I appreciate Mike Miner's attempts to get more specific information from Chicago Public Radio in regards to WBEZ and Vocalo in his article on August 14th, "Should WBEZ donors be told their money might be spent on Vocalo?"
That headline is essentially the point of my conversation with Mr. Malatia.
In fact, I told him that I would be very happy to re-start my pledge once it was made clear to WBEZ and Chicago Public Radio donors that their pledges might be spent on Vocalo. Period.
For the record, I think that the concept of Vocalo is a good one. I love the idea of community-driven radio programming, especially if the staff is curating the contributions of the community.
I think the current execution of that concept is WAY off of the mark, as well as lacking in quality crafting of good radio. Even if the execution was ON the mark, I think it is costing too much in money and resources for an "experiment". Money and resources that are being diverted from WBEZ and its related programming.
So, why would I restart my donations if they might be diverted to Vocalo and I don't care for the current execution of Vocalo? Because I believe that the staff at WBEZ is an extremely talented group that deserves to be supported and I always have. Even if it meant some of my donations were paying Torey's salary (and I haven't always been keen on his work as GM of CPR either.)
In any case, I think that WBEZ and Chicago Public Radio donors need to be made aware of what their donations are funding. Not from a line or two buried in the appendix of an annual report. Not from an article in the Chicago Reader.
My suspicion is that Malatia doesn't want the listeners of Chicago Public Radio/WBEZ to listen to Vocalo, look too closely at what is happening to staff/resources at WBEZ, or register any kind of feedback at all about any of this.
Why? If everything is aboveboard and going well, what is the big deal then?
If you want to read the exchange between Mr. Malatia and myself, you can start here with the first email. Thanks.