A follow-up to the item we posted here Sept. 27 on the plan by KQED’s management to discontinue the practice of allowing members to elect its board of directors. The Chronicle has a story this morning (Oct. 5) on the proposal, which is being put to a vote of KQED’s members. Ballots are due Oct. 25. The story gives management’s reasons for the change — the $250,000 cost of each election, that only 10 percent of members vote and that under current rules, it takes only 120 members to force a vote on any particular issue. The board itself was split 15-10 over whether to put the question of ending elections to the members. The story quotes one opponent to the change, Jeff Perlstein, executive director of the watchdog group Media Alliance, who said: “It strips what little meaning that ‘public’ has in ‘public broadcasting … Especially in this era when there’s so much polarization in the media and so much bias, it’s important to have some measure of accountability.” [Bay Guardian editorial: “Save KQED! Vote No!”]
• Trivia note: The only other public media organization (that we know of) that allowed its members to elect its board was the Palo Alto Cable Co-op, an independent cable cooperative that served Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton and East Palo Alto from 1986 to 2000. The Cable Co-op’s members were the subscribers to the cable system. Meetings of the elected board were aired live on the cable system. Board campaigns were covered on both TV and the newspapers.