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Problems of the
Satellite Studios

Excerpted from The Minority Report

Some of the difficulties encountered by the satellite studios are engineering problems. These should begin to recede as we learn to use the new digital technology that is currently being installed (see Engineering below). But there are also social issues. Many of the satellite studio workers and programmers (all of whom are volunteers) feel that they are treated like second class citizens by the station staff in Philo. They say their complaints about inadequate equipment, equipment failures, and technical glitches, have been neglected. One can hardly blame anyone in particular, but once again, if the board were brought into the discussion, we would at least be able to offer our skills and help find solutions.

In Ukiah, we encountered another problem. On December 9, 2003, Ukiah residents turned out in record numbers at the KZYX/Z board meeting to support the establishment of a Ukiah satellite studio. In the presence of so much support, including a city councilman and a county supervisor, the board voted unanimously to establish a committee, with me as the chair, to create a satellite studio in the Ukiah area as soon as possible. After the committee began to meet, we selected Doug Hundley as the coordinator for the Ukiah studio, and me as “board liaison.”

The Ukiah studio committee thought—as did everyone I know who attended the December 9 meeting—that we were expected to move ahead and begin to implement the board’s mandate to create the satellite studio. We soon discovered that our progress had to be very closely monitored by the GM, Diane Hering. We were not allowed to control the money ($6,000) that had already been donated for the Ukiah studio; Any letters sent out for promotion had to be OKed by Diane. Doug Hundley entered into lengthy negotiations with Diane to get us underway, but finally he gave up. His lengthy reports are a study in great patience and frustration. Meanwhile, the board Centrist majority attempted to backtrack on its agreement. When Tony Miksak became president, he discontinued the Ukiah Studio Committee, and therefore me as chair.

I raised the question of how and why a committee established by unanimous vote of the board (on Dec. 9) could be eliminated by the new board president four months later. Once again the board split: the Egalitarians supported the group acting to create the studio, and the Centrists voted as a majority to support the General Manager’s delaying tactics and the board president’s elimination of the Ukiah committee.
Faced with this situation, the leaders of the Ukiah Studio Committee decided to withdraw from the immediate effort to create a satellite studio. The studio activists instead invested their energy in the budding KMEC station, which recently began broadcasting to the Ukiah area from a newly-constructed studio.

What this series of events shows is how little support there is for independent activity coming from outside the Philo studio. The loss is not only to Ukiah residents, but to the entire membership. In fact, the Ukiah group includes individuals with digital and webcasting expertise who would be helpful in dealing with the engineering problems we now have at Philo and the other studios. But the Philo folks have shown no interest in asking them for support.

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King Collins

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