Thursday, July 3, 2008

CPR Cans Community Outreach Coordinator

It appears as though one of the last tasks for Erica Stull, Colorado Public Radio's erstwhile Vice President of Community Outreach, was to produce the press release (see the blog post below) for the KCFR move back to 90.1-FM and the KVOD move to 88.1-FM on July 9, 2008. She is still listed on the CPR website, however.

The Community Outreach Position was a relatively new one for Colorado Public Radio; presumably created to soften CPR's corporatate exterior, repair strained relationships with CPR's critics, and solidify the radio network's partnerships with Colorado community organizations. In short, it was Stull's job to do what the rest of Colorado Public Radio's management and leadership failed to do for the past 35 years--go public.

However, that was no small task for a newbie, like Stull, among entrenched introverts, because the sum character of Colorado Public Radio management is entirely antithetical to the words public and outreach. In other words, CPR's management takes its behavioral cues from Max Wycisk; an insular leader who'd rather diddle with focus-group data than to meet actual members of the Colorado communities he so diligently serves.

The poet Edna St. Vincent Millay famously said, "I love humanity, but I hate people." That simple, succinct phrase describes the persona of Max Wycisk (and by extension, CPR) in a nutshell. In fact, it should be the official motto for the limousine liberals who rule Colorado Public Radio like an arcane little duchy. It seems, however, that the established nobility at Colorado's public radio empire secretly eschewed both Stull and her recent work. In corporate speak, "CPR is moving in a different direction . . . " That new direction for CPR is actually an old and tiresome one; however, as tiresome as the idiotic phrase itself. But that is the way Colorado Public Radio likes it; stolid, staid, and stupefyingly simpleminded.

Case in point; several years ago, well before Colorado Public Radio landed (by sheer accident) The Colorado Symphony Orchestra (CSO) broadcasts, CPR had a policy of "not running Public Service Announcements. PSAs," staff, listeners, and callers to the station were told, "are what commercial broadcasters run as an FCC requirement because the airwaves are owned by the public. Colorado Public Radio does not run PSAs because EVERYTHING Colorado Public Radio does IS (by definition) a public service." Maxims (or rather, Wycisk Max-ims) like this one are continuously parroted by CPR management as if these policies are definitional truisms, rather than simply convenient (and mailable) station practices. Soon after CPR penned its agreement with The CSO though, Colorado Public Radio suddenly started running promotional announcements for The Symphony and for several other classical music organizations (and events) throughout Colorado. In short, CPR moved in a new direction. How convenient!

About 1-2 years ago, Colorado Public Radio (Board and Management) decided that CPR needed to increase its public profile, which is why they created a new Vice-Presidential position for just that purpose. *CPR actually created two new
Vice-Presidential positions at approximately the same time: Vice President of Community Outreach and Vice President of Human Resources. After several months of searching, Colorado Public Radio finally hired Ms. Erica Stull (a former employee of Colorado Public Radio, but most recently employed by Adelphia Communications), as CPR's first Community Outreach VP. Perhaps coincidentally (or not), Stull had formerly been a colleague of Ron Cooper, the Vice Chairman of the Colorado Public Radio Board of Directors, and (according to his biography posted on the CPR website) "the former President and Chief Operating Officer of Adelphia Communications."

Colorado Public Radio Blog authors have no information about what community-outreach projects or programs CPR initiated or engaged in (presumably through Erica Stull) over the past two years. Besides the endless on-air and website mentions of the Public Insight Network, a service that Colorado Public Radio subscribes to (and pays for) from Minnesota Public Radio, it's very difficult to determine on the air, on their website, or in the community what CPR's outreach plan actually entailed. One former Colorado Public Radio Board Member observed as late as the fall of 2007, that Stull had neither strategic plans nor new ideas for CPR's outreach efforts. As for KCFR's Public Insight Network, Colorado Matters Host and Producer, Dan Meyers, presides over that news initiative. Thus, PIN was not Stull's bailiwick.

So what is CPR President Max Wycisk's future plan for community outreach, sans Erica Stull? Your guess is as good as anyone's. But if past history, performance, and practice are any guides, a good guess is that Colorado Public Radio will create yet another tautological Max-im to explain away actual outreach. When asked, "Why doesn't Colorado Public Radio do community outreach?" the answer will likely go something like this: "EVERYTHING we do is community outreach." As for Erica Stull? No soup for you!

NOTE: Please see the post above entitled Westword's Best of 2008 -- Michael Roberts to see who is back at the helm of Colorado Public Radio's transparent propaganda machine. It sure didn't take very long for KCFR's resident nincompoop to re-seat his ample ass into Erica Stull's still warm community-outreach chair. Here's a question I have for Herr Nethery: Why isn't Kelley Griffin, the KCFR News Director, handling news-realted inquiries?

Colorado Public Radio can send its press-release replies in care of CPRB Managment. We'll have one of our many Vice Presidents read and respond to it here. Thank YOU!

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