An Open Letter to KXCI
Listeners & Members
Why we placed this ad
As many of you are aware,
there is a current dispute about KXCI. A former board member and a group of former programmers demand changes in current KXCI
board composition, policies and management. Unfortunately, most people have only been exposed to one side of the story. That
benefits no one and is a disservice to KXCI, its members and listeners. We hope this statement provides you with a more balanced
view of the situation.
What is KXCI Community
KXCI is a community radio
station managed by the non-profit Foundation for Creative Broadcasting. The Foundation is composed of voting members and managed
by a Board of Directors. The Foundation operates KXCI with a very small professional staff and over 100 volunteers. During
our 20 year history, the station has survived several very public controversies. KXCI is often the center of disagreements
about how best to serve our very diverse community. We have resolved these disagreements in the past, just as the members
and the Board will reach resolution on this controversy in a way that ensures that KXCI will continue to serve Tucson for the
next 20 years and more.
What's this all about?
This group of ex-DJ's
and an ex-Board member who want these changes call themselves "The Democracy Initiative." They have organized a petition for
a special election to change the by-laws of the Foundation. They have gone to the press to launch unfounded charges against
the Board and the station. The management of KXCI and Board members have met with representatives of the Initiative and heard
their complaints. Some of their points are valid, and are under consideration by the Board. Other of their ideas have already
been tried by KXCI and have been proven to fail. Unfortunately, it seems that the Initiative Group wants to force the Board
to accept their every idea, regardless of the consequences.
Wrong at KXCI?"
That's what the petitioners
say. The Initiative Group states that "something has gone radically wrong at KXCI." That is absolutely false. By any reasonable
standard, KXCI is better off today than at any time in its history. What is the state of the station?
* Four times more people
listen to KXCI every week now than did five years ago.
* Membership reached
its highest level ever in 2003, with contributions by members at the highest average amount ever.
* Underwriting for 2003
reached its highest level in station history.
* KXCI continues to provide
the most diverse music programming of any station in Arizona, with Blues, Gospel,
progressive Country, Bluegrass and lots more.
* KXCI continues to air
Democracy Now and other diverse political viewpoints not available on conservative commercial radio.
* In 2003, KXCI donated
nearly $200,000 in airtime to Tucson community organizations and non profits that
have no other access to electronic media.
* The station's financial
health is the best it has ever been.
* The Corporation for
Public Broadcasting has honored KXCI as a flagship station.
KXCI is growing stronger
every day. This wasn't always the case. In the mid -90's KXCI faced near bankruptcy. Only vigorous, positive action by the
Board and station management turned the station around.
What is the Real Issue?
If "something is terribly
wrong at KXCI" and "big changes" are needed to solve the problem, the Initiative Group must be very unhappy with KXCI now.
The critical question is: What does this group want to change about KXCI once they have changed the composition of the Board
and have taken control? Some Initiative members have proposed cutting back on music programming to add more talk, others want
to replace staff with volunteer committees, and some suggest rejecting funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
If those are their goals, they should say so. If they have other plans, they should reveal those as well.
Where do we go from here:
The BOD clearly recognizes
the right of the Initiative Group to petition for an election. The BOD will do everything according to the FCB bylaws and
Arizona regulations to fulfill our obligations in this matter. Despite the accusations
of some members of the Initiative, every member of the KXCI community supports democracy, no one more strongly than the Board
Over the next few weeks,
the Board will proceed with several initiatives to resolve the current dispute:
* The Board will strictly
follow Arizona law and the FCB bylaws in responding to the petition drive for
a bylaw election. We will do so in a manner which will ensure the validity of the process. FCB bylaws clearly state that the
Initiative Group must pay all costs for this special election, and we will require that they do so, so that members aren't
stuck with the bill.
* The BOD will open a
website which will include extensive information which the members should have access to in this process.
* The General Manager
will be available to respond to listener and member questions and concerns. Check the KXCI website for details.
A Possible Solution
The Board has met with
Carl Moore, a nationally renowned mediator and conflict resolution expert. In a good faith effort to resolve these contentious
issues without the turmoil of what could be a very acrimonious election, we have offered the Initiative Group the opportunity
to join with us in a fair and impartial public mediation of all areas of concern. We invite all KXCI members, KXCI listeners
and others in the Tucson community to join us in this conflict 'resolution process.
We hope the members of the Initiative take this opening for the good of KXCI.
This mediation is only
the first step in a series of public meetings and initiatives to bring all members of the Tucson
community into the Board's planning process for the future of KXCI.
We trust that this open
letter helps clear up the confusion and concern that some members and listeners have expressed. The Board and KXCI staff will
do whatever we can to move this conflict to a positive resolution in the best interests of KXCI, its members and underwriters.
The Executive Committee,
Board of Directors, FCB/KXCI
Lil Espinoza, Jean-Paul
Genet, Kathleen Williamson, James Hannley, Tom Spendiarian
PAGE 16 * TUCSON
WEEKLY * FEBRUARY I2-FEBRUARY 18, 2004