Daily 49er

Global Jazz Inc. takeover of KKJZ raises questions

Fernando Romero

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

After Global Jazz Inc. took over managerial control of the on-campus jazz radio station KKJZ 88.1 FM on April 21, the takeover of Global Jazz and transition from former operator Pacific Public Radio has raised questions regarding aspects of the contract and operation of KKJZ in the future.

Former KKJZ operations manager Dan Lemos said inconsistencies were evident in regards to the contract and the takeover of Global Jazz, including the dismissal of all the staff, the unresolved financial factors and the appointing of a new manager.

“In 29 years of radio in the Los Angeles market, I have never seen such a sloppy acquisition of a radio station or the ‘disposal’ of employees who have been at 88.1 F.M. for their entire career,” Lemos said.

He said finances and profit were the deciding factors for bringing in Global Jazz.

“It was for financial reasons that CSULB sought a new operator for its station. This was made clear to me by President Alexander in a face-to-face meeting that I requested,” Lemos said. “It is my opinion, based on the information that I was able to obtain from personnel directly involved with negotiations, that the people charged with completing this deal for CSULB did what they were instructed to do by President Alexander.”

Lemos said the arrangements under the signed contract contradict federal laws in broadcasting and also raise questions regarding the allocation and use of money raised by KKJZ.

“Global Jazz collects the underwriting, but the Foundation collects the fundraising money, which is an arrangement unique to this public radio station, I believe, and is bound to raise a few eyebrows,” Lemos said. “In the past, fundraising for public radio stations meant money raised must be used solely for their operation. It is federal law.”

Alexander said, “Profit is not the issue here. The issue is not running a deficit. Financial stability was the main factor for opting for Global Jazz.”

Alexander also said the lack of student involvement and little to no promotion of the university were key points for not re-negotiating with Pacific Public Radio.

“We were running a $250,000 a year deficit, and there’s no promotion of the university and no education value for the students,” Alexander said. “If there are any resources or profits that are generated with the new contract, they’ll be put back into the radio station or used to help out students.”

In an article published April 19 in the Grunion Gazette, president of Mt. Wilson Saul Levine said, “The University Foundation and Pacific Public Radio are terminating everybody. That was the best legal procedure.”

The entire staff was dismissed on April 20, a day before Global Jazz assumed operations. Only six employees were rehired, two part-time board operators and four DJs.

“The dismissals should have been an outrage. Instead, CSULB absolved themselves by acting like the new manager had total control of the situation,” Lemos said.

He also said the staff was not fully informed on the status of their jobs. Since the announcement of the proposed contract with the new management in November, the staff had been “low-balled” and was told their jobs were in jeopardy each month for the past six months.

“The staff was devastated,” Lemos said. “The stress took an emotional and physical toll on a majority of the employees who were reprieved from unemployment six times in six months.”

Alexander said that under the contract, Global Jazz will provide four scholarships a year, $5,000 each for CSULB students and offer paid internships to students.

“I want to see students getting involved with the radio station,” Alexander said.

According to Lemos, an endowment larger than the one intended for student scholarships is what prompted the decision to opt for Global Jazz.

“That the station was ‘saved’ by a $20,000 annual endowment is laughable,” Lemos said. “There were members in our core who would have written a personal check for that amount if that were really all this was about.”

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.