore and I don't understand what that was about.
Walt: That's BS.
Crystal Elinsky: What was that about? I don't know. Second question. Was this meeting that were going to have, is that what was mentioned in the flier about the special meeting? I don't know what this meeting is.(Audience member says board meeting). Okay, so after that question and then a third question, I'm just curious if we've had this talk of unionization before, and if we have had it why didn't it work and why is it suddenly happening again now? Thank you
Moderator: Lynn, can you answer the question?
Lynn Fitch; what I was talking about, when I contacted legal counsel I said that said KBOO was going to voluntarily recognize the union. The response back was fine, the election will probably not be necessary. That's what I meant. I don't know for sure. I am not the NLRB. It is in their court. All of this is in their court. We have said we are willing to recognize the union now and go into collective bargaining. It goes to the NLRB. They may say we still want to have the election on May 30. It is their prerogative not mine. So that's what I meant. And I will probably know Monday whether that's going to happen or not and then I will be more than happy to let people know because it will be posted because this is a federal legal process that were in.
Moderator: OK, thank you Lynn. And I just want to say that I just spoken to the father of the groom who asked me again to mention that this wedding is happening. It's starting at three. People are arriving right now and there is an invitation for us to be as expeditious as we can. I'm committed to you all being heard and also I just want to communicate what I heard from the father of the groom to ask us to move through this as quickly as you can to give them there space for their wedding. That was their request and we do hear that there's another meeting. So perhaps as we go through consider whether you can be, echo what's been said already and honor that it's been said and we can specifically focus on the key new information, new ideas that need to be offered. Number two.
Walt: Don't rush us.
Crystal Linsky; Can you answer the other two questions?
Moderator; number two go-ahead.
Unnamed audience member; Am I number two?
Moderator: I don't know go-ahead
Unnamed audience member: I'm number. I may not be number two, but I am number two.
Unnamed audience member: Try harder.
Unnamed audience member: I will try harder. Number one of number two. I have questions, basic questions which I'm sure are answerable and may even be online somewhere. Rumor has it that the law firm chosen to represent the station management is notorious as an anti-labor union, anti-labor law firm. I don't know if that's true. I need to know who they are, who they represent. Number two, I understand that the grant monies that were brought in for the idea of looking at the station and its processes etc. were essentially by an outfit which is well known as an outfit that is not comfortable with organized labor. Specifically PAYCHEX and its subsidiaries. Is that true I don't know. I think those are answerable. I think Lynn can answer them. I think it may be bad rumor who knows. But those are serious questions and serious allegations. I will not perform on a radio station, even as a silly volunteer if it becomes an operation that is anti-organized labor. This is no time, whatever our differences to allow ourselves to become victims of a process which is clear from the Obama administration to the Republican jerks that is designed to destroy the income and security of working-class Americans. The opposite should be the role of KBOO.
Lynn Fitch; Okay the HR firm happens to be an extension of PAYCHEX. PAYCHEX has been doing KBOO's payroll, OK OK. They have been doing KBOO's payroll for some time.
Unnamed audience member: Yeah but that's payroll.
Lynn Fitch: So, when the board determined that we needed some guidance in HR we went, we looked at several groups with money being a huge option and we went with PAYCHEX. As far as the two law firms, Sussman Shanks has been the KBOO employment lawyer for many years. When we got to the point where it was like, they were saying you you really need a labor attorney and we're going to recommend someone, nobody on the board has labor total understanding here let alone on staff. So you go in you get advice, okay? And clarification here, those two firms are representing corporations and businesses. And KBOO is a corporation. KBOO is a corporation, so that's who represents us, okay?
Unnamed audience member(s): No, it's not OK.
Moderator: Thank you Lynn. I think you answered the question. Do you folks her the answers the question?
Paula Smalls; Very quickly I need everyone here to please understand one thing. The KBOO foundation employs staff. In order to employ staff you must be an employer so the two firms that Lynn mentioned were Sussman Shanks as well as Bullard Law. Their only role is to represent employers. This is not about being anti-labor but it is about ensuring that employers walk the federal as well as the state laws. And we haven't been doing so in the past which is also another issue all entirely unto itself. So what we had to do with these firms is to make sure we were dotting our Is and crossing our Ts as employers. Because believe it or not as much as I love my fellow members, if something happens either federal or state wide, the state as well as the federal government have the right to come after the board, not our fellow members but the board. You best believe that I want to make sure we are doing everything that we need to do according to the law. And that's what this is. PAYCHEX – their subsidiaries are highly expert in all of this, labor law, personal policies etc. etc. So we properly vetted them. I'm a former HR manager so I made sure that I did my due diligence as treasurer as well as the former HR manager that I made sure that we had proper policies in place because I can't risk your dollars or mine. Thank you.
Moderator; One more sentence
Unnamed audience member: One more comment. It is not to me conceivable that one cannot find good legal representation among those lawyers in the community who have traditionally represented organized labor.
Moderator; Okay. So we got some information and there's differences of opinion about what's happened and what can happen in the future. So there is like differences and opportunities to organize into the future. All right. We'll thank you to everyone for bringing a crucial issue to light. Number three.
Howard Rothstein: My name is Howard Rothstein. I've been a member for a long time. (audience says come forward, project) I think an appropriate choice of terms to use separates (unintelligible). I'd like to know why they tried to fire the entire staff. If there is a problem with what I heard, correct me but that's what I thought I heard.
Lynn Fitch: Whatever you may have heard or not heard, it didn't happen. I've talked about all kinds of structures and all kinds of changes and all kinds of ways to do this because the board asked me to restructure and come up with a better management blueprint. So that's what I did and I vetted this every step of the way with Sussman Shanks who is our employment lawyer.
Unnamed audience member: The question is why did you even think about it in the first place, if you could explain?
Lynn Fitch: Okay I'm going to tell you a really short way. Because I spent months and weeks thinking about how to do this, respecting the KBOO culture and the KBOO community, OK? And it's very tight. And when you go to do staffing changes, it gets really passionate. The first thing that you do we do this kind of work is you take the people and the personalities out of it. It's not that you don't care. It's just that you have to take those out while you look at different staffing possibilities. And you do assessments. And when you get down to where you can take, you can remove this position and lay this person off. And we've got two positions that are interim positions that we need to have open hires for. So I could do those first. And then I can do something over here. In the world of restructure, okay, and economic issues and timeliness, one of the ways to mitigate any kind of risk to the foundation who I'm employed by is to lay off the staff, you provide severance packages, they get unemployment, the new positions are posted. And many staff can come back to positions. And I did that because it was the most fair and equitable way to think about doing it. But again it didn't happen.
Unnamed audience member: But what would be the benefit.
Joanne Hardisty: Stop. Other people have questions, OK?
Lynn Fitch: That's basically the benefit. Because KBOO in the past has walk into lawsuits because of termination practices and layoff practices and I'm doing my best in my thinking and what I do to protect the KBOO foundation. And that was simply the bottom line. And that step-by-step process, any legal person that I talked to agreed. Was going to be hard? Yes.
Moderator: Really important question but an answer. And we're going to try to keep respecting the stack here. But thank you for that. OK, so I've got Number five.
Walt: You left me, I'm number four.
Joanne Hardisty: You've never been in line. You go back and sit down until you get in line. (audience laughs)
Moderator: Number five, yes.
Michael Wells: Hi. My name is Michael Wells. I've been a KBOO member since 1968 when the station started. I was a volunteer from the early 70s until the early 90s. I was station manager from 78 until I think 92. I've been on the board a couple of times. I haven't been very involved. I have a couple of observations. One is when I was station manager, we reorganized the staff because the way the staff had been set up related to our funding that didn't work and it was going to collapse. So we had to reorganize the staff. While I was station manager that I can think of we had to fire two people, one of them my best friend on the staff at the time who is here now, for various reasons. And so that happened at that time, the station manager was allowed to fire people. I have no idea what the personnel policy is now. So that's sort of background. My observation about KBOO for the last few years, about 10 years ago, I volunteered to write a grant for KBOO. There was a rotating cast of people. Different people would show up at every meeting. We could not get anything done. We finally abandoned it. About three or four years ago I got involved in another project which dragged on and on and on for whatever reasons. The first time I met Lynn we talked about the project and we got it done in about three months. I think that Lynn whenever her faults, whatever the board's doing, is moving us forward. KBOO has been from my point of view very stuck. I'm glad to see us moving.
Walt: Why don't we fire the board?
Moderator: Number six.
Barbara Mortachella: My name is Barbara Mortachella. And I'm a longtime programmer and I was on the board for about seven years. I heard one very positive suggestion today that I really hope is implemented. I think it would go a long way towards making us a healthier membership community. As it is now, if members want to contact each other, it's very very difficult. You can with great reluctance the addresses but no email and no phone. I think an opt in list for people who want to be in contact and included in KBOO communications with other members would be a very healthy thing and would demonstrate trust all around. Trust of the staff and the board, and trust of the KBOO community. And trust of the KBOO community that we can in fact head off, I mean there's dangers, there are many dangers on every front and of course I think it's obvious what that could be.
Moderator: All right. Thank you. The membership lists. Membership communications. Number seven
Fran Michelle: Hi, my name is Fran Michelle. I'm a member and a volunteer and sometime programmer with the old mole variety hour Monday mornings at nine.. And I'm glad to hear that, I won't repeat the things I'm glad about or concerned about but I believe that the union is being recognized but I still have a concern about the continuing lack of transparency and I am wondering why the winter membership drive was canceled. Why if it's the case that, that the grievance policy or procedure was simply eliminated as reported in the Portland Tribune that it was eliminated because it was unwieldy and if it was unwieldy why was it not redesigned so that there was an alternative grievance procedure. And also I have heard a rumor and I don't know if it's true but maybe someone could address whether I be given bad information or otherwise, but is there some move to move KBOO toward less confrontational programming. And I think that that is a worrisome formulation and I hope that is not the case. And I would like to hear the Executive Director's comments on that and why the membership drive was canceled in the grievance policy was simply eliminated thank you.
Moderator: Okay succinct answers to the membership drive, the grievance policy and the content, the move to less confrontational content.
Lynn Fitch: The winter drive was eliminated because we put together a more comprehensive integrated fundraising plan. Frankly you can't keep going back to the well asking the same people for money. We need to come up with a different way and we have and we been quite successful with that. When the board worked through their policies, all of KBOO's policies were one big mix of policies. That really shouldn't be, so the board policies were pulled out. The rest of the policies, there were about two thirds of the policies are operational policies. Within those are HR and employment policies, OK? So the board to those, they ratified their policies, they wrote them and all the rest of them they said okay new Executive Director, take care of all of these policies. The first, and, and they eliminated those policies so we didn't have them. I didn't eliminate them, the board eliminated all of those other policies. And we don't have them. The first policies that are probably pretty important to put in place are HR and employment policies. That's what I did. The bare bones of that employment manual was explained to the staff at the time. It is just the framework. And it was only like seven weeks ago that we rolled that out. It's a living document. The grievance piece was going to be put in there. We haven't gotten there yet, that's all. Oh programming, less confrontational. When I was inside and I was talking about more local news and regional news, I don't think that that's less controversial, I think it'll be more controversial frankly. And I have never talked about watering down the programming. The only two programs that I have brought forth that are actually on the air right now have to do with the archives material. Turn on, Tune in, Remember, yeah that was my idea. The idea about interviewing people who were involved in the past with KBOO and getting that on the air, yeah that's my idea.
Lisa Loving: And who controlled the programming? Is it you or is it the members? I'd really like to have it put out there.
Lynn Fitch: Who controls the programming. As you know Lisa being on the board, the board policies specifically state the Executive Director has ultimate control over programming. However major changes in programming I have to go to the board with those changes. I haven't thought about programming, I don't have time to think about programming. First and foremost I believe it's important to do a open hire because we are not compliant currently with our regulation in regard to the FCC. I would like to do an open hire for the program director position which the board asked the collective to do. In that I would like to, whoever gets that job is going to having to look at the recommendations from the 2008 assessment and look at our programming. And I will be working with that person along with the program committee. However KBOO, according to FCC regulations, needs a community advisory committee.
Lynn Fitch: We don't have one. We have a program committee that has had all kinds of functions and input. We will be looking at what we are required to have and putting that program committee into that kind of role. And that means greater representation from the greater community, not programmers coming to sit on the program committee solely.
Moderator: Thank you so much. Thank you for answering a lot of questions. We're going to try to keep going with the order here. All right number seven. Eight.
Gene Bradley: Hi my name is Gene Bradley. I was on the Board of Directors from 1998 to 2006. I was treasurer of the board for six of those years. First I like to ask you if you're interested to Google Bullard Law when you get home. See if you would pick that company to help solve problems at KBOO.
Unnamed audience member: Can you spell that?
T Bradley: BULLARD. Second, I'd like you to go to the KBOO website and look at the finance committee report for November 20, 2012. I was going to talk about that but other things have come up but one of the things it says is balance sheet remains healthy with no significant short or long-term liabilities. $200,000 plus operating reserve. $198,000 in the endowment. I was on the board. When I came on the board in 1998 the CPB money had been taken away. Alan Bailey, God bless him got it back for several years. But we decided as a board between 1998 and 2000 up to 2005 that it was stupid for left-wing radio station dedicated to free speech to depend on the government for part of their budget. And one more thing. So what we did under the leadership of of Deanne Schaefer, bless her memory is that we went out and drove our membership to almost 7000 people by 2006. And guess what? We funded the operating reserve. We added money to the endowment. We know how to do this and we can do it again. Thank you.
Moderator. All right, that was number eight. Now were going to number nine. I really want to thank everyone. Incredible stamina for this meeting. I want to thank everyone who speaking and those are listening. Okay number nine. All right number 10.
Madeline Elder: Hi KBOO folks. My name is Madeline Elder. I'm president of CWA Local 7901 which the staff chose to organize with. We did ask for voluntary recognition. We asked for voluntary recognition. We were told that they needed to talk to the lawyer and then the whole rumor about being fired and then having to reapply for jobs happened. And so we filed with the National Labor Relations Board, not the most protective of labor rights organizations but the most in this country. We accept Lynn's offer to voluntary recognize. We are willing today or tomorrow or Monday to sit down and do a letter to the National Labor Relations Board telling them so and to set up a date to start bargaining. It's about respect and dignity for the staff. They have a lot of skills. This is not a place where staff expects to get rich. It's not about the money. It is about respect and transparency so I call on station management to do away with the lawyers at the bargaining table at and keep bargaining openly for any member of KBOO to observe.
FOURTH GROUP OF TEN QUESTIONS – 58:45
Moderator: Okay thank you. So go take another stack starting from right there. Number one right over here. You, yeah you with the glasses. Number two right there sitting down. Number three. Number four.
Walt: I'm four.
Unnamed audience members: No, you're not.
Moderator: Five. Six. Number seven in the front. Number eight. And number 10, Lisa. right there.
(Audience asks about number nine)
Moderator: And nine in the front sitting down. I'm usually pretty good at math. The sun is working me. Thank you for helping me along. Number one.
Lynn Snipe: Who gets this? It's going around. I don't know who to give it back to. My name is Lynn Snipe. I actually just have a question or statement and I just want to make sure that is not overlooked, this is my one opportunity.
Moderator: We can come back to you in a minute.
Lynn Snipe: I just want to say that I have been a member of KBOO for a couple of years now. I became a member of KBOO because I listen to the radio station during the pledge drive, and I thought; I listen to KBOO a lot and I realized I should pay up. And so I think when you say going back and milking the same old cow by running the pledge drive, I think if you don't run a pledge drive on the air, it's a grievous lost opportunity. You have a huge megaphone and to not use it I think is really a missed opportunity. So I think we should keep milking that cow.
Moderator: Thank you for being succinct. Number two.
Jennifer Pulse: Hello my name is Jennifer Pulse and I've been a member since I moved here from the East Coast. I'm so glad to be on the left coast. One thing about the diversity issue, KBOO has the most diverse programming of any station in Portland. Are you people crazy? And our support base, if you look at our homogeneous support base, look what we're sponsoring. It's fantastic. And yes we want to reach out but we all know that the middle class is what supports everybody. And that's what we are. So let's appreciate the diversity that KBOO has. I understand the professionalism and we want to have professionalism. But we don't want to miss that professionalism and efficiency and all that squeaky clean stuff is not necessarily what gets you in the heart when you listen to the KBOO radio station. And that's what I get. On April 22 when you had the Earth Day thing and you mentioned there was going to be the nature sounds. And I said Oh, I couldn't stop listening. Who else is doing this? Nobody. So anyway I just wanted to tell you that I love you and I want you to keep it up and Murdoch is buying up everybody. And we are the only bastion of hope left. So please, let's all just get along. Let's do it with our heads held high, and our morality up and whatever else we need to do to get the job done. I'm not getting any younger here. (audience laughs).
Moderator: Thank you so much. Number three.
Jenka Sodeberg: Hello. My name is Jenka Sodeberg. I've been on staff at KBOO since 2007. I want to thank the board for deciding to recognize the union. I wish that had been done went it first was asked instead of spending $2000 for lawyers that are known union busters. And I'm glad it is happening now. I am concerned about some of the things that I hear. I know that KBOO as a foundation needs to protect itself and protect itself from liability so that it doesn't get sued. The changes in the employee handbook that we were given that was created by PAYCHEX, the things that are in there wouldn't have protected us from the lawsuit that we experienced a few years ago. And we now have all kinds of new procedures in place. I'm not allowed to write letters of recommendation as a KBOO news director for my volunteers because if a person gets a job and does something crazy then KBOO could apparently get sued. I don't know that these things actually happen. I think there is a going too far to protect the foundation. And I think that yes we need to protect the foundation but we also need to protect our community. We are a community resource and we need to stay true to that. I love KBOO. I came back to KBOO after going to a fellowship at Stanford because I feel that this is the best community radio station in the country. And I want to thank everyone for coming out. I think it's wonderful that KBOO has so many community activists. So many radio activists. I think of myself as a radio activist. I'm glad that so many of you are here also to keep this community resource a community resource. I, one other thing. I know that somebody said we should be advertising. We have this opportunity right now for a project called news tips that I started to develop. If you can go to the website, produceroadPDX.com, it takes two seconds, vote for news tips. Were not in last place but were close, and then we can get some support to start this project to have mobile technology in the KBOO newsroom which I'm really excited about. And if you can't remember that website, if you got an email from Andrew this week, the KBOO member newsletter that says what's happening at KBOO, at the very bottom of that there's a link to it. So check that email. Thank you everyone.
Moderator: Thank you. All right. Number four.
Kara: Hi, my name is Kara. I'm a student and I just moved to Portland. I'm not a member. I give to KBOO sometimes when I can afford it. I hope to volunteer with KBOO more often. I'd like to bring up the point that I am one of the only people in my age group that I see at this meeting. And I think obviously it's not that people at KBOO are not doing enough to reach out to the youth. But I think more can be done looking around at this crowd. I have a few friends who listen to KBOO who are my age, but that's pretty much it. I will try to generate excitement about KBOO among the youth, but I think as an alternative station that is really trying to push forward some progressive things, I think it would be really helpful to include the youth in that. I'd like to make a couple of points. When Lynn was talking earlier she said something about how she was concerned with KBOO unionizing at this point. I would like to ask if there is going to be another point where she'll be concerned with a union at KBOO and if so what would that be? And why are there sort of questions about whether or not a union is ever acceptable? Another point I'd like to make is that someone asked about why the staff was considered for all of the layoffs. An answer she kind of gave to sum it up was it was too difficult to maybe work with them without firing them first. And I'd like to say that shows a lack of imagination and that's poor leadership skills. And I think that's not a good attitude to have.
Moderator: Thank you. So number five.
Jeremy Ginsberg: Okay. First time for everything. I have to agree with Joe Uris. I think we need a new manager. I can't actually say we anymore (audience member asks who are you). Oh I'm sorry, I'm Jeremy Ginsberg. I joined KBOO within a month of moving here and I stopped contributing a couple of years ago and that's a long story which I'd like to share with people. I think the problems greatly precede this, and I'd like to talk about that too. This reminds me of Iran in whenever it was 78. Things were horrible and then they got worse. And that's really what I think is really going on here. I'm talking about in terms of hierarchy, of authoritarianism, you know, really not exactly welcoming anybody. I don't know of anybody else who has tried to go to a volunteer training, but it was an experience I'll never have again. I want to show you the shirt I was wearing. I thought this was the biggest news story in Portland a couple years ago. The Sam Adams recall T-shirt. And I was involved in the left-wing approach to that. I was treated at KBOO like I was a right-wing homophobe because I suggested that perhaps they could have a little more coverage which of course I then I got cursed out by a staff member and my complaint never got spoken to. Anyway that's Iran and 78, now things are worse. And I think it's outrageous that that the station navigator is actually… I lived in Berkeley when, I'm sorry I mean Oakland when KBOO, I'm sorry when KPFA was dying. The same things going on here. Of course you got less controversial programming waiting for you all.
Moderator: Thank you so much. All right. Number six.
Unnamed audience member: I'd like to make a clarification. It's necessary. I never said that the station manager should be let go. I did not said that.
Moderator: Thank you. All right, number six.
Alan Wieder: Yeah, my name is Alan Wieder. I want to say a little bit more about what Fran said and about the guy called Michael who was wearing the red union shirt. He talked about the history and ethos of KBOO and Fran talked about programming. And I think it's important that those two things go together. That the reason why KBOO has thrived and other people talk about that is because of the people that are members. And the people that are members have come through in the drive, the people that are members are the ones that listen to the station. Somebody said people don't pay and they listen to the station. But that's the people that care about KBOO. And I'm troubled a little bit about the meetings that we had recently with programmers and the staff, and specifically Lynn in her new role as the navigator. Because even though she spoke today about programming, to me it didn't touch the ethos or history of KBOO. What it touched is programming is PR. And I'm not saying you believe that. I'm saying is what it sounded like. I heard a much different story when she met with us, with the group of programmers and I was told the same thing from other groups of programmers. She said earlier that she didn't have any, she's too busy to have a sense of programming. And when she met with our group, she was very clear that she thought that KBOO had to have a more balanced programming. The reality is that KBOO doesn't need more balanced programming. KBOO needs to talk to the people that listen to KBOO. Thank you.
Moderator: All right, number seven.
Joanne Hardisty: Hello I'm Joanne Hardisty and I'm on Thursday mornings on voices from the edge. And I was so thrilled to see all the people that showed up today but until the young woman spoke I was certainly going to acknowledge that were missing a whole lot of people in this audience. I also want to say that a membership organization, as a former executive of a membership organization, I think were under an illusion that somehow 5000 members run the day-to-day operation of the organization. That is not how a membership operation works. A membership operations give you the members the opportunity to pick your leadership to represent you on the board. When I hear the board say nobody comes, I've been a programmer for 18 years. The best advice I got was don't ever go to a board meeting or program committee meeting because they are crazy and insane. (audience laughs) And so if the board wants to know why people don't show up, I think the reason why I've survived 18 years is because I never came to a board meeting (audience laughs). And so my concern, I believe that having standards in place that everybody understands is a good thing. And I came today with an open mind because there was nothing inviting for me to respond to. And so I think us on the left sometimes, we get a little bit crazed because we don't have all the information so we assume the worst. And so I came today with an open mind saying I want to hear what Lynn has to say, I have a lot of respect for some the changes that she is made. But when I sit here and listen the people thinking that a membership organization should somehow run the day-to-day, no one would ever direct that organization. Because it would be insane. So, if you got the wrong people on the board, then you need to replace them. And if you have confidence in the people on the board, then support them in moving this organization forward. Thank you.
Moderator: Alright, number eight
Sarah Carr: I'm Sarah Carr, I was the station's first news director. And I was on the board of directors around 2000, the couple years either way. One of the smartest things I've ever heard anybody say about community radio in all the years I've been in it was that there are two kinds of community radio stations. There's a community service kind of radio station that looks outwards, that's looking towards its community and interacting with its community to figure out what it's doing, following a mission. And it's constantly reevaluating what it's doing in terms of what's going on out in the community. Then there's the radio club. The radio club is a kind of community radio station that looks in at the people who were there already and the people who are already close to the people who were there already. It's concerned with serving its programmers. It gives lip service to the community but basically it's a big radio club. And in what 30 years of community radio, I found that to be really true. Every station falls into one kind or another. Occasionally one moves from one kind to another. The other thing I wanted to say is I'm hearing a lot of sort of smugness about how KBOO has been doing, about things would be better if we just did them the way we've always been doing it. If things have been so great for KBOO, how come it's 45 years old and it has the size of an audience that smaller than that of right wing religious translators here in Portland? It's got the size of audience we had when I was at KMBI in Minneapolis. We viewed that as a crisis and that we needed to do something about it fast. Thank you.
Moderator: Thank you so much. Number nine.
Lisa Loving: Hey, I'm Lisa Loving and I am on that often lamented board currently. And I just want to put it to you that you know when it comes to politics, you all get the representation that you deserve and there are at least one openings on that board. I don't know why people don't take more ownership of it. Don't be shy. And it's sketchy. I'm going to be really honest, I think that there is a massive lack of transparency. I am a media professional and coming here this is the first I've heard that we were allowed to say that we support a union. I'm not going to lie to you. On the board, I've been told that I don't have the right tell everyone that I support a union. You know in the media right now the current standard is to give excellent benefits to your staff and to be very transparent and to look for community partnerships. I'm wondering if a KBOO partnership with the union could be an incredible, like a rocket booster, on this staff. And I also want to say that people who are talking about professionalism, see I almost cursed just now. So Jenka Sodeberg when she came up here and talk about that project that she did, you know she worked on this while she was on sabbatical. Well the new employee manual eliminates sabbaticals. The other butterfly that crushes is Kathleen Stephenson's career as a sculptor. I just want to say that Jenka Sodeberg is a finalist for the, is it called the PDX startup challenge. That's what she's talking about. She has developed a news app on her own, she did it on a sabbatical, KBOO gave her permission to do that, to go and learn this stuff. She is the best and brightest in this fucking town, OK? If we can't innovate with our people, we might as well just get on a bus and go to Idaho. I don't know what's in Idaho. (audience laughs). I'm just saying we need to innovate around our staff. And we need to plug in to make sure (unintelligible).
Bear: My name is Bear and I do a show called Fight the Empire and I'd like to say that communities come in all sizes. I live in the community of Brooklyn and Southeast Portland. I also live in a nation that seems hell-bent on war and sacrificing its young people. I also live in a world that also seems to be destroying itself. We need to talk about all these things. As far as global issues goes there's nothing, there's the print media in Portland that's crappy…
Lisa Loving: Not the Scanner.
Bear: The global issues. And as far as on radio goes, NPR is mediocre at best. We do things that NPR does never do, when did NPR ever have Noam Chomsky on, when did they ever have Michael Parenti on, when have they ever done Donna Shiva or any of David Parsomian's people. They have never done that. That is what KBOO is all about. We can still (unintelligible). Thank you.
FIFTH GROUP OF TEN QUESTIONS – 1:29:00
Moderator: It's just about 3:30 and were going to try to close out the circle here. And that will be the first round of people. Number one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. nine. Nine. And number 10. Number 10. Well somebody hasn't spoken. Number 10 anyone hasn't spoken yet? All right. Let's go with number one.
Unknown audience member:10 seconds
Zale Chadwick: My name is Zale Chadwick. Am I number one?
Moderator: Not anymore, you're number two.
Zale Chadwick: I don't need to go first.
Unknown audience member: Just ten seconds. Thanks to the Alliance for Democracy for getting this out the email because people like me and we've got to get a regular email list.
Zale Chadwick: Okay, so I'm Zale Chadwick. I've been a member of KBOO for 20 years. I volunteered for eight and I've been on staff for the last six years. I'm a part-time position. Only have five hours a week. It's very disturbing to me that KBOO, that the, that the KBOO board and management has contracted with HR Solutions to allow us to use their employee handbook. We don't own that handbook, we don't own the copyright to it, they own that. We've contracted with them to, to make these policies. This sort of thing that could've been done with a lot more of a community base situation. We could've gone to a community-based organizations. We could've gone to local nonprofits and we could've used their legal expertise and we could've supported ourselves. I don't like the idea of the top down management. I don't like the idea of the unitary executive. I think this is against the situation, or I guess it's against what KBOO stands for. I would like to see a lot more transparency. We were presented with a handbook that in one fail swoop eliminated many benefits, took from accrued sick time, took from privacy. We're told it's living document, we were not consulted. None of this information was shared with any of us here before it was done. I think there were some select board members, some select other volunteers who were consulted. But not in a broad open way. I think yes to promotion. Yes to sharpening our image. Yes to new and interesting programs that will catch a wide audience but I say no to reducing our content.
Moderator: Number three
John Langley: Hey everyone, I'm John Langley. I've been a KBOO member for I don't know like five years or something. I haven't really done anything volunteer wise with the station but listen. I like KBOO. I'm a proud union member at a closed shop. I'm really excited that the union to getting recognized. People are really concerned about programming and I am to. I like to see stuff like this be on the radio. And I think it's not just about programming though. Obviously it matters, like how the structure turns out and I think that obviously there are problems. This is a shakeup but you know acting out of fear, acting out of the fear of being sued is a big mistake. And the conventional wisdom about how things should be run is often exactly the opposite of what I think the values of KBOO are. I think that we have some real alternative institutions in this city that provide excellent examples of ways of doing this kind of thing successfully. There's People's co-op. It's got a big membership. It's got a collective management structure. Among the most successful if not the most successful by square foot in terms of financial. Also Alberta co-op. You know is not the same thing, but there was a fight a couple years ago and I'm really glad how that one turned out. And I want this one to turn out like that. I just want to say that to the extent that KBOO becomes OPB's little brother, it dies. No one cares, you know what I mean? OPB is much better at that than KBOO ever will. But KBOO needs to go in a better direction. Thanks.
Chris Andre: Hello, it's so great to see. It's even better to hear everybody. This is just extraordinary. I love what Rush is doing. ^As a radio station we are so concerned about what we are saying and our thoughts and getting them out there, sometimes we forget to listen. Were not perhaps good listeners. And this is an opportunity to listen for me. And what I hear is a great deal of dissatisfaction. I think in all of this business we should never have brought in the union busting business. It was not necessary. We squandered that incredibly important time and energy on something that destroys what we built so far. And the key thing I think at this point is to become better listeners and to concentrate on, for example what Jenka is doing, the news app. That's critical but if Jenka can do that think of all of the other in this room, in this circle that also have some contribution to make. That's what's critical, is to move forward with new ideas. And people who have new ideas, let's promote that. Let's not try to crush it. Let's be more controversial. Let's talk about this and other station issues on the air openly, right? You don't need a hierarchical secretive organization. There are plenty of those out there to choose from. This is KBOO. We're different.
Jim Thompson: I'm Jim Thompson, a member and a once and future volunteer. And I wanted to talk about transparency but everybody else has so I won't. And then I thought about talking about partnership involvement. What I want to talk about is what Chris just said. There's no reason why we cannot discuss station business on the air. This meeting should be live broadcast right now. It should be going out to all of those 5000 members so they know what's going on and they can get that involvement. Hey, go further than that. Air the board meetings. Air the board meetings. Broadcast them live. If not that at least please start recording them once again. That stopped I think last September. And if nothing else at least publish the meeting minutes. That's been sorely absent.
Moderator: Thank you. I think we have a response.
SW Conser: The meeting minutes are actually always online. You can go to the website. There a month behind because the board has to approve them in the next month's meeting for them to become official. So what we'll do is will send them out before the following meeting they get approved and they get posted, usually within a week depending on my workload. So they're all online.
Walt: That's too much control
Unknown audience member: Not everyone has Internet.
Walt: Put them live on the radio.
Moderator: So the question that was heard was the intention of the board it. We can all go to KBOO.fm in a minute. I think that answers that question. Number six
Grace Marion: Hi my name is Grace Marion. I'm a member former volunteer from the early part of the last decade. And I really appreciate Lynn's decision to not fight the union. I think it's a good choice but I want to bring up an issue that really came up for me. I'm reading from a letter that was written to the staff on April 26 in which it's written KBOO is dedicated to continuously enhancing our relationship with our employees. We respect your right to support or not support unions. But the KBOO foundation does not agree that union representation is in the best interest of our employees or KBOO. And I'm kinda wondering who's representing the KBOO foundation in this letter, and why Lynn would say that when there was never a board vote to approve of the union. So Lynn will you answer that question please?
Lynn Fitch: Sure. I'd love to answer that question. So when the letter was presented by the union in the middle of the membership drive, and we were in the middle as well of working on the restructure and we were about to post jobs. And when I got that letter because I'm not a union specialist I went and sought legal counsel. So…
Grace Marion: Bullard right?
Lynn Fitch: What?
Grace Marion: Bullard, right?
Lynn Fitch: No Sussman Shanks.
Paula Small's: So very quickly, I just want to address that I have been one of the board members definitely saying that at this time union representation is not the best choice for KBOO. I'm speaking as my individual self which is why I said that, thank you.
Grace Marion: You're welcome.
Paula Smalls: So basically, for me we need to focus on how to fix the deficit. Space because here's the thing, I appreciate what everyone has been saying. No one has been addressing the fact that for the last five years we've been running out of money slowly.
Grace Marion: You know what actually that wasn't my question. That wasn't my question. How does Lynn represent herself as the KBOO foundation was the question.
Paula Small's: We the board delegated that to Lynn. That's your answer.
Grace Marion: Thank you. The board. OK.
Moderator: OK, so that's the answer. I think what number seven.
John: My name is John. It's my first time here. Member since 01. Thank you Lynn for voluntarily recognizing that workers right to organize. I have two questions to you essentially. I was hoping if you would be willing to take a pledge and put this pledge in writing to terminate the corporate freeloaders and consultants and ensure workers rights and transparency. In the last question is how much have you in the board paid these corporate consultants/attorneys in the past 18 months out of our funds.
Moderator: Okay thank you. Question about a pledge to stop working with consultants.
Paula Small's: Okay so very quickly, I'm Paula Smalls the treasurer. I'm going to answer for Lynn very quickly.
Unnamed audience member: Point of order. The question was asked of Lynn and it was before and you keep answering. Is your name Lynn? Point of order.
Moderator: I hear the concerned about wanting it to be from Lynn.
Unnamed audience member: She is the ultimate source of power here.
Moderator: We'll let Paula answer. We'll just try to be brief. We're at the end here. You're doing a great everybody.
Unnamed audience member: Lynn can you stand up? It'll help us here.
Lynn: I would defer to Paula on how much we've spent on lawyers, FCC lawyers, employment lawyers. I'm sorry but I really don't know how much money we have spent over the last 18 months. I haven't even been here that long. I came here on May 1st last year and I don't have all the financials in my head. If I did I would gladly give them to you but I don't. Paula probably has the best idea because she's on the finance committee and she's the board treasurer so I can't answer that.
John: More importantly would you take a pledge to terminate these freeloaders and move forward in a process that you're now voluntarily going to acknowledge the right to organize. You call an attorney for a question that you could answer by a Google and pay them to tell you that these guys can organize is…
Moderator: OK. Great. So quick question is would you take a pledge to to end the contract with consultants and lawyers?
Lynn Fitch: No. I answer to the board in that respect.
Unknown audience member: And how about transparency?
Lynn Fitch: Well, I would really like to understand what you mean by transparency. Because I've been in the dark here as to … the word's been bantered around. If somebody can give me an explanation of what you're asking me (unintelligible).
Unknown audience member: Of operating in good faith.
Moderator: Folks, folks I want to say that we are coming really to the end of this meeting but this is not the end of the process. And I'm going to invite us to hold this container, to honor the church and honor this meeting and its function which is just to get information and have questions answered. We'll come to the close of the circle here, then this other avenues I think people can have individual conversations and there's going to be another meeting that we heard from the president is going to be called and I think that's the best we can do today. So I'm gonna, in the interest of respecting this meeting I'm going to invite us to keep going and then will finish the circle.
Lynn Fitch: There was a specific question about transparency and talking with the …
Unnamed audience member: Negotiation?
Lynn Fitch: Okay I just spoke with Madeleine. She has my personal email, my personal cell phone. We are meeting Monday. As far as Bullard Law I spoke with them. I asked them to contact the NLRB. I believe that that will be the last of the work and we will probably get part of our retainer back. As far Sussman Shanks, the board has been using Sussman Shanks for many years. I would defer to the board. If they don't want me to use Sussman Shanks as far as employment issues they're going have to tell me that because they're one of the best in the city. And as far as pledging any more, you know what, not today. Thank you.
Moderator: So, number eight.
Barbara Bernstein: I'm Barbara Bernstein. I host locus-focus. I've been involved with KBOO since 1971 with a bit of a break in the 70s. Came back in 78. Been here ever since. And I do have a memory of a lot of KBOO history. My friend Kathleen Sadazzi and me, a number of years ago when I was trying to recruit her for the KBOO board that back in the late 60s, all these organizations started. All these great counter cultural organizations started. And by the time we were talking which is probably in the mid-90s, all the organizations became either a little more formalized or little more professional or a little bit more focused or they died, except for KBOO. Nobody knows how KBOO survived in the last 45 years.
Walt: It's a miracle.
Barbara Berstein: It's a miracle. However I think things have really changed. And I think that people aren't understanding that we really are at a crisis that we haven't been at probably ever because this is the first, they call it the great recession, I would call it the second great depression that we're in. None of us that are younger than… anybody younger than me and a lot older than me, you remember anything quite as severe as what we've been through. But KBOO has faced a whole lot of these challenges were I think we really should appreciate the leadership of Lynn Fitch to lead us through. Because it's going to take a lot of creative thinking and a lot of reshaping the way we define ourselves as community radio, the way we define ourselves as a community. And that it doesn't mean that we lesson our political stances, it doesn't mean that we soften our message. It just means that we are a lot more responsible for what were doing. And the first thing that I would urge is that we really listen to the facts. One thing that's really blown my mind all afternoon is that people don't seem understand the difference between firing and laying off. For those of you who don't understand the difference, Google it and maybe you might understand what Lynn is trying to do
Unnamed audience member: And Google work-at-will too. No one seems to know anything about work-at-will.
Moderator: Okay we're going to go to number nine.
Lanny: I'm kind of the odd duck here that I'm a new member. I have been acquainted with KBOO off and on through the years. I came because I became a new member in response to your drive. I felt like KBOO is the program that I can listen to and get the kind of news and the kind of worldview that is not expressed in other medias that I am generally able to find except for if you want to go hunting and pecking around the Internet. I appreciate the shows, the diversity, the language programs, music but the politics is what made me put my dollars down. I was concerned when I heard the rumors of discontent, when I got the blurb of Lynn's, I was actually more concerned and it spurred me on to come listen into here what was happening. As a member, I want to be active, I want to be very supportive. I want to bring in more people, but I also needed to come listen and wanted to know I wasn't losing the KBOO that I knew and loved and that I wasn't supporting something that was becoming just like everything else. I studied and lived in Afghanistan for a while, the last thing I heard on NPR was about an Afghan gentleman who he and his son helped take somebody to the Baghram airport for interview. That was pretty much the last really important story that ever heard on the NPR. And I don't want that to happen to KBOO. And I appreciated all of the local stuff on chassis and all the very important things we need to address here in Portland area and this is the place to get it.
Moderator: Alright. This is our last speaker for this round.
Unnamed audience member: Point of information. Can we use the bathrooms inside?
Unnamed audience member: Yes right through here.
Moderator: That would even qualify the point of privilege. (audience laughs)
Richard: I just have a few short comments to make. My name is Richard and I am a supporter of KBOO. First is, I think there is a very fine line between underwriting and commercials. And I say that because recently I heard on NPR an underwriting segment for Walmart and another one for the Bank of America. So who are we underwriting? The other thing is I think its time in our history that we should paying a lot more attention to the boards of directors. That's all. Thank you.
Moderator: All right, thank you so much. So it is now ten to 4. We've gone once around the circle and we've had a chance to hear a bunch of voices and a bunch of really important conversations. And this is really not the end of the conversations or the end of the process. So what I would like to do at this point is identify any specific next steps either from the board or from others who are organizing specific things that are going to happen that can continue people's involvement. And I think that will take us to four.
Walt: How many other people are there? Can we take a break? People have to go to the bathroom.
Moderator: This meeting is scheduled to go to four. And it's already challenging ...
Unnamed audience member: I would just like to acknowledge Rush and the work he did today. This is a big crowd. (audience applauds)
Moderator: Okay things that are coming out of this. Next steps. One, two, three.
Hadrian: Okay, I waited till now to speak. I wanted to hear you all. Unfortunately there are a few people here who think their voices are more important than yours and I sure would hear from them again. And they interrupt. I hope not. Next steps. People want to kick out the board because they're horrible. Why are you insulting the membership? The membership elects the board. So, we're volunteers as well. Stop insulting volunteers. Stop insulting the membership that elected us. We've got an election coming up. We've heard about the need for a community advisory board. That got some boos, so we don't want to invite leaders in the Latino community, in the black community, and the Asian community to advise us about the programming? Why's that? And why don't we reach out and bring them onto our board? We have the usual suspects. The usual's suspects. It says that the board is crazy. That's because if we fire a staff person, if we kick somebody off their program, or we ban someone from the station the run to the board and people will elect them. Recruit other members from the community. We exist to serve the community, we don't just serve the members. Were a public benefit corporation. We are owned by the community. We serve the community. Let's make that a reality. We don't serve the privileged few, the middle class, the privileged few that can afford the money or can afford the time. You people help fund our effort to reach out to the community. To the underserved. Let me ask you what were the liberal progressive policies about the bluegrass guy. We get half of our major funding from the bluegrass program. We don't exist to serve our ideologies, we exist to serve the community including bluegrass.
Walt: Are you a board member?
Moderator: Thank you. OK. Number two.
Unnamed audience member: I have a confession to make. First, is that I've been a longtime KBOO member, but I have never voted for the board because I didn't know who they were really. And I said oh somebody will take care of that. Now I'm getting an idea of who the board is but there's no way to really know if you're just a member out here, who the board is and very much about them, I don't think. But at any rate, that said I just want to go on to say when is the next meeting. I think this is been very instructive to me.
Moderator: So a question about the next meeting.
SW Conser: The next board meeting is …
Unnamed audience member: No, no, not the next board meeting because I'm not a board member.
SW Conser: We don't have anything set.
Unnamed audience member: This kind of thing is absolutely good for me.
SW Conser: We'll be discussing this and letting members know.
Unnamed audience member: How?
SW Conser: We haven't had a chance to discuss it at all. This is the best we could do a short notice. That's why it's not official meeting under ORS statutes, it takes a few things to, like we said Ts to cross Is to dot but it will be announced.
Moderator: So last comment and then I think were going to close.
Mark Sherman: So I don't go to board meetings because I assume you guys are representing us, and normally you'll see people go to any board meetings until there's a problem. Even a co-op I was the only visitor at board meetings. I went to this one three months ago or five months ago but I work nights. But if you move it to the weekends I'll be able to go. The other thing is I think the board is here has heard a lot of comments. I assume a good working board would would say ho, maybe we made a couple of decisions we can revisit. So for the next board meeting I would love to see that you guys said let's change that were planning to do a little bit, let's take everybody's… you put into account and fix what we need to fix. That would be simple. Number three. I want to be able to know who my board members are which is on the website. I want web, I want email addresses and phone number so I can contact you. I couldn't find anybody in a week so if you want to be in touch with us, we need to have that situation that has to happen. Finally I called KB00 several times. Everybody was afraid to speak to me. I hope that fear can be resolved. That's a board issue because it's in-house. I don't need to know how that's resolved on air, I want it resolved. And I think that if things were more transparent and transparent to me is if there is a change at KB00 that's so fundamental that I'm upset, I need to know that. OK? When you had the last fundraiser I should've known that you guys were in debt cycle of kicked up my pledge a little bit, OK? If we knew what was going on you wouldn't be in this situation, and if you weren't having a problem with you staff, you wouldn't have had to have a union drive, you wouldn't of had to hire lawyers. Fix the problems you need to fix. Nobody saying walk but let's get some positive change going so we don't have to do it.
Moderator: All right everybody, so it's five till four and what I'm going to suggest is that we close this meeting. You've heard a lot of people speak. If you want to talk with somebody else here, organizer another meeting, organize how to help bring some of these perspectives into KB00 through the committees, through other things. You saw the board members that are here, you can either speak to them now if you're able to stay around or find out how to communicate with them. Come the board meetings. Or you can speak to each other. If anyone's going to stick around for a few minutes…
Walt: I've been 42 years on KB00, I wanted to do two sentences. KBOO is a jewel.
Moderator: Two sentences. KB00 is a jewel…
Walt: You better protect it. Don't let corporation legalism steal the station from out of your community. Your community. Your democracy. Take care of it.
Moderator: Alright so if you're willing to stick around and talk to other people for a minute, raise your hand so you can kind of accumulate together. All right. And I want to thank everyone for coming out. It was really inspiring.
End of transcript – 1:58:30
This transcript begins when members moved outside and is affected by wind noise and distance of some of the speakers from the recorder. It is as accurate as possible and literal in that it is how people said exactly what they said and is therefore not corrected for grammar. Monikers are given and/or names are approximated in pronunciation and spelling. Although a transcription program was used, I still had to read it. Please forgive errors in punctuation and spelling. This transcript is searchable by names, numbers, keywords and phrases. This transcription as well as the audio file will be posted on the KBOO website. Both the transcript and the audio begin at time zero for easy cross-referencing. It is recommended that they be used together. - Don Merrill
- Artist: KBOO Tabor Space 050413 Audio
- Title: KBOO Special Membership Meeting @ Tabor Space 050413
- Length: 118:28 minutes (108.47 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)