Friday, September 11, 2009


A DEAFER EAR: A month ago today we detailed the latest in the sad story of KKCR, the so-called “community and supposedly non-commercial” radio station in Princeville and the completion of the takeover by the LA music industry that began in the mid 90’s- as PNN detailed in a Parxist Conspiracy TV newsmagazine episode in 1999- with the appointment of a long-time music industry insider as general manager last year.

We included updates of our investigative report PNN Investigative Report: KKCR- A Study In Brown And White that’s been linked on our right rail since we completed it a year ago April.

Today we received an open letter from former programmer Katy Rose and what she’s found out is about to happen with the slot and program she established, confirming much of what we wrote on August 11. We reproduce it in full below.
To recap- essentially, with the possible exception of Rose and her partner Jimmy Trujillo, local public affairs programming has remained bare bones over the years with a rotating series of white KKCR clique members and long time “insiders” who can be trusted to produce ill-informed pap, solely in two, one-and-a-half hour slots a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Those are the times reserved for general local public affairs programming and the rest is music, although Trujillo has sought to add on one more day a week with varied success due to the imposition of the same onerous requirements that apply to music programmers.

We detailed how local people have been systematically excluded over the years and how and why only an expansion of public affairs slots and a concerted effort to recruit experienced and talented public affairs programmers- something there is no shortage of on the island- could serve the needs of the community beyond the current virtually all music programming.

We exposed how most local people have given up on trying to overcome the “club” atmosphere at the station and how, despite the need for local public affairs programming those who might serve they need are forced to compete for slots with the slew of “vanity radio” music programmers.

As we said only by first opening up and reserving more local public affair programming slots and actively recruiting local people- and not forcing them to go through the backbiting, ass-kissing process that music programmers go though to secure their slots- would anyone bother to try to break the barrier.

We even provided a member of the KKCR Public Advisory Committee with a long list of possible and suggested programmers- people who currently write and speak on local issues who are articulate and well informed and would probably be able to make the time to inform the public. But, as we said when we submitted the list, not if they were treated as if they were seeking one of those “personality” music programs slots as they are called on the mainland at Pacifica Radio where they do separate out the processes for recruiting music and public affairs programmers

After that we were approached by one board member who first chided us for being “negative” and too critical last month and then, oblivious to what we wrote, demanded the list and essentially asked if these people were willing to go through the same process and volunteer requirements as music programmers- failing to recognize that that very attitude was what was keeping these people from KKCR’s airwaves despite the lip-service KKCR pays in acknowledging the severe need for local public affairs programming.

Anyway all this typing has us clutching at our shoulder so here’s Katy’s letter open letter. It should serve as a reminder of why as we said last time:

If at this point KKCR opens up a bunch of slots and gets down on their knees and begs them to produce programming, we’ll get down on ours and salute the flying pigs.


An Open Letter (from Katy Rose) To My Friends And Allies:

Kaua`i Community Radio management is choosing a replacement host for the program I helped produce until my recent move, and they are leaning toward the appointment of a KKCR insider who holds distinctly Rightist views. I think it is important to preserve the program for a thoughtful Leftist perspective, and to cultivate new voices for the airwaves. I want to explain why I believe that, and ask you to help ensure that it happens.

As you know, my time at KKCR was fractious. Two years ago, an alliance of former and current programmers, community advisory board members, and concerned Kaua`i citizens joined forces to protest what we identified as a systemic problem of racial exclusion at KKCR and to organize a grassroots push for a more democratic, inclusive, vibrant, and relevant community radio station.

We stridently challenged the institutionalized racism that we had identified, and helped to educate the broader community about the nature of systems of oppression that keep valuable resources like media access out of the hands of local working-class people, dissident thinkers, and Kanaka Maoli on Kaua`i.

In our work, we developed a comprehensive set of demands that we presented to KKCR, and we organized significant turn-out for public meetings in which community members voiced their concern about the direction of the station. In an important but not central victory, this grass-roots alliance was able to pressure the station to re-instate programmers who had been suspended during the struggle, including myself and my former co-producer Jimmy Trujillo, and Kanaka Maoli sovereignty activist Kaiulani Huff.

My aim as a volunteer producer at KKCR was to develop an intellectually challenging public-affairs program which explored in depth the theory and practice of radical and progressive social movements. I felt it was important to provide an alternative to the generally unplanned, unprepared, anything-goes, directionless programming that was the norm for afternoon public affairs programs at KKCR.

I also felt that although some programmers at KKCR might identify themselves as “liberal” or “progressive,” the spectrum of Left thinking extends beyond these reformist trends and it is very rare to hear that reflected in any media at all, let alone community radio.

To that end, I spent significant time reading, researching, and preparing for interviews with a range of critical social actors from a variety of Leftist tendencies and struggles. Among the many important topics we covered were anti-racism; the role of non-Native allies in Native peoples’ struggles; the scholarly work of Kanaka Maoli and local-Asian academics critiquing colonialism; demilitarization organizing in Hawaii; the struggles of workers, including Hawaii’s public workers and the workers employed by Superferry-builder Austal-USA in Alabama; the LGBTQ movement; direct action; anarchism and socialism; state suppression of peoples’ movements, and more.

I was primarily concerned with exploring autonomous grass-roots struggle, rather than political-party activism or reformist appeals to politicians and legislators. It was critically important to me to prioritize the voices of women, people of color, youth, Native people, queer people, and workers. Some people call this “giving a voice to the voiceless,” but I totally disagree with this framing. We have voices! We just need more ears out there to hear them!

One of the obstacles to opening up KKCR to under-represented voices and demographics in our community is that the “in-crowd” tends to know very few people outside of their circle. So, chances are, they’ll pick someone they already know to fill an empty spot on the air, rather than doing the difficult and uncomfortable work (for some) of meeting the people where they’re at.

So, I am asking you to consider being a community radio programmer, or to encourage someone else you know to become one. It sounds intimidating. I know. I had never done it before and I had to learn everything from square one. I also felt that I was “putting myself out there” in a way that felt awkward at first. But when I thought about it as community service, and realized that it really wasn’t about showing off or having my ego stroked, I was able to let go of a lot of my fear and hesitation.

In my opinion, the last thing KKCR needs is another public-affairs time slot to be filled by someone who is already hosting another program, espouses mainstream, conservative opinions already well-represented in commercial and community radio alike, and who is already a KKCR “insider.” We fought to expand KKCR, not contract it.

But the reality is that KKCR is not going to come to us – we have to go to KKCR. A few years ago, I was encouraged by two close comrades to step up and apply for an open time slot, which I did, despite all my doubts.

Now I’m encouraging you to do the same. I’ll be honest with you: you will probably run into obstacles thrown in your path. You will most certainly have to deal with some bullshit. But I think that community radio is important enough – particularly in this time of rapid social change – to fight for.

Save KKCR – for the people!

Toward freedom,


Happy 9-11 everyone. Don’t forget to send a card. (What, too soon?)


Mr. Moto said...

What would be really amazing is if KKCR had an actual conservative public affairs radio slot.

Katy said...

KKCR does already have a conservative public affairs slot on on Tuesday mornings, last I ckecked, with Sandy Brodie and Steve Yoder.

Hey Andy - just one thing. I think our spouses would appreciate the clarification that by "her partner Jimmy Trujillo" you were referring to our relationship as colleagues and co-producers at KKCR!

Andy Parx said...

Haha- Sorry... I hadn’t even thought about that context- I’m an old fogy and I guess I’m not quite used to that word referring to a spouse yet... I suppose I should have said “programming” partner.

Poppa Zao said...

Or, Happy Perpetual War For The Rest Of Our Consumerist Lives Day!