February 18, 2021

The Progressive Decline and Politicization Of Public Radio Station KNKX

During the past decade there are few things that I am more proud of than the role I played in saving public radio station KNKX.

And there are few things that I find more disturbing and disappointing than the failure of the station to fulfill its promise to the community, its declining listenership, and the increasingly partisan tone of its news coverage and station management.  And yes, the fact they ended my weather segment because of the anti-violence stance in one of my blog posts.

This blog describes the progressive decline of the station, its embrace of cancel culture, and its rapid loss of listeners.  And I ask your help in persuading station management to change direction.


The Real Story of How KNKX Was Saved

In November 2015,  Joey Cohn, station manager of public radio station KPLU, told his staff that they should find other jobs.  That the station was finished.  Pacific Lutheran University (PLU), owner of the station's license, had secretly made an arrangement to sell KPLU to the University of Washington (PLU was in financial trouble and needed to raise cash).  KPLU would be terminated, and its audience and valuable transmitters would be subsumed by KUOW, the public radio station owned by the UW.

There were several of us who found this backroom deal very disturbing.   The KUOW program manager felt in-depth coverage was unnecessary, listener call-in shows should be ended, and killed the popular Weekday morning program hosted by Steve Scher.  KUOW wanted a local monopoly on public radio in the market, which would reduce the already plummeting number of news outlets in the Seattle area.

I went to Joey Cohn and told him that we should try to save the station by building public support for an independent public radio station. That people wanted diversity of viewpoint.  He doubted anything could be done, but allowed me (and others) to try.

So a bunch of us started a movement-- including Keith Seinfeld and Stephen Tan-- putting up a web page and organizing community meetings.   But the key was the University of Washington and the essential person was University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce.  Could the UW be persuaded to give KPLU a chance to raise the funds and "purchase" its independence from PLU?

UW President Ana Mari Cauce Decided to Give KPLU a Chance

I was friendly with President Cauce and emailed her about the issue.  She agreed to meet me at the U. Village Starbucks to talk it through.  

And after about an hour of discussion, a miracle occurred:  she agreed to give KPLU an opportunity to raise the money.   

Ana Mari Cauce is someone who understands the importance of diversity of information in the public sphere.  She was unsure whether KPLU could raise the huge amount needed (about 8 million)--but she gave KPLU six months to try.

During those six months many of us worked hard to raise the funds.  You may remember I had several blogs about KPLU, and I was the speaker for a large fundraiser at Kane Hall.  And amazingly, we succeeded.  KPLU became KNKX and an independent public radio station was born.

Why did so many people want to save KPLU?  It wasn't the jazz--KUOW had already established a jazz outlet and was ready to expand its jazz offerings.  The key reason the community acted so powerfully was to protect diversity in the western Washington news market, which had hollowed out during the past decade (e.g., the effective loss of the PI, reduction in news staff at the Seattle Times, and more).

So by summer 2016, the new KNKX was at the top of the world. 

Many public radio listeners were unhappy with KUOW, and KNKX listenership had almost caught up to KUOW.  KNKX station management had an opportunity serve the community in an important way, providing an aural town square for the region.  

And they threw the opportunity away.


I and others suggested to station management that a new morning news/public affairs show be added during weekdays, while maintaining strong jazz programming. KNKX has an experienced  and savvy news director (Erin Hennessey) and some excellent news/special feature staff (such as environmental reporter Bellamy Pailthorp).  But the new weekday programming never happened.  

And then something worse occurred:  the politicization of the station's news coverage and the move to partisanship and active identify-politics advocacy.

Slowly the material presented over the air changed and this transition accelerated when a new news director was appointed in September 2019.  

The director of content hired at the end of 2015, Matt Martinez, had strong views that would greatly influence the direction of KNKX.  In a stunning interview this year, he described the "uncomfortable truths" about the racial makeup of the KNKX staff, announcers, and "very white" audience.   There is a term for being uncomfortable about an individual because of their race.  Needless to say, such an attitude is inappropriate for a leader of a public radio station.

The online content, as well as on-air material, drifted away from news and analysis to social justice and equity issues, while at the same time KUOW doubled down on news coverage.  To provide one illustration, here are shots of the KNKX and KUOW web pages on the same day (during the past month).  One headlines diversity issues, the other the pandemic.  I could show you a dozen more like this.




Listeners to the station noticed the political drift and complained online, for example, here is a recent comment on Yelp:


Or these on Facebook (removed the names)




From my viewpoint from inside KNKX, the changes in the attitudes of station management were obvious.  In 2019, Joey Cohn invited me to lunch. He told me that he had gotten flack about my opposition to I-1631, the carbon fee initiative, particularly from some well-off financial supporters of the station (note: I was a strong supporter of the previous carbon initiative-I-732, but thought I-1631 was highly regressive, hurting low-income people and was poorly designed). 

He asked me to clear with him my participation with such initiatives in the future.

But things were to get worse for me.  Some of the uber "progressive" supporters of the station were unhappy with my communication of peer-reviewed science on my blog and my occasional discussion of climate issues with Bellamy Pailthrop.  They were pushing to get my segment cancelled.  To censor the information available to KNKX listeners.  Some of these "climate advocates" were on the KNKX advisory board and accused me of taking money from "big oil."  I asked them what science I got wrong....no answer.

Then a group of Seattle social/climate activists (Seattle350), started a petition to get me removed from KNKX.  KNKX station management, to placate the mob, decided to commission an analysis of my on-air and OFF-AIR writings, and gave the responsibility to a MEMBER OF SEATTLE350.  Unbelievable.  And they spent donor money to have my segment evaluated by the past ombudsperson of NPR.  

Not surprisingly, I was "cleared"  by both reports, but the whole activity was designed to satisfy the "cancel culture" mob that did not want truthful statements on climate and weather to be aired.  KNKX management could not, would not, stand up to the activist mob.


Then in July, I did a blog about the destructiveness to democracy of political violence in Seattle, including the destruction of property, intimidation of politicians and our chief of police, and the hurting of individuals.  It was not popular among the activist crowd, who demanded that I be punished for it: from termination on KNKX to my expulsion from the UW.

KNKX management, under pressure from the mob, immediately terminated my weather segment.  They gave in to cancel culture,  which is totally inappropriate for a public radio station.

The Collapse of KNKX Listenership and Web Interest

As KNKX progressively retreated away from news towards social activism, its listenership declined rapidly.  To illustrate, here are the "cume" numbers (from the Nielsen ratings company) that illustrate the listenership of both KUOW and KNKX over the past few years. KUOW listenership has remained nearly constant in the low 400,000 range.  KNKX has lost a third of its listenership, from roughly 310,000 to approximately 200,000 today.

The collapse of interest in KNKX can be confirmed in other ways.  Consider the internet searches for both KNKX and KUOW in 2016, 2018, and 2020 (available from the Googletrends website).   In 2016, KNKX searches totaled about 75% of those of KUOW.  But by 2018 it had dropped to around 45% and by 2020 only about 30%.  Huge decline.

A key aspect of this collapse was that folks were no longer going to KNKX for online news, which is not surprising consider the lack of news coverage on the KNKX website.  This is easy to prove.

Below are the online search numbers for KNKX and KUOW during the past year.  KNKX searches are generally less than KUOW and declining over the period, while there is a slight rising trend for KUOW.  


But there is something more important....the ups and downs of the searches.  When there are big news stories, KUOW searches go up sharply (for example, the big surge in March during the COVID crisis).  But there was little change for KNKX--folks do not see it as a place to go for news.  

There IS one major spike for KNKX, where it temporarily exceeded KUOW.  That corresponds to the period after I wrote a blog on my firing from KNKX.  In fact, as confirmed by the Alexa rankings site, my blogs on KNKX and cancel culture have driven searches regarding KNKX.  Not the attention I suspect KNKX management is looking for.

Perhaps most devastating analysis is a comparison of Seattle market share for KUOW and KNKX during the past year (see below)... from the period where COVID became news to the election (again from the Nielsen ratings company).  Right in the middle they ended my segment.  

A disaster for KNKX   In April, KUOW was only about one percent ahead of KNKX, but by November, KUOW quadrupled its lead to nearly 5 percent, with the gap accelerating after my weather segment was ended.


What now?

I can't tell you how many people have told me to give up on KNKX. 

That they are not worth it, considering their stunning levels of ingratitude, surrender to woke thinking, and lack of concern for their listenership.  Let them fade out.

But I am not going to give up on the station...and you shouldn't either.  Listeners and financial supporters have a lot of clout that they can and should use to turn things around.

KNKX is now the poster child for cancel culture in public radio....and this should not stand.   KNKX management has undermined the reputation of the station.

KNKX was saved to promote viewpoint and media diversity in our community, and that diversity is still needed.

Cancel culture is all about power: those with power thinking they can silence those with differing viewpoints.  Let's show them that they can not succeed.

So let me ask your help to address the situation:

1.   Money talks, particularly in public radio.  One of the reasons that KNKX has tilted to activism and cancel culture is the left-leaning attitudes and pressure of their major donors.  Trust me, I know these people and have interacted with them for several years.

If you are a KNKX donor, pause your contributions with a note to the station telling them what you expect:  an end of biased and limited news reporting, no more canceling of diverse voices, the restoration of the weather segment, and new programming that fosters discussion of regional issues. 

2.  Email station management and the KNKX Board, expressing your concerns about poor online and on-air content and their "canceling" of segments based on political pressure.  Tell them freedom of speech is important, as is respect for viewpoint diversity in their staff and contributors.  Tell them that racially inflammatory statements among senior management is not acceptable.

3.  Email major corporate donors (view here), asking for aid in making the station an important venue for the many voices and that differing viewpoints should be heard.

Jazz is in its very essence about embracing diversity.  It combines many musical traditions into a very American amalgam, and celebrates the richness of differing viewpoints, histories, and experiences.    It is strange that the management of a station dedicated to jazz did not understand this essential truth and by their own actions rejected it.
_____________________________________________

KNKX Contact Information

If you want to help,  please contact KNKX management and ask that they reverse their decision:

Station Manager: Joey Cohn, jcohn@knkx.org
Program Director: Matt Martinez,  mmartinez@knkx.org
Chair of KNKX Board, Claire Grace, send to info@knkx.org
Listener support: info@knkx.org
Mary Dunaway, Director of Development, mdunaway@knkx.org

Station phone number: 1-877-677-5659

Public Radio Station KNKX and Cancel Culture

If you are interested in learning more about public radio station KNKX and cancel culture, check out my new blog/website on the issue: https://knkxcancel.blogspot.com/2021/02/knkx-and-cancel-culture.html


44 comments:

  1. Already done. KNKX made is surprisingly difficult to cancel my sustaining membership, but they did and I clearly explained that your firing was the reason.

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    1. I would like to cancel too, but I couldn't find how to do so. Can you please post how you did it?
      I told them a couple of times that I was considering cancelling my sustaining membership, but they never replied.

      Delete
  2. Cancel Culture is Cultural Revolution (1966-1967) with American characteristics..

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  3. I stopped giving to KNKX after Cliff's weather segment was terminated, but I continue to donate to KUOW, which I have always found to be the superior of the two stations. I only listen to KNKX when I am out jogging because the reception of KUOW on my MP3 player is a bit dicey.

    A few thoughts:

    1. I am unclear as to why we need a public radio station that devotes most hours to jazz music. Jazz lovers can surely find sources of jazz music other than conventional terrestrial radio.

    2. I am unclear why we need two public radio stations that provide essentially duplicate programming during prime radio hours. Both air NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" during mornings and afternoons respectively, similarly for "Weekend Edition" on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

    3. The amount of locally-produced long-form news/talk programming on public radio in the Seattle area is shockingly low. Two public radio stations, and all we have for long form news programming is one hour of "The Record" during the noon hour on weekdays. You'd think a major market like Seattle, with an educated and engaged population, could do better. In my home state, Wisconsin Public Radio's "Ideas Network" airs several hours a day of locally-originated news and interview programming covering issues germane to Wisconsin.

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    1. Kwa829: Yes, you can find other sources of Jazz music like on SiriusXM it's not as popular as you think. The one think KNKX does with Jazz that is highly commendable is they take a different approach to presentation: it's friendly and accessible, quite unlike the stuffy, museum-like presentation on SiriusXM's Real Jazz channel. And I quite like that fact that I can listen to jazz, and blues, and NPR news on one channel.

      Time will only tell how this all plays out. If KNKX changes its ways I will gladly start contributing again. I like the limited talk and music.

      Delete
  4. I used to support progressives but lately the progressives have disappointed me. A real progressive doesn't try to silence others they want to have logical fact based discussions. A real progressive puts alot of thought and research into the ideas they propose. Some of the ideas our "progressive" leaders are proposing to help the homeless are senseless and not suprisingly the homeless problem is getting worse. Our leaders call themselves progressive because people like progressives but they are not progressive, they are bought off like most of the politicians in this country. I also was very disappointed when progressive leaders wanted to lock everything down until we had a vaccine and were closing every park, lake and forest. Anyone with common sense could see that throwing people out of work that long would cause more damage than the virus and there was ample scientific evidence that spending time in the park/forest reduced you're odds of getting sick. We can't belive a politician when they say are progressive we need to look at who funded them and what they have done in the past. I would like to listen to un-biased news on my way to work, I wish KNKX would fix its news program. It seems like every TV and radio news station is biased so I have to go online to get my news.

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  5. Don't know where to begin but in reference to the director of content : Matt Martinez is not black either so I'm not sure why he thinks he's qualified to represent the black community and at the same time supposedly "not shame" his colleagues and staff. If nothing else he is just as guilty of being "well meaning" as the people he criticizes. I tell you High mindedness kills.

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  6. It seems that KNKX now only has one sponsor, some sort of bathtub and shower company.

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  7. The MSM is dying, first slowly and now quickly. It's called creative destruction Dr. Mass, and it should have occurred years ago. They sowed the seeds of their own destruction over the past five years, and the pandemic and rioting and their failure to report on them accurately was the coupe de grace.

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    1. To be replaced by what? More echo chambers? More far left or far right firebrand, divisive rabble rousing to fuel a Cold Civil War? With many actually preparing for a shooting Civil War? The fact that there is absolutely no faith in anything being non-biased from the MSM has thoroughly landed us in a Post Truth society where the public latches on to outlandish conspiracy nonsense like Q-anon. Why shouldn't they? People want to believe in something, even if taken objectively is nothing but a pile of steaming crap.

      The problem really isn't with the MSM, however. Its with US. The public. Perhaps shows like Rush Limbaugh and Fox and Friends stoked the fires, but they were already burning before those opportunists poured gasoline on them. Those programs spread their word to the faithful not due to any sense of altruism or thoughtful journalism. It was just to make MONEY. Lots and lots of money. it will be interesting to see who takes up the mantle of Rush now that he has passed. Some say it might even be Donald Trump. Don't ever say that "Things can't possibly get worse"......

      Americans have become increasingly closed minded and tribal in general. To the point were its an eggshell walk to try and navigate a conservation with someone that won't trigger some political hot button response. Heck its easier to just NOT talk to anyone because there is a good chance that other person is already predisposed to HATING everything about you anyway, due to a difference of views. As a society, we need to fix ourselves and acknowledge that not everyone is going to think the same or indulge in the same activities and LEARN TO BE OK WITH IT. Otherwise, we are most surely and truly EFed.

      Delete
    2. I have no idea what point you're trying to make here, since I agree with your post. This country at one time had clear and defined points of view from the media, Pulitzer's papers were clearly left wing while Heart's were clearly right wing. Their reportage and opinion columnists were in line with their owner's philosophies, and somehow the US public figured out the truth between these two extremes and didn't devolve into a civil war. It was only when the MSM donned the mantle of "objectivity" that the public was lulled into a sense that they were being fed a mostly non - biased source of news. That was never accurate, and it never will be. Stop hyperventiating that we're going into a civil war, the MSM wants you to believe that while the people who are most agitating for it are the least likely to survive it, and they know it. Living in Portland the past nine years has made me a virtual outcast simply because I don't believe that Trump was the second coming of Hitler, yet me and my neighbors helped each other out when out power went out for over five days when the ice storm hit us last weekend. We're all Americans, try to remember that.

      Delete
  8. I tune out the commentary these days but I miss your segment and Steve Scher. I am a donor and will let them know

    Also it hit -2 F at DFW this week, quite a blip if you ask me. I know it happens but it’s a lot to swallow.

    All my exes live in Texas, so I have heard a lot of misery this week.

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  9. Cliff,

    I do not live in the KNKX listener area, so in a sense, this is not my fight. On the other hand, your story gives me courage and hope. We can stand up to bullies. We can stand up for what is right. And, with a lot of patience, we may eventually change their minds.

    Joel

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  10. Again, I admire your integrity, Cliff, and your commitment to robust, engaged, and intelligent debate/discussion of the important issues of the day. I'll be sending comments to KNKX.

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  11. "cancel culture" is literally threatening to withhold business/donations from an entity for disagreeing with their methods/beliefs/actions.

    How are you "fighting cancel culture" by calling for more people to engage in it? Because you agree with this type of "cancelling?"

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    1. Zerg... you are misunderstanding what I am saying. I don't want to "cancel" KNKX. I want it to remain on the air. But only a strong reaction from the community will push KNKX to respect diversity of viewpoint and to reject cancel culture. The community is now abandoning KNKX and its future is threatened. In essence, I am trying to save the station from the poor decisions of the current management...cliff

      Delete
  12. Cliff..don't give up the fight.
    The suppression of your views and weekly show is anti-American..What happened to free speech and the right to voice your opinion....Laurie M.

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    1. Freedom of speech extends only so far as the government not being able to punish you for speaking your mind. It never was intended as a means to force an entity to host you or provide you with airtime or a forum.

      For me, the jury's still out so far as the whole Mass/KNKX debacle is concerned. I really enjoy his presentation of PNW weather, though.

      Delete
    2. Can you please document where Cliff "forced" KNKX to carry his political views?

      Cliff was fired - specifically stated in the KNKX press release - for his personal views posted on his personal blog (https://www.knkx.org/post/knkx-stop-airing-weather-cliff-mass-effective-immediately): "...if a commentator, even on his own independent platform, delivers rhetoric that is offensive and inaccurate, we cannot support it."

      Whether you agree with Cliff or not - on anything - what KNKX did to him for his own personal views should 1) be roundly condemned by anyone who values the free exchange of ideas and 2) wake us up to the monstrosity that "cancel culture" really is.

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  13. If you step into the court of public opinion, you should not be surprised to find pushback. You knew this, so dont act like a naive person, you are better than that.

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    1. Pushback is fine. Debate is fine. Cancelation is not fine. You think it is ok for your employer to monitor your social media and to fire you if your viewpoint is different than theirs? Just chilling and wrong in many ways.

      Delete
    2. to be clear, the line is at accountability: if your 'viewpoint' is to illegally storm the capitol, or to promote other illegal activity, it's not just free speech, and firing that person would be to hold them accountable, not "cancel' their speech. Much of what Stephen Miller has to say about race and white power is plainly wrong and evil and nazi, so firing him from a job for it isn't cancel, it's accountability. You raised the issues of property damage and uncontrolled rioting, a view that many others have as well.

      Delete
    3. It happens all the time. Recently Gina Carano was fired from "The Madelorian" and Pedro Pascal is soon to follow for expressing political views on Social Media. Those are just some high profile examples but most large corps monitor their employees at work and their personal social media as well too.

      The lesson to be learned is watch what you say. Your rights end in the work place. If they are paying you, they own you.

      Delete
    4. There are overt workplace rules that prohibit organizations from retaliating against employees for individual and personal political speech: "It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee for supporting or not supporting a specific candidate, ballot proposition, political party, or political committee. Employers may not interfere with a voter’s efforts to support or oppose a recall, referendum, or other initiative." https://www.washemploymentlaw.com/employee-rights/retaliation-political-activity-state-laws#Washington

      The censorship of political speech, of any kind, needs to stop. Those who advocate for censorship don't want to debate; they want to silence debate. Why is that?

      Delete
    5. "Pedro Pascal is soon to follow for expressing political views on Social Media."

      Yeah, riiight - nothing will happen to Pascal, because he's all aboard the "woke train," and that's all that matters at many corporations these days. And since Disney made "Mulan" in full view of the enormous concentration camp full of Ughurs being systemically tortured and ethnically cleansed, nothing will happen to them, either. Stop making any kind of false equivilance here, there's only one way to think and speak now or else face the ultimate ruin of your livelihood, and eventually your life as you once knew it.

      Delete
    6. Most employees are "at will". Means you can be canned for any reason at any time, unless you have a specific contract with very concise syntax or a collective bargaining agreement. Many workers now are "contractors" which means they are afforded zero protections as if they were regular employees. Yes, those laws are on the books but it sometimes comes down to having to obtain legal services and extensive litigation to coerce employers to "do the right thing". Major corps have whole buildings full of lawyers working diligently to prevent precedent being established that can damage the bottom line. This is the USA. The only thing that matters is THE BOTTOM LINE.

      In the case of Cliff, please forgive me for not understanding the exact professional relationship he has with this public radio station. If his program is basically a volunteer service he rendered without some kind of in depth contract or compensation, while it would appear they are being ungrateful by terminating the opportunity to do his segment, it is still their platform. If they want to shoot themselves in the foot, its their prerogative and its probably not worth a day in court.

      The country in general needs to cut the politics out of many aspects of life and just focus on getting work done and leading our lives, even if it means some compromise.

      Delete
    7. "Yeah, riiight - nothing will happen to Pascal, because he's all aboard the "woke train," and that's all that matters at many corporations these days."

      Disney is still a big corp whose first priority is to shareholders. Employees usually fall into nearly last place in that hierarchy, even if they do draw a big salary. If there is controversy that can effect revenue/profits, no matter how "woke" they are...out the door they go. Granted Star Wars fans are a bit whiny at times but some of the stuff Gina Carano posted was just straight up dumb and intentionally divisive, never mind unprofessional. Just because you are making 7-8 figures doesn't mean you are indispensable or have the right to be a jackass, especially if you on are someone's payroll.

      The Mandelorian probably won't see season 3 *shrug*. Where it left off was a perfect stopping point and Pascal already has other work. That is as good as being fired IMHO.

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    8. Cancel culture = intentional malice by the powerful to individually punish, but more importantly to intimidate the rest of us into silence. People capable of that don’t "compromise", ever.

      I find it beyond ironic that the one place we can have an open debate is on the blog of a meteorologist who has already been “cancelled” for wrong-think. Is this where I put in the *shrug* because that should seem normal?

      Delete
  14. I quote from article on 2/17 in Moscow News: “Russia is the last island of freedom,” State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said during a legislative session, according to the state-run TASS news agency. “Do you see what’s happening in the United States of America? The country is dying, everything has been canceled out.”

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    1. Frankly to be honest Conservatives are the problem. The few that cry out keep on defending the big tech as 'oh they are private and can do what they want' which means it's okay to silence anyone they disagree with and not allow competition. What happened to the REAL conservatism that actually gave a royal F'k about the US Constitution? It's like both sides think it's toilet paper.

      Delete
  15. Cliff: I really appreciate the backstory here. I followed the KNKX saga closely and gave generously to help keep it independent. Two things: First, from my limited experience with Public Radio (10 years on the board of a show on NPR) it seems that Program Directors get lots of flak for any change in programming and little reward for producing new programs. Why did the PD and Management not pursue more news programming? Budget? They made a decision to just do jazz and air the same NPR news as KUOW, which, obviously isn't a lot of differentiation. Second: As you make your arguments here to a range of listeners and fans of yours (I am surely one) I have to read past and work hard to understand your focus on Social Justice and Cancel Culture.
    Citing both of these areas as 'the problem' makes you sound like an old angry white guy, and undermines the points you're trying to make about the importance of local news and local programming. As an argument, citing "Cancel Culture" is a loaded issue, it's become viewed by many as a primarily right wing trope and dog whistle, we've seen it used or misused for "accountability" in holding capitol rioters accountable, for example. At any rate, your point is that you were attacked by listeners for having a science-driven and peer-reviewed point of view, and the station management didn't back you or the philosophy of being science driven. Secondly you're taking editorial issue, with cume proof points, that the station's focus on social justice news at the expense of other regional news, has driving a loss of listeners and searches. Maybe so, but the overriding issue seems to be lack of local/regional news programming, period. Bottom line: my view is you don't have to demonize the focus on social justice issues or accountability of media figures to make the points you're making. AND: thank you for working for better public radio and a stronger KNKX.

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  16. Yet another example of that modern-day adage: Get WOKE - Go BROKE

    The activists out there grossly overestimate the numbers of their fellow travelers out there. When you push a narrative instead of reporting the truth, your audience falls away. Simple as that and it happens time and time again. Look at the National Football League viewer stats for a perfect example.

    Get WOKE - Go BROKE

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  17. an excerpt from my email to KNKX management this morning: "A favorite end of week segment was Cliff Mass and Belamy Palethorpe giving science based insight into the weather pattern and larger issues of climate.
    What gives? I just learned that you’ve let Ciff Mass go.

    Seems like you had some people complain and didn’t stand up for your own team, especially a person who worked hard to make sure the station even exists today. He helped thousands of us take a stand and give money to keep KNKX independent.

    I’ve heard it described as cancel culture, a phrase I find overused and often used to obscure the need for accountability. Yet we on the left have a knack for reacting to complaints from our most progressive voices by creating circular firing squads instead of creating informed dialog or defending the public square to allow for other credible and valuable views.

    If I understand correctly it’s because he blogged about his concerns over property damage caused by protests in Seattle. If so, this tension, mostly generational, about the ‘appropriate’ response to racial justice issues is a tension that played out in most progressive households across America this last summer. Our daughter felt the violence and property damage justified, we initially did not. I still harbor concerns about it, because primarily it came at a high political cost. But that’s a political strategy argument, not a values argument. I did not hear Mr. Mass undermining social justice issues, but complaining about the damage and disregard. Hardly a shocking or outlying view.

    As your audience and staff (myself included) are primarily progressive people, and he seemed like very much a science driven voice, how could you not as leaders weather whatever tempest in a teapot came up? How will you have the backs of other staff when they report on news, or report with an angle that represents other views in the region, or for example the different perspectives about violent protests? Is your editorial policy to represent a range of views, or peer reviewed science, or… what?

    What story do you tell yourselves about the decision to drop a science based view of weather, of all things, when it was one of your differentiators?"

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  18. Diversity of thought and differences in opinions should be promoted by anyone or any group that supports Democracy. Unfortunately, there are many on both sides that want none of this. I am.also shocked st some of the lefts blatant anti-white rhetoric and shameless white male bashing. Racism is racism it doesn't matter what happened in history. Two wrongs don't make a right!

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  19. Since when were social justice issues not news, especially when tied to a long series of murders?

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  20. I too sent my donation way back to help KNKX getting started - but never again unless they become more reasonable. Your integrity is most admirable, Cliff!

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  21. For the last 400 years, conservative white men have largely called the shots on these shores. They, in fact, created cancel culture. They cancelled African-Americans when they enslaved them to do the work that would build this country. They cancelled women by refusing to allow them to own property, to divorce, to vote. They cancelled immigrant communities through things like the Chinese Exclusion Act and the deportations of the 1930s. They cancelled Queer, Trans, and non-binary folks through discriminatory sodomy laws, marriage laws, and civil rights laws that wouldn't include them until recently. The recent push back from these historically marginalized groups, largely against white conservative males, can hardly be called "cancel culture." Accountability culture would be a more accurate description. For the first time in 400 years, conservative white men are finally being held accountable for racist, sexist, xenophobic, and homophobic/transphobic language and actions. For the first time in 400 years, groups that have had literally no political power, are now finally able to seek justice for those who have oppressed them. Here's the truth: the United States is inexorably changing, demographically. Conservative white men will become an increasingly shrinking demographic over the next several decades, and their ability to shape and frame public policy will become progressively diminished. The recent actions at the U.S. capitol showed just how desperate this group has become, understanding that their place in America is no longer one of power, but one of accountability for the centuries of oppression they have inflicted on millions of other fellow Americans. They can't even come up with a political platform that extends beyond desperately trying to curtail voting rights as much as possible in the hopes of squeezing out one more administration that can dismantle the democratic process for good. Well I have news for you, it's not going to work. So you and your conservative viewers have a choice: evolve or perish. You can complain about the new accountability culture that prevents you from saying whatever you want without any consequences whatsoever, or you can see the larger world in which you are now living for what it is, and accept that your place in this new world will be determined by how well you can adapt to this new paradigm of whiteness; a paradigm where you no longer get to set all the standards and make all the rules. Your choice.

    ReplyDelete
  22. The USA is not the house that love built.

    ReplyDelete

  23. “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”
    George Orwell, "1984" As other have said repeatedly, "1984" was a warning, not a how-to manual.

    ReplyDelete
  24. KNKX programming is noticeably covering a narrow band of social justice issues that appeals to a cognesentia that leaves out the broader impact of direct action. For example the coverage on protests in support of BLM leaves out the impact on many immigrant businesses vandalized without the insurance to pay for smashed out windows, looted inventories, and terrified employees and customers. I will not renew my KNKX sustaining membership until programming is inclusive of all Seattle community.

    ReplyDelete
  25. If the pastor at your church had lost his faith and started to argue for atheism, would you rally around him in support of free speech, and continue your financial support?

    Or would you cancel the church - pending a new pastor?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Reject cancel culture!
    Be sure to continue your financial support for KNKX, regardless of what programs they choose to air or eliminate.

    (Sarc)

    ReplyDelete
  27. I have emailed the station multiple times and actually got a response. I emailed several times about your firing. I had already stopped giving to KNKX over the constant race agenda that I feel is racist and its most defiantly anti white. I cant help what color I am. NPR's audience is mostly white and I dont understand why they are constantly vilifying us. I am nice to everybody, regardless of color. I will not give them money until they return to the NPR that I have loved for decades.

    ReplyDelete

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