After watching somewhat appalled from the sidelines, today’s disclosure in the KHSU saga compels me to write an open letter to the HSU administration. (See “Station Identification,” July 31).

Having been a participant at KHSU-FM both while a student in the mid-’70s and for years after as a volunteer I’ve seen firsthand a progression of at least four “faculty advisors”/general managers and also clearly saw what a thankless position it was. It always appeared to be patently impossible to please the myriad of conflicting opinions and demands loudly insisted upon by all concerned -- and that was just over programming issues. Add in juggling financial issues, paid and volunteer staff, underwriting, sponsors, fundraising events -- let’s just say it wasn’t a job I’d ever want.

To be honest and disclose fully, Elizabeth Hans-McCrone is a long time friend and I personally felt she did a professional job. There’s more than one side to the issues raised by various factions last month and understanding requires an open mind and a willingness to listen.

What confirms to me the clear indication of just who is behaving in a remarkably clueless manner is the truly startling idea that Mr. Gunsalus thinks that an owner of a highly successful chain of local commercial radio stations could possibly be a wise choice to manage a highly rated successful public radio station. No disrespect to Patrick Cleary, who is a professional in his own right (though I must say, I am puzzled he didn’t recuse himself over the rather apparent conflict of interest). Disregarding the obvious fox-and-hen-house analogy -- would the HSU administration also wish to hire someone in management of say, the Eureka Reporter, to oversee the Lumberjack? Maybe a Fox News executive to bring “Fair & Balanced” news coverage to PBS would also be a good idea?

Originally I wrote off Mr. Gunsalus as yet another recent import to Humboldt County who doesn’t “get” what a unique place this is and the unique people that inhabit it (nor care, particularly). Never mind appreciating the value of a unique voice of the community that is KHSU, a voice completely appropriate to Arcata and the HSU environs. Now I also see just who it is in this debacle he created that has a corner on incompetence.

— Alan Olmstead, Eureka

Add a comment