Friday, January 4, 2008

Musings: KKCR Snaps and Lifting the Veil: Part II

Felt the ocean calling me this morning, so I went, and got there while the moon, nearing new, was still silver, and Venus a sparkling gem. The sun struggled to rise, turning the inside of gray clouds first pink, then gold, before it gave up entirely and everything — sky, sea, clouds — went back to gray, with white shafts descending into water warmer than the air.

I always enjoy watching people interact with Koko, who exudes energetic joy. When she approaches them unbidden, or they successfully coax her to them, they invariably smile with delight and satisfaction: “She likes me!” It’s a different story with dogs.

“They’re friendly,” people always say as their pets mug Koko. Yeah, maybe, but when Koko’s got her tail between her legs or is being chased by a big mutt, she’s not having fun. My favorite was the woman who called out, as her four Dobermans swarmed little Koko, “now play nice!”

That same admonition certainly applied at KKCR yesterday, when five police officers wrestled Hale Mawae to the ground, in the mud, as he repeatedly yelled: “I’m not resisting!” Hale, who suffered scratches and a sprained wrist in the encounter, was arrested for trespassing, resisting arrest and obstructing government operations while walking down Hanalei Plantation Road — armed with a video camera — toward the gate that leads to KKCR.

Hale was with programmers Katy Rose and Jimmy Trujillo and two others; all were prevented by Princeville Security and Kauai police from entering the gate, which was once again locked, even though it was regular business hours.

A press release from Kauai County offers this account, “According to police, Mawae was among a group of people who had congregated outside radio station KKCR at around 4 pm yesterday reportedly in protest of the termination of two KKCR talk show hosts. A manager from KKCR contacted police and asked for assistance.”

The release states that Hale returned to the gate after police had directed the group to move to a public right of way; Katy says Hale went back to look for Jimmy, who had stayed to negotiate with police.

Meanwhile, another free for all was occurring on the air, when the “Out of the Box” program — whose regular hosts, Jimmy and Katy, were pre-empted pending a sit down with station manager Gwen Palagi (see the Rustling Rats post for more details) — aired with two stand-in programmers, Bill Rash and Dave Gerow.

The upheaval at the station was the main topic of discussion, but things went downhill fast after Andy Parx called in and voiced his opinion. That prompted another caller — a station underwriter — to denigrate Andy on-air and say he’d like three minutes with Andy in any parking lot on Kauai.

Andy called again, complaining about the caller’s threat, and host Bill Rash got into an altercation with him that ended with Bill essentially challenging Andy to a fight at the station gate. That gate sure is seeing a lot of action. Earlier in the show, Dave had said a mob was trying to swarm it to force their way on-air.

Good grief. Now instead of relying on fistfights and insults to resolve this situation, let’s take a more civilized approach, like dropping bombs and mounting incursions from a littoral combat ship (LCS) stationed offshore.

That is, as we saw in yesterday’s post, part of the Navy’s evolving strategy for dealing with new “threats,” like China.

On Sept. 13, 2007, The Washington Post reported: “The littoral combat ship program is a major element of the Navy's strategy to expand its fleet to 313 ships from about 275. General Dynamics of Falls Church and Lockheed Martin of Bethesda had had each won contracts to build two prototype littoral combat ships, but the Navy in April [2007] canceled one prototype from Lockheed. Under the legislation [approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee], General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin would still complete one prototype ship each, at a combined cost of more than $600 million.”

The article continues: “The littoral combat ship program should ultimately yield 55 small, fast-moving craft that would operate close to shore, hunting submarines and destroying underwater mines.”

It goes on to state: “The cancellation of the ship was part of a $459 billion defense appropriations measure that funds the Pentagon through 2008 -- not including the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

"’The Navy's littoral combat ship has suffered from significant cost increases and has had to be restructured by the Secretary’" of the Navy, said Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Appropriations defense subcommittee, in explaining the decision.

“The Navy originally asked for six prototype combat ships, but it had not yet awarded contracts to build the last two," the article continues. "The Navy planned to select the best design and hold a new competition to decide who would build the rest of the fleet.

“The program has been plagued by frequent design changes, cost increases of more than 50 percent, delays and other issues," the article states. "Given those problems, lawmakers said it made sense for just one of each ship to be built first. The committee said it would result in a reduction of $911 million in spending on the program.

“Capt. John T. Schofield, a Navy spokesman, said that the littoral combat ship program is ‘needed to fill critical, urgent warfighting gaps’ and that the Navy stands by its original request.”

On Oct. 10, 2007, The Washington Post reported that littoral combat ships, “which will have the rare ability to operate close to shore but also on the open water, are a central part of the Navy's goal of expanding its fleet to 313 ships from 275. And key lawmakers and several outside experts agree the program is crucial.”

One of those key lawmakers is Rep. Duncan Hunter of San Diego, the former Chairman and now Ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee. He has a particular affinity for the Titan Sea Fighter prototype — formerly known as the X-Craft — a high speed, shallow draft vessel for littoral warfare. It was pictured in yesterday’s post.

In his announcement of FY 2008 Funding Initiatives, Hunter seeks $22 million “to add offensive and defensive armament, improve ship survivability systems, and complete command and control. Deployment of the Sea Fighter can demonstrate and validate many of the Navy’s operational concepts for littoral warfare, and more specifically reduce risk in the Littoral Combat Ship program.”

His list of 30 funding initiatives contains just one endorsement, and that is for the Sea Fighter. The endorsement states: “This kind of innovative ship, built with commercial off the shelf technology is the future of an affordable surface Navy.” And it was made by former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, whose firm, as was noted in yesterday’s post, is the major investor in Hawaii Superferry.

Tomorrow, I’ll take a look at the Sea Fighter, and how it fits into the Navy’s LCS program.


Anonymous said...

Well, now that the Kauai protesters ("Citizens Against Virtually Everything")don't have the HSF to rally them to the harbor, why not turn all that contructive energy to a radio station?

Does this radio station have some sort of an operating charter from the FCC or State or County that mandates an "open mike" policy such that anyone wanting to have airtime must get it?

Or, is it up to station management to determine the tenor of the broadcasts and qualifications of personnel used? As the employer, is it not within the power of management to control the views presented in programs not considered "opinions not necessarily representing those of management". Do they even have to run such "opinion" programs other than call-in shows?

As long as ths station is making the money it needs from ad dollars based on the show format it chooses, it's OK. Don't like it? Vote with your dollars...stop shopping at businesses that support the station.

Like the Marlin Brando movie referenced in another blog:

"what are you protesting?"
"what 'cha got?"

Ain't that the case on your little rock pile. Which, by the way, doesn't really belong to you.

Anonymous said...

Bill Rash and Dave Gerow were not "stand in" hosts. They regularly host the Out of the Box program on alternating Thursdays.

Anonymous said...

just wondering if bill and dave will get scoldings for air dirty laundry on yesterday's show. or since it was a pre empted show and they were selected by management to be in the booth it's OK. jus'wondering.

Anonymous said...


Joan Conrow said...

To Gadfly I say, you might want to educate yourself about KKCR before you start making comments. It's not a commercial radio station, but a community radio station, and so if functions differently than a private business.

To anonymous, yes, I know that Bill Rash and Dave Gerow regularly host "Out of the Box" on alternate Thursdays. However, this past Thursday was not one of their days. The show was supposed to be hosted by Katy and Jimmy, and since management would not allow them to do so, Bill and Dave served as "stand in" hosts.

Anonymous said...

To Joan I say, you might want to educate yourself about the GOAD before you start making comments. He's not an upaid public relations person for HSF, but a public nuisance person for HSF, and so he functions differently than a private business.

Bunnies Callahan said...

KKCR is a public radio station, not a for profit commercial radio endeavor. Remember, they tried this kind of thing with Pacifica, Amy Goodman, WBAI and KPFA and failed.

Your haole Auntie in Oregon supports all of the Hawaiians who want a voice for sanity and sovereignty in Kauai!!

Ua mau ke ea o ka `aina i ka pono.


Anonymous said...

So what are the rules or official charter defining this not-for-profit community radio station?

The governing documents should spell out just what the owners/managers have to do, optionally can do, and cannot do.

Assuming for the moment that there is no written mandate for airing all points of view as presented by any representative in any "irksome" (as defined by owners/management) manner, then the owners/management are operating within their rights to choose the talent and tenor of their broadcaasts.

Without that analysis, it's just a bunch of people complaining that their viewpoint hasn't been presented by their chosen mouthpiece.

So, "what's the beef?" is based on "where's the beef?" in the governing documents.

This would be the analysis a court-appointed mediator might take if this were to go to court.

In Business 4 Good Campaign said...

ahem...something that just issued from FCC, that is entirely germaine to this dialogue. Good thing some folks are not in the soup here, to bring some order to the KKCR Chaos, eh?

December 18, 2007 Mary Diamond (202) 418-2388

FCC Adopts Localism Proposals to Ensure Programming is
Responsive to Needs of Local Communities

Washington, DC – The Federal Communications Commission (the “Commission”) today took measures to help ensure that broadcast stations offer programming responsive to the needs and interests of the communities that they are licensed to serve. The Report on Broadcast Localism and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (the “Report”) adopted today sets forth proposals to increase local programming content and diversity in communities across America. In its review of these issues, the Commission accrued over 83,000 written comments and heard the testimony of 500 panelists offered during the six field hearings on localism conducted throughout the country.

The Report makes tentative conclusions regarding the following proposals, for which it seeks comment:

• Qualified LPTV stations should be granted Class A status, which requires them to provide 3 hours per week of locally-produced programming;
• Licensees should establish permanent advisory boards (including representatives of underserved community segments) in each station community of license with which to consult periodically on community needs and issues; and
• Commission adoption of renewal application processing guidelines that will ensure that all broadcasters provide some locally-oriented programming

The Report also states that the Commission will:

• Better educate members of the public as to the obligations of broadcasters and the Commission’s procedures so that viewers and listeners can become more actively involved in ensuring that stations offer locally oriented programming; and.

• Investigate other ways to assist prospective radio licensees to identify suitable available commercial FM spectrum in the communities in which they wish to broadcast, including authorizing the development of software to do so.

The Report notes that, as temporary trustees of the public’s airwaves, broadcasters are obligated to operate their stations to serve the public interest, including their airing of programming responsive to the needs and issues of their station communities of license. The actions and proposals contained in the Report are intended to ensure that the nations’ broadcasters will meet this responsibility.

Action by the Commission December 18, 2007, by Report and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 07-218). Chairman Martin and Commissioner Tate, with Commissioners Copps and Adelstein concurring and dissenting in part, and Commissioner McDowell approving and concurring in part. Separate statements issued by Chairman Martin, Commissioners Copps, Adelstein, Tate, and McDowell.