To the KZYX Board Of Directors
Re. Crises of Transparency at KZYX
Dear Doug Livingston and other members of the KZYX board,
The current crisis at the station, and especially the layoff of Christina Aanestad, is alarming. Not only for the fact but also because of the surprise to all of us.
As a interested member of KZYX, I feel left out, the same way I felt before I came on the board back in 2003. For two years I tried along with a few others to open up communication between the board and the membership, between the board and the programmers, and between the board and the staff. The experience caused me to write a pamphlet "The Secret Life Of KZYX," the title chosen to point to the lack of transparency at the station. The pamphlet caused a huge uproar and a campaign to get rid of me, which succeeded (see below).
I realized then that that the KZYX board was split between two camps: "centrists" and "egalitarians." There were a lot of issues at the time, including the fact that the station was dominated by an entrenched circle of local valley folks. Most of the staff were from Anderson Valley, the station manager was the sister-in-law of the board president, and the board had fallen into the routine of letting the station manager make all the important decisions.
After I left the board a new manager, Belinda Rawlings, was chosen. I gave a copy of my writing to Belinda, and to my pleasant surprise, she appreciated my critique. Belinda took charge and things seemed to chang in a good way . The clique was broken up and no longer exists so far as I can tell and the news programming and many other things improved vastly. I was so satisfied that I stopped worrying about the station and stopped going to board meetings. It seemed that Belinda had solved the problems.
But I noticed that one important thing did not chang: Belinda herself was forthcoming, but there was no effort to keep the membership really informed, and I suppose the board fell back into the old "let the manager do the job" attitude. I had asked and hoped that some mechanisms would be created to insure that concerned members could find out what problems were coming up. Among other things I suggested that the board set up and conduct a regular monthly show, controlled by the board (not management) in which board members would openly discuss the issues before the board. That never happened for sure.
In my opinion, if KZYX is to be a truly community station, the board must be more proactive and transparent about its deliberations. It would benefit us all if you would treat the membership as a source of intelligence and problem solving and not just a target for fund raising.
We need more than a website where we can submit messages to you, although I appreciate that.
Back in 2005, I wrote:
"In the meantime there's been an election, in which I ran again for the board, against a nice person by the name of Jane Futcher and I lost. So I'm off the board. That will certainly save me a lot of time and heartache. . . . Unfortunately, Zac Zackary also lost which means that there is no one left on the board who can be trusted to report what is actually happening. The veil of "confidentiality" once again settles over the board. Egalitarian sympathizers, Lynda McClure. and newly elected Jane Futcher (not to mention Antonio Lamb and Mike Grady) are unlikely to directly challenge the "centrists" and their restrictive notion of what members are allowed to know."
So Doug and other board members, do you think there is merit to this critique?
King Collins, firstname.lastname@example.org
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