“Please donate to us to save a grief-stricken family by donating to Las Vegas Public Radio…” begins the news-ticker-like crawl on the website of KIOF-LP [link]. Visitors are urged to contribute using PayPal. If you do contribute, Las Vegas Public Radio promises to send you a receipt and the name of the family you are helping.
|Screen Shot of LVPR News-Ticker|
The pitch ends reminding visitors that the recent mass shooting is the Worst tragedy in Las Vegas history. No information is provided explaining how or why a donation to the station is helping grief stricken families.
It appears that Las Vegas Public Radio is using the tragedy as a way to get people to contribute to the station. I hope I am wrong but this appears to be a scam.
We reached out to Greg LaPorta, founder and manager of KIOF-LP, for more information. He had not replied when this story was published. If/when LaPorta does reply we will publish his response.
KIOF, licensed to Las Vegas Public Radio (LVPR), is a low-power FM station that went on the air in 2016. It serves Las Vegas at 97.9 FM with a power of 250-watts. KIOF is not affiliated with Nevada Public Radio (KNPR), National Public Radio or any other public radio organization. Spark News did an extensive report on LaPorta and LVPR in October 2016 [LINK].
KIOF might be called a family business. According to an article in the Las Vegas Review Journal [link], Greg LaPorta is the President and CEO of LVPR. Greg’s son, Andy LaPorta is credited on the station’s website as the station's manager. Plus, Greg’s wife, Joanna LaPorta, is Secretary/Treasurer of LVPR.
BATTLING Weak-Kneed Yes-Men
Greg LaPorta is no stranger to controversy. Last week Dru Sefron from Current first reported [link] that LaPorta filed a lawsuit against the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the FCC after being rejected for a Community Service Grant from CPB.
In the complaint, LaPorta alleges that CPB "impermissibly erected a barrier" to its grant program because it is "extremely bias (sic) towards LVPR.
The suit, filed in US District Court alleges that CPB denied LVPR’s request for a waiver of CPB’s rules. CPB requires that new applicants provide evidence of minimum financial support and minimum audience size. After CPB rejected LVPR’s waiver request, they denied the application.
At that point, LaPorta and LVPR filed suit against CPB and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
A GRAB BAG OF COMPLAINTS
In the suit, LVPR cites a long list of grievances:
• LVPR claims that CPB had a duty under the First Amendment to "make appropriate correction in LVPR's application."
• LVPR asserts that "there is no creditable proven scientific evidence or data to support Nielsen’s claims" of audience size.
• LVPR feels that CPB’s decision violates federal equal protection and due process standards.
|Image from LVPR website|
• LVPR alleges that “CPB and FCC boards are full of weak-kneed yes-men who won't rock the taxpayer funded gravy train that everyone on the inside benefits from.”
• LVPR further alleges that a conspiracy exists by officials from CPB and the FCC to deny LVPR funding:
"LVPR recognizes that one of two possibilities exists: The board members [of CPB and the FCC] act in concert, individualluy (sic), privately and outside of LVPR's public application process..”
“Both CPB and FCC discussed killing LVPR's applications before the carefully orchestrated show and denial of CSG benefits by CPB and power increases by the FCC... because moving forward it will open doors for other LPFM applicants to enter the CSG program."
No evidence to support these allegations is provided.
|Station Manager Andy Laporta|
• LVPR claims that “…the addition of the letters "LP" to the station's call sign is "discriminatory, exclusionary and confiscatory," because it is a ‘turn off’ to underwriters.”
• LVPR asked the court to subpoena information “for bias comparison purposes” on “stimulus funds” that LVPR claims CPB gave to several public radio stations.
• LVPR wants the court to appoint a pro-bono attorney because it claims to be operating with a $90,000 deficit.
In compensation, LVPR seeks $1,742,364 in punitive damages plus $56,000 from CPB's Radio Program Fund and other monetary damages. Also, LVPR wants the FCC to give LVPR a power increase, wants the FCC to stop making the station from having to use "-LP" call letters, wants to be able to sell advertising, and wants the FCC to reassign one of the other stations in the market among those in multiple-station clusters to LVPR.
I am NOT making this up. These are LVPR’s actual demands.
REALITY HAS A WAY OF GETTING YOUR ATTENTION
Apparently LaPorta is acting as his own attorney. The lawsuit was filed against CPB and the FCC. They are entities, not people. Law and precedent require that a suit be filed against the individual (or individuals) who are in charge of an entity.
Because of the errors, last week a District Court judge gave LVPR and LaPorta until October 27th to file the correct paperwork.