Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union
ARCATA – The smoldering controversy at Humboldt State University radio station KHSU seemed to be waning late last month, when, in stark contrast to the previous three meetings, the monthly Community Advisory Board (CAB) gathering saw minimal participation.
Now though, a new policy regarding worker safety and hours had re-ignited suspicions about the station’s leadership among dissidents.
The station is presently moving from its longtime lair atop the Theatre Arts Building to new digs in Feuerwerker House so as to accommodate seismic retrofits at the former building. At last month’s CAB meeting, station personnel complained about a cyclone fence around the Theatre Arts Building, which created access problems there.
Citing concerns from from the university’s Risk Management department, station manager Peter Fretwell announced via email new limitations on access by station volunteers and employees. The email:
“Hello Hosts and Producers,
“We received word this week from HSU Risk Management that our studio hours, once we move into Feuerwerker House, will be made consistent with hours of other campus buildings. The studios will be open from 7 AM until 10 PM each day. KHSU who have assigned shifts earlier than 7 AM will be allowed into the studios to perform their duties.
“We went back and requested that the night closure time be moved to midnight, but Risk Management has the final word, and they are sticking with their recommendation to the administration. They noted that recommendations are based on best practices in risk management, particularly because of recently heightened concerns about safety.
“All local volunteer hosted shows that were live between 10 PM and 7 AM will now have to be recorded and placed into ENCO.
“This will place studio time at a premium. Our Google Calendar system allows you to see which studios are available and to schedule one in advance. If you need help with that, please contact Jessica.
“Thank you for your work and your patience during this seismic retrofit project.
“Member and General Manager
“KHSU/Humboldt State University”
Members of the station community who’ve raised objections to Fretwell’s leadership quickly cast the move as a means of limiting their participation.
Stated one, “People with those shifts will not be able to pre-record [their shows]. The move has put a premium on studio time. Plus folks work. When would they record their shows? Never that’s when. So all that format change they’ve been denying for months, here it comes...”
Humboldt State Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications Frank Whitlach p’shawed the allegations. “I think that’s ridiculous,” he said. “They’re fishing around for something to be upset about.”
He said the hours restrictions are “standard practice on campus.” The only other facilities open after hours student learning labs and places with direct supervision.
Whitlach said pre-recording is a good option for those who host shows after hours. “Thousands of radio hosts record in advance,” he said.
Matt Knight's letter to Kevin Sanders
Monday morning, someone using the Guerilla Mail email anonymizer circulated a message sent by longtime station volunteer Matt Knight to KHSU's engineer, Kevin Sanders (see below).
The message urges Sanders, who has never shown any particular affinity for station politics, to slow-walk the station's move to Feuerwerker House by finding or contriving technical problems.
"I know you want the KHSU move to be your legacy, and I admire your dedication to the station. The plain fact is - there may not BE a station worth that legacy - once your psycho boss's is done with it. He is clearly bent on pile-driving KHSU into the ground as part of his sick revenge fantasy. Craig Wruck seems to be very much on board with this idea. These are two twisted, little men.
"You may be able to stop it. They cannot make this move without you. I am not saying flat out refuse to complete the move. Even though - if you did - they could not touch you. You are beyond their reach. But if you to - say - threw out the anchor - discover problems that might take weeks - and weeks - and weeks to rectify - they would HAVE to back down. I know it's a lot to ask. But I'd would like you to think about this carefully. You are literally the only person on staff with the juice to stand up to them. They can do nothing without you.
"I've always respected to your immense ability and common decency. So I am asking you - no - begging you - to use your power. It's time to stick it to them. Otherwise, they are going to get away with this, and this great radio station is going to come to a very nasty end.
"Yours Very Truly,