Monday, December 31, 2007

Musings: Ka-Boom

The air was filled with sound this morning: first the roar of the ocean, then the wind passing through the trees, and a chill wind it was, too. I spotted two thick waterfalls, but mostly the mountains were hidden, as was the sun, although it briefly peeked over the Sleeping Giant before being smothered by gray clouds.

My neighbor Andy, looking sleepy and cold when we passed on the road, predicted I’d get wet before I got home, but he was wrong, and the drops began to fall as Koko and I entered the house.

I always feel for those who have no home, especially this time of year, when it’s wet, cold and windy, the kind of conditions that make it tough to stay dry inside a tent or a rough lean-to in the bushes.

My young friend Kaimi, searching for a decent affordable rental on the North Shore, where he was born and raised, has encountered numerous landowners anxious to find someone to maintain and/or watch their property in exchange for housing. Problem is, the caretaker “houses” they’re offering are assorted shacks with no proper bathroom or kitchen facilities.

“How do they expect us to live like that?” he asks. Meanwhile, the owners are living in the lap of luxury. Needless to say, it’s a scenario that breeds more than a trace of resentment among locals desperately seeking housing.

A Maui reader commenting on Saturday’s post noted that multi-million-dollar spec homes are going on the market there daily — and not selling. Kaimi ran into one of those spec homes-turned-rentals in Moloaa, where the owner was renting out the five bedrooms separately, trying to make the mortgage on a $650,000 house built on seven acres of ag land. Unfortunately, it had no potable water, which didn’t deter the young men who were shelling out $300 to $400 each for a room and kitchen privileges.

A kind of quirky New York Times piece touches on how the “backlash against a decade of accelerated construction of vacation homes, condominiums and hotels, mostly in what are known as the Neighbor Islands,” has affected the Superferry.

The article quotes Kauai’s own Jimmy Trujillo of Hui-R, as well as Molokai’s Walter Ritte, who made this statement: “For us, tourism is just a way for outsiders to take our best places and then offer to pay us to change their sheets.”

While the story did a good job of expressing some of the sentiment against tourism-related and second-home development, I was struck by how even an issue story about Hawaii is relegated to the travel section. It’s a problem I continually run up against in trying to pitch stories to mainland editors. They don’t see the Islands as a real place, but a destination.

Still, it’s the kind of publicity that the Hawaii Tourism Authority doesn’t want, especially in the travel section of the New York Times.

While we’re on the subject of New York, I got an email from a guy who lives there and invented the “now watch” to help remind people to stay in the present. Apparently he gets a Google alert whenever the search engine finds something with the words “now” or “present moment,” and yesterday’s blog post did. Then he follows up with an email. Now that’s some dedicated marketing.

And before we move past the topic of the Superferry, check out Larry Geller’s clever “passenger satisfaction survey” on Disappeared News. I hear a “puke index” is also in the works, which will offer passengers an indication of how likely they are to vomit on the ferry given the day’s winds and ocean swell condition.

If you’re looking for some visual entertainment, Brad Parsons sent along links to a couple of youtube videos on the Maui demonstrations against the Superferry. And then there’s Bill Maher’s gritty take on the traditional year in review story.

Well, it’s the time when “Songs of Sovereignty” usually airs on KKCR, and I just got a report from Andy Parx that Hale Mawai went to the station to host Ka`iulani’s show only to find — you guessed it — the management pulled the same stunt as last week: locking the doors and playing canned Hawaiian music.

OK, now we’re moving into the realm of real chicken shit bizarro behavior. I mean, really, what is the station management afraid of? And why should we, the listening public, be again deprived of the regular programming?

Btw, I never did get a response to my polite request for a copy of the station’s policy on suspending/terminating volunteer programmers. However, a board member did fill me in on a few other policies, including all interview shows must be pre-approved by management, and neither programmers nor guests can make any disparaging remarks on air about the board, management, other volunteers or station policies.

So that effectively stymies any on-air discussion about problems at the station. And if a programmer does get kicked off his or her show, there’s no grievance procedure for appealing the dismissal.

As I said, the air was filled with sound this morning, but at my house, anyway, it won’t be what’s being broadcast on KKCR. I’d rather listen to the birds and the occasional KA-BOOM of a homemade cannon — a sound that will become much more common as the clock edges toward midnight and all hell breaks loose with firecrackers and rockets going off in my neighborhood.

12 comments:

Larry said...

There was a long, famous, and very traumatic revolt against Pacifica Foundation management that resulted in listener control of local boards and much more that is good. Google will reveal all. It wasn't pretty before or while it was happening.

I just mention this because it may not be well known that it's possible to take action against radio stations. There are also FCC rules about logs and making them available, about having personnel in control at all times, and so forth. Chris Conybeare of the Media Council may know about these, but in any case, Google knows.

Good luck in regaining your radio station.

Anonymous said...

ka-boom-shak-a-lak-a
Kung Hee Fat Choy!

irk

Anonymous said...

Hi Joan,

Thanks for asking me to comment on today's "non-events" at KKCR. Coincidently, moments before opening your email, I was reading about the community uprising in the 1990's to take back KPFA, the station I was reared on growing up in the Bay Area. The similarities, such as "gag rules" and station shut-downs, are saddening.

This morning, Fred Dente, Hale Mawae and I arrived at the KKCR station at about 8:30 am to prepare for the "Songs of Sovereignty" program. Since the "termination" of Ka'iulani Huff is in dispute - in fact, it's been unclear since the station's original missive whether it's a "termination" or a "suspension" - Ka'iulani requested that Hale cover her slot until she returns from a vacation and meets with station management. Fred and I meant to accompany him for support.

To our dismay, the station was closed - no personnel on site and canned music playing - as it had been the week before when a group of us arrived to protest Ka'iulani's termination and the pattern of elitism and lack of community access to the station. We imagined that perhaps station management might arrive at 10:00 am - the start of normal office hours - so we waited away from the station grounds, at the gated entrance at Hanalei Plantaion Road. To pass the time, we took video of eachother talking about the problems at KKCR and the solutions we are trying to implement.

Alas, the only vehicles entering and leaving the area were those of people from the base yard near the station - no KKCR management, staff, volunteers or board members arrived. At around 10:00, a Princeville Security truck pulled up and the guard asked us what we were doing. When we told her we were waiting for the station to open so that Hale could go on the air, she mentioned that she understood that the station was closed today because "they thought there would be protests." After this revealing comment, she agreed to double check the station to see if anyone was there. She returned to let us know that the station was empty as far as she could tell.

Another interesting event occurred shortly before we left. We noticed a rental car enter the area and return after a few moments. The car pulled up to us and the couple inside asked us about KKCR being closed. They were filmmakers from Santa Barbara, they told us, and they had gone to the station to find Ka'iulani. They had heard that she would be a good source of information about traditional Hawaiian music and hula, which they were seeking for a documentary. They had heard about her termination but had hoped she would be back today. We helped them as best we could, promising to try to put them in touch with Ka'iu, and we all went our seperate ways for the day.

We are saddened indeed that KKCR management has chosen to duck and seek cover by closing the station two weeks in a row to avoid an honest discussion about Ka'iulani's termination and other systemic problems at KKCR. We hope that community members will make their voices heard by calling and writing the station, and attending the upcoming Community Advisory Board meeting on January 23, at 7:00, at the Kapa'a Neighborhood Center.

In this time of renewed social movement on Kaua'i, an accountable community radio station is more important than ever!

-Katy Rose

Larry said...

Last comment is interesting. The KPFA uprising is the same as the Pacifica Foundation revolt that I mentioned.

As to KKCR being closed, their public file is supposed to be available for inspection by any member of the public during regular business hours. I am not sure how that is defined. There is something also about the studio having to be attended. I found this:

MAIN STUDIO: Licensees are required to maintain a meaningful management and staff presence at stations, even when they are engaged in an LMA. The Commission has interpreted this to mean full-time managerial and full-time staff personnel are to be employed and present at the station during normal business hours. [See 73.1125]

Here:

http://www.fcc.gov/eb/bc-chklsts/EB18FM0906.pdf

Anyway, comments may not be the best place for this discussion, but why not... the more people who are concerned and understand the rules could mean successful resolution of the problems.

Anonymous said...

I also want to point out that KPFA now has a local board elected by the listeners, and a monthly show on air called "Report to the Listeners" - a time devoted to airing the station business for all to hear. As Joan pointed out earlier, that stuff belongs to the community, and the community should be trusted with the information.
-Katy

kapahi youth said...

looking forward to thursday's out of the box program(4:00pm -5:30pm) with katy rose and jimmy t. we'll see how much kkcr mangement and our community radio want to share via their listener supported and volunteer driven programs. stay tuned and happy new year!

Dr. Paradise said...

Happy New Year! Thanks for all the good info... here is a new video from FREE HAWAI'I TV listing the TOP TEN REASONS why Hawaii Superferry is not good for the islands of aloha.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aR2A-oi3b74

MauiBrad said...

Good stuff, Katy and Larry.

Aloha, Brad

Joan said...

Thanks for all your info, Larry. Will be interesting indeed to see how this all shakes out.

jonathan said...

It is disheartening to witness this recent series of events at what some are beginning to call KGCR - "Kaua`i Gated Community Radio". This is not the best way for KKCR to enter our second decade.

One can only hope that at some point (soon!), this trend will not only be be checked, but vigorously reversed. In the end, the communities of Kaua`i and the station will all greatly benefit. Hopefully, we can come together to address and resolve these three separate issues in a rapid, fair and akamai way.

1) what did or didn't happen between volunteers on 'that monday morning' a couple weeks back.

2) what is or isn't a responsible and just "community relations" policy and process at KKCR we can all live with.

3) what more KKCR can do to physically embody it's mission statement to the communities of Kaua`i in a social environment that fosters maximum cultural diversity.

I am convinced everyone on Kaua`i desires excellence in radio at our community station. We just have different understandings what this should look like, and that is OK.

Frictions seems to arise when there is a lack of trust. Misunderstandings can more easily occur from poor communication. Additionally since everyone is human, there will always be errors in judgement... followed by a finger-pointing fest, and lotts of digging on on several fronts. I suspect that in this situation (like most others) there are several truths to the story and many people are 'right'... just in different ways. Let's move past this standoff.

Rather than focusing on the problems, we will all be better served to focus on solutions, particularly because several are at hand that can be quickly and easily implemented to fix this flap, should we simply agree to do so.

If we can move past the conflicting and focus on the fixing, KKCR will find itself on a much stronger foundation to serve Kaua`i and beyond as a community owned and operated non-commercial media resource. Then we can have different kind finger-pointing fest where we all take credit for helping to get it right. I'll bring the lemonade.

Ha'ole Makahiki Hou and a Happy New Year to all.

jonathan jay

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, bringing the problems to light has been one of the necessary steps in resolving problems, but it has certainly not been the only thing happening. Luckily, there has been a committed group of people researching various governance structures and promoting structural solutions at KKCR for years now.
Maybe now we can all be more open to some of the changes they have been advocating.
-Katy

Anonymous said...

according to donna@kkcr this thursday's out of the box w/ katy rose and jimmy t has been pre empted. the decision is related to issues surrounding the 12.20 broadcast. canned hawaiian music anyone?