Tag Archives: arkansas

Volunteer Host “Army” Gathers at KABF

35th anniversary cake

Little Rock       As the hosts of KABF’s radio shows gathered at the New Millennium Church in western Little Rock near the University of Little Rock campus, long time DJs went back and forth trying to remember when we had convened our last all hands meeting of the hosts.  I would venture three or four years, and others would swear it might have been five.  No one was certain, but it had definitely been a while.  Memory plays tricks, calendars speak facts, unless it’s coming from Justice Kavanagh or something.  In truth, it was January, 2016, a bit more than three years ago at the Central Arkansas Library System’s Darragh Room.  There were individual genre meetings with groups of hosts before then, but the all-host meeting before that was March 2013, six months or so after I began managing the station.

When I asked the thirty-five hosts in the room how many had been to a all-DJs meeting before, perhaps a half-dozen raised their hands, which said two things:  first, that many of the long time hosts, of which there are plenty, did not bother to come, and, secondly, that it was time to orient the new hosts, so it was good that we had convened everyone.  We began the meeting with a round of introductions which were heartening.  We had hosts from Sacred Gospel, from SpeakUp, from Union Station, from World Music and Banonauts with its African emphasis, from the rock and new music shows like Shoog Radio and Nevermind the Morning Show, from Gray Matter and the Workplace and Community Voice.  What a diverse and exciting team!

hosts for various shows getting to know each other after the meeting from Sacred Gospel to Banonauts

The meat and potatoes of the meeting was the station’s ongoing drive to be sustainable.  Hosts shared tips on how to improve their performance on pledge drives which are a steady source of a noncommercial station’s revenue, but never enough.  There was discussion about how to build underwriting partnerships, and why they were important.  The special item on the menu though, and not surprisingly, was membership.  Whether the shows pledged well or not, I wanted to deliver a message that everyone could recruit members to the station who would pay their dues and donations monthly.  I announced a twenty-member quota and heads nodded, which isn’t the same as agreement, but we’ll work to make it so.  Even at $5 a month with twenty members paying monthly the resources created would be huge for the station, and everyone has twenty friends, relatives, and neighbors, and that’s not even counting their listeners who should be their bread and butter.  The trick is always the same:  you have to ask!

The other main item was actually an even more bitter pill.  Finally, a long-delayed conversion to new programming and broadcasting software is going to happen.  Our other stations did the changeover lickety-split, but change is hard when day to day you are used to the same ol’, same ol’.  My announcement that I would pull the plug on the old software at the end of the year, come hell or high water, went over with a bit of a thud and only two or three raised their hands to admit they had already gone to the new programming.

The proof will be in the pudding whether the hosts want more of these meetings or fewer.  As the station manager, I loved the opportunity to meet everyone in one place and have a shot at trying to get the volunteer army to march together towards the same battle station, rather than continuing to fire blindly or in a circle.

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What’s Up with Arkansas?!?

Milwaukee       No matter what P.T. Barnum once said, sometimes bad press is really bad press, even when they spell your name right, and that’s what seems to be happening in Arkansas now, thanks to the boneheaded right wing in the legislature and in Republican bureaucracy that is trying to punish the poor and lower income families.

The Economist is not what you could every confuse with a fake news, liberal, lefty rag.  It’s conservative, if not libertarian, on all manner of issues.  Nonetheless, there it was with both an editorial and a lead article slamming what it called “the Arkansas experiment” at denying Medicaid benefits to poor families because of onerous and inept reporting requirements for so-called “community engagement,” meaning work, volunteering or whatever.  The state was given the first such waiver in the country to allow it to essentially deny health benefits to the poor.  I’m already embarrassed for Arkansas, even as I write this much, but it gets much worse.  The Kaiser Foundation estimates that if all fifteen, largely Republican states that applied in me-too fashion to follow Arkansas were granted such waivers, it would push between 1.4 million and 4 million people off of coverage.

As The Economist reports in devastating fashion,

“The preliminary results from the Arkansas experiment look alarming:  18,000 people lost their health insurance in the first six months because they did not comply….Confusion seems widespread.  Many only realize they have lost insurance in the pharmacy, after trying to pick up a prescription they can no longer afford.  In some months more than 90% of those required to report their activities did not.  For the first few months reporting could only be done online.  More than 20% of those affected did not have access to the internet:  those that did found the website, which shuts down between 9pm and 7am, clunky and complicated.”

How can anyone from DHHS nationally down to Governor Hutchinson in Arkansas claim this is about “responsibility,” when their implementation is so completely irresponsible?

From there the Arkansas story becomes even more despicable.  The state has no way to count and isn’t much interested in doing so.  It’s own incompetence at determining where the reporting responsibility has failed or whether jobs changed, were lost or found is covered up by their own failure and whitewashed by Washington.  Hutchinson was left telling The Economist that he was sure one of the 18,000 “out there is healthy, has received a notice, understands the responsibility but just doesn’t do it.  And what do you do at that point? He asks.”  Wow!  I guess, Governor, you deny 17,999 in order to punish that one scofflaw bastard.  The ignorance and bias of his statement takes my breath away!

Oh, and then there’s the legislative fight to undue the will of the people in voting to raise the state minimum wage from $8.50 to $11 over coming years.  An Arkansas state house panel advanced legislation that would exempt “small businesses, some non-profits and teenagers” from a minimum wage hike approved by voters last November . On this one, Governor Asa Hutchinson and the state’s Republican party came out against the move. “I think the public has spoken on it and I think we need to abide by that,” Hutchinson said to the Associated Press.

Governor are you sure?  There might be one joker out there who will get the new minimum wage who you don’t think deserves it.  Don’t you want to punish everyone in the whole state of Arkansas in order to make them work harder because of that one guy?

Arkansas is going to have change its motto from the Wonder State to the WTF State soon.

Please enjoy Renée Wahl and The Sworn Secrets’ To the Bone.

Thanks to KABF.

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