KOTO | ‘Perhaps It Is Time to Focus on Radio Programming’



I would like to address the Commentary by Beth Lamberson Warren regarding the letter that I read to the SMEF Board at their monthly meeting in July.

I take personal offense at the accusation that I invited a reporter to the meeting to listen to me “grandstand” and “attack the professionalism of KOTO’s ED.” I assume that she is referring to The Watch’s Marta Tarbell. In fact, I had never met nor communicated with Marta Tarbell prior to that meeting, and only did so afterward when she approached me and asked if she could have a copy of said letter. I said yes and indicated that she could publish it if she were so inclined.

Ms. Lamberson accuses me of a “veiled attack” on the Executive Director. This was no veiled attack. When I heard of the decision to pull the plug on the planned broadcast on Wednesday prior to the festival, I went into Dina Koebler’s office to voice my personal opinion directly to her. Knowing that my opinion was likely falling on deaf ears, I felt the need to reiterate it for the record at the Board Meeting.

I think that most people have missed my point (Suzanne Cheavens included.) I realize that when the decision was made to pull the plug on the broadcast, it probably was prudent, due to inadequate planning. The point was that the process to produce this broadcast should have commenced much sooner than it did.

Here is a quote from a letter from the SMEF Board of Directors that I received via email on March 6 entitled KOTO – Just the Facts: “KOTO has three assets that are equally vital to our survival – our 501c3 status, our FCC license and our membership. All three were components of recent decisions to focus KOTO resources on radio programming versus special events.”

If, back in March, this was the mandate from the Board to the ED, to focus on radio programming, why was the process of producing a broadcast of KOTO’s own music festival not put into motion back then? If it were started in a timely fashion, would the planned broadcast have been pulled from the airwaves three days before it was to go on the air? I doubt it.

Ms. Lamberson concludes with the point that professional change has been brought to KOTO by the ED, citing compliance issues with regulatory agencies and broadcasting companies, which I applaud. But perhaps it is time to find someone to focus on radio programming.

James Loo is a KOTO Donor and Former DJ

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