Thursday, August 14, 2008

5th email: From J. Olson

From: Jeanne Marie Olson
To: "Malatia, Torey"
Date: Monday, July 28, 2008, 9:50 AM

My position is simple, Torey.

The position of this article (your words) to keep Vocalo completely separate from WBEZ:

The initiative’s name began as “The Street” and became “The Secret Radio Project” before becoming :Vocalo.

...and in this coverage in the Reader (the details of which have been confirmed by staffers at the station):

Malatia promised a firewall between Vocalo’s finances and WBEZ’s. But WBEZ found itself sharing an IT staff, a marketing staff, fund-raisers. A staffer on the WBEZ side says they began to feel “like the red-headed stepchild, the one who has to do all the chores. There were definitely rancorous feelings.”

...implies that you're trying to have it both ways. To keep Vocalo partially funded/supported with pledge donations given in the past by WBEZ's members and to keep that knowledge (of funding and even of Vocalo's reliance on the resources of WBEZ) from its members. It may not be illegal because of the financial structure of the specific 501(c)3, but it certainly is disingenuous. As an entity that relies very heavily on community support for resources (not only financial), being disingenuous or giving the impression of misleading your community can be a very unfortunate position to take.

I encouraged you not to apologize since you encouraged me not to apologize for withdrawing my donation. Since you were so supportive, I thought I'd respond in kind.

Therefore, I'll repeat. Either unapologetically launch Vocalo as part of WBEZ and come clean with WBEZ members in a very direct way that is presented in pledge drives, marketing materials, online identity, member communications and the rest about what is happening. Or unapologetically decide to truly separate the two and keep everything--ALL of the money, staff, people and equipment--separate so that Vocalo can thrive or die on its own.

That is correct and normal and proper when given the responsibility of managing a community-supported not-for-profit.

You can start with changing your email sign-off, for one. That is pretty simple.

Torey Malatia

President and General Manager

Chicago Public Radio

WBEZ 91.5 FM, Chicago;

WBEW-VOCALO 89.5 FM, Chesterton;

WBEQ 90.7 FM, Morris;

W217BM, Elgin

There. Fixed that for you. Now you can start mentioning them in WBEZ's pledge drives if you are diverting funds to Vocalo. It's pretty easy, really.

Have a great day. And thanks.

Jeanne Marie Olson

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