Michael Foley: An (Almost) Open Letter To KZYX & Z About Democracy Now Time Change

Diane L. Hering
Membership Outreach Coordinator
Mendocino County Public Broadcasting

Dear Ms. Hering:

We are responding to your recent letter asking that we renew our membership. Currently, my wife and I seem to have two memberships, involving monthly charges of $15 each to two different credit cards, both in my name.

The recent decision to switch Democracy Now! from morning to 4 pm has distressed our whole household. Our exchanges with Station Manager John Coate and Program Director Mary Aigner have not been satisfactory. In fact, Coate was downright rude when I wrote to protest. He had to be told I was a member before returning to civility. They contradicted one another regarding the weight of the so-called survey that attempted to appraise listener preferences (I say “attempted” because, as a former social scientist, I know that this sort of “survey” is the least reliable of all methods for getting a true sample of listener opinions).

We started our day with KZYX when Democracy Now! was broadcast at 8 am, and we often continued with the 9 am programs, despite a busy farm schedule. We no longer do so. We will not listen to NPR’s politically compromised pablum any more than we have to, and we don’t have to.

The result is that we listen to KZYX much less than half the time we used to, and that is unlikely to change, given our schedules. There are many fine programs on KZYX, NPR news shows excepted, and we would like to continue to support the station. We would also like to see a change of leadership. But that is another matter.

The long and the short of it is that we are no longer willing to support the station to the tune of $30 a month. You may renew our membership on credit card #:XXXXX in the amount of $10 a month. Please see to it that the charges to credit card # XXXXX cease.

Finally, we would appreciate it if you would convey our position to Mr. Coate, Ms. Aigner, members of the board, and the unfortunate 9 a.m. programers who have lost our ears.


Michael W. Foley

PS. And, yes, you may thank us on air if you also air our complaints!!


Bravo. It was the last nail in the coffin for me. I do not listen to it anymore and rely on the internet to deliver DN, FSRN and Pacifica News.

They showed their contempt for investigative local journalism by firing Christina Aanestad, and for that I rescinded my pledge. For local news we have KMEC, ukiahvally.tv, and uvctv. KZYX has proven themselves irrelevant.

I think there is a solution, and a very easy one at that. In the morning, BBC World News is broadcast twice. Once at 5 am and repeated at 6 am. Why not replace the 6 am BBC repeat with Democracy Now and then broadcast Democracy Now again at 4 pm?

All organizations, public and private, tend to become ingrown and self-serving unless effective means of renewal and revitalization are a central part of the organization’s design. As a dues paying listener of KZYX for five years, my observation is that a choice has been made, and keeps being made, to stick with programming, much of it canned, that sort of works rather than making an effort to create mechanisms for involving more programmers and innovative programming. I’ve been visiting dozens of public radio web sites lately in pursuit of airplay for our new music CDs. Two things have become apparent. First, stations that play NPR stuff (All Things Considered, etc.) tend to be essentially closed campuses, so to speak, with a relatively small number of local programmers. Stations playing Amy Goodman are much more likely to have many more local programmers covering a wide variety of topics and viewpoints. Secondly, stations that actively urge listeners to come up with programming, whether for a single show or a series, also have ongoing training programs to teach people how to operate the station equipment, thus creating a community of engineers and programmers who can help each other run the show. I think KZYX should hire a full-time training coordinator, do zealous outreach to potential programmers young and old, make the Philo and outlying studios super user friendly, and say bye bye to NPR, hello to interested locals. Might be rough around the edges, but such is life, and in the mud lie the nuggets.

I have been being involved with KZYX for more than a decade, though less and less as the years have marched on. Much fine work and many fine people over those years. Unfortunately, as is the normal pattern, although all pigs are equal, those with more money and class status tend to call the tune. The entire country is being gentrified, why not KZYX? Why was it supposed to be immune? We peasants need to learn our place in the new feudalism. All this is just more symptoms of a radically increasing inequality everywhere in the US. We are going asymptotically unequal in the land promising equality and opportunity.

I understand it as a continuation of the Enclosure Movement. All valuable property, commodities and venues are being monopolized by the wealthy. The rest, the super vast majority of us, are finding it necessary to move aside in every place and in every way. That is until the unlikely event of enough people growing a spine.

Pirate radio anyone?


Has anyone ever calculated the carbon foot print of having the studio in Philo? What ever happened to the two studio concept? That would help with programmer access as well.

…and why isn’t one of those studios in Ukiah, the county seat and the largest populace of the county? That would shrink the footprint. KMEC is doing a much better job covering Sups meetings on Tuesdays with Govinda and Bigfoot. There’s your pirate radio.

    I’ve always heard that KZYX management has always been afraid that Ukiah would dominate the station if there was a studio in Ukiah. Because of their inconsistent, crazy-quilt schedule, members have come to depend on the consistent part of the schedule like Democracy Now every weekday at the same time. It is self-defeating to all-of-sudden jumble it all up. They need a big serving of reality-sandwich…