Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Uff Da: MPR Buys WCAL

As an employee of an 8000+ employee international information-technology company I'm in a "glass house" when it comes to critizing large corporations. In fact, I'm not one of those anti-corporate types. I'm sort of a mixed bag when it comes to the influence of corporate America on our lives. I enjoy Target more than the corner drug store. However, I enjoy the corner coffee shop more than I enjoy Starbucks. I love the little hardware store by our house, but found myself at Home Depot last weekend anyway. Like I said, kind of a mixed bag.

That said, I've had just about enough of Minnesota Public Radio (MPR). The eMPiRe [hey - I just made that up - not bad] just announced plans to buy WCAL - Minnesota's first public radio station. WCAL was NOT part of the Kling Empire (Bill Kling is the President of MPR). WCAL was associated with St. Olaf College until they pulled their funding this year. Looks like they will continue normal operations until the end of 04, but what comes after that is anyone's guess. Although you'd have to be pretty slow to not see where this is leading:
Tom Kigin, MPR executive vice president and general counsel, was more specific: "It's fair to say that it would be unusual to have two classical music stations in one town."

Indeed, some major cities, including San Diego, Philadelphia and Detroit, no longer have even one full-time classical station.
Star-Tribune.

It's not that I'm against MPR soley because of its size. I do enjoy their news programming on KNOW - 91.1, but I don't much care for their classical side, KSJN 99.5. Good old WCAL had local programming as well as programming from NPR. On Saturday mornings they carry a local show with an eclectic mix of music - mostly popular songs of the early to mid 20th century. On weekday evenings they carry National Public Radio's Performance Today. They also carry local religious programming and more. KSJN does have a nice Sunday morning show, though I haven't listened to it in some time, and I don't think they have much national programming. My impression of KSJN is a few local dj's spinning the same small assortment of classical CDs.

In Minnesota we will soon have ONE station. Anyone who has traveled outstate knows that MPR owns every public radio station from MPLS to Fargo and beyond. All the news stations play the same news, and all the classical stations play the same music.

Oh well, the money I save in WCAL pledges can be redirected to KFAI, 90.3 and the KBEM, 88.5.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well now, I won't give anything to Billy Kling's greedy non-"non-profit" MPR. Kling is a shifty businessman who moves money around from his FOR-profit enterprises to his so-called non-profit enterprises. Either way, he's a FOR-PROFIT BUSINESSMAN, no matter how many lawyers speak in his behalf while he hides behind them and his moneybags. Indeed, it is Billy Kling's soft voice who "thanks" the chumps who contributed to his empire. And his appetite is enormous. So intent on buying other radio stations is he, that he just gobbled up WCAL. And one of his bevy of lawyers, speaking for the master who is hiding and can't speak for himself, told the Minneapolis Star & Tribune that MPR BORROWED $10 MILLION TO BUY WCAL! That's not a "non-profit" way of doing things. That is a FOR-PROFIT CORPORATE MOVE! And when asked what will the format be, the reply was to the effect that "gosh we don't know. But we ate the competition." Kling has been in hot water with the Minnesota legislature several times for his devious business practices. This is yet another of his devious moves. He has been up on charges of mixing profit and non-profit as in the case of his "trading company" for Gary Keillor's wares from the "Prairie Home Companion." The State made him sell it off. And then he owned a commercial news and information station at 1330 AM, which he finally unloaded. However he still owns KLBB, the "memory music" commercial station at 1400 AM. That station was DONATED to Kling by the former owner. As far as Kling's Kingdom, it s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s a LOT further than from MN to ND. You can tune in the SAME CLASSICAL MUSIC DJ as on KSJN via Kling's satellite network in many states. You can be the poor wretches who spin the music on flagship KSJN aren't getting a cut of the profits! It's gravy! "Kling" is true to his namesake. His greedy hands reach out and KLING to whatever radio stations he wants the own. There should be merger of Kling's gigantic "non-profit" Public Radio International or "PRI" and his for profit Commercial Kling or "CK" stations. It would be called, quite rightly, "PRICK."

Anonymous said...

Re: sale of WCAL check out the www.savewcal.org site. Upon it you will see the names of a senator, two of the Oles choir directors, several Ole profs, a couple LIVE AMERICAN COMPOSERS, and at least 3 people who used to be with WCAL.
Please contribute if you can. And for God's sake QUIT Thrivent if you have a policy with them. And write to the CPB regarding their "mission statement" and Bill Kling's big biz ways that don't jive, and tell TPT tv that you are holding them guilty by association for BEING part of public broadcasting. LIES are not expected not countenanced by a good Lutheran, nor is THEFT. The members built this station. MPR never offered US the money for our recordings, tower, radio booth at Central etc. Yet, they will gladly sell them off. See the cost benefit rport if you really wanna do a slow burn, and organize an all-our boycot of ALL MPR programming, products, sponsors andsubsidiaries. We don't have to take this in silence.

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Anonymous said...

St. Olaf College has filed a petition in District Court requesting the court to approve St. Olaf’s plans to repurpose the funds that it acknowledges it holds in the WCAL charitable trust. An excellent review of the issues involved in the petition has been written by Phil Voxland ’66 and is available for download in PDF format at:
http://www.manitouheights.com/wcal/pdf/MnAG/RedactedWCALCharitableCommentary.pdf

It appears that the Minnesota Attorney General (AG) is the exclusive representative of the donors under the statute. The Attorney General has filed a response which is narrow in scope and in which the AG raises some technical objections to the petition.

Some individual WCAL donors have already written to the Attorney General requesting the AG broaden the scope of the response as the statutory representative of the donors. Additional requests will draw the AG's attention to this issue.

Contact about this petition should be directed to the AG’s office, NOT to the court. Donors are allowed to contact the Attorney General to ask for further investigation by submitting a complaint form or a letter. The direct link for a PDF version of the AG’s Nonprofit / Charitable Complaint Form is at:
http://www.ag.state.mn.us/ElectronicForms/CharitiesComplaintForm.pdf
Letters can be submitted to:

Ann Kinsella, Esq.
Deputy Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
State of Minnesota
445 Minnesota Street Suite 1200
St. Paul, Minnesota 55101

At this time, there is a public hearing on this petition scheduled for Thursday, March 8 at 1:30 p.m. at the Rice County Courthouse in Faribault, MN. The Attorney General will be speaking on behalf of the donors.

Please share this information with anyone who might be interested.