Thursday, August 14, 2008

4th Email: Response from T. Malatia

From: Malatia, Torey

Dear Jeanne Marie,

Well, we are both to be commended for healthy dialogue, and I’m grateful for your response. But since it appears from your text below that you have a rather sophisticated understanding of the non-profit world, I confess I am even more surprised now at your position.

Here’s how I would put it to a person who knows the non-for-profit world: All donations to CPR are donations to general operating fund of the 501(c) 3. Knowing that, and knowing that this non-profit is a broadcaster for the region serving multiple constituencies, I simply don’t understand the issue you are raising. Of course, is unapolagetically part of what we do. So is our work with CRIS radio, our Chicago Amplified work with community groups—many of them activist orgamnizations. Who’s apologizing for any of this?

I respect your right to think that by giving it a different brand (as we did when we operated WLUW for 5 years) that we are somehow apologizing. But I completely disagree. I think that is about as strange as suggesting that Minnesota Public Radio is apologizing by owning and operating a news “stream” and two music services. Of course they would want to brand them differently. (“The Current” is the brand of one of their music station. Good idea, if you asked me, since this station attracts lovers of pop music and MPR for decades has been known for classical music).

Mind you, and I am not trying to argue you out of this decision to withdraw support. Your decision is respected, Jeanne Marie. Not to worry. It is your argument that is failing me.

If the money you gave to CPR were truly diverted in some unreasonable way-- used to support another 501(c) 3 of our choice, but not of your choosing, for example, then your argument would hold. (This as you know is what makes the pooled funds of United Way problematic for certain conservatives who object to specific not-for-profits in the pool).

But all of our activities, no matter what they are from programs to events, to institutional partnerships, to broadcast services, to internet platforms, are 1) governed by the same non-profit Board of Directors, 2) independently audited annual as required by the State of Illinois and 3) audited for hiring practices annually as required by the FCC The Reader certainly could use a lesson in the facts pertaining to non-profit operations, that is , if they are interested in earning credibility on this topic. In any case, I’ve read the Reader for years and I would never look to them to be a definitive publication on most topics. That’s not how they make money.

Really we are back to your decision about whether we do things that you believe are worth investing in. The work we do is all true to the same emission, serves all residents of our area equally and with extraordinary respect and passion. But there are other worthy non-profits that may attract you, and I prefer to see your decision as weighing those considerations rather than a misunderstanding of the facts—facts that I know you, more than other perhaps, have mastered.

All the best and, again, thank you for your past support, Jeanne Marie.


Torey Malatia

President and General Manager

Chicago Public Radio

WBEZ 91.5 FM, Chicago;

WBEW 89.5 FM, Chesterton;

WBEQ 90.7 FM, Morris;

W217BM, Elgin

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