URGENT – Help Save Austin Community Public Radio
24 07, 2009  - todd

[I received this from Cleve and Mary Hattersley of Greezy Wheels, via Gary Oliver. Don’t let Austin erode any further!]


From: Cleve Hattersley
Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2009 8:48:59 AM
Subject: Urgent – Help Save Austin’s Community Public Radio! Urgent!
Howdy Friends, Fans, Students, Teachers, Associates and Concerned Community Members,

I’m blind copying everyone, so that privacy can be maintained (for the moment), but trust that this is going out to EVERYONE I know and everyone THEY know. And it’s not just me speaking. We are already a large and rapidly growing group of angry people that includes large individual and corporate sponsors, entertainment icons, members of the media, legal advisors, and political, community and civic leaders.

I am writing in anger. I just want y’all to know this before I start. I’m pissed because someone has taken away my public radio station, or at least the part of that radio station that I consider mine, the part that speaks to my heart and the hearts of those around me. KUT has eviscerated the schedules of Paul Ray and Larry Monroe, not just two of my most beloved on-air representatives, but two of my favorite human beings. And not only has KUT taken away almost all their programming, they’ve replaced it with a show taped in California. California!

Lee Cooke, our former mayor, has met on our behalf with the person responsible for this decision. He is one Stewart Vanderwilt. Stewart has actually been at the station ten years and should know this was a decision that should never have been made. Lee gave this viewpoint to Stewart: the community – especially the one that pays for the station – needs to have a say in who they want on the air. Stewart listened to his suggestions, but did not appear to be convinced.

Stewart believes the station is heading in the right direction. It seems he has based his decision on the ratings of KUT’s programs. What everyone needs to know is that these “ratings” are, in fact, conducted within a random cross-section of the entire local market and include people who may never listen to or maybe never even heard of KUT. Even the folks at Arbitron admit the ratings are a random sampling – we asked.

Larry and Paul have each been on KUT for over twenty-five years because the community wants them on the air, and I guarantee you not a single voice has ever been raised to get them off the air, either. The moment the story becomes about ratings points, the ‘community’ in community public radio is lost. This is about who we chose to express our views and convey our feelings, who represents us in music and commentary. Yes, we want to be connected to the world, and we want to be a part of NPR, but this is a unique village that deserves its unique voices on its unique radio station.

Stewart needs to be reminded that eighty to eighty-five percent of KUT’s operating capital comes from the Austin community, that there is a solemn compact between KUT – whether written or merely understood – binding this station as OUR community public radio station, and that you, as citizens of our fair city, have the power to make good things happen here.

I don’t know about you, but I want Larry Monroe and Paul Ray reinstated to their full program schedules. I want this, because, when I turn on the radio, I want to hear what my DJ is playing, no matter which DJ it is, or what he or she is playing at that moment. I live in Austin. I want to hear what Austin’s saying to me. I don’t want to hear what’s groovy in California.

And I want them returned to their full schedules with no format restrictions. I want the choices of songs played on KUT in the hands of the individual DJs who have earned our trust with their taste for years, rather than in the hands of a music committee. As soon as “formats” are introduced to public radio, freedom of expression is doomed.

I’d like each and everyone of you who cares about this to help me. We need to meet, and that means everyone who wants to come. As soon as I know how many are coming, I’ll find the right place, and we’ll make a date. It’ll be in the next ten to fifteen days.

First, contact me at this email address! I need volunteers to help with several things, including event planning, phone banking, and production. I need you rock star friends to pony up a date for performance – we’re gonna have several. And I need legal help. There is a precedence of legal remedy – WDET in Detroit sued successfully in a similar circumstance.

Withhold your contributions!
The quickest way to achieve a good result!

Blog it big!

Make this message viral!
Send it to everyone you know. Ask them to do the same.

Reach out to sponsors and contributors for support!
Ask them to withhold their contributions.

Send emails, cards and letters to KUT! Do not stop!
If we gather together as a good village should, and enough pressure is applied, perhaps Stewart will cave and we won’t have to pull out the heavy artillery. If he doesn’t:

Cleve Hattersley
Greezy Wheels
Part Of This Community

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