This post has already been read 703 times!
“It’s 1989. Remember the KMOJ Breakfast Jam: Chico “Fat-fingers” Edner, Dorian Flowers, Walter ‘Q-Bear’ Banks, Michael Shannon, “Rockwell” Odell Hopkins, Chas Millionaire, Newswoman Heather Murphy, and a host of other public radio personalities that made KMOJ the ‘power-house’ back in the day? Well, it’s a new day, and things are not like they used to be.”
On October 2, 1989, KMOJ board chairman Ronald A. Edwards hired me (Don Allen) to be the Economic Development Director for KMOJ. My first task was to audit the underwriting files and make sure accounts payable were collected and in the station.
After the lengthy two-week process, where on most occasions I would visit the said underwriter, in an attempt to form diplomatic and cordial relationships and a continued support of KMOJ-FM, the “Heart and Soul of the City,” one thing was sure, there was a $43,000.00 deficit of underwriting dollars that never made it to the station from KMOJ-FM’s valued supporters.
At my first board meeting, I was faced with the grim task of informing the CCD/KMOJ board of my findings. Which were then traced back to a previous employee charged with managing the station, needless to say, the CCD/KMOJ board took swift action and corrected the problem.
Still in October 1989, KMOJ was faced with not making payroll (again). The chairman of the board, treasurer and vice chair all sat in my office and said, “Mr. Allen, this is what we hired you for – to raise money for the station.”
While I increased fund-raising and underwriting for the station by more that 90%, on-air personalities still were being paid less that $10,000 a year.
The station was just starting to break even.
With that said, I went to a friend that owned the night club Gatsby’s, half-way between Minneapolis and Saint Paul and asked her to let KMOJ have one night a week (Thursday), and 100% of the $5.00 cover charge and we would supply promotional material, the best DJ’s in town and an atmosphere of fun and community support.
On Thursday, December 26, 1989, KMOJ’s Gatsby’s Night was born. For the next 8 months, the station had a “guaranteed” cash flow from supporters that wanted to come out and support the radio station while having a good time.
KMOJ did not have a news reporter. With the cooperation of the board and station management, I was able to bring on a political science major from the University of Minnesota who revolutionized Black community reporting. KMOJ’s 1989 news department broke news stories that the local mainstream media would send news crews out to KMOJ to cover local community news.
It was KMOJ’s best time. The station had a regular cash flow from grants, underwriting and donations – the promotional arm of the station was unstoppable.
In 1989 and 1990, KMOJ was instrumental in selling out more concerts in the Twin Cities then WLOL and KDWB. KMOJ was a powerhouse to be reckoned with.
What happened to the Heart and Soul of the Cities?
KMOJ studios have now moved back to north Minneapolis on the corners of Penn and Broadway Avenues North, (5 Points).
In a visit to the new KMOJ-FM Radio to follow up on four emails requesting information about the “ownership” and “power increase” of the station and the current list of board members IBNN has come across a document from the Federal Communications Commission.
Today (5/6/10), I met with the director of programming who is also the custodian of very important public files, required to be updated and maintained by the FCC.
KMOJ and it’s general manager, Kelvin Quarles have been very instrumental to discuss publically the power increase the station was to have once they moved back over north. Phone calls and emails to Mr. Quarles have not been returned. Also a request for a meeting with the CCD/KMOJ chairman has not been answered.
Personally, I feel misled and obstructed from factual documented information from the station that should have been publically announced over the airwaves to garner support for KMOJ. There’s no reason that KMOJ, in 2010 couldn’t have been in a stand-alone building that they owned. IBNN alleges this is just another fact of questionable business practices from board members and management.
After careful review of the public files, IBNN attest that KMOJ and the Center for Communications and Development is not in compliance with FCC and IRS regulations for a non-profit, public broadcast entity. Just recently, in a decision just released, the FCC fined a noncommercial FM station $8000 for failing to make its public inspection file complete and available when it was requested. The FCC made clear that past cases where a noncommercial station was given only an warning for similar violations were no longer a good practice, finding that making sure that the public file was complete and accurate was an important part of the station’s obligations to the public and the failure to make it available was a serious violation.
This case should serve as a warning that KMOJ needs to have people at the station at all times who know where the public file is located, and that files are complete and accurate. All visitors who request access to the file need to be given such access with current and factual information.
KMOJ-FM, the Center for Communications and Development public files were incomplete based on the following discrepancies:
- Public inspection file only showed Board Minutes from February 8, 2005 to July 25, 2006. (Missing from the PIF was August 2006 to Y-T-D)
IBNN asked the PIF administrator where the current board minutes where located and her answer was, “I don’t know.”
- PIF contained no list(s) of past or current board of directors. No board minutes to show who was elected to the board and when.
The Center for Communication and Development, INC (“CCD”) – Articles of Incorporation, Section 3.6 states, “The number of members of the Board of Directors shall not be less than thirteen (13) nor more then twenty-one (21). This particular copy of the AOI is revised February 2005, as Amended March 8, 2005, which leads us to the next item.
- PIF show no paper trail of elections, with no ledger (for the year 2010 <).
More evident of KMOJ’s antenna issues was a letter dated March 12, 2010 from the Federal Communications Commission denying the station “to modify the effective radiated power, radiation center above ground and antenna patterns.” The letter, from Edna V. Prado, Supervisory Engineer-Audio Division states, “Application BMPED-20100204ADM is unacceptable. (See the full letter here)
In a telephone call today from developer Stu Ackerberg of the Ackerburg Group, Mr. Ackerberg stated, “KMOJ is a tenant and we (AG) are the landlords.” Mr. Ackerberg gave this answer after being asked if the AG owned any part of KMOJ, or its equipment.
IBNN alleges, the station has been derelict is its duties to the community.
Article VIII for the Center of Communications and Development, which is KMOJ, reads:
“CCD shall keep accurate and complete books and records of account and shall also keep minutes of the proceedings of its members, Committee and committees having any authority of the CCD, and shall keep at the registered or principal office a record of giving the names and addresses off the members entitled to vote. All books and records of the CCD may be inspected by any of the Board members or his agent or attorney for any purpose at any reasonable time.”
Where are the records?