This is an extraordinary letter. Squint at it. I've never seen one like it.
Consider the Board of Directors, at the bottom. These are the directors of a controversial and floundering radio station. The skimpy I.D.'s of each raise more questions than they answer (like, what interest does a health-club manager in Santa Rosa have in a Mendocino public-radio station?). Lots of others. How enlightened and "progressive", on average, are realtors?
I reject nonsense about "balance" at KZYX, meaning the business and conservative communities deserve equal air time--or any promised time-allotment, anymore than Islam should be entitled to build a minaret in the Vatican. The Mendocino radio audience can be considered in the light of our voter registration. Democrats, Greens, Independents and Peace-and-Freedom voters represent a much higher share here than elsewhere, so the question of what's "middle ground" in this demographic will yield an answer that is unique to this place. It's as Left-leaning here as the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The radio station has always been more conventional and Establishment-friendly than its listeners. (It was founded by a wine salesman.)
In other words, the socio-political "neutral" place here is not the same (duh!) as it is in Dallas, Texas, Charleston, South Carolina or Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This is obvious, but it is inevitably overlooked (except by those who benefit from ignoring the Environmental-Progressive people in favor of the chamber-of-commerce people, in the station's decisions).
Station management will counter this by pointing out all the folk-friendly shows on air. None has had keen-enough teeth to add any note to the coastal breeze, and the station's management, far from fostering the "OUR THING" jubilation that has characterized, say, KMUD (to name just one of numerous good stations), keeps the shades drawn as much as the law allows.
Consider, too, that wherever there is a money stream, as there is whenever KZYX has a pledge drive, there is always somebody with a straw stuck in that stream. It is folly to assume that things are on the up & up there.
The State of the Station, February 2014
We are eight of the nine Directors on the Board of Mendocino County Public Broadcasting. We are pleased to report on the remarkable STATE OF THE STATION.
We know that KZYX&Z is financially secure.
We know that the station is ready and able to provide the community with critical, lifesaving information and news when needed in an emergency.
We know that we offer programs that listeners enjoy and depend on hearing in their daily lives.
We know that the station has a devoted, stable membership.
We know that the station is making necessary technical improvements to its infrastructure and equipment to improve our signals and minimize/eliminate downtime.
And we know that we owe much of this progress, this success, to the efforts and accomplishments of our General Manager John Coate and his staff.
We give our General Manager full credit for turning around the stationâ??s finances. When John Coate was hired in 2008, KZYX was more than $200K in debt. At this time (Feb. 17, 2014) we have more money in the bank than we owe. We could pay every bill we have, past and present, and still have funds in the bank. Our $75K line of credit has not been touched since November, and has been untouched for 8 out of the past 12 months.
For the past 3 years our audits, prepared by an independent professional, have included a cover letter declaring that there are no irregularities or problems with our bookkeeping and accounting practices.
John retired $116K in old debts last fiscal year. He restructured our remaining debt into a single no-interest monthly payment, which we have made without fail for almost two years.
John reorganized our membership department to ensure more timely and consistent mailings, such as pledge acknowledgement letters.
John shares all financial information with the Board in a way that is prompt and upfront. During his tenure as GM he has become an expert in managing a highly unpredictable cash flow and implementing cost control measures.
We installed a new backup power generator at the Philo studio. In the past, the entire station would go off the air every winter, sometimes for days at a time, due to power failure. This no longer happens.
Now we have a new Emergency Alert System a new main control console in Philo a new state-of-the-art antenna for KZYX 90.7 a new and improved program automation system a digital storage unit to begin building a comprehensive digital music library. backup equipment for various parts of the signal path resulting in far less downtime when something breaks We have changed the way the satellite studios connect to Philo, saving hundreds of dollars each month in phone charges.
We rebuilt every part of the equipment required for the 88.1 signal on Bald Hill above Fort Bragg. Now it is trouble-free.
We replaced the unit that converts audio to a radio signal to a higher quality unit that greatly improves the fidelity of the broadcast.
We completely rebuilt the kzyx.org website in 2012, relying primarily on the efforts of staff and volunteers
There have been numerous improvements to office and studio components such as computers, microphones, CD players, etc. and the Philo studio building has been rewired for better reliability.
We have a dedicated volunteer staff of about 100 programmers who provide a quality product, week in and week out. We have 31 local programmers and 17 local programs on the air today that were not on the air in August 2008 when John began. These include Mendo Matters, Give and Take, Consider This, The Sonic Blender, Portrait in Jazz as well as many others. We are constantly looking to update our programming to keep it fresh, and we continue to welcome new programmers and new program ideas that will help us to better serve our community. We expanded our local news coverage with the addition of Michael Kisslinger and veteran reporter and producer Sheri Quinn.
We, the undersigned trustees on the MCPB Board of Directors, are very grateful to John Coate and to his A-Team staff for their excellent contributions to our station. We are diverse, independent-minded individuals who believe wholeheartedly that they are doing a fine job of day-to-day management, and that they are moving the station forward in the right strategic direction.
February 17, 2014
Eliane Herring, Board President, Attorney (admitted to practice in Wash. D.C. and Tex., not Cal.); Holly Madrigal, Board Vice-President, Mayor of Willits; Meg Courtney, Board Secretary, Vice-Mayor of Ft. Bragg; Stuart Campbell, Programmer-Elected Representative, College Professor; Fran Koliner, Retired Teacher, Visual Artist; Bob Page, Managing Partner, Airport Health Club, Santa Rosa; Laviva Dakers, Mother and KZYX programmer; Ed Keller, Realtor and Property Development Consultant