Conflicts continue within KHSU
Live air shows after 10 p.m. could be headed towards syndication after new time changes at KHSU.
The decision to limit the operations of KHSU from 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. is the latest administrative decision that has left staff, volunteers and community at odds of where KHSU is heading.
Kimberly Comet is the director of risk management and safety at HSU and says that the majority of building hours on campus is 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. With KHSU moving buildings due to the construction for seismic retrofitting they are moving to a building that isn’t staffed by employees past 10 p.m.
“We are trying for consistency and safety for all,” Comet said.
Comet says that volunteers are there to augment the university, not to be in the place of an employee. Staff-employees would be needed to keep the doors open past 10 p.m.
“Employees have training, follow different directions and have different tasks,” Comet said.
KHSU general manager, Peter Fretwell, says they would blow a hole in the budget for a paid staff. He asked risk management if they could change the time to midnight and they told him no. Some hosts say keep the times and others say no due to safety.
“The radio side of me disagrees. The human side of me agrees,” Fretwell said.
Others are not convinced with the decision. They feel it was too fast and had no time for a group discussion. Barbara Boeger has been on KHSU’s community advisory board (CAB) since the early 2000s and said that the decision was made rapidly although the move of buildings had been known for a while. She was very disappointed in the last minute notice that came in the form of an email to all staff and volunteers from Fretwell.
“I feel like he threw us under the bus,” Boeger said, referring to the HSU community.
The big concern is whether or not shows will disappear as well as the connection with the local DJs.
Lorna Bryant, KHSU office manager as well as late-night host, said the recent decisions have affected morale at the station as well in the sense of long time listeners who won’t be able to call in and make requests.
“It seems there is no alternative and no plan to find a remedy applicable for all parties involved,” Bryant said.
With the direction that HSU administrators are heading, Bryant can’t see a change anytime soon.
In regards to the new building Bryant said the disadvantage is losing the ambient sound they once had, but there are some advantages. KHSU may be losing real estate in the building they were in but because of the move they are gaining an extra studio that has all brand new equipment.
“We’re in a very well taken care building and that’s a cool thing,” Bryant said.
Liam Warner, host of the Buck Jr. show at KRFH and son to Tim Warner, the host of KHSU’s Buck Calhoun show, isn’t impressed with the moving of buildings and rather see shows running instead of cancelling.
“KHSU was doing fine before administration hired a new general manager,” Warner said. “Since then things have spiraled out of control from there.”
Both Warner and Boeger raise concerns on the administration’s intent regarding KHSU volunteers. They agreed that there is a dismantling of the volunteer base and it is a for-profit decision.
Volunteers are harder to manage than employees when it comes to bringing change into the station. Warner said KHSU and the University realize they can make money off the radio station and this is the reason for the recent changes.
With hours cut and late live-shows unavailable, everyone is concerned about the station becoming a more pre-recorded program. There are shows that won’t be able to be accommodated and local DJs that won’t be able to host.
“If people stop criticizing the direction of the radio (KHSU) while still supporting it then it’s heading towards a syndicated program,” Warner said.
With syndicating programs, connection will be lost between community and station. The local flavor that listeners get would soon be pre-recorded programs. It would be a different station than the one Warner and many others chose as a reason to attend HSU.