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Guest Editorial

JOHN TINKLEPAUGH Park City

As a 28-year resident and long-time volunteer at KPCW, I am responding to articles in The Salt Lake Tribune on Sunday and Wednesday regarding compensation to Blair Feulner. Blair’s contributions and Susan’s fundraising and people skills have been an integral part of KPCW’s success. However, these positives should not obscure the issues, which were raised in the article and have not been satisfactorily addressed. Randy Barton’s valiant attempts on his show to have different opinions expressed was overshadowed by the orchestrated "love fest" that ensued. Although many believe KPCW is a one-man show with Blair doing the work of three, with all due respect, I heartily disagree and feel this is an insult to the staff and volunteers who have worked so diligently to make KPCW a success. It also brings into question the appropriateness of the $1 million Blair and Susan made over the last three years (plus Susan’s $50,000 consulting fee for 2005). I believe the controversy created by this information could result in much-needed reforms at KPCW, resulting in stronger community support and an increased listener base. Over the last 25 years of my involvement in this station, I have seen a move away from the original mission statement to provide the community with unique music programming. Right now, it does not reflect Park City’s diversity of musical tastes and has resulted in a sameness with any number of commercial radio stations. In the last five or six years the result of this dictated single vision has been a loss of two professional music programmers and most of the best and knowledgeable DJs. Music programming needs to return to a content of freshness with diversity, and this needs to take place through true public input, including those who have stopped listening to KPCW, not just those who are current listeners and subscribers. I feel the KPCW Board of Directors must address the following questions: 1. Is KPCW a true nonprofit organization, or is it simply Blair Feulner’s station? If it’s the latter, should it be re-classified as a for-profit business whereby salary, programming and financial decisions could be made without questions? 2. How does Blair’s or Susan’s salary compare with other nonprofits, especially those in Summit County? 3. Did the other station managers whose annual salaries were listed in the newspaper article at $50,000 to $60,000 have a station co-manager, and if so, were their combined salaries even $100,000, let alone $300,000 per year as was Blair and Susan’s? 4. Do you believe funds raised through donations in Park City should go to pay a bond on a statewide AM station? Perhaps now is the time to sell it so more money could be raised and the quality of KPCW’s sound and equipment improved. 5. Was the Coalville station purchased at least partly to keep competition out of Park City, as Blair stated they were previously doing in regard to Salt Lake stations? 6. If Blair was being paid a salary as an employee at time of purchase of the Coalville station and this purchase was part of his function as an employee, why did he reap almost $900,000 from the sale of said station? Should it not have been a KPCW asset? In closing, I only ask that Park City people give the KPCW Board of Directors as much input as possible as to what program and financial changes they would like to see so that our wonderful "little" public radio station is the best it can be and we can entice many of those people who have quit listening to come back to KPCW.


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