Thursday, May 19, 2011

No More Weather on KUOW Weekday

For over 15 years, I have talked about Northwest weather, the weekend forecast, and education-related topics on KUOW during Friday's morning's Weekday program.

I have done so as my attempt at educational outreach, to go beyond the basic forecasts given on other media, providing the why behind the weather and to allow local residents a chance to appreciate the grand complexity of the weather of this beautiful area of the world. And occasionally to talk about related educational issues.

Starting tomorrow, I will not have the opportunity to do so anymore on KUOW. On Monday I received an email from Weekday host Steve Scher informing me that the regular weather segments on Weekday will be discontinued.

Now if this was a simple issue of the weather program getting stale, of a need for a new format on Weekday, or of listeners wishing a change, I would not complain. I would have thanked Steve for the opportunity to talk about local weather all these years and moved on.

But that is not what happened.

And the real reasons for the termination of the my segment are more ominous and disturbing. And as I will explain, it has much in common with the recent termination of Principal Martin Floe by Seattle Schools Superintendent Susan Enfield.

My involvement with KUOW began in the mid 90s when I was contacted by them to replace the previous weather person, Art Rangno. I told them that I was not interested in just giving the forecast, but wanted to do scientific outreach, trying to follow (in a modest way) the footsteps of one of my mentors, Carl Sagan, who convinced me that scientists had to communicate directly with the public. I offered KUOW a hybrid: a weather forecast/weather 101 combination and that was accepted.

For over ten years I followed that route, first starting with Dave Beck, Marci Sillman, and Steve Scher and then later only Steve. Many of you seemed to enjoy the material and increasingly I heard from you over the phone and then emails (now several dozen a week). I also started talking about other topics. First, the need for a coastal radar--and the letters and efforts of many of you helped make that happen. But by the early 2000s I started talking about my concerns in education. I am just not a scientist, I am an educator as well--by now having instructed many thousands of students at all levels. I started seeing degradations in math skills and a few times a year I began talking about it and my concerns for the future of our nation.

Sometimes I talked about science education, such as issues with the Seattle Science Center (to their credit, after a discussion on air about it, Bryce Seidel, the director, invited me down to talk about my concerns. And I note that he was responsive in many ways to my concerns--such as the need to entrain more regional scientists in Science Center programs).

But things changed a few years ago. A new producer for Weekday was taken on--Katy Sewall--and on a program I remember well, I talked not only about the problem of declining math skills, but what I thought was the reason--the proliferation of discovery ("fuzzy") math books and the poor instruction by the Schools of Education, including the UW.

A short while later Katy contacted me, telling me I was no longer allowed to talk about math and that Steve concurred. I asked why--she said there were several complaints from the UW Education folks and that it was against "journalistic ethics" to allow me talk about such issues. This went back and forth for a while and I asked to see both Steve and Katy to talk it out.

Their argument--that as a "regular" I was essentially part of KUOW news and thus I could not give my opinion without someone else providing the other side. I noted that I am hardly part of the KUOW news team, clearly indicated my opinions were my own, and they let other "regulars" give their opinions on all sorts of societal issues.

Case in point: Rick Steves. He is the travel guy who is on KUOW all the time. On virtually every recent KUOW visit, he talked about his "passion"--the legalization of pot. They didn't seem to need the other side after he talked about that! So pushing pot legalization is ok, but pushing good math books is not. I just did not follow their logic. And why wasn't my talking about math issues a problem for the previous decade? What had suddenly changed? Were they just giving in to internal UW pressure from the UW Ed School? Was is the fact the UW College of Education was a major contributor to KUOW? I just did not know.

But they remained adamant--if I talked about education topics there was no place for me on KUOW. Remember that I had never talked about non-meteorological issues more than a few times a year at most and I AM a scientist-educator. I regretfully agreed to pull back on talking about math, with their promise there would be some dedicated programs on math. Those programs never materialized.

So we had somewhat of a truce for a year or so, until a few weeks ago.

The Seattle Times had a front page article about UW rejecting strong "straight A" students. And there was more talk about how the UW was rejecting great in-state students so that inferior out of state students could be accepted for big bucks. Joni Balter of the Seattle Times had a big op-ed piece in the paper a few days later saying many of the same things, and during the previous week this issue had been discussed during the second hour of Friday Weekday.

The problem was that I knew from first-hand knowledge that the ST article was highly deceptive and in many ways wrong. The UW does not reject strong straight A students--if someone with an A average gets rejected it is because there was an issue--easy classes, poor SATs scores, or the like. And the truth is that out of state students are generally stronger than in-state applicants. And do you know that the average UW freshman had a high school GPA of 3.75! That is pretty much an A. Grade inflation is a huge issue.

I know all this from first-hand knowledge as the undergraduate adviser for my department, with access to the admissions info, and having talked to the UW Dean of Admissions.

Anyway, because they ran out of time in the first segment, they moved me to right after the 10 AM news--during the "week in review" segment. After giving the weather I then mentioned a few of the facts noted above and had a discussion with Joni and the rest.

That conversation--trying to insure that KUOW listeners had accurate information about UW admissions--- sealed my doom on KUOW. Shortly later, I got a threatening note from Katy:

"Talking about other issues in this context is not acceptable. It does not fit the segment we are offering listeners. If it happens again, we will cancel your weekly appearance."

And her email went downhill from there. I told her that after such a provocative email I would wait a while before responding.

Last weekend I wrote an email to Steve, saying that I would try to work with them, but I could not guarantee that I would never talk about any other subject but the weather forecast. Remember--this is public radio.

A day later I got an email from Steve where he said that the regular weather segments would be terminated.

So that is the story. Not a pretty one.

For me the essence of local public radio is to serve as a focus for the discussion of local issues. You would think there would be room for a scientist-educator, someone interested in talking not only about science, but about the interface between science and how we educate our youth in technical subjects. You would think that Steve and Katy would consider their viewers who have enjoyed learning about local weather. But something else was more important--their wish that I remain "the weekend forecast guy". In fact, during the past year, the time they allowed for my segment has progressively decreased, so that I rarely had enough time to coherently complete even my local weather explanations.

So does my situation parallel the Enfield-Floe case? I got into trouble for criticizing the local education orthodoxy (at the UW)---it appears he did the same thing (with the Seattle School District bureaucracy). He was dropped with little apparent reason. I was dropped for reasons that I believe are without merit.

The question is what will happen now. If you have enjoyed what I have done in the past and wish it to continue, perhaps this can be turned around. Perhaps if enough of you---listeners to KUOW, contributors to KUOW, and those interested in public radio can contact the folks at KUOW they might change their mind...in the same way Superintendent Enfield changed her mind when the teachers and students at their school learned of the firing of their principal (some KUOW emails are found below)

My other option is to try other approaches: perhaps a podcast on my blog or moving to another radio station. Anyway, thanks for listening. Whatever happens, I have enjoyed the interactions with many of you over the years.

And I promise to get back to weather on my next blog!


Emails:

KUOW Weekday:

Steve Scher
sscher@kuow.org

Katy Sewall
katy@kuow.org

KUOW News Director:
Guy Nelson: gnelson@kuow.org

Chair of UW Board:
Allen Steinman: asteinman@badermartin.com

Wayne Roth, KUOW President and CEO
wroth@kuow.org


288 comments:

1 – 200 of 288   Newer›   Newest»
Angie Kritenbrink said...

I'm sorry to hear that. I have enjoyed your very informative segments over the years, and even if you did go off on a tangent every now and then (which I never noticed), I've heard a number of incredibly random topics discussed on Weekday in the past. I am glad to have your blog to follow and would be happy to listen to a podcast.

Gus said...

As a longtime listener and member of KUOW, I have sent a stern but polite email expressing my disappointment.

C.P.O. said...

Well, this is very sad. I hate it when honest attempts at dialogue are squelched. I am hopeful that new opportunities will emerge!

Abulsme said...

Bring on the podcast please!

Jim said...

If all you say is so, I'd recommend KPLU for an alternative forum for your weather insights, etc. But it seems odd the producers/censors of the KUOW daytime programming segments would be so thin-skinned. I mean, c'mon, folks! Some of the regular commenters go wide afield on topics that are far more controversial. Especially on Fridays. The so-called local news commentators spew their opinions freely with little regard for whether they have their facts straight. So, I sat through plenty of their tripe awaiting your views, many times thinking "where do these commentators get these bizarre ideas?" Sorry, Cliff. I hope something can be worked out so we can hear your voice again. If not, I'll still check you out here! Thanks for giving your time. I appreciate your effort.

Geoff said...

Dr. Mass,

As a daily listener to KUOW and especially to Weekday; as a sailor for whom weather means a lot and who regularly endeavors to learn more about meteorology; moreover as a former student of yours (only one class, alas, in the mid-90s), I'm very sad that your segments have been canceled. I will certainly be contacting KUOW on this matter. I will reserve judgment until I've heard their perspective as well, but regardless I am chagrined at this turn of events.

I will happily continue to follow you as I place a high value on your insights.

gshall said...

Many folks up here in the San Juans listen to your KUOW segments faithfully, and talk about them through the weekend. I don't have an opinion re your math-teaching concerns, but to terminate you for that is a very bad decision. The concept of "2 sides no matter how spurious one of them is" does NOT constitute unbiased journalism.

gorilla said...

Its hard to know what to say. I have always enjoyed your time on KUOW. Your completely right. This is local radio that should embrace local issues. Openly discussing these on public radio is the right place to do it. I do not think you have ever over stepped your bounds. Catering to the cries of UW is sad. It makes me feel good about going to WWU instead. Sadly even there they are considering closing down the computer science department which I graduated from. Yes, closing the CS dept in the tech state of Washington. Cliff I will email all listed shaming them. you rock

JMR said...

I am really sad to hear this news, but I would love a Cliff Mass podcast!!!

batchild said...

PODCAST. You don't need them.

Drew said...

I find your efforts to bridge the gap between the general population and the science community invaluable. The main difficulty in this is the lack of good science and math education, and you are right to shine the spotlight on these failures. You have proven yourself knowledgeable and thoughtful and I would expect an organization like KUOW to see the value in your perspective on topics including and beyond local weather. I hope to hear your insight shared again, if not on "Weekday" than through some other venue.

Branden said...

This is very distressing to hear. I am a daily KUOW listener - it's the only radio I really listen to. I learned of Cliff Mass due to his appearances on Steve's show, and have followed on the blog since.

I have also followed with interest Cliff's discussions lately on math education. I believe his statements on the Discovery Math textbooks have validity, and I have been very happy that Cliff has brought attention to the issue. Quite frankly nowadays, for an educator at any level to speak publicly about an education problem like that requires some guts; all too frequently it seems that educators are punished if they do so.

I realize that KUOW isn't perfect. However, I believed that KUOW was more than just a radio CNN, performing a valuable public service by discussing important local and national issues, and by giving a forum for citizens to talk to their government.

I would hope that KUOW or one of their employees would respond to Cliff's comments, because otherwise their actions seem quite counter to what I had believed they were about. I do not think I can continue to support them if that is the case.

Cliff - thank you for taking a stand on this issue, and please keep us posted on what we can do to help support.

WS Suzanne said...

This comes as a real shock. I am one of your lurkers, always reading your blog but never commenting, until now. I have been a regular listener of your segment on KUOW for longer than I can remember, and have learned so much because of you. Your reports and your book have helped me understand this region far beyond anything that I could have gained any other way.

As a long time listener and supporter of KUOW, I will absolutely let them know that their decision should be reversed. I hope they get completely swamped with comments and that we hear your reports again soon, in the longer time slot that you were originally given.

WS said...

Podcast! And make it freely available. Especially in wintertime, I'd find a place for it on my site. Oh, and get a sponsor if you're permitted to :) - TR @ WSB

Bob said...

I just sent this frustration laden email to KUOW. (BUT if you are going to post other people's email addresses you should really make your own public)

"I have been a steady KUOW listener for many years. Over the last few years I have grown more and more disappointed with your station as various quality segments and/or personalities have been dismissed. The elimination of Cliff Mass's segment is pretty much the last straw for me.

When is started listening I was deeply in debt and vowed to some day become a relatively generous donor. During your last pledge drive I did a little soul searching and realized that I'm fairly well off now and it was time to do something about it. The pledge drive was ending but I decided to start saving up for the next one and planned to set whatever amount I had saved as a starting point to be adjusted upward over time. The dismissal of Cliff Mass's segment means that I don't expect to ever become a KUOW member.

Why am I being so harsh? Cliff has one of the most prepared, intellectual segments on your station AND your argument about regular contributors and personal causes is complete hogwash!

The week in review (?) is as regular as the weather segment but much longer. It features three relatively untrained individuals who are allowed to champion whatever cause they choose. (Eli and the anti-tunnel anyone?)

The Weekday Gardening segment ... native plants, organic gardening, grass hating ... those aren't the topics and many a caller has been shut down by their agendas.

I could probably think of more but don't feel the need.

KUOW used to be a leader... your shows used to be picked up by other stations. Now most of the day is half-baked local programs that are repeated three more times before being boiled into a 'best of' segment.

Your agenda is showing through. I will probably continue to tune in from time to time but unless you reverse the embarrassing course you've been on I will never make that conversion to member."

Ronald said...

This is a sad turn of events. Cliff will be missed on KUOW for not only the fascinating scientific information he provides, but for showing such humility when his "forecasting" hasn't matched the reality of PNW weather. My wife (also a UW professor) and I will miss these broadcasts a great deal. As for the issue at hand ... degrading math acuity ... I can only echo what Cliff has experienced as told to me by my wife, a Physics professor, that real world math skills of entering students at the college level is indeed getting worse. This short-sighted solution to the math problem is very disheartening to see, and I wonder if we are going to look back on this era of political and financial stress and say "we could have done a better job."

Curt Nelson said...

Wow.

This is truly a dark day for Public Radio and KUOW.

Cliff, you've been an inspiration to me for years, teaching me more than I ever knew I needed to know.

I remember the first time I heard you on KUOW, talking about how you could see 13 seperate fronts stretching across Siberia and heading toward the Northwest. Then you proceeded to forcast the weather for the next month!

My first thought was, "Who the hell is this guy? I have to know more..."

I've been hooked ever since. If it weren't for your segments on KUOW, I would've never known who Cliff Mass is, and I'll be sure to let the folks over at KUOW how I feel.

P.S. When I tell my friends about your blog, I found the easiest way to remember the URL is to think, "Cliff Mass kicks ass..." :-)

Beverly Ash Gilbert said...

I am so sad. Your weekly contribution on KUOW is fascinating, inspiring, informative - all of the key ingredients of what I think KUOW and NPR is all about.

I understand KUOW's / NPR's desire to offer the 'other side of the argument' (which is why I love and support them). However, every contributor on every program - from Tavis Smiley to Prairie Home Companion to discussions with the Mayor of Seattle - offers their side of the story, their opinions on issues. Listeners understand this.

To me there are very viable alternatives to canceling your show, (one of the highlights of Weekday):

1) Allow education discussions during a portion of the program, and bring in others to give more sides to the argument

2)If Friday morning is just for weather, then periodically invite you and 'the other side' to discuss education issue on another Weekday special.

Your discussions on KUOW make the topic of weather (and therefore science as a whole), more exciting, and understandable to a broad audience.

I sincerely hope that a workable solution can be found and you will be back on the air!

Bob said...

I'm so old that I can remember the decades of fine public programming put out by a few enthusiastic workers and a dribble of gov funding. Then the bureaucrats moved in and made it all "professional". The news readers at NPR get a third of a million dollars for their reading skills. Funniest thing, they then had to start advertizing. First, at the hour. Then the half hour. Then the break at 20 after. And on and on... How do you keep all that commercial advertizing coming in? You dumb down your programming and keep it consistently bland. Not Muzak, but Newzak. Of course, the bureaucrats don't know "Offend no one, interest no one." Since the monied folks run the show now, boat rocking is strictly forbidden. As always, it's all about the money. And KUOW is the best radio that money can buy! Personally, I wouldn't have anything more to do with the bar stewards.

Michael DeMarco said...

Well Cliff, you were warned where you not. You made a choice. That's how it is out here in the real world. While I support your views I think that you are now whining. Sorry to say that but that's how I see it. Very nice weather we've been having the last few days. We made it up to Hurricane Ridge to see the big snow. Quite a winter we had. Cheers.

Alison Stevens said...

This is indeed disheartening - I'm afraid not too surprising, though. I'm not sure when exactly the "public" went away but it is *so* gone! Thanks for being so great about continuing on with the weather and the rights to free speech and consistent policy!

I recommend KBCS. They rock! I'd love to hear your commentaries - all of them - when I listen to KBCS.

Rolandovich said...

I suggest podcasts, youtube, and other more democratic means of communication/dissemination. There's no reason to try re-board a sinking ship.

Drew said...

My Email to KUOW:

All-

Shame on you. Reading Cliff’s blog post this morning exposed the underbelly of a station that to this day (and no further) I held in a higher standard than other commercial media driven news outlets. This is one more big step downhill toward the low road for NPR that can be reversed by reinstating Cliff. My wife and I will always think twice now before donating to NPR as a whole and KUOW specifically.

Cliff’s weather cast was something that my wife and I called each other about. We would talk about the weather. What more basic human conversation is there? “How’s the weather”? What older citizen is not tuned into the weather as a first topic of conversation? These conversation starting points could then lead to conversations about the educational topics that Cliff would bring up from time to time.

I will miss Cliff. I will also be tuning in less, as KUOW has had less to offer over time, with rebroadcast shows that I heard for the first time years ago becoming more prevalent.

Don’t bother to explain, I won’t be listening.

Drew R. Seattle

Sorry this went down this way Cliff.

MathTeacher42 said...

LOMG

What does math have to do with weather!

/end snark.

This kind of sort of makes "sense" to me.

Background - I started teacher college to get my math certification in Sept. 2003. My experiences with fuzzy math are best summarized by a woman, Marty McLaren, who testified at the Seattle School Board in the spring of 2009 against the adoption of the high school "Discovering..." math textbooks. Reform math seemed like a good idea when this career changer came to K-12 education at age 43 - until I began to try to help kids who were lost, lost and lost because they were never required to master the basics.

All my kids know scores or hundreds of songs, many of which would make Elvis blush, but they can't master 1/2 times 1/3 because it is ... boring!? HOW do they deal with a world at disaster clean up person where 1/2 of the trees in some area were knocked down from the WEATHER and 1/3 of those knocked down were maple trees? Or when 1/2 of the clean up crew likes vegetarian food and 1/2 of them are vegans? Or when 1/2 the cars where damaged by hail and 1/3 of those cars also had windshield damage?

The math reformistas have an answer to everything, and it is "grounded" in differentiated instruction and group work and calculators. Sadly for our kids, the answer isn't getting our kids to master basics so they can not only go to participate in the world, but to change the world. The reformistas also have a "reality" grounded in a package of soundbites which work fabulously well together to protect the priesthood from anyone nailing 9 or 5 or 95 objections to a local College of "Education" door.

Bob Murphy
A Teacher out in reality.

natchrl8r said...

I am sorry to hear about the termination of your segment at KUOW. For me, it was one of the most redeeming segments for their programming though i did not often have the opportunity to listen at that hour in recent years. Why I love the blog! If they don't re-instate you a podcast would be awesome. I really miss those weekend updates.

SkunkBayWeather said...

Cliff,
You weren't by any chance wearing a pink whistle during your broadcasts? It sounds like they could be friends with Todd Stordahl from the Washington State Officials Association...... Same logic. Be careful out there. You never know what idiocracy you might run into.

Shalimar... said...

Sorry to hear this Cliff, but I'm not suprised.

shannon said...

Cliff:
They will hear from me. I am dismayed to say the least. I have no children in the education system but education as a whole affects every aspect of our society. I always tuned in to hear you on Friday and respected you as a complete package.
Thanks,
Shannon

ProgressiveBlog said...

Sad to hear about this, I enjoyed this segment a lot. KUOW will hear from me. Keep up the good work!

ProgressiveBlog said...

Sad to hear about this. I enjoyed your segment on KUOW. They will hear from me! Keep up the good work. Thanks

zephyr said...

So sad. So much for free press. This is Public Radio? Thank you for your objective presentation of the facts, Cliff. Regardless, as a parent I am listening and you can bet that my kids are getting a good math education. Further, we have decided that they have to take 2 years of math at a local community college, before heading off to a 4 year university!

joanmagee said...

I discovered your weather talk Friday while driving around with the radio on. Since then, I have made a point of turning the broadcast ON no matter what I'm doing to hear you and, because of that, have bought your book and regularly check your blog. As a former U Michigan grad, I think UW needs to educate the public more about how out-of-state students can strengthen the a university, both academically and financially. Thank you for offering that point of view. Yes, I will contact KUOW.

AndrewM said...

Steve, I'm dismayed to hear this. I have sent an email. I find your approach to both weather and education issues to be both above reproach and invaluable. Sometimes a bit pointed, but always germane! If things don't work out, you might consider reaching to the competition down in Tacoma ;)

Greg said...

Typical "public broadcasting". If one disagrees with the current philosophy, the message will be discontinued or censored as noted above.
KUOW is so hypocritical, they should not be considered public broadcasting and furthermore, it wouldn't be bad if public funding were discontinued.

demondoll said...

I enjoyed your segments, and just wrote to the people you mentioned. I hope they reconsider-

moootin said...

Completely ridiculous on the part of KUOW!

I think you come out on top for nothing being associated with Steve Scher.

But this is extremely troubling and this is not new for KUOW. Their lack of transparency with their finances and their own editorial policies is frightening.

David said...

Ciff,

I'm sad to see this nation head down a path where discussions are discouraged unless they are discussions that "fit the mold" of what companies, organizations, or the government wish for.

Critical thinking is such a foundation of a good education, and sadly I'm seeing the exact opposite enforced. Whether it is from bastardizing the true notion of what critical thinking is, or outright telling people what to think and/or do, the notion that this fundamental building block of a well-educated person is being dismantled from the top down is beyond disturbing.

Clearly there is a major issue here that is deeply rooted into the education system. You are essentially being "silenced" about your criticisms of the education system, BY THE PEOPLE WHO ARE RUNNING OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM. By them choosing to silence you instead of refuting what you have to say speaks volumes about what their goals are.

This is troubling on so many levels, and it demonstrates the issues our education system faces. Universities and schools are supposed to be about teaching people how to think, not what to think, and if we cannot turn the tides there is no hope left.

On a side note, this also highlights how sad and pathetic the discourse in this country has become. Be it republican or democrat, hippie or redneck, if we are simply going to plug our ears and cover our eyes every time we hear/see something we don't like, our issues will never be resolved. And if we continue down the road of the "I'm right, you're wrong, now shut up" dialogue, then we are going to be facing even worse issues down the road.

If one cannot actively debate and defend their ideas and must resort to silencing tactics, then they are not only cowards, but incredibly dangerous people to have in any position of authority and MUST be removed for the sake of all that is good.

Good luck with the good fight and I'll be there backing you up every step of the way.

Ben said...

Cliff,

As a listener to KUOW everyday while at work, I have always been a big fan of your pieces. The primary reason for my enjoyment is due to the education you provide! Why we have the weather we have and the effects of the mountains, Puget Sound, etc.

It is a tragedy that politics would get in the way of providing news and education to listeners and I hope KUOW reverses its decision.

Best,

Ben

Drew said...

Wow, they act like you gave commentary advocating legalizing incest or something. Oh wait, that probably would have been more acceptable to them. It's nice to see censorship is alive and well at KUOW. I think I'll give my money to KPLU. And honestly, weekday itself is stale and boring. If they're going to replace anyone, it should be Steve and his producer.

Targhee said...

Cliff- Very sorry to hear this. And, unfortunately the same treatment I've seen applied to climate science "debate". Kooks like Inhofe and Fred Upton are given equal treatment to that of consensus positions. I've asked reporters why, and they've told me that because Inhofe and Upton are elected representatives, they have to cover them and their positions. So, I said, that means if these folks deny the Holocaust, you have to cover that as a "credible" position too? This is insane, and I hope thousands more of us respond to your request for action.

Absent progress in properly restoring you to KUOW, bring on the podcast.

Eva said...

Sounds like internal UW politics at play, but the emails from the Weekday staff are way off the mark. I am really sorry they cut you out of the Friday program and I will miss your voice and excellent explanations.

mungerer said...

I would love a podcast on your blog. I have stopped listening (and contributing) to KUOW for other reasons, but missed hearing your weather segments, which I very much enjoyed.

Maggie said...

This is very disappointing! I have listened to your segment for many years now, and found it very interesting and informative. Have you thought about doing a podcast? Blog posts would also be great! I hope something will work out!

krepass said...

Big mistake on the part of KUOW, and I have e-mailed them to tell them so.
To terminate an informative, creative & popular contributor to 'Weekday' is incomprehensible.

Kathy

George said...

I too am a daily KUOW listener, especially to Weekday. I would hope that KUOW staff would reconsider your very informative segment, even though it is sometimes difficult to put things behind.

Allen said...

Sorry to hear this. I have already sent emails to KUOW to express my disappointment. I appreciate the information and follow you on an RSS feed and have purchased your book. Podcast is the way to go if they do not see the light.

Ship said...

CM,
Consider this. You are right, but your view is incomplete...like making a forecast by looking at the upper levels but not the vorticity charts. You got out of your lane. They considered you a loose cannon. Yes, you have knowledge of other aspects of the world than weather. We all do. But, as much we all respect you, I think KUOW management made the same call as management anywhere. Even General McArthur got canned when he went off the reservation.

seattle photographer said...

We are so sorry to her this. This does piss us off so much we will be letting KUOW know how we feel. There are other radio stations even other community stations we could listen to but we greatly looked forward to hearing you every Friday morning. We still have your blog to read but your voice has been silenced and we are not pleased.

timeslid said...

Sorry to hear about your cancelation. KUOW's coverage of educational issues has been stale and one sided for some time. MGJ was never challenged, the Math curriculum lawsuit was never covered and Advanced Learning shakeups were dismissed as not news. I will be spending my mornings listening to other stations now – fart jokes and all.

Melissa Westbrook said...

No, no, no.

As an education blog who appreciates your work, I am saddened by this decision.

However, as a fellow blogger (Save Seattle Schools), I do have it within my power to let my readers know about this and ask them to consider letting KUOW know that it is a wrong-headed decision.

I concur with someone who said, okay, then give a second time for education issues and that's where you can speak on them.

But to unilaterally kick you off the air is wrong. I totally believe you when you say the College of Education at UW had a lot to do with decision. They are not known for good decision-making (see their latest on their partnership with Teach for America).

Lastly, you (and Guy Nelson) probably have the best radio voice of anyone at KUOW.

What did Julia Roberts' character in Pretty Woman say to the snobby salesgirls? Big mistake.

Donna said...

Well, fifteen years is a very, very long time. You've had a good run and are not owed a permanent gig. Perhaps gratitude rather than complaining would be in order. I have appreciated your informative KUOW segments on weather, but prefer you find other outlets for your personal opinions on the state of education and math textbook choice. Don't get me wrong: your contribution to the public conversation about education is most welcome, but it is better offered in venues where equally knowledgeable others with differing opinions have equal access to the public's ear. My sense is that you were taking more than a little advantage of the privilege of a weather gig on the radio to gain an audience for your personal opinions. Thank you, though, for your long-standing public service.

Ellen said...

Yet another nail in the coffin for free speech. Obviously the math "educators" have some issues that they don't want to make public.

I have never heard your radio show, but have seen your posts on the math education issue, perhaps on the AAUP listserv.

The problem of math education really hit home in one of the classes I teach, Sensation and Perception. For years I couldn't understand why students had so much trouble understanding the concept of just noticeable differences in psychophysics. Finally, in working through a simple problem with a group of students I realized that they didn't know how to calculate 10% of 100! Something is terribly wrong with the math education system, and the sooner everyone faces up to it, the better.

Iron Kim said...

Facebook page begun to change this decision. Join and spread around as you see fit.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Put-Cliff-Mass-back-on-KUOW/149155005153152#!/pages/Put-Cliff-Mass-back-on-KUOW/149155005153152?v=wall

fly fishing girl said...

Cliff:

As an avid public radio listener, I have been noticing a "dominate hegemony" trend of KUOW for the past few years. They "get along to go along."

Maybe we should all get together and have a pirate station off shore???

I'll send emails and stop listening.

Keep up the good work at the U Dub and in your activism.

Mr. Moore said...

This makes me sad and angry. I've always appreciated learning about the weather rather than being told about the weather. Your segments and general role as an ambassador for learning about and understanding our corner of the world are an inspiration. I will definitely let KUOW know that this is not what I expect from them. Thanks for all your years of service to bettering our community through education.

diforbes said...

I just sent an e-mail suggesting that KUOW provide two separate Cliff Mass segments: one on weather and one on education.

Dan said...

This is so disappointing. I'm posting this blog to my Facebook, and I'll send my emails to KUOW!

Sue said...

Cliff - I have enjoyed your reports on the station, but completely disagree with you about the UW and admissions this year They did reject many strong in state students this year, in favor of similar higher paying out of state students. I also take offense to the grade inflation remark. UW said themselves that they reduced instate, to accommodate out of staters.

Do I think you should have gotten your show pulled though? Absolutely not.

JeffB said...

A long time ago I lived in the Bay Area and enjoyed NPR and PBS. I was a regular donor to KQED. Then in the late 1990s something went off the rails and the whole enterprise became more agenda driven. There is a constant bias and you can almost feel the urgency in presenting that bias. Political correctness that makes some bizarre topics open and normal topics taboo. I gave up on NPR and have turned to the Internet where I can choose the great sources like this blog.

You don't need KUOW Cliff and neither do we. We should all vote with our feet regarding biased media, out of control bureaucracy, etc. They won't change until they get the message that no one is listening any longer.

And I'll add that constructivist math is a disaster. We are specifically enrolling our kids in Mathnasium to work around a defective public school bureaucracy that mostly exists for it own union power, and advancement of the NEA agenda.

Thanks for all of your great ideas, weather or otherwise. Your voice will be heard.

Dan said...

Dr. Mass,

I too sent all the email contacts, you provided at KUOW, an email in protestation. I will very much miss your work in educating more and more people on science and atmospheric sciences in particular. I think that it is exactly this sort of outreach that is critical as education requirements are dumbed down. Additionally it truly expands other's horizons. Their reasons are flimsy and appear to really be censorship.

squidfood said...

If Weekday were a "strict news" show like, say, All Things Considered, maybe they (and some commenters here) would have a point that you were there to talk about the weather.

But Weekday bills itself as local, community-driven, conversational. And Cliff has long been part of that. Lord knows, Steve himself digresses plenty. That's a reason to like the show, it's a reason I like the show and generally donated during that time.

No more (I've emailed them that). This sort of move is making it clear that they want their "community" tone as controlled and canned as their other segments, and that direction isn't of value to me.

Steve Roth said...

I've loved your weather segment, but on more than one occasion have raised my eyebrows, wondering, "why is he talking about this? -- even when I'm enjoying and even agreeing with your points.

I don't think a restaurant reviewer should tangent off to talk about income inequality -- even though I consider it to be the most important topic in our country and world today.

If you want to talk about education, please do so; I like your stuff. But I think finding an appropriate forum for it is a reasonable expectation. I'd love it if you'd do so, so we could continue to enjoy your great weather discussion.


I

What the Chuck said...

This is the way university public radio works, Cliff. I had a radio show for five minutes on Northwest Public Radio. My first piece criticized the Forest Service and a timber sale that would have messed up a local hiking area. I didn't make it to the second replay.

Public Radio exists to fool armchair progressives and social activists that they have an outlet. It is actually pernicious, and part of our social anesthesia.

Nan said...

I'm quite sad to hear this as well. I sent an email to each of the KUOW staff members listed. Your segment on Weekday was always one of my favorites.

victoria said...

I sent this letter to KUOW:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am a long time KUOW listener and supporter. Each time I hear Cliff Mass I thoroughly enjoy it. His ideas are thought provoking and well reasoned. His credentials are impeccable. There are very few people like him around: he is kind of like the (late) Steven J. Gould of weather. He popularizes weather. He makes it interesting. Beyond that, he is like a scientist statesman that fortunately speaks truth to power in his area of expertise (math, weather, etc).

Steve, I’ve listened to countless hours of your show and know you to be a reasonable fellow—don’t stand for this political nonsense!

Please reinstate his show or provide him another venue. He only makes your station stronger.

Thanks,

Matt

Iron Kim said...

If you can, call during the 9am segment this morning and ask why Cliff's not on KUOW any longer. Let's make them discuss this publicly.
Facebook page to put Cliff back on KUOW: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Put-Cliff-Mass-back-on-KUOW/149155005153152

KB said...

Thank-you... and PLEASE continue to be annoying to everyone about our crappy math system here...
Signed: Mother of a 22 yr UW student that retook Stats 3 times, bonehead math 3 times and is now ONE credit short of graduating because the she and the Advisor miscalculated her credits!

Guy said...

I also have emailed kuow, letting them know of my anger at this ill advised decision. I just wanted to be counted as one who always appreciates your opinions and always learns something from your segments. I hope they re-think this.

Amy said...

This is really disappointing. KUOW and Cliff Mass are two of my favorite Seattle institutions. It was a perfect marriage and I mourn the loss of Cliff on Weekday Fridays. It was one of my favorite segments. I will be contacting KUOW to voice my disappointment and urge them to reconsider. I appreciate Cliff's points of view. They're credible, as he outlined, and his own. It's a sad day for Northwest Washington. We need more realism and less idealism.

Don Carter said...

I find it interesting that so many comments on this board express how sorry they are but give no indication they will send KUOW an email. Are we sheep?

I for one am not.

KUOW has been declining for some time now. This is just another example.

Better to protest than to allow the further stupidfication of our society.

Brad said...

Mr. Mass

Please know that you have made a difference. I added your blog to my reader about a year ago after hearing you several times on KUOW. You took a topic I thought I would never be interested in and made it interesting!

I will be contacting KUOW about this, letting them know that unless they can provide a satisfactory answer it will be affecting my yearly contribution to them.

mainstreeter said...

It is a UW station after all, when did they ever treat their hosts well? But I agree with a few others that you may have went too far. Steves has support even if he does take on a political issue, you didn't have your support lined up.

It's always good to figure that out beforehand if the support is there. I also think Steves has a decent segue with his travels and Marijuana (you call it pot) as discussing weather and then jumping into a political issue such as wanting to fire or change the Seattle School board created a larger firestorm than legalization of pot on a Seattle station. Plus Rick Steves is a nice guy, you now have made an enemy of his listeners by crying foul.

I don't see the email contact list helping your cause as I wouldn't come to your defense if I was Rick.

Stu said...

I don't know . . this seems rather simple to me.

I would encourage every listener to email Steve Scher, copying every single person on the list below, and tell them that, as a long time listener and supporter of KUOW, you will not be participating in their fundraising efforts this year. That's my plan. I will say that one of the things I appreciate about their station is that they SEEM to make an effort to show different sides to their stories and that it's important that people like Cliff Mass, who is deeply invested and involved with these educational matters is a voice that should be encouraged not dismissed. I have limited resources and can't always give a lot but I plan on sending my funds to KBCS this year.

Someone recommended boycotting the station but I prefer the direct approach; we will not donate unless Cliff Mass can speak.

stu

Rob said...

Typical. The most interesting guy on the station gets the axe. I think those local hosts are terrible. Especially the mid-day guy. I dread it when "To The Point" is over at noon.
Cliff, before you I didn't care much about weather patterns and predictions. I am a total weather geek now. Please get back on the air!

lobean said...

Here is the text of my email to KUOW:
I was saddened while reading Cliff Maas's blog account of his termination from KUOW radio. I realize his viewpoint is one side of a story, but I am pretty convinced his is an honest, level headed account.

He is an educator and his opinion is a valid part of a discussion on math education. If his weather segment is not the right place for that view perhaps allowing him to discuss his stance on a different show or segment would be a better choice than censoring him.

We will be seriously reviewing whether we will be donating to KUOW in the future as we view this move as a bad call on the part of the management of KUOW.

David Sucher said...

Really sad to hear this news and surprised/disappointed that KUOW or Scher (whichever one is the culprit) have been so...whatever it is as I can't really understand their reaction.

David Sucher said...

Really sad to hear this news and surprised/disappointed that KUOW or Scher (whichever one is the culprit) have been so...whatever it is as I can't really understand their reaction.

k2 said...

Grim. Americans can't do math and you are being punished for caring about education and children? What a mess. I admire deeply your passion for math education in a country that is a mess because people can't comprehend compounding, hence the high level of personal debt.

KUOW has gone down hill and this is yet another nail in their coffin. I rarely tune in but I do to hear you. I will send them e-mail and hope they change their minds. Podcast is a great alternative, if you are interested I feel certain a reader of your blog will help you get it going for free.

Why not do it and collect donated funds for math educational improvement?

Anna Richland said...

I'm sorry to hear this, and hopeful that reasonable heads will prevail at KUOW and reverse this decision, much like the Principal Floe decision.

Re Teachers' Unions: I must point out to people ranting about them, which is completely unrelated to the topic of Cliff's firing, that the reason the UW itself can't FIRE Cliff for his math-advocacy is TENURE, a tenet of teachers' unions. If he was not so secure in his primary position, if he and others like him were at-will employees, could he speak as he does? Cliff is rational and data/logic driven. Please, lets use the same standards to examine why this happened rather than blame our usual shibboleths.

Dan McShane said...

There will always be debate and conflict on how public education is conducted on all subjects. That is the nature of public education. Part of understanding weather and climate includes understanding math and clearly Dr. Mass’ job at the UW is more than just weather; it is also education and teaching concepts that require a range of math skills depending on the class level. He clearly has an insight on how well prepared incoming UW students are. I am interested in that perspective and education leaders should be as well.

Public education issues are nuanced. I will suggest that perspective is held by the vast majority of KUOW listeners not only on education but on a wide variety of subjects. KUOW listeners should be able to have the opportunity to hear Dr. Mass’ perspective on math education. They listen to KUOW to develop that nuanced perspective.

I can only speculate that some powers that be may be applying great pressure on KUOW programmers and staff to suppress opinions that lead to a more nuanced view of education that may be contrary to their views on education approaches for math. If the math program they are advocating is so wonderful, perhaps more effort should be placed in convincing the public versus suppressing a perspective of a knowledgeable UW educator.

I wish you well in dealing with whatever internal KUOW politics and funding you are facing on this education issue. But I am very disappointed that you would allow this to lead dropping a long time program favorite.

Kathleen said...

I am saddened and disappointed by the behavior of KUOW; the one place where I believed that I would find unbiased, uncensored information. My naiveté is forever lost.

Cliff Mass will be sorely missed!

wjhbrook said...

Here's my email to all the folks listed:

Dear folks at KUOW and UW,

As a member of KUOW and the parent of a UW student, I was very disappointed to read about the political termination of the excellent segment by Cliff Mass. My membership in KUOW is always tentative: I support the idea of public radio, but have largely been suspicious that just this sort of behind-the-scenes political control was taking place.

I love "Weekday" and think Steve does a fine job covering a wide variety of topics, so it is especially disappointing to hear that he was apparently a party to this shameful decision. It is the presence of solid shows such as Smiley and West and Alternative Radio that have led me to be a member. It is decisions like this that push me the other way.

As for UW: I'm not at all surprised to hear that Cliff Mass was pressured to be silent about the reality at UW. My son, a stellar computer engineering undergrad, has regularly been used as a trophy to dangle in front of big donors. So much for public education. I realize that much of this is the fault of state government, not the UW, but pressuring its own faculty to be silent on important issues of public interest is a very discouraging sign of the times.

I will think long and hard before I "re-up" next year.

Sincerely,

Wes Howard-Brook
Issaquah, WA

Elaine said...

I think you would be better off with your own podcast anyway. Then you could discuss weather and whatever other topics are of interest to you too.

Ted said...

I've already sent a "Say it ain't so" email to Steve. This weekend I plan to draft a more forceful letter that will be cc'd to all the appropriate recipients. Thank you Cliff for sharing your experience and being open and honest about all of the facts as you understand them.

Losing your weekly spot is disappointing to say the least. The potential politicking simply rubs me the wrong way and as a member of KUOW I will make sure my voice is heard and encourage everyone else here to do the same.

Enjoy the sun!

brian said...

bummer. I enjoy your forcasts on KUOW. I am disappointed in their decision and especially the way they treated you. In depth weather forcasts are important, and giving your opinion on math education is very important as well. It was great to hear those opinions from a scientist and educator. Shame on KUOW. I am a member and they will hear from me. Please stay on the radio, perhaps 88.5 has time for you. A podcast would be great but I liked you on KUOW because it worked well with the friday OPINION show (i don't get how you can't give your opinion even if they do it all the time, I love that segment and Steve has his opinions too even though he tries not to since he is the host) and it reaches more people. Good luck to you.

Bruce said...

Dr. Mass,

KPLU and other competitors of KUOW should be knocking on your door.

My ears will follow you.

Bruce

ps. Greatly disappointed in KUOW management.

Janet Way said...

What a travesty! Say it ain't so Cliff!

I've written to KUOW, but they are so arrogant and well funded by the local elite establishment that nothing will get through their heads.

Smug, arrogant and self-serving pseudo intellectuals
and "journalists".

You were one of the last true things on this station.
I will never pledge any money to them. They've let me down, over and over.

Hang in there with your great TRUTH TO POWER!

Aaron Masser said...

Lame! I have to think they'll pull their heads out on this one and reverse this.

Stu said...

My email to the enter list on the original blog:

I was very sorry to hear that Cliff Mass is no longer welcome on your station.

Over the years I have come to appreciate not just his weather/science reporting but also his unique insight into math education in this area.
There are a number of opinions about the effectiveness of various approaches to educating students and Cliff Mass has the kind of insight, being directly involved with math at the university level, that should be welcome, not discouraged.

One of the strengths of a station like KUOW is that it's NOT owned by a major conglomerate and tries to concern itself, especially with programming like Weekday, with issues that are local in nature. Although "reporting" has changed over the years, we can get national news at an endless variety of outlets. KUOW has always offered more than just the talking points; more often than not, your station has been willing to look at various opinions and offer the listener the opportunity to make informed decisions.

As you well know, there's endless debate about the direction that the Seattle Public Schools District is heading, with many discussions about approaches to teaching and effectiveness of methodology. KUOW should welcome someone like Cliff Mass, who is directly involved with the situation through his position at the University of Washington, to offer background and opinion, so that we, your listeners, can better understand the issues. Instead, another dissenting voice is fired and we're going to only hear one side of these stories . . . might as well watch TV news.

Things have been tight in our household the past few years. Like many others, we're feeling the crunch of the bad economy and we're finding we have to pick and choose who and what we can financially support. Each year, however, we've been able to donate to KUOW because an independent, local, voice is more important than ever and we've come to trust much of what we hear on your station. With the dismissal of Cliff Mass, we feel as though you have betrayed that trust.

We will no longer be donating to KUOW.

Liz said...

Hi Cliff,
Just went to the KUOW site and sent them my angry email. Here's what I said:

I am a regular follower of Cliff Mass' weather blog and I read his latest post this morning. At first I was very sad, then disturbed, then angry.

As a frequent listener, it is obvious to me that Cliff is not a "regular at KUOW". I see him in the same category as any op/ed commentator. He has, through weather, reawakened my love science. I am very grateful to KUOW for putting him on the air. His pieces help us all understand and appreciate why the weather does what it does!

Cliff is an important educator in our area. HIs explanation of why weather events happen in the PNW is very important for all residents. We have someone to turn to for a rational when our weather is bizarre and even frightening. And, because he is an educator, he does it all without the know-it-all manner of weather commentators.

I also seem him as an educator with expertise about what college students are doing, how grade inflation is affecting college entrances, etc. When he expresses his opinions about the basic unpreparedness of incoming students into his classroom, he fosters just the kind of discussion we need in our community.

I think KUOW is not serving to its listeners. We value Cliff and want to hear what he has to say. Bring Cliff back and let him work with another team if Weekday is too myopic to see his value.

A yearly subscriber.

Liz in Crownhill

Tom said...

Do kid really need to know math and science these days? All you need is video games and Facebook!

Uggghh!...disgusting!
I don't listen to radio anymore other than KUOW now and then, but not much. I rely more on your blog for weather since I'm a 40-something year old kid that enjoys science as a sailor, pilot and backyard astronomer.

Tom

Kal said...

A copy of an email I posted to KUOW officials a few minutes ago ...

If the truth is anything close to what is described by Prof. Mass in his blog yesterday, then I very much stand with Prof. Mass and urge you to reinstate his weekly weather commentary on KUOW AND FURTHER, to expand his "portfolio" to include educational issues of interest to him. Quite frankly though under the circumstances, if I were in his boots I'm not sure that I'd want to come back. You've not treated him well.

joshuadf said...

Cliff, I enjoy your blog but I'm not convinced by your statement "I am just not a scientist, I am an educator as well--by now having instructed many thousands of students at all levels." Just practicing instruction does not make you an expert in it. Perhaps you are, but I don't recall you ever citing peer-reviewed pedagogical research and it certainly is not your principle area of interest. STEM education in this city and state does need some help, but there are plenty of opinions out there. Please find a true expert voice and support them.

Liz said...

I really can't believe I am reading this. We, the liberal listeners, LOVE the way you go off topic. I would be so happy if you started a podcast, and I will begin following your blog more closely.

May I suggest KBCS as an alternative new home? I started listening to them a few months ago when KUOW really seemed to be taking a turn for the worse...

Keep on keeping on, Cliff, I think you rock.

Kenan said...

This is an outrage---Shame on KUOW and Steve Schur. They just lost my support!

handygirl1 said...

What a sad state of affairs. The reason that I listen to and contribute to KUOW/NPR is to hear something more than is delivered in the "mainstream media". I expect to hear about issues that might be considered controversial. There are many other places to listen to or watch "talking heads". The fact that math and science education is a mess is no secret! Change doesn't happen if issues are not raised. I hope that Weekday changes it's mind. It is not a crime to recognize an error and correct it. It is however, unforgivable to restrict discussion.
The only reason that I can think of for discontinuing Dr. Mass would be by his choice!
Cheryl Graham

BobH said...

So if the sports reporter (if they had one) started spouting anti-abortion rhetoric everyone commenting here would be fine with that?

Sorry, but Cliff was hired to do a specific job. He wanted to use it as a platform on another topic. They asked him not to; he ignored them.

I find it hard to be outraged. Cliff pretty much decided his own fate.

Don said...

Cliff, I have enjoyed reading and learning from your blog and your Friday morning segments on KUOW. As a long-time listener and supporter of KUOW, I am disappointed and will write to them expressing my feelings. I do not know enough about one math curricula vs. another, but I applaud you for speaking up when you are knowledgable about a subject that is related to your specific field of expertise. Keep up the good work!

Ecuadork said...

I am behind you 100% Cliff. I was listening a few weeks ago when you made the UW comments, and was a bit surprised to hear the commentary, but following those comments the week in review panel took plenty of time to discuss your view. This is ridiculous that KUOW would discontinue your segment for voicing your serious concerns about the education system.

As someone in the technology sector it is scary how hard it is to hire someone for an advanced job here. Keep up the fight against declining standards in science and math!

MichaelH said...

Sorry to be the contrarian here, but I'm disappointed in everyone's behavior - yours included. I totally get that you have an opinion to share regarding the affairs of education, but using the KUOW weather segment to stump isn't appropriate. Rick Steves differs from you Cliff, in that he's a nationally known, independent author and his opinions are always construed to be his own. You're an employee of the UW and you're introduced as a representative of that institution. KUOW is supported in part by the UW, and Katy's job is to respect this for the good and preservation of our favorite, local NPR station. (It's political, and it sucks, but it's reality. bleh.)

I wish you'd all sit down for a beer or two and work things out. Cliff: Agree to stick to weather in your segment, because we genuinely recognize you as the subject matter expert in our town and, yes, we do need you. Katy/Steve: You completely overreacted and now you've pissed off a segment of your audience. Please reconsider your position of releasing Cliff, and give him another chance. Also, consider inviting Cliff to contribute his thoughts on education on occasion, perhaps in a segment similar to "Your Take on the News".

"Your Take on Education" perhaps?

There, fixed. Now, let's move along... and most of all, let's all pull together in this otherwise horrible, topsy-turvy, chaotic state of world affairs... please, please don't suck at this community thing...

Mike said...

Being a public radio station, KUOW is very sensitive to listener opinions. If everyone who posted comments here also called in during the upcoming pledge-drive at KUOW it'd have a significant impact.

melissa said...

very disappointing! i have emailed all at KUOW and posted about it on facebook. hopefully they will come to their senses!

rpauli said...

The motto of radio is: "Sorry we have run out of time"

Cliff, the medium of radio is not well suited to expressing your wisdom.

Get thee a podcast - talk and video all you want. Setup a YouTube channel, you could do it by this afternoon.

Karrie said...

Cliff,

Just sent an email to the list you provided and copied everyone in my address book who lives in Seattle.

Keep us posted as to status!

Thank you for all you do!

Andy said...

Mr. Mass I enjoy your book everyday and will continue to follow your blog.

It's to bad about KUOW, like they say....you don't know what you got til it's gone.

Christy said...

As a "weather nerd," I've loved your segments. I agree with what others have said: Your listeners will follow you. Feel good about the quality of what you've given us so far, and know what we will listen to you, wherever you are. With that knowledge, you can move forward in a way that allows you to talk about whatever you please and let listeners decide whether they agree with you.

By the way, I was once "let go" as a radio book reviewer because I had the nerve to recommend a book written by a gay author (this was a long time ago, in a conservative state). I loved the gig and was sad to leave it, but you can't back down on your convictions to suit others. Good for you for sticking to your guns.

JewelyaZ said...

I am digusted.

I wrote them directly and also posted a note on my Facebook page. Facebook rant

I am considering blogging on the Seattle P-I as well. I have a job interview today but if this is still bubbling when I come back from that, I'll write my post.

LVDLM said...

Obviously, I'm disappointed in Steve Scher's decision, although the effect on me personally is small because I largely stopped listening to the program some years ago as the Internet has become an increasingly valuable alternative to radio.

What I want to address now is the notion that UW may do Washington state students a disservice if it increases the proportion of out-of-state students it accepts. I heartily endorse Cliff's earlier post to the effect that the contrary is more likely true.

For several years I have been auditing classes at the U as anc Access student (program for seniors to attend classes not filled by matriculated students). In lecture halls, I regularly observe a large share--a minority, to be sure, but a large share nonetheless--of the "real" students spending lecture time surfing the Web, catching up on e-mail, or thumbing their iPhones. At the same time, even in senior-level classes, professors have to slow the pace to explain, for example, what it means if two functions have equal first derivatives at a point. All right, not everyone needs to know this stuff, but surely all college-bound students ought to have a basic command of calculus upon graduation from high school. UW, like any first-rate university, can't be expected to remediate shortcomings in applicants' previous education--which is precisely why Cliff's emphasis on public school math education is spot-on.

If somewhat fewer Washington state students are accepted, I would argue strongly that, first, very few in-state students deserving of a place will actually be denied one, and, second, that the education of those admitted will be greatly improved through contact and competition with highly motivated, well-prepared out-of- state students. When I was in graduate school, a large majority of my fellow students were from foreign countries. It was these students that set the pace, and showed the rest of us what we were capable of if we were willing to work harder than, frankly, we would have done if we hadn't had their example. I think Washington students will similarly benefit from a cadre of really top-notch out-of-staters. It won't be easy for them--but a good college education isn't supposed to be easy.

LVDLM said...

Obviously, I'm disappointed in Steve Scher's decision, although the effect on me personally is small because I largely stopped listening to the program some years ago as the Internet has become an increasingly valuable alternative to radio.

What I want to address now is the notion that UW may do Washington state students a disservice if it increases the proportion of out-of-state students it accepts. I heartily endorse Cliff's earlier post to the effect that the contrary is more likely true.

For several years I have been auditing classes at the U as anc Access student (program for seniors to attend classes not filled by matriculated students). In lecture halls, I regularly observe a large share--a minority, to be sure, but a large share nonetheless--of the "real" students spending lecture time surfing the Web, catching up on e-mail, or thumbing their iPhones. At the same time, even in senior-level classes, professors have to slow the pace to explain, for example, what it means if two functions have equal first derivatives at a point. All right, not everyone needs to know this stuff, but surely all college-bound students ought to have a basic command of calculus upon graduation from high school. UW, like any first-rate university, can't be expected to remediate shortcomings in applicants' previous education--which is precisely why Cliff's emphasis on public school math education is spot-on.

If somewhat fewer Washington state students are accepted, I would argue strongly that, first, very few in-state students deserving of a place will actually be denied one, and, second, that the education of those admitted will be greatly improved through contact and competition with highly motivated, well-prepared out-of- state students. When I was in graduate school, a large majority of my fellow students were from foreign countries. It was these students that set the pace, and showed the rest of us what we were capable of if we were willing to work harder than, frankly, we would have done if we hadn't had their example. I think Washington students will similarly benefit from a cadre of really top-notch out-of-staters. It won't be easy for them--but a good college education isn't supposed to be easy.

Dorli said...

Having an educated opinion is being edged out by news-readers who have no clue but please the corporate heads. I am so sorry to see your voice being shut down.
Dorli Rainey

MaryAnn K said...

Cliff,

I discovered you through KUOW. You are such an important part of our community. I appreciated hearing your "non-weather" views.

I'm beyond disappointed in KUOW. They are important to me as well, but this type of political pettiness is not what I expect of my local NPR station.

I feel I must reconsider my contribution and volunteering. I'll miss hearing you every Friday morning.

I hope everyone who is disappointed will complain to KUOW management.

Scott said...

I can't say that Weekday has ever impressed me enough to become a regular listener, but I liked your segment whenever I caught it, Cliff. If NPR's mission is really to "...create a more informed public - one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures" then pulling one of their most informative commentators in favor of those who prefer to turn a blind eye to the issues is a poor way to go about it.

I'll add my vote here to the "Do your own podcast" crowd... if NPR can't fulfill its own mission, the best thing you can do is to do it yourself.

I notice that kuow.org is down right now, and I suspect that has something to do with this situation.You clearly have a wide base of prospective web-based listeners just waiting for you now!

jayemarr said...

Cliff,

The station has beclowned themselves and they are too clueless to see it.

I hope that you will set up a podcast or something similar on your site, and I am sure it will be popular. I know that I would be much more likely to listen to that than KUOW -- particularly now.

Good luck and don't sweat this: it's their loss, not yours.

John

Jessica said...

This is very sad news. I have always enjoyed Cliff's segments on KUOW. The weather was interesting, but the information and learning opportunity to better my understanding of science was what I really appreciated. I even bought the book and suggested it to others. I hope KUOW will invite you back and I am working on my letter now. I hope that they will listen to their members on this issue.
Looking forward to your podcasts and posts in the meantime!

Trevor Griffey said...

Even in the narration of events provided above, it is hard for me to understand why people are critical of KUOW for its actions.

Cliff Mass was a GUEST of KUOW, not a reporter or commenter, and he was invited to talk about the weather.

But he seems to have felt entitled to use the audience provided to him to editorialize, just because KUOW is "public radio." But just because KUOW is public radio (despite being sustained mainly by private donations) doesn't mean that it is unprofessional radio where there is no programming and anyone can say whatever they want whenever they want.

KUOW clearly wanted Cliff Mass to stay, or it would not have told him so directly that he was to steer clear of all editorializing.

Mass clearly felt no obligation to abide by KUOW's terms. He refused a direct order, and thereby left KUOW no choice but to cut him.

KUOW takes on difficult subjects in our community. But that was not the role that it asked Cliff Mass to fill for them. It's unfortunate that Mass had benefited so much from his media exposure that he came to feel that he was entitled to his position.

Overall it seems like the relationship between KUOW and Mass has been a good one. This is an unfortunate ending, but it sounds like it was necessary and unavoidable.

Best of luck to both,

Trevor
PhD Student, US History, UW
KUOW Listener
Former freelance journalist and occasional editorialist...

P Scott Cummins said...

More public radio fundamentalism - at KUOW they've silenced a refreshingly alternative perspective by this "firing" on ridiculous pretense. I didn't always agree with your perspective Cliff - and that is just the point about why I appreciated hearing it - it causes me to question my own analysis and even (!) change. Can a community like Seattle be "liberal" if it is one-sided and intolerant? Apparently. And that is just the point as well.

Wanderluster said...

I'm SO disappointed that they've canned you, Cliff. I avidly listen to the week in review on Fridays but always tune in early to listen to your forecast. I have never been put off by your additional insights and instead have appreciated the information.

PLEASE do podcast and don't go back to KUOW - I think the way this happened was in very poor taste and I wouldn't trust any future offers from them.

Getting there said...

I sent this to KUOW management..
Screw em, Cliff, they do not deserve your talent and knowledge.


I used to TOLERATE this show on Fridays, specifically to hear news from Canada, and for Cliff Mass. Usually, when I hear a promo about what is on weekday, I roll my eyes.. Coming from a Public Radio background, (NPR, APR, Marketplace, CPR) and now in government, I always sort of thought your show, was.. to be honest, small. It really never clicked with me, and as the recent events with Cliff Mass, have unfolded, I realized why. IT IS the STEVE and KATY show... Self absorbed, lacking in journalistic objectivity, or even 'teeth'.. It always sorta sounded like you actually did not care.. Pregnant pauses, irrelevant questions, the knack for bad timing when it comes to taking breaks, or structuring an on air conversation.. I just figured you two were pretty 'Bad' radio, and dealt with it, or not..
Now.. NOT.

If the two of you, and KUOW/ UW management do not recognize that having the foremost regional meteorologist on your show, broadcasting to a region where weather IS paramount, and a daily, or hourly topic of conversation, is a huge win. To not nurture that personality, and his ideas, and ideals, is, as mentioned, self centered, a dis-service to your listeners, and really, speaking as a broadcaster, who worked in public radio news for about 15 years, a really stupid move.

I will NOT be renewing, will not wake up to Bernard, (which is a whole different email) How can someone who cannot write, and can barely deliver, chop up an excellent national program, to tell me what is coming up in 10 minutes, over and OVER. UGH... Do you seriously think that is increasing TSL? )
But I digress.. You have made a huge mistake. I see little reason to contribute, I will spend some time at KUOW 2, ( By the way, Bernard, why are you promoting programs on that station without mentioning frequency or actual air time? Duh!?)

I will contribute to KPLU, who does NOT 'mash up' Morning Edition, and I will probably have to head to KOMO for my mid day news and discussions.

Bad Steve, and Katy, very bad. But I'm happy this is out in the open as it finally nails down, and clarifies exactly why your show was like nails on a chalk board for me.

Sincerely,
Garry

Jeff said...

Just another step in the long decline of public radio. We used to get many intersting points of view but over the years they have had to serve a wider audience and are dumbing down to the level of the rest of the media.

Mike said...

If everyone posting here called during the upcoming KUOW pledge drive it'd have a significant impact.

Bur said...

I actually agree with your producer. I don't think you understand how complex the problems with education are, and pinning them where you did was both ignorant and politically unwise. You played your cards wrong by choosing to disregard authority. I think it was arrogant of you to think you could speak authoritatively on-air about a subject that you are not an authority on.

propriatress said...

well, Cliff Mass is one of the best minds and voices in the NW...because you speak your mind plainly and with smartness! Whether I agree or even understand some of what you say...It don't matter, Cliff.;-)
I was listening the day you discussed (as your opinion) the math/uw issue)..and I thought "Steve is fuming..."
and I was right.
Stupid move for Kuow. Steve and his silly producer seem to be against true inquiry. So damn sad. But I'm a Greener Goeduck...and nothing is too radical and controversial to give it a Listen...so, See you on Facehole!
;-)

Dan said...

Cliff, you've just been introduced to the "golden rule" - whoever has the gold, makes the rules. Or the other way it's often phrased, "the boss may not always be right, but he's always the boss".

Getting fired from a part-time job on the side may hurt the ego, it seems it's completely unjustified, but in this case, as in most cases, if this organization is so small-minded and petty, do you really want to be associated with them?

I'll miss hearing you on the radio. But there's no shortage of other ways to get your point across.

Keep up the good work.

Eric B said...

I have to agree with KUOW's decision. Your expertise is in meteorology, not in math education or UW admission policies. It may be important to you, but that does not make you an expert. KUOW's responsibility to is to get the most knowledgeable folks they can on the air to inform the listeners. In the same way I think you would protest them pulling an education expert in to discuss the weather, I understand their reticence to have you discuss things on which you don't have a more deep specialized background.

At the UW, you would not allow (I hope) a education instructor to teach your Atmospheric Science class even if they could do it 100% correctly. The reason is that we all expect that education will be done not just by the minimally qualified, but the most qualified. You are the most qualified to discuss and teach about meteorology. You are NOT the most qualified to teach/instruct on math education, and therefore if KUOW wants to cover that, they should get the people that are.
You did an AMAZING job at teaching us all about the weather at KUOW. I will miss your segments greatly and wish that there had been a way that you could have continued while finding a more appropriate place (like this blog) for the issues that are important to you.

Rona said...

I have written an email. I would also LOVE a podcast from you! I prefer to listen to podcasts as I go running every morning. Thank you for your information and blog!

Getting there said...

.... Kinda sucky.. When you email the 'weekday' show.. their mail server must be seeing 'Cliff Mass' in the content, and is auto-responsing a typically insincere response from Steve...
I then responded back, thinking it was Cliff, as the return email has your name.
Um, I think that might be illegal, and certainly is wrong.

St. Crispy said...

Cliff - I love hearing your analysis and understanding weather works, and also enjoy your perspective on dealing with college level students who don't have the math basics.

I went to college in the 80s without enough basic math, (never got past alegbra in high school) and I regret it to this day.

My understanding is that KPLU has a much larger broadcast area and maybe a larger audience. They would be fools not to pick you up and let your informed opinions be part of their broadcast day.

Stu Smith said...

Cliff, here's my letter to the email contacts you supplied:

Greetings:

As a long-time financial supporter of KUOW, I am displeased to hear that Cliff Mass has been removed from your lineup. Accordingly, I no longer wish to support KUOW. Please cancel my monthly automatic withdrawal contribution.

I have long appreciated Cliff's segments on KUOW, not only for his forecasts, but for his position as a science educator. His insights on the relations between science and society are important, and that includes controversial topics such as math standards and university enrollment.

I want Cliff back - and not just as a weekend weather forecaster, but as a respected member of the scientific and educational community. You owe your listeners this.

When Cliff returns to KUOW I will reconsider reinstating my financial support for KUOW.

Respectfully,

Stu Smith
[address omitted]

Bill Reiswig said...

You excell at what you do Cliff. I have sent KUOW an email explaining why they have made a mistake. I hope that if they reconsider that you will take a forgiving tone, and stay a bit more on-topic ( I do hope they give you a segement on math education though as your opinions are well informed and it's very important) so that we can get you back on KUOW!

Shanti, just a girl said...

(copy of letter sent to Katy, et al)
Dear Sirs and Madame,

It is with considerable sadness that I have learned that the weather in Seattle will no longer be presented by Cliff Mass. The idea that he was TEACHING science and weather, that he expressed OPINIONS about education, I applaud him for it.

I am not often in Seattle, but I do come there several times a year. I have always made a point of listening to KUOW when I am in town because I have gotten rather used to listening to weather and news in (the other) Washington (DC). I enjoy NPR and the opinions expressed on public radio.

It seems to me that, provided that the commentator states specifically that the opinions are his own, he ought to be allowed to speak them. The movers and shakers should not be afraid to let the "other side" air its views, as it is only with open debate that the truth can be discovered!

I realize that public radio is going through financial hardships. I am glad I live on the East Coast, so I don't have to make the hard decision of whether or not to help fund your station.

Sincerely,

Taylor Schroeder,
Baltimore, MD

Yannie53 said...

What a shock! Every Friday we turn up the volume on the radio at work and listen faithfully. Now what do we do? The only weather person we trust is you - and it used to be the only radio station we trusted was KUOW. I just switched over to KPLU!

Helen Welborn said...

KUOW is so 1980s.

Jeannie said...

I emailed KUOW to express my disappointment in deciding to censor their Weather/Science commentator for, of all things, addressing education in Science & Math! Sanitized discussions are not why I have supported KUOW in the past, but instead the opportunity to hear from honest speakers who take scientific method seriously and make useful information accessible to the listeners. Steve Shere announced that there is a Blog for Weekday to discuss this (putting off much discussion on the air), but it seems to be unavailable. So, we are all censored, too. Let us know where we can catch your shows in the future! We need you.

roxanne said...

Here's the email I sent to management (not to steve or katy)I won't give up hope!

Dear KUOW staff ~

As a looooooooooooooong-time listener, and frequent member, and sometimes volunteer of KUOW, I have concerns about the departure of Cliff Mass as a guest on WeekDay. Over the years, I have gained a great deal of knowledge about our local weather, and also about regional and even global issues of climate. When the earthquake hit Japan, I was worried, and wondered how to protect myself from the radioactivity that my friends said was going to fall on us. Cliff Mass provided a trustable voice of reason that put the risk in a perspective I could understand. I shared with my friends, and everyone calmed down, because we know that if Cliff Mass says it, it has to be based on real data. I always look forward to his segments, as they are intelligent, accessible, and generally amusing in some way; a trifecta of radio perfection.

I find it difficult to accept the stated reasons for the cessation of his regular guest appearances. Many guests, including Vaughn Palmer, Robert Horton, Nancy Pearl and Rick Steves bring their viewpoints to their segments, and this doesn't seem like a problem. In fact, it is why I listen to them.

Please return Cliff Mass to KUOW. If there is some sort of conflict with Steve Scher and Katie Sewall, slip him into a different time slot. His knowledge and communication skills are a valuable part of the team of my favorite radio station.

Traepischke said...

I'm horrified by this blatant censoring of free speech, and yet, I am unsurprised. Your show has been one of the few I listen to anymore. I've found KUOW to be bland and without much to recommend it since they got rid of most of the music on weekdays and went to the "all talk all day" format.

I will be writing to them, and I will no longer be donating to KUOW.

Enophile said...

They must be getting inundated with emails as I received a near instantaneous response in the form of a canned email from Steve.

Sad...

janegf said...

I am writing in support of you. Thanks for your weather + commentary. It is valuable and I appreciate it. Will look to your blog until you are asked back (sheepishly) to KUOW or find another outlet.

Brian said...

I'm sorry to see this end this way. I'll keep following the blog. Thanks for all you do.

PBio Microscopes said...

As a subscriber to KUOW, a parent of children in Seattle Public Schools, and a science professor at UW, I applaud Dr. Mass. Thank you for your contributions to the dialogue about science and math education. I hope your voice continues to be heard.

Gordon said...

Hi Cliff, sad to hear about the KUOW situation. I'm tempted to ask for my paltry donation back.
I've always enjoyed your weather discussions, and have always endeavored to retain what you explain about our strange local microclimates (lived here 44 years, since my birth).
When I first heard this morning that you would no longer be doing broadcasts, I thought it must have had something to do with a really bad weather prediction!!

I've enjoyed hearing you talk about Carl Sagan as well. THe PBS TV series Cosmos came out when I was a kid, and I was glued to the TV everytime it was on. It inspired me so much, and I totally agree with you and he that scientists need to communicate with the general public and not just in scientific journals. I'm sure we'll be hearing from you soon.
Cheers,
Gordon Hendrickson, Shoreline 98155 microclimate dweller.

wildbill said...

Last year I attended a curriculum conference in Bellevue mostly because you were a "headliner" for the program. You mentioned a woman in your AS dept. who wanted to do graduate work and you refused her because her math skills were lacking and she cried. It was a moving example of dummying down. You also mentioned a short math quiz you gave even to graduate students who could not pass it and said other professors had tried your exam with the same result. Your critique was not well-received by some of the speakers, who included teachers' union officials and some school management. You have to know Seattle Liberals are famously intolerant, admittedly so, and when you take umbrage at the concrete result of dummying down, you are implicitly criticizing those who are running things in public education. They are very well-paid to deliver mediocrity and wish to continue doing so. They will certainly do as they always have and nags, gadflies, and chronic complainers have to be quiet or they will be sent to stand in the corner of the room. Now, of course, when in Seattle we must blame functional illiteracy not on educators but on Bush and Sara Palin, and let us be vigorous and not slack off in that. I'll miss your Friday stints on KUOW and hope you can find another outlet. I'd protest to the powers at be at the station but, really, it would be pointless for they are Seattle Liberals, too. I have to grant Steve and Marci and company the wisdom to know that when in Rome, they do what the Romans do. Bear in mind Machiavelli’s last years were quite unpleasant though not as bad as Luther’s. Ciff: you gotta stop launching paper airplanes in class!

trav said...

Here was my letter to KUOW. It wasn't conciliatory in the least, but frankly I think public radio stations are going to die out soon anyway thanks to technological advancements.

------

Hello,

I see that you're no longer going to feature Cliff Mass on Fridays.
That was one of the few segments I listened to anymore - I'd grab the
Friday podcasts just for that (it certainly wasn't for the so-called
news in review drivel). Roger Feris isn't on all that often now (his
schedule is the issue, I realize), and I stopped listening to the Rick
Steves because of the frequent pot legalization diatribes. Now Cliff
is gone, and basically because you disagree with him.

Seriously - you don't want a UW professor to opine about math, but
you're okay with a travel writer beating the marijuana legalization
drum?

Frankly, if you want a mindless drone bring on one of the young,
pretty TV weather people (oh, yeah, I forgot - radio). I appreciated
hearing what Cliff had to say. Even when I disagreed with him (which
wasn't often), I knew he'd thought his opinions through.

Please remove me from your mailing lists - I stopped giving to KUOW a
couple years back, and now there's no chance I'll be changing my mind
on that score. I give directly to the PBS shows I do support - whether
you carry them or not is unimportant. Any future envelopes from KUOW
will go straight into the recycle - so do the green thing, and remove
me from your mailing lists.

Dan said...

Dr. Mass, we'd love to have a free podcast. Alternately, perhaps Dave Ross on KIRO would like to have you on his show? He's always one to enjoy some educated perspective.

Kristin said...

There is a Facebook page now for those who would like to petition KUOW to rethink this decision: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Put-Cliff-Mass-back-on-KUOW/149155005153152?v=wall&sk=wall

Cheryl R. said...

Wow.

SHAME ON KUOW!

One more reason to hate what National Public Radio has been doing at the national and local levels of late.

Hypocrites.

You really should consider doing a podcast Cliff, you'd be brilliant at it. And no censorship!

Wishing you the best, and of course, I'll be sending KUOW a piece of my mind on this issue.

Rose and Wheel said...

I am very sad but not really surprised to hear this has happened. I would love to see you move your commentary to a podcast.

Kathe said...

Well apparently you aren't the only one being taken off the air for your 'views' and comments. See this article in today's Seattle Times: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2015104843_apeuukraineweatherdissident.html

Most public radio and quite a few national news organizations are sanitizing the news to be PC and we're not getting the real news anymore - its been a trend for the last 4 years or more. I think the internet and podcasts are the future of real news and broadcasts!

Stephen said...

This is most unfortunate.

You were one of the only really redeeming sources for what is actually a very poor local news team.

I am continually dismayed at the horrendous announcing, coverage, and programming produced by that station. I am a regular public radio giver, but have NEVER given to KUOW and will never in the future thanks to this move.

I think you should be in touch with the folks at KPLU. They seem to provide a much higher caliber local team despite their seemingly fewer resources. They also have spots on Morning Edition where they have local guests chime in for a discussion about music and local events. I think a weather segment once a week would fit well there.

Shame on you KUOW, you continue to find new ways to prove you don't deserve to be an NPR affiliate.

Eva said...

facebook suport page for Cliff:

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/Put-Cliff-Mass-back-on-KUOW/149155005153152

velotron said...

Dear Steve, Katy, and Guy,

I am writing to you in response to the recent cancellation of Cliff
Mass' weekly segment on the weather. This was a rare and valued
treasure of a regular address from a leading scientist discussing a
topic which is of general interest. Direct connections between
science and the public are weak, and few scientists are gifted with
the capability and drive to frequently address the public in truthful
and easily understood terms.

In order for our society to produce great science, we require our
students to have a strong understanding of basic mathematics. None
of the advances in modern meteorology which Cliff discusses would have
been possible without a steady influx of students prepared with the
mathematical skills to push back the shrouds of mystery at the edges
of our scientific understanding.

I am disappointed in your decision to cancel Cliff's show. I'm not
disappointed because I will miss listening to it, but because it was
one of a dwindling population of voices in the mainstream media which
stated the truths of both our atmospheric environment and the entire
framework we have developed to understand it. I hope you reconsider
this choice.

Thank you,

Joseph Sheedy
M.S. Atmospheric Science, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
B.S. Atmospheric Science, University of Washington

Will said...

I have contacted KUOW, and received a mass response email. I'll be writing back to let them know that a substitute piece focusing on the weather is insufficient. I listen because it's cliff, not because I need yet another source of weather info.

Having said that, a podcast would be incredibly convenient. I rarely am listening to the radio at the time slot you are on, but if you had a podcast I could listen whenever it was convenient.

Silvia said...

I was very shocked and sorry to hear that your Weekday segment was terminated. I value your opinion on a variety of issues, but also understand that KUOW must have a hand in determining what is and is not appropriate for their segments, whether I agree or not. That said, I would love for you to start a podcast. You could speak to a wide variety of topics and we listeners would get more Cliff at any time that works for us. Sounds like a win-win!

Nick said...

As a math and science teacher I used your blog and segments in my class. This action by KUOW will only hurt students that benefited for a great program- shame on them.
Nick

Nick said...

As a math and science teacher I used your blog and segments in my class. This action by KUOW will only hurt students that benefited for a great program- shame on them.
Nick

since1971 said...

Cliff, I was raised on public radio. My father recently retired from a 40+ year career managing and reporting for NPR affiliates. I am writing to say that your voice has been one of the most intelligent I have heard on KUOW. I sent Mr. Scher and Ms. Sewall an email and got an auto reply which was hardly worth reading. I am disappointed in them but happy for you. Onward and upward. Thanks for caring enough about math and science education not to compromise your high standards!

Euphoria Gibbons said...

Have you proposed a weather-only slot in addition to a friday opinions slot? Steve's relpy seemed to imply they were not ending your commentary, but inviting you for more opinion-related segments.

tiodan said...

While I can see the argument for clearly delineating a 'weather only' segment, that doesn't seem to be what you offered and I think it is a terrible shame that you've been cut loose. The degradation of our education system is a huge problem and we need more honest, incisive commentary on it. Let's hope they decide to reinstate you or that you find another effective outlet.

Harry Velez said...

This is simply terrible. It happens just as I was considering renewing my support of KUOW. I know that on the one hand this incident should not make me stay away from the station, however, it makes me think differently of folks whose voices I have come to appreciate, such as Steve Scher. It is ridiculous to attempt to silence your comments on education, grade inflation, and the failures of the K-12 system, etc., all quite sensible and appropriate in the context of a program on science. Shame.

Kristin said...

Here is the letter I sent to KUOW:

I have always valued Cliff Mass's views on math and science education as he is an educator who talks intelligently and knowledgeably about the subject. KUOW has a chance to have such discourse, and all you want from an atmospheric scientist and UW educator is a weather report? You could and should want and actively encourage so much more.

I fault KUOW for not coming up with a better solution to this matter earlier. Telling Cliff Mass to limit his comments to those of a weather man was not a reasonable solution nor does it serve your listeners; integration of science discussion and the importance of good math and science education is a great way to illustrate the importance of good education to the future of good science.

The stated reasons for this termination do not appear logically consistent; many regular speakers on KUOW start speaking on political tangents in which they have NO real expertise: Rick Steves speaks ad nauseum about legalization of cannabis, many journalists give there opinions on any and every subject whether they have know anything about it or not, many politicians are regular guests without any political counterpoint. Also, if you truly wanted "to look at other ways to involve Cliff on Weekday that will allow him to share his expertise on other issues" then the appropriate and civil time to do that was BEFORE a sudden and public termination. Such a statement is hardly credible at this point.

These, and other logical inconsistencies, are leaving a lot of your listeners believing that this was a political decision. Whether or not that perception is correct, this termination appears impulsive, illogical, and poorly-handled by KUOW and you have angered many listeners. It will not be good for listener relations if matters are left as they are and the responsible course of action is to seek a better way to deal with this situation; something that should have been done earlier.

GC said...

I've emailed KUOW and got the standard preprinted response. i will no longer listen to KUOW.
best of luck, your math and science comments have ben very instructive and useful
sincerley
Tom Erdmann Seattle

Lawrence said...

I too am a frequent Weekday listener who has always enjoyed your weather segments. This is sad news. I always got the impression that KUOW and the Weekday crew were more fair than your description makes them sound. Sad news.

TH said...

Cliff, I'd like to help you with a podcast program. That's what my company does and I'd like to explore a way to get this done for you at/below cost. Your contribution to the community has been incredibly valuable and I want to see that you can continue your work.
Toby Holmes
Worktank (www.worktankseattle.com)

Sean said...

Cliff,

I am sorry to hear about this, but I have to side with KUOW on this one, I think you stepped out of bounds on what is supposed to be a weather program.

I believe I recognize the Rick Steves marijuana segments that you are talking about. He has done multiple seminars which KUOW aired on the subject, however those were separate from his regular broadcast on travel. If you wanted to make a statement, that would have been a more appropriate venue to make those statements.

Bob said...

You know, KBCS (the Bellevue College station which I support) would probably LOVE to have you on as a regular guest...and let you talk about anything you wanted. AND they cover the same general area. KUOW isn't going to see a dime from me every again. As a great man once said, 'they are on the wrong side of history.'

pm said...

Oh Cliff, this really sucks. I look forward to your segments on Weekday.. and frankly, if you've gone "off topic" it never seemed out of place to me. It's not like you site scripture for why it rains so much. This sounds like classic UW bureaucratic BS. Well, as I believe in the power of the pen, I’m going to send emails to those listed in your article, and would encourage EVERYONE to do the same. I guess the big question is, will you go back if KUOW listens to their listeners?

pau hana said...

wrote a short email to katy... she sucks

Yuki said...

I'd send a mail, but Steve Scher hates my guts already. What when Ron Sims was King County Exec they had the Animal Control topic lined up show after show, but then never covered it. Ron didn't like the topic and Steve and the producers let him off the hook.

IMO journalistic ethics is too high a price to pay for easy access to public officials - but that's just me.

dianaharker said...

Sad. What a sad comment on our city, state and country regarding the need for real, honest conversation about education in America. Mr. Mass -- do what you need to do, keep talking, most of us will listen with an open-mind.

pk said...

With respect, you were invited on there to talk about the weather - which you did brilliantly. Not to offer your opinions on public policy. The folks on the Weekday news panel ARE there to offer their opinions and commentary on news of the week. Those are two very different roles - one is geared towards providing specific scientific content, the other towards interpretation of news, discussion of issues and - frankly - argument. In other words, one segment is inherently objective, the other subjective. So to see this as a free speech issue is off the mark.

Worthy said...

I'm a Cliff Mass fan, and I've only gotten the information from one side of this (Cliff's blog), but even so I think KUOW has the right to make this decision.

When KUOW books someone for a regular segment, it IS a different matter than somebody who shows up when they are in town, even if they show up often. You were on the air to fill a topic, and even from your own description it sounds like you hijacked it.

The right of free speech is the right not to be silenced by the government or by coercion. It is not the right to take a borrowed microphone and say whatever you want. That's true even if I agree with you, Cliff.

I wish that the parties involved had been able to find another solution. Until then I hope that Cliff finds a venue for his opinions. I'll subscribe.

Amin said...

We started a Facebook Group: Bring Cliff Mass BACK!

Join & Invite others.

Thomas said...

Cliff is spot on regarding the discovery method of teaching math. I have two kids who have gone through this program and I have had to get them tutoring to make up for the shortcomings inherent in this method. It may work well for some students but just like learning the alphabet is essential for reading, some basic math skills have to be taught, not "discovered".

Leo said...

To podcast or not to podcast...

Having worked with KUOW you probably understand better than most the amount of effort it takes to create a great radio show, which is what a podcast really is. Yes, you can create a podcast yourself with just a laptop, but honestly it probably won't be great. There's more to it than just having interesting things to say.

In terms of audience reach, a podcast will definitely have smaller reach initially than Weekday. It's easy to think that podcasts will become the dominant form of audio entertainment as the internet matures, but they've been around long enough that it's not clear that's happening. Maybe it's still too soon, but it kinda seems like they've had their chance, and just haven't caught on. It might be that content aggregators (i.e. radio stations) will continue to have an important role in curating content to appeal to a mass audience.

Going it alone is more ambitious. To do it properly and reach lots of people, it will suck up an increasing amount of your time. Are these skills you want to develop? Promotion, audio production, etc.

IMHO you'll have a bigger impact if you partner with somebody who's already good at this, i.e. a radio station. Likely it will have to be a different one. How about shooting for a national NPR program like Science Friday or ATC? It couldn't be as much about PNW weather, but more about weather science or the latest big event. And probably more opportunities to discuss science education too.

This might be a sign that you've "graduated" from KUOW.

Resources said...

I've enjoyed and been educated by your discussions on weather and climate. That said, after reading your account and Steve's, it seems to me that there was a simple solution: for you to stay *on topic* for this segment; and request other time to talk about other interests and concerns.

I hope you guys patch things up; as a judge once told me, "you're cutting off your nose to spite your face!"

Ashley said...

Cliff,

As a fellow scientist (ecologist) I have grown increasingly concerned about how you have blurred the lines between objective science and personal opinion. You may have an opinion about science education but you are hardly an expert on K through 12 education. And why on Earth would you get involved with the crazy politics related to admissions?

lhsouthern said...

i have stopped listening to KUOW b/c of this. I now listen to the NWNPR station from WSU translated here in chehalis. Why don't you see if you can have a segment on NW weather on this network?
Please keep up the good work! You are the first place our family consults when severe weather hits, and you have motivated me to become active in the math curriculum here in the chehalis school district.

Eva said...

Please vote!

http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2011/05/20/steve-schers-letter-firing-cliff-mass

linda ana said...

Hi, Cliff. Just wanted to weigh in, as a longtime KUOW member and supporter. I already emailed everybody on your list, and received a return email from Steve Scher.

Your segment has been one of my very favorite, informative spots on KUOW. You will be sorely missed. I feel betrayed by the station. REally let down. You offered a fresh and honest approach to weather, and occasionally other important issues. I truly hope the decision can be reversed.

Sarah said...

I have written KUOW as follows:

Dear People,

We have been broadcaster circle members for years, and steady contributors since the 70's (I believe). We have had a strong comittment to public radio and KUOW in particular.

I see no reason to drop Cliff Mass' weather reporting on the basis of what I have heard him say either on the weather segment or on the program with Steve Sher. Weather and education have always been part of what makes his 'weather reports' more interesting than just reporting temperature and rain. Education means informing and encouraging thought. This Cliff Mass does.

If KUOW finds his education comments controversial, then by all means schedule a program in which controversy can be aired with Mass as as one of the participants.

Apparently this is an issue over which KUOW believes freedom of speech and opinion are no longer operative.

The education of children is of deep concern to us. Our children and grandchildren have gone through the Seattle public schools, and we have weathered many controversies. I suspect the children of educated and concerned parents will continue to learn well no matter what text is used, however, I do believe that we owe the best education to all of our students.

It is bad enough, but understandable, that funding for education has been cut along with everything else. It is unconscionable that large amounts of scarce money should be squandered on inadequate text and untried methods for reasons which are unclear.

The current directions and inclinations of the present school board should be a matter of discussion from all sides of the issue. The one person whose opinion I have heard against this public school policy has been that of Cliff Mass. We need to hear more from him, not less, in a forum where the facts can be discussed openly.

I hope that KUOW will reconsider having Mass continue his weather education, which I have always found informative and enjoyable. I hope that programming will also provide for airing of facts and opinion on issues of educating our children, and how those choices are made.

Until that happens, we will find another public venue for our contributions.

Stephen said...

Things must be bad at KUOW. I don't know Katy Sewall, and you may not like her Cliff, but she's probably a regular person, just like you and me. If she's written a bitchy email to you about your participation, she must not be having much fun at work.
I used to be a supporter ($) of the station, and I always enjoyed your segment (thank you very much), but Weekday became increasingly irrelevant, with inane and poorly produced segments, so I stopped listening.
I don't buy into your whining, however. You're not a victim here. They told you to keep your commentary to a specific subject, and your rationalizations do not hide the simple fact that you chose not to comply. You got canned, and you should take the responsibility for it. They may owe you an apology for the way they went about your termination, but you owe them one, too...in my opinion.

strix27 said...

This is very disappointing news, Cliff. But you were warned not to editorialize or you'd be terminated. You didn't and they did. It seems clear that KUOW wanted just a weather reader all along, not weather analysis and related subject matter. Scherr can read the weather direct from the NOAA website. It was both the weather analysis and related commentary that interested your listeners. A lot of us will protest to KUOW but it seems doubtful we'll change their minds. Apparently you offended some powers that be. Keep up the great blog and find another venue.

Jordan K. Foster said...

Looks like KUOW took the UW and left you with the KO.

Bruce B said...

Cliff, I think you overreached here.

I am very sad that you won't be on KUOW ... *but* I don't think that you have a right to expect that, just because they value your insights on weather, they value your insights on other topics. And you alone have the power to keep your comments to the weather. They weren't asking for a "guarantee" (tangible or otherwise), just warning what they would do if you broke their rule.

I'm saying this as someone who agrees with some of your opinions on education, disagrees with others, and values your insights in any case. I think KUOW should cover those education topics and you should be a leading candidate to be part of that. But you should be able to separate this from weather. If you want to link weather and education, that's certainly your right, but then you shouldn't object when KUOW exercises their rights.

Please take this in the constructive spirit in which I offer it. I value your multifaceted contributions to Seattle and hope you and KUOW can make up!

isnoop said...

A very disappointing turn of events... The only reason I listened to Weekday in recent years was for your segment because they didn't have a dedicated podcast for it. Now is a great time to start a podcast of your own and let the weather/science knowledge continue to propagate.

Tony said...

Much of the Friday morning blather on KUOW is dispensible. Science and math eduction, on the other hand, have been in long, slow decline for decades.

As we can all tell from the news.

I wrote KUOW. If they've got any real interest in education, they can find a way to give the topic the time it deserves. Decades ago I had a year of "modern" math that completely turned me off ... no help when I hit college to be a science major, then a teacher.

Big ups, Cliff. Yours is the true path.

Matt said...

From my email to KUOW:

"I know now that the station easily bows to pressure just like politicians to lobbyist’s money. What else do you skew to make the UW happy?"

Syrenka said...

I suggest you join KBCS (91.3 FM) next! KBCS is a non-profit, community supported and (in my opinion) much better radio station.

Jennifer said...

I am interested in reading your blog, as I'm sure many are after reading about your termination in the Seattle Times. May I suggest you move the RSS links to a more prominent place on the page? Many or most blog readers will use RSS.

Just a suggestion . . .

Denverichron 1 said...

You're the only reason I bother with the dreck on KUOW.

Donald said...

This message was sent today
Gentleman

I can't tell you how disappointed I was to hear that you have decided to remove Cliff Mass from you programing.

As a regular contributor to KUOW this action flies in the face of the values I support in public radio programing. As a result I will have to reconsider my giving plans in the future.

What ever little hassle you may have on this occasion, you are missing the value that Cliff provides to the University and the community. I say this as a engineer/scientist. Cliff provides a unique service in that he is a visible technical expert that is known to and understand by the general public and our regions young people. He provides a role model to those within the KUOW service area, that scientists do not have to be uni-dimensional and uninteresting. The fact that he may have an opinion on something besides if it is raining outside is great. It shows young people you can be a great scientist without closeting your other interests. I suspect he has inspired more students that most of the staff at KUOW!

This is particularly important to our region and our nation at a time when we continue to struggle to find the technical minds that we need to protect our environment and provide innovation and competitiveness into the future.

I am hopeful you will reconsider your decision, that would be a real public service to the community!

Jane said...

Well, shoot, Cliff. Your Friday broadcast was the most accurate, succinct weekend weather available. Plus unpredictably entertaining and educational.
Today, as usual, I went out of my way to tune in and was really shocked to hear the ill-mannered response Steve Scher gave to the caller who asked what was up. Made clear to me that it really is the Steve and Katy Show as Garry wrote below (thank's for that, Garry. That woman's lisp... but that's way off topic).
So, Cliff, thank you for the YEARS of VOLUNTEERING your expertise and perspective and please don't go back to KUOW. I'll follow you wherever else you chose to go but not back there.

Joseph Ratliff said...

I've sent them an email too...they're gonna get tired of the push back I'm sure.

That WAS the only reason I listened to that show.

savegondor said...

I'm in full support of you Cliff but I DO think you should go ahead with a short podcast anyway. It's a product several news agencies could pick up and run.

David said...

All you people saying Cliff was wrong need to do a bit of critical thinking.

#1 This is public radio. And as Cliff pointed out, public radio should discuss local issues that deal with the public. Cliff had a podium to speak his mind, he used it, and was silenced. It is as simple as that. Why he was silenced will be twisted and distorted to make KUOW and the University look innocent, but from reading these comments here, most people can see through the crap.

#2 this email that cliff received:

"Talking about other issues in this context is not acceptable. It does not fit the segment we are offering listeners. If it happens again, we will cancel your weekly appearance."

To me, shows that it was far more than about being off topic. If they genuinely wanted to discuss the issue, they would have offered/asked for Cliff to come back at more appropriate times to discuss his concerns. Since he was not given the opportunity, it shows that this had to do with the message Cliff was delivering.

Their actions are a great example of how people who go around parading themselves as "open minded" are anything but that. If one is truly open minded, then they should encourage discussions, no matter how much they agree or disagree with them.

LWSP - Dolores said...

Below is a copy of the email I sent to KUOW today. What a poor decision on their part!

I tuned into Weekday this morning as Friday is one of my favorite days to listen to the show. The 9 am to 10 am segment was extremely interesting and after 10 am I waited to hear what Cliff Mass had to say. Instead, there was a platitude about how much Cliff Mass was appreciated. Hog wash! I cannot tell you how insincere Steve Scher sounded. I can tell you that Cliff Mass will be missed. He might have veered away from the weather occasionally, but he was always respectful and insightful. His opinions were obviously his own, and he didn't represent them as anything but that.

We gave our TV away three years ago because the majority of the broadcasts were nothing but pap. Is KUOW headed in that direction? Are differences of opinion no longer encouraged? I'd like to hear what Joni Balter, Eli Sanders and Knute Burger have to say about this issue. Does everyone have to get together and sing Kumbaya.

Dolores

Ronald said...

Wow ... there is a lot of blow-back on Cliff's treatment both on here and on the Seattle Times comment board, most favoring Cliff's side. I do hope he will find an outlet to voice his opinion about teaching standards. Going back on air at KUOW might seem like a victory, but the well has already been poisoned in many a listener's view ... mine included.

Kristopher Nelson said...

I am extremely disappointed in KUOW on this one. Even though I no longer live in the Seattle area, I STILL listened to you, Cliff, just because I found your segment interesting and educational. I may or may not agree with your assessment of educational critique--but I would like a chance to hear it more fully! You certainly have a basis to discuss it, since you deal with university students on a day-to-day basis.

I agree with others here that I would, indeed, listen to a dedicated podcast. I would also listen to another NPR station that you might do a segment for.

natchrl8r said...

I've sent a couple notes to KUOW today. One re-written with a new heading to respond to the automatic response I received. I expressed my growing discontent with KUOW's programming and penchant for giving idiocy equal time as if that constituted "balanced journalism". I am not interested in balanced journalism, I want facts and plausible arguments. Katie is apparently on vacation but I asked Steve to consider re-instating Cliff's Weather segment if he can also bring him in for discussions on math and education. Perhaps there would be incentive then to limit the topics on the weather segment without quashing valid contributions.

The mission Cliff inherited from Carl Sagan, to educate the public on his area of expertise, should be held in equal regard by a Public Radio Station connected to a Public Institution of Higher Learning.

Wherever you end up, Cliff, I pledge to make a financial contribution to your sponsors. I recommend finding a venue to stay on the air for everyone to hear rather than being limited to preaching to us in the choir.

Thanks for all you've shared. I'm a wiser better educated "weather consumer" thanks in large part to you, Cliff.

~Natch

Travis said...

During their pledge drives, KUOW urged us to place a value on their services to the community and call in with a pledge. This decision has definitely lowered their valuation as far as I am concerned.

Kristin said...

Petition for KUOW to reinstate Cliff Mass:

http://www.change.org/petitions/put-cliff-mass-back-on-kuow

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