A Former Colorado Public Radio Board Member Takes Her Concerns Online

The June 14 edition of the Message focused upon Frances Koncilja, a local attorney and public-radio booster who resigned from her position on the board of Colorado Public Radio due to her concern over several controversial initiatives being pushed by supporters of CPR head Max Wycisk. Proposals included a major reduction in the size of the board, the suggestion that future board members be required to donate as much as $25,000 to retain their seat, and the possible sale of all the group's AM stations to take advantage of HD Radio technology, even though the transition to HD is far from complete.

Thanks to Koncilja's actions, these schemes appear to be on hold -- but she has no intention of resting on her laurels. She's among those behind the new Colorado Public Radio blog, which aims to keep the public informed about public radio in general, and CPR in particular.

Even though it's only been live for a relatively short time, the CPR blog already has a wealth of content, including news about KUVO's search for a new president, a copy of the CPR mission statement, and numerous essays by Koncilja. Among the most interesting of these last items is a piece entitled "Why I Resigned." The text reads:

I love public radio! Of all of the boards and committees on which I was asked to serve, the Board of Colorado Public Radio excited me the most. In fact, I was so excited, I made a commitment to contribute $75,000 to CPR ($62,500 of the pledge is paid.) But after four years of service, it was clear to me that current management cannot deliver local news or local culture, even though the Board committed $500,000 a year to the "KCFR News Initiative."

That resolution was adopted on June 22,2005. So, where is KCFR over two years later? Is there much new content besides promotions about new content? Is there new content during the morning and evening drive times? No. Just recycled pieces of Colorado Matters, the weather, and some "rip-and-read" from the Associated Press wire service. I do not think such a paltry bit of content is worth the expenditure. And, I do not think that current management is using donors' dollars responsibly.

Rather than deal with these problems, and a couple of others, board and management (President and Ex-Offico member of the Board Max Wysick, Board Chair Barry Curtiss-Lusher, Vice Chairs Virginia Berkeley of Colorado Business Bank, and Ron Cooper) decided to embark on a board governance process. I am a lawyer, and I love process as much as anyone, but only if it has a purpose. Even though we spent thousands of dollars on a consultant (Bill Charney of Charney Associates), they would not tell me how much; and even though the Board spent hours upon hours on the process, the result was such a debacle that it was withdrawn in June 2007 (I will give you more details on that later).

As my friend Judge Monroe McKay, former Chief Judge of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals used to say, "Just because they put honey and butter on a horse biscuit, does not mean you have to eat it." I got tired of being forced to eat the horse biscuits, so I decided to go public to let you know what is going on, and to give support to the current Board Members who have reservations about all of this.

The blog is a symbol of that support. Koncilja cares too much about Colorado Public Radio to let it head down what she considers to be the wrong path. -- Michael Roberts