Sat 28 Nov 2009
Well, here we are again. Another referendum for CKMS was held and they lost 2005 to 2460. Unsurprisingly, there was an uproar of contempt for student opinion from the CKMS camp. They didn’t get it last time and they don’t get it now.
The first reactionary comments were on the voter turnout (~18%), which sounds low, but in reality is higher than average. Frankly, I was surprised that it made quorum in the first place, and even more at this large of turnout. Of course they point out that the difference was 455 votes, as if increasing voter turnout would close the gap for them (it wouldn’t). This was an unquestionable defeat for CKMS.
Next came the attacks on their opponents. First the CKMS Pres says their opponents “don’t care about culture”. Then the anonymous commentary. Several of them complain that it was only $2.50 and was refundable. They are missing the point; here were the concerns I raised during the campaign. Despite what Davenport expected, I did not, nor did I ever have the intention of bringing money into this. Money wasn’t the issue, as demonstrated by the approval of millions of dollars for a Health Services expansion compared to the $100K a year for CKMS.
CKMS continued to hide behind the concept of campus radio and ignored the specific criticism. I made it clear that it was a problem with them and not the idea of campus radio. You may slap on a new name, but the underlying problems continued to exist. I believe this was in large part due to not swapping out the old CKMS guard from their government. The reality was that it was still controlled by a few community members and a couple of dedicated, but stuck in the old mindset, students. This was clear by their low student membership numbers.
Take for example the Treasurer who presided over the largest loss of revenue in the station’s history; they elevated her to Vice-President and put her as Chair of their Policy Committee. Having the most ardent supporter of the last station manager in such a position does not lead to real change. Her hard line stance to refuse to accept that it might just be a problem with the station is clear in her commentary. If you look at the comments in the same article, we have another CKMS board member expressing how opponents are “delusional” and he clings again to the claim that this was about campus radio and not CKMS.
Next we can look at another board member who expresses the same fallacy. Clearly it can’t be opposition to them because they are campus radio – this is an attack on independent media! This sense of entitlement unfortunately wasn’t shaken after the last referendum. The commentary extends to other media who, in my opinion, didn’t even look into the issue and just supported them because they were media. Of course the NCRA doesn’t deviate from this position either.
In light of all this, it is clear that they still would have failed if I had run no campaign at all, which wouldn’t have have been much of a change from what I actually did. I was sick for most of the campaign, which limited me to only one late campaign debate that I believe really didn’t sway anyone. It was just CKMS fanboys asking irrelevant questions. I had no website, no posters, no buttons, no class talks. I spent $0; a reduction from my last campaign. I’m flattered if they believe my opening comments in the debate (later posted on the Feds website) changed the course of the referendum, but it’s much more likely that I did not change the inevitable course to failure they set themselves on.
Not all of this can be placed on them though. Feds Executive and Council are the ones that allowed this to happen at this time, which had campaigning during midterms. If Council was going to call it, they should have done it 2 terms ago when the failed petition was submitted. Their feet dragging pushed CKMS into the current corner and imminent eviction, where if it was done in the Winter and it failed they’d have the Fall to have tried again. Instead it was left to Feds’s board to dictate what they wanted and Council rubber stamped it with no debate on a crappy referendum question.
If I was CKMS, right after the last referendum I would have laid off the staff immediately, not spent a fortune on legal battles, put in an entirely new board, put in motion reforms, and last Fall began collecting 3000 signatures for a petition to hold a referendum during the Feds February election. That would have ensured a buffer and allowed them to run the referendum on their own terms, not on Feds’s misguided agreement and wording. CKMS themselves admitted in the debate that they hated the agreement yet they signed it because Feds forced it upon them. Some independent media they were agreeing to.
There has been a little side debate about criticism, with Davenport and a columnist discussing their thoughts on some of my actions. The columnist is a stalwart CKMS supporter who wasted my time at the debate by not asking questions during the question period about any of my actual stances. Oddly, he claims that my criticism is not pragmatic, which is an interesting notion as usually I’m the one criticizing a normative position for lack of pragmatism. I presented what I continue to believe is a feasible alternative and just because no actions are taking place right now doesn’t make it is infeasible.
My roommate asked why CKMS doesn’t host a panel on the hot engineering topic of PDEng and invite the PDEng Director and opponents to an on-air discussion. Before such an event they could advertise “PDEng Debate Sunday on CKMS”. This is an example of campus engagement that doesn’t exist. Their biggest asset is their original programming, yet they don’t make use of it. They needed to be unconventional. They needed to take risks. Instead they were submissive and unimaginative, like their name: Sound-FM. If campus radio is to succeed at UW in the future then it needs to reform, not rebrand.