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Responses to the Minority Report

Todd Telfer
KZYX Programmer: "Rockin' Pneumonia"

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Mr. Collins,

I don't believe we have met, but I am a music programmer on KZYX&Z with a show called "Rockin' Pneumonia" on Wednesday nights at 10 pm. I have heard you call in several times to "Phone Booth at the End of The Universe" while I was driving home to Ukiah. What you said there always made some sense to me, but I never got to hear your complete train of thought without interruption, so I was glad to read your recent email to the programmers (provided to us via Lynda McClure) and the online "Excerpts from THE SECRET LIFE OF KZYX: A MINORITY REPORT".

Some of what you have written sounds good - at least on paper:
"Sharing information openly between staff and board" and ,nviting membership contribution to station policies, programming etc.

As I'm not on the board, I have very little way of knowing what the status quo is, so I have no business trying to defend it.

However, in my experience as an engineer in manufacturing companies, and in my limited knowledge of the workings of KZYX, I have formed an opinion that an organization works best when there is a hierarchy with one person being given final say. Of course it is important for the person in charge to take input from others in the organization, as well as to understand the final needs of the "customer". However, taking input is not the same as relinquishing decision-making power.

There are no doubt certain aspects of the way KZYX works that need to be changed. I applaud you for trying to identify those aspects and make them known to us all (the membership). Hopefully your concerns will be addressed and resolved one way or another.

I'd like to give you my 2 cents though about the "Egalitarian" approach you describe. Engineers often speak with derision about anything that is "designed by committee". The reason for this is that no one person is responsible for the end result, and it is possible for an entire project to be completed without any one committee member being satisfied with the results. 100% democracy sounds warm and fuzzy, but when real results are required, it is seldom efficient or even advisable.

I personally would much rather have a strong hierarchy - program director, station manager, board, and board president, etc. than a nebulous programming committee, and an ever-filibustering, no-one-in-charge board. Of course, there needs to be a way to go up the hierarchy if, for instance, the program director makes an arbitrary decision about a programmer's show, but assuming everyone in the hierachy is competent, that should rarely be an issue.

Incompetence is a very real possibility, but incompetent staff should be let go and incompetent board members voted out on first opportunity. If the board president himself is incompetent, or not acting with the best interests of the station in mind, I trust people on the board, like yourself would let us know fairly quickly.

I would love to hear more about how the board and staff can operate more efficiently, or can better meet the needs of the members and the general public, but I personally do not agree that making things "egalitarian" is the answer. I foresee endless discussions and very few actions if that approach is taken.

Thanks for your time, and good luck in your endeavors.


Todd Telfer

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