Friday, June 15, 2018


Katie Whiteside (photo courtesy of 
Kevin Hoover, Mad River Union)

Our story last Tuesday about KHSU’s new GM and the subsequent firing of PD/Ops Manager Katie Whiteside generated lots of traffic. 

Our post went viral and, as of this writing, has had over 2,000 page views – a big day for this little blog.

Most readers felt KHSU’s licensee, Humboldt State University, did a poor job of vetting the person they chose to be GM.   

Fred Fletcher-Fierro, Morning Edition Host & Producer at KRPS in Pittsburg, Kansas, pointed out that perhaps Whiteside was a rival for the GM job:

Fred Fletcher-Fierro
Fletcher-Fierro: Nice article about the unfortunate situation up on the beautiful northern California coast. I used to live in both Arcata and Eureka. It can be incredibly difficult to adjust to living up there. You really have to embrace the local traditions and cultures to meet people there. 

[The story] reads like a public radio outsider clashing with long time establish employees. Without knowing anything about the situation other than reading your article I would have to say that Katie perhaps wanted the GM job but Humboldt State hired somebody else. 

Anyway... Katie's profile is still up on the KHSU website [link].


Tom Taylor
Our friend and fellow blogger/journalist Tom Taylor [link] found greater value in Pew Research Center’s report about the state of public radio and TV news than we did. Taylor thinks the report provides a useful overview of three public radio networks – NPR, APM and PRI. We criticized the report for omitting PRX and felt it added no new perspective for people who work in public radio.

Taylor knows his audience – the movers and shakers of commercial radio (and their bankers) – and tailor’s [bad pun] his content for them. Our readers include some of the movers and shakers of public radio and found little of value in the Pew report for them.

Read the report and decide for yourself.  Download it here.


Lindsay Wood Davis
Our story last week about internal conflicts at Mendocino County’s KZYX [link] that led to fights and food-flinging at a meeting of the station’s Community Advisory Board brought this comment from Lindsay Wood Davis, manager and co-founder of WVMO-LP in Madison, Wisconsin:

Davis: I'll bet that is the first time that the term, "garlic fries" has ever made it into a broadcasting newsletter! Great report, Ken! Hilarious and awful at the same time.

KEN SAYS: Davis is probably correct. We haven’t seen “garlic fries” cited in a media news report either. We think the biggest takeaway from the KZYX story is Don’t hold Board meetings in a bar.

BTW – Check out WVMO online [link]. It is one of the most innovative LPFM stations in the nation.


In late April [link] we reported that Brigham Young University (BYU) decided not to scrap Classical music on KBYU because of protests by Classical fans. KBYU is keeping Classical and BYU purchased another Salt Lake City station for Mormon Oriented Radio (“MOR”).

BYU previously had announced they would change KBYU’s format to a format featuring locally produced Mormon music and talk programming. We listened to samples of BYU’s “MOR” shows and said such narrow-niche programming will not draw enough listeners to be sustainable.

Spark News reader Don McCullen has a different take on the potential popularity of Mormon programming:

McCullen: Let me tell you right now Ken, that LDS’s Talk format (a/k/a “Up With Mormon” radio), will work in Salt Lake City, just as Hawaiian musical styles work in Honolulu. These are formats that truly are regional, and can only work in certain communities.

Mormon Talk may not be in the top five but it will have a significant draw. Salt Lake City’s KSFI-FM [link] also plays a mix of LDS music such as hymns and choral anthems all Sunday long. It is a Sunday institution.

Michael Dunn
KEN SAYS: We trust McCullen’s word about the appeal of Mormon programming in Salt Lake City.  Mormon music?  We’ve always thought it was any tune released by members of the Osmond family.

Over the years I have done consulting work for religious organizations involved in national program syndication. They often have a different interpretation of “success.” Rather than using the typical metrics such as ratings, revenue and sustainability to evaluate their work, they grade it on an eternal, Godly scale.

This is probably what BYU’s programming guru, Michael Dunn, meant when talked the value of BYU’s “Up With Mormon” format:

One of the few pressures we don’t have is monetization pressure. Our clarion call is to do better work.

In other words, it doesn’t matter if anyone else listens to BYU’s programs. They are successful if Dunn likes them and considers them "better work."

1 comment:

  1. P.S. You might remember those "I'm not a Moonie" signs with the people that used to sell flowers on the street. For the record, I am not a Mormon...just a person who was trained in radio and loves the business and is looking for his niche.