The Expensive Expansion of KEXP

All About Transparency

As a member of KEXP, I would like to thank Nina Shapiro for exposing current financial, staffing, and morale issues at KEXP ["The Expensive Expansion of KEXP," Dec. 7]. Her reporting seems to cover both sides of the issue well; however, I look forward to hearing responses, ones that I hope Seattle Weekly will publish, by current KEXP management, staff, governing board members, and advisory council members. As a public radio station, KEXP should be held to a rather high standard of transparency and financial accountability to its members and to the University of Washington.

I am thrilled to have witnessed the growth and maturing of KEXP over the last few years, and thoroughly enjoy my involvement with the station. I particularly appreciate the accessibility of the DJs and staff of the station. Anyone guiding a rapidly growing entity such as KEXP will make a bad decision or two. If the article is correct, however, it appears that people with very solid experience and strong public interest in the station—people I trust—have lost faith in KEXP's executive director, Tom Mara. KEXP must be guided skillfully and openly as it continues its growth and mission over the next few years. If Mara does not have the support of his staff and the members, he should resign.

Ben Savage

Seattle

John in the Money

I think the bigger story here is asking why some people at KEXP are making upwards of $120,000 per year ["The Expensive Expansion of KEXP," Dec. 7]. Are you kidding me? With all the fund drives and all the talk about public radio and supporting public radio, and how it's our duty to do so, blah, blah, blah, you'd think that KEXP was on a shoestring budget, sacrificing to provide something special to the public. They sound more like a corporate radio station with money like that being thrown around. I bet that a regular daytime DJ from one of the "bad corporate stations" doesn't get paid near what John in the Morning does.

Yes, KEXP is the best station around this city, but I never realized they were so flush with money (sans this bad deal that has put them in the red) to pay people like this. Maybe if some of the KEXP DJs started donating some of their salary (like how some of us listeners donate our salary to the station), they could get out of this financial mess. I doubt that will happen. I am never donating money to them again, and instead of wearing my KEXP T-shirt, I'm gonna make my own that says this: "I donated to KEXP DJs, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."

David Johnson

Seattle

Shoestring Donor

Thanks for the great article ["The Expensive Expansion of KEXP," Dec. 7]. I have supported KEXP while living on a shoestring income. Now I've decided to keep my money in my pocket rather than line the pockets of the greedy people who run the station.

Bruce Forsberg

Tacoma

Is Playlist Tainted?

I find it troubling that only $1.5 million of KEXP's $3 million operating budget comes from listener donations ["The Expensive Expansion of KEXP," Dec. 7]. I think this puts enormous pressure on KEXP to tailor their playlist to meet the needs of sponsors like House of Blues Concerts. I find it further troubling that KEXP explicitly solicits "marketing dollars" in their online form for community event sponsorships—in exchange for greater "on-air presence." This form is open to for-profit companies and even includes a testimonial from House of Blues Concerts.

I financially supported KEXP (and, before that, KCMU) from 1987 to February 2005. I no longer do because I don't trust KEXP's playlist to be free of the influence of such "marketing dollars."

Carl Larson

Seattle

Monorail Bone

Ooooooh, thanks for throwing us a bone, you asshole [Mossback, "The Little Landmark That Could," Dec. 7]. Thanks to Seattle Weekly's yellow journalism (since you became the second coming of Eastsideweek in the past several years and with the departure of David Brewster, Eric Scigliano, and reporters like Mark Worth), you have helped kill transit in Seattle for years to come. Enjoy waiting in traffic on your non-grade-separated train to nowhere from "sound" transit; you'll be paying for it the rest of your lives. 

Kevin Orme

Seattle

Disease at the Jail

We appreciate the opportunity to clarify misconceptions that may have resulted from a recent story in Seattle Weekly on health and safety conditions at the King County Jail ["Contagion in the Jail," Dec. 7]. Nearly 50,000 inmates were booked into the King County Jail system in 2004, people generally sicker than the general public and who often have had poor access to health care. As one of only 242 jails—out of 1,600 nationwide—that have met rigorous national accreditation standards for health and safety, we have a demonstrated record in providing quality care to this vulnerable population, and for detecting, controlling, and preventing the spread of disease in the jail.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, otherwise known as MRSA, has been a problem in hospitals for over 30 years and is increasingly becoming more common in our community. This emerging type of MRSA, which is not connected with hospitalization stays, is called community-associated MRSA. Importantly, the community-associated MRSA we are seeing in the jail is treatable with commonly available antibiotics.

It is not surprising that we see MRSA cases brought into the jail, and we have made an ongoing commitment to quickly detecting, treating, and preventing the spread of new cases. These efforts include extensive training of staff on precautions to take in order to prevent infections, establishing wound-care clinics for inmates, updating our clinical guidelines for medical management, and providing inmate education.

Unlike MRSA, necrotizing fasciitis, sometimes referred to in the media as "flesh-eating bacteria," is a rare condition that is not spread through casual contact. Even though we have had no outbreaks of this condition originating in the jail, our health staff is always alert for potential cases and knows the appropriate steps to take if the condition is suspected.

Controlling communicable diseases is an ongoing proposition, and the jail provides a unique and challenging environment to carry out this work. Every day, we continue our commitment to providing a safe working environment for our staff, providing appropriate treatment and care for inmates, and protecting the safety of our larger community.

Dorothy Teeter

Interim Director and Health Officer, Public Health–Seattle & King County

Reed Holtgeerts

Director, King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention

Hope for Vegans

It is so nice to read positive reviews of vegan food for a change ["No Dairy, No Eggs, No Problem," Nov. 30]. I have been a vegan for five years (vegetarian for the 15 years prior), and I have had more than my fair share of tasteless vegan food. The good stuff is out there, and it is nice to see it getting attention. I hadn't heard of Wayward Cafe and Moonlight Cafe, and I do intend to try them.

Dawn James

Lynnwood

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