Wednesday, May 28, 2008

DC bank bails out KCPW (and the Feulners)

While you were enjoying your new tote back at Wild Oats, KCPW execs were getting a loan to cover the millions of dollars they need to keep the station from going bankrupt and turning into a Christian radio station. And the loan is one that you should never get to buy a house.
The NCB financing is an interest-only loan. Sweeney said Wasatch Public Media will use $400,000 from the fundraising proceeds to pay down the loan. The group intends to repay the balance with proceeds from future fundraising campaigns during the loan's four-year duration.
I personally did not contribute a dime to KCPW, although I enjoy listening to public radio and their station in particular. Here are three reasons why:
  1. [KCPW's Manager Brain] Feulner was paid $140,000 under the terms of the new contract and a bonus of $39,815 (payable under the terms of the old contract) which is why Mr.Feulner’s total compensation [...] was $179,815.

  2. Blair and his wife, Susan, then the nonprofit station's co-manager and chief fundraiser, cleared $280,000 between them in 2003, the most recent tax records available.
    Susan ended her full-time employment a year ago and went on to collect $50,000 as a consultant to the station. Feulner remains as general manager and likely will make this year between $150,000 and $165,000, according to the president of KCPW's board, Tom Calder.
    But the spectacular reward for the Feulners' years of hard work came last year when the board sold a Coalville station license purchased for $18,800 thanks to Feulner's deal-making savvy. The license, purchased in the early 1990s, reaped $3.6 million.
    Susan and Blair Feulner's personal share of the windfall was $895,000. The amount was paid in cash, separate and apart from their salaries.

  3. Under manager Blair Feulner, KCPW borrowed $2.5 million to buy an AM license to allow the station to compete with the UofU's KUER statewide. But the bold gambit flopped and KCPW was being pulled under by the loan payments.
The Feulners should have contributed a few thousand dollars towards keeping their station afloat since they were the ones that capsized it, due to their own bad decisions and gross over compensation. I have no patience for rewarding greedy, incompetent managers, whether they work for for-profits like Enron and Countrywide, or non-profits like KCPW.

And really, does KCPW need to compete with KUER? I thought public radio wasn't about competition, but providing news and other programming that for-profit radio neglects.

1 comment:

derekstaff said...

I can understand your frustrations and concerns, but it should be noted that it was not KCPW who caused all those problems. It was KPCW, the Park City NPR station which owned KCPW. It was KPCW for whom Feulner worked. If the sale of the station goes through, it will be owned by a local organization with no connection to Feulner. This is why I supported KCPW's capital campaign.

I agree that it is silly for NPR stations to compete with one another. But I hope the sale succeeds, because KCPW provides services I prefer over KUER.