GUEST COMMENTARY | What’s Going on at KOTO Community Radio?

KOTO is Community Radio at its Purest. The phrase “KOTO community” used to refer to our local community. Now with the Internet broadcast of the KOTO signal, the KOTO community now spans the globe. The decision to not broadcast The Ride festival did a huge disservice to the KOTO community.

For those that live and work in Telluride, many ticketholders had to miss out on parts of what was a weekend full of terrific music. To have an opportunity to hear what you’re missing during those times when you cannot physically be in Town Park is amazing. For our far-flung community members, being able to hear the festival broadcast from coast to coast and beyond is even better. Some might argue that listening to the festival from afar might compel music lovers to attend the festival in person next year.

I know there are many excuses as to why the decision was made.

– Not getting authorizations from talent

– Not having a production team that was ready to do the broadcast

– A perceived negative impact on ticket sales

None of these excuses hold up under closer inspection. The process to get this production on the air should have been initiated well in advance, which would have avoided the cancellation of the live broadcast.

Somebody dropped the ball, and, unfortunately, I believe that the buck stops at the Executive Director’s desk. There can be no excuses for something as egregious as our radio station not broadcasting its own music festival.

KOTO was able to broadcast the Bluegrass Festival despite not having the best relationship with Planet Bluegrass. I attended the first two days of Bluegrass but had to leave town for the weekend. What a treat it was to be able to listen from the other side of the state.

Last year, the Board made the decision to cut back on special events and focus more on programming. As a partner with The Ride Festival, here was an opportunity to provide two days of locally produced, originalprogramming. This was an opportunity lost.

I would like to know ­– who is focusing on the programming?

KOTO has suffered through a period of division and discord. It’s time to get back on track and return to being the glue that helps hold this community together.

Editor’s Note: James Loo read this letter aloud at KOTO’s Thursday, July 25 board meeting.

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  1. FaceOnMars says:

    I concur.

  2. SCheavens says:

    The decision to not do this particular live broadcast was sound. I have been involved with more than 20 Live Broadcasts for the radio station and produced this year’s extremely well-received broadcast of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Standby for a complete rebuttal to this commentary in this publication.
    An aside: KOTO’s “discord” sources from a small coterie whose sole aim it is to discredit, malign and assassinate the character of KOTO’s ED. They do not represent the rational majority of those who support KOTO. I will not give any further ink to those few, misdirected souls.

  3. Cindy O says:

    James, Thanks for stepping up for KOTO. I appreciate and agree with your powerful commentary. I think the buck also stops with the SMEF Board of Directors. Thanks to the airwave angels, Ben and Cory are holding down the fort. The dysfunction at KOTO is palpable around town. Concerned members of KOTO can take appropriate steps to revitalized our beloved radio station. Cindy Obrand

  4. Cindy O says:

    Girleen, I’m no lost soul. My opinion comes from my own observations and experience. And I thought I was your own personal Jesus!?!?

  5. eileen says:

    Cindy O: Remember, Jesus was betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. Seems to be a trend these days, especially at KOTO.

  6. SCheavens says:

    Cindy: you are not a misdirected soul. I have others in mind with my comment. I very much look forward to our riverside chat in a few weeks! Your wit, heart,radiant beauty, kindness and love of all things twang all conspire to make you one of my personal heroes.
    Eileen, you haven’t a clue about Cindy’s personal Jesus reference. Or KOTO, for that matter.

  7. eileen says:

    SCheavens: Actually, Cindy told me all about the Jesus reference. As to KOTO: how much does one have to know to be able to speak about KOTO? Is there a test? Obviously, you see yourself as the expert and everyone who doesn’t agree with you as misdirected souls.

    My comment had more to do with human nature, than just KOTO. After all, the more we know about human nature, the more we can understand the dysfunctions at KOTO and other organizations, especially governments. No need for you to feel superior.

  8. SCheavens says:

    My apologies, Eileen, I did not know you and Cindy had spoken. I am relieved to know how things stand.
    I am far from an expert on many things, though my many years in the trenches at KOTO have afforded me a sense of history and insights particular to that kind of service. It’s called experience. You are wrong to think that gives me feeling of superiority. I am fully aware of my place in the Universe and it doesn’t occupy enough territory to bear mention, much less giving flight to lofty notions like superiority.
    Carry on.

  9. eileen says:

    SCheavens: Thank you for your gracious apology. It felt very healing. Years in the trenches have given you a particular kind of experience, different than mine. I have always been an outsider at KOTO, but I have participated in many different roles. Naturally, our perspectives are different. The important thing to focus on is what we have in common. Speaking for myself, I want a healthy community radio station that respects the past, honors and follows the rules and process, remains the voice of the community, and builds its future on all the love that has been put into it over the years.

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