By ETW Ioriginal at Rocky Mountain Chronicle)

On March 17, Open KRFC — a counter-movement of members and volunteers of KRFC 88.9 FM — celebrated its first year of resisting changes at the local community radio station.

The group was also buzzing over the resignation of their nemesis, station manager Beth Flowers, who announced her departure the previous evening, citing high blood pressure.

“I wouldn’t say we were dancing on the tables or anything,” says Paul Bame, a KRFC founder and an Open KRFC participant who had his station membership revoked in 2006 for agitating. “There were a lot of questions [about the direction of the station] — and a few muted smiles.”

No Open KRFC members wish Flowers ill health, but many dissidents hold her responsible for transformations to the station’s programming and mission during her nearly three-year tenure.

KRFC began four years ago as a “democratically managed” radio station, according to its original mission statement. Since then, Bame claims, the station’s grassroots principles and talk-radio features have been squeezed out as Flowers and the board of directors pushed for more mainstream appeal. The makeover was seemingly completed last year, when the board O.K.’d a refined mission statement — in the name of clarification.

“I believe that the mission and vision and values of KRFC were formed and agreed upon by the majority of volunteers and community members,” Flowers says, “and there’s a small group that doesn’t like the results.” Under Flowers’ watch, KRFC has grown its budget, membership and studio space.

It looks doubtful the struggle will subside just because Flowers is stepping down.

“We don’t see revisiting the mission,” says Chad Morris, the board’s president. “These two things [Open KRFC’s activities and Flowers’ resignation] are not related. The board is really behind [Flowers] and what she’s been doing.”

Flowers’ last day as manager will be April 28, the close of the station’s spring membership drive. She will assist the board in conducting a national search for her replacement, and she plans to stay involved as a station volunteer, perhaps even moving to the on-air booth.

“Maybe I’ll have a show,” she says. “I don’t think it would be music; I think it would be talk.”