Thursday, August 14, 2008

6th email: From T. Malatia

From: Malatia, Torey
Subject: RE: FW: Cancelling my pledge to WBEZ
Date: Monday, July 28, 2008, 10:58 AM

Dear Jeanne Marie,

Well, I’m still in a fog with this argument, so allow me to share some more thoughts on this latest e-mail, please.

First, as I said, unique branding of products is a common practice in public radio and it is done for quite valid reasons of marketing and promotion. As I re-read your letters there seems to be no complaint about how we market things at all. Is this now a concern? Does it matter if we brand one project “Ethel” and another “Fred”? Must they all be “Ethel?”

Second, several times in our developmental history we have attempted to keep what you are calling a “firewall” between the investment in production and our operating budget if only for our own tracking. I recall this working well a couple of times, and failing a couple of times. It definitely failed with This American Life and Odyssey. It worked with Chicago Matters, in all but three years since 1994. When it does fail, the operating budget takes over and fills in what is needed. The board agrees to this going in. The staff also is very, very familiar with this procedure.

Also, for the record, when I talked to staff about this in regards to, I never said what you are claiming I said. I made remarks about this as very much as I’ve outlined it above—with the caveat that, if this didn’t work,, the operating budget would take over, as usual. By the way, I made these remarks in only one large staff meeting in April of 2006. I’ve made no remarks like this to anyone else. But if I had done so, I would have said, as I did to staff, that the operating budget will fill in any shortfalls as was our past practice.

You are quoting the Reader’s half-efforts at reporting once again, and I ask you to check facts. The quote is not from me. It is from somebody. That this somebody has recalled this inaccurately does a great deal to make me suspect all this somebody says throughout the article. Perhaps it is as recollected by someone who was never at the meeting, maybe wasn’t even on staff in 2006, or never on staff ever, since they are not identified.

But for the sake of argument, let’s assume that is true, even though I assure you it is not. Let’s pretend that I said all projects would be covered by separate funding not out of the operating budget absolutely. And then what happened in our hypothetical situation? It all fell through, much to embracement of me, the disappointment of the board, and the staff. And therefore? What? You are angry that the plan didn’t work out?

Because almost nothing we’ve done has turned out as planned. And Vocalo is not the issue financially here ANYWAY—it’s the fact that WBEZ itself had a shortfall that gave us pause—at least three times the shortfall of any other project, including Vocalo, all by itself.

Your last point makes the least sense of all and that is saying a lot by now: How is it disingenuous to fund CPR’s operation with available resources? How? That’s what we strive to do every day. That’s what every non-profit strives to do.

It’s only an issue if you somehow see as not CPR’s project, which is incorrect. Perhaps your point here is that YOU would NOT approve of this as one of our projects were you in a position to lead, and as long as it is, you would rather not invest dollars.

That I will buy. I disagree, but that, that, makes sense.

All the best, and thanks for your time,


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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