Last year when I ran for the board I said in big letters “TRANSPARENCY MAKES GOOD RADIO.”
I told about how much I love the KZYX, how it is "the most important media organization in the county" and how I learned so much when I served on the board, and how important it is to raise money and how raising money depends in the long run "on the quality of communication with us, the members" because "we give more when we know what is going on and our voice is heard."
I daringly proposed that the board "open up it's closed on-line discussion group," the listserv that the board uses to talk among themselves between meeting.
At the candidates show, all us board candidates got to talk about why we were running for the board. I found it hard to get a point across in that round-robin format. I tried to stick to the point that the board should INTERACT with the membership and be TRANSPARENT about what's going on. My opponent, David Hopmann, then the president of the board, didn’t like the idea much and he won. I got about 42% of the vote. That's quite a bit of interest for an idea that board doesn't even want to discuss. (Bob Page, a new board member said that he would put these ideas in front of the board but I haven't heard anything yet.)
I'm not concerned about winning the election. Rather I'm trying to get across to the members and the station, that our community radio station could and should be a model for what we want (and don't have) in local government. Transparency and interactivity don't need a particular person: they need some actual mechanisms to guarantee them. I mean, for heavens sake, folks, this is a small radio station, It doesn't need to be run like a big corporation. The board is not the CIA. We don't need the secrecy and we don't need all the rules about what board members can or can't say and who they should or shouldn't talk to.
I was out of sorts, last year too, because the station had just dropped an energetic new reporter and it seemed like John Coate, the General Manager, wasn't really trying anymore to develop a "dynamic investigative news team." I don't see much improvement in that.
And another thing, the board and staff don't seem to know the HISTORY of the station. Toward that end I am updating "The Secret Life Of KZYX" (the pamphlet I wrote in 2005) available at www.greenmac.com.
But for all that, I appreciate the work of the board, the GM, the staff and the programmers. Thanks for keeping the station alive.