2004-10/Oct Kristianne on Beth Flowers' conduct

To Don Flick and the KRFC Board of Directors,

The following are a few incidents that occurred at KRFC mainly between Station Manager, Beth Flowers and me, Kristianne Gale. It is my hope that this information will help to bring about positive change at KRFC, in particular, interpersonal relationships and conduct. I want to stress that the specific examples given are intended to depict what seems to me to be a daily office vibe and how this vibe has caused my own enthusiasm for continued service at KRFC to wane, and I hope it will cause you to consider how other volunteers could be effected by such an environment.

#1: Pre-schedule change Bullhorn Article
After an article was published in the Rocky Mountain Bullhorn regarding concerns about the rush to change the programming schedule, Beth Flowers called me into her office to discuss who was behind the conception of said article. She immediately accused Eddie Arthur of prompting Bullhorn Editor, Bethany Kehoutek to write a negatively slanted article quoting volunteers who disagreed with the plan to change programming. I replied by saying that such an accusation was absurd and if anyone was behind the decision to write the article it was most likely Publisher, Joseph Rouse and other Bullhorn staff, who I assume to be the only persons who decide what constitutes a valid journalistic topic for their paper. This discussion was not exactly private. Sarah Van Etton, Jack Armstrong, Greg Krush, as well as several volunteers were outside the office and involved in this conversation. Jack and Greg were clearly angry and seemed to take the article as both a personal attack on Beth as well as a blow to the image of KRFC. Beth also insinuated that Eddie and Joseph are cohorts in inappropriate personal and business dealings, and asked me "Joseph even pays for Eddie's cell phone, right?"

This mode of questioning made me very uncomfortable. I did not see how being on someone's cell phone plan could be turned into something criminal or should be any reason to mistrust Eddie. We are a community and all of our lives are intertwined. However, I often feel as if Beth tries to extract "inside information" from me, since I am Eddie's friend and house mate. I do not want to be put in the middle of whatever conflict exists between the two, or any other staff members or volunteers, for that matter. It is difficult to remain enthusiastic and feel that I am doing something good for my community if I am repeatedly being made a party to unethical behavior and sucked into squabbles that I do not understand.

I wish that the environment created by the paid staff, and by this I mean Beth and Sarah, was more positive, less accusatory, and an environment in which discourse is encouraged so that myself and other volunteers that I have received similar feedback from-- some long-time dedicated volunteers, some volunteers who have only been with us briefly and did not return because of the "negativity" they experienced--could feel appreciated and welcome. A lot of these volunteers are afraid to be critical of the staff, because they enjoy being a part of KRFC, which is true in my case, as well. I have enjoyed a good standing with everyone at KRFC and feel that Beth has been tremendously giving towards me, however, It does not make me feel good to be offered a position previously held by another volunteer who has decided to leave because they couldn't stand the politics anymore. Nor do I want to be offered a position or task that is currently the role of someone else, who does not know that their position is threatened. I have seen a lot of name-calling. I have watched Beth try to discredit the reputation and make fools out of the most dedicated volunteers, many of whom are people that I have admired for years as positive forces in this community. Even after all-station meetings where we were encouraged to express ourselves and voice our concerns, I have seen and been in ear-shot of the most demeaning and disrespectful commentary exchanged between Beth Flowers, John Steininger, and others. Witnessing this kind of behavior quickly diminishes any kind of warm fuzzy afterglow of a seemingly successful meeting that could potentially improve communication and help KRFC to function better.

#2: Letter from Kate Taresenko to the Board
The letter that Kate Taresenko sent to the board was also sent to me. I felt that the letter illuminated an issue that is not discussed readily enough at the station: that is, the process of hiring paid staff. In an organization with hundreds of volunteers and only three paid staff, I would hope that volunteers would have the right, without fear of condemnation, to question the hiring process and to demand that the board regularly review those staff, to ensure that we have the best leadership possible.

After the letter was sent, Beth approached me at KRFC. She was visibly angry. Beth called the letter "bullshit," and defended herself to me by informing me of her qualifications for the position of Station Manager.

At a later date, I saw residual anger and suspicion towards Kate manifest in Beth's behavior. The day Dean Arnold interviewed Micheal Franti, Eddie and I went down to the station separately. Eddie asked Michael Franti if he could sit-in on the interview and take a few photographs. From what I understand, Mr. Franti had no objections.

I went to KRFC to work on the computers and enjoyed a brief look at Micheal through the glass, while giving a thumb's-up to Dean for conducting a great interview.

While I was working in the main office, Kate Taresenko came into the station to bring Dean a birthday gift as well as to congratulate him on a terrific Live@Lunch.

Although Kate was not there long, Beth was furious about her visit. Tension was high, due to a few people off the street wandering into KRFC to see Micael Franti. It was obvious that some security measures would need to be taken in the future. However, Beth seemed most upset that Eddie and Kate had had a part in the event, and began talking about it at length in the main office to Brian Hughes and to me.

Beth said that she had asked Dave Disney to come down to take photos, and that Eddie did not ask for permission to be there, even from Mr. Franti. She said that because of Eddie's presence there was not enough room in the production studio for Dave Disney.

At this point Beth made a comment that "Dean and Eddie are really tight, aren't they," as if because of Dean and Eddie's great friendship, Dean would allow Eddie to behave inappropriately, and that they had jointly, knowingly broken station policy to spite her. Beth then said that the only volunteers who should be allowed to be at the station at times when we have a "celebrity" in the studio are those volunteers who give the most time to KRFC. In Beth's words, since "Eddie does not even do anything for KRFC any more, he never tables at events, or comes down here" he should not be allowed any privileges that volunteering affords. "And Kate, when was the last time she did anything for KRFC."

I do hope that I am not at some point spoken of and treated so disrespectfully since the amount of my time spent volunteering at KRFC has decreased. I hope that I can continue to enjoy the respect of Beth Flowers and everyone at KRFC after I have sent this letter to the Board. I wish that Eddie Arthur, Dean Arnold, Kate Taresenko, Chris Rozoff, Paul Bame, Chuck Ogg, all of the NewsRangers, on-air people, technicians, etc. would receive the respect and appreciation they deserve from KRFC staff for however long their service has been. Perhaps most, I hope that other current volunteers as well as volunteers to come will not have to be witness to such back-biting, unprofessional behavior by KRFC Station Manager.

Furthermore, I hope that the Democracy meetings will be resurrected, so that we can continue to discuss and ensure that KRFC is indeed what it claims to be to the community: A volunteer-powered, democratically-run radio station.

Thank you for your time in considering the statements made in this letter.

Kristianne Gale