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Archive for March 10th, 2011

Response to NPR Resignations – WKMS letter to Michael Pape, the District Director for U.S. Congressman Ed Whitfield

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WKMS Station Manager Kate Lochte has sent the following letter to Michael Pape, the District Director for U.S. Congressman Ed Whitfield.

Dear Michael,

This week’s NPR resignations lead me to write you with encouragement that Mr. Whitfield stand firm for public broadcasting based on the service of Kentucky stations like WKMS. We are a system reaching into ruralmost Kentucky with the kind of information that elevates a listener’s awareness of the world close to home and far away. Information that lifelong learning, engaged citizens need. With Kentucky’s striving for a better educated citizenry, this is no time to diminish the service of public radio.

We are in a time when public radio and public television are really more important than ever. The world around us is being fragmented with communications that are not based in fact. That’s not what we do. We stand for fact-based journalism whether it’s from the WKMS newsroom or the BBC. If we get it wrong, we go back and correct.

It is disturbing that the defunding issue has centered on NPR without respect for the great national asset that the system of stations are not only in Kentucky but across the country. Part of our vision for WKMS is to one day have a generator at our LBL site (a proposal for funding assistance for this has been in FEMA’s hazard mitigation grant queue for 2 years) to be able to deliver region wide emergency information when we are needed.

Our team is also uniquely able to offer fact-based public safety information as we continue to work with the Local Emergency Management systems in western Kentucky. We continue to upgrade our knowledge of these systems by taking courses offered through the Homeland Security system. We take our responsibility seriously, and with the resources and support of Murray State, including telecommunications and campus generators, we are better positioned than most of our regional commercial broadcasting colleagues to serve effectively and efficiently when needed in this capacity.

Over the years we have upgraded and extended our transmission systems with the Congressman’s assistance. Looking into the future, we will need to continue to do this, much like the Commonwealth is continuing to upgrade its Kentucky Early Warning System. We work with KEWS all the time as its transmission equipment and ours are co-located. KEWS has equipment on the 8th Floor of Price Doyle Fine Arts near WKMS studios that provides remote telemetry to our transmitter site in LBL. We depend on this for FCC required meter readings and so the partnership/collaboration is an efficiency.

Without the Public Telecommunications Facility Program, WKMS will be ill-positioned to maintain its transmission systems and its partnerships with vital public safety entities. So the Congressman’s support for PTFP is deeply sought and muchly needed by stations in Kentucky llike ours.

This support is vital even in the face of the enormous federal deficit that we must work towards together. It’s vital because our services are 24 hour a day contact with Americans who may not be able to afford other sources of information. Public radio is not a luxury: it is a vital part of our listeners daily lives.

We serve an estimated 25,000 listeners weekly, stretching from those who tune in from Union City, TN, to those who are getting us near Owensboro, KY. We are in southernmost Illinois and Paris, TN. Our depth and breadth represents a region underserved by state-wide media. We are far from capitol centers. For our Kentucky listeners we collaborate in a Frankfort bureau with other Kentucky stations to bring news of the state out here. We subscribe to the AP to keep our TN and IL listeners informed. We serve farmers, pest control workers, college students, educators, grocery checkers, housewives, seniors, low income and high income people. Our audience is diverse in circumstance but united in the need to know more about the world – and that’s why we serve.

Our listeners are contributing individual support totalling just over $200,000 a year now to help fund WKMS. Our business underwriters are contributing just over $100,000. This year’s CPB Community Service Grant for WKMS is about $160,000. Murray State, directly and indirectly, is providing the rest of what it takes to run our 3 stations, HD system, and 3 translators. We employ Murray State students with fundraised dollars, at a cost of over $50,000 a year.

The majority of these students serve as news interns and continue to win awards of excellence. Our latest Society of Professional Journalists’ award winner is David Schmoll who recently learned that one of his feature stories is going to national competition. Our former graduate student reporter, now Paducah Sun reporter, Rebecca Feldhaus, won national recognition last year in this very competition. All our students must serve as part of the overall station business team and many have gone on to success in communications across the nation.

During this spring fundraising season we are continuing our tradition of partnering to benefit another not-for-profit in our region. Previously WKMS has generated, at no cost to the station, support for Habitat for Humanity, and the Murray Hospice House, but offering our underwriting time in exchange for business support for these entities. This spring each pledge received by WKMS is generating a private gift of $1.50 from the Cappock family of Paducah and that $1.50 is being investing in Project Aids Orphan, a Paducah-Kenya partnership started by two nurse practicioners. $1.50 feeds an elementary child in Kenya three meals a day. So there’s no cost to WKMS, but there is an added impact to each contribution aside from supporting WKMS.

Thanks for your service and time, Michael. I appreciate the opportunity to update Mr. Whitfield on what’s happening here. I hope the Congressman will come visit when back in the District. Here’s to warmer days and less contentious times.



Written by Matt Markgraf

March 10, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Good Read – Battle Cry of Freedom

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Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era
by James McPherson

Buy this book on Amazon. 
(Your purchase supports WKMS!)

Product Description:

James McPherson’s fast-paced narrative fully integrates the political, social, and military events that crowded the two decades from the outbreak of one war in Mexico to the ending of another at Appomattox. Packed with drama and analytical insight, the book vividly recounts the momentous episodes that preceded the Civil War including the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry. From there it moves into a masterful chronicle of the war itself–the battles, the strategic maneuvering by each side, the politics, and the personalities. Particularly notable are McPherson’s new views on such matters as the slavery expansion issue in the 1850s, the origins of the Republican Party, the causes of secession, internal dissent and anti-war opposition in the North and the South, and the reasons for the Union’s victory.

Todd Hatton says:

“I think anyone who completes a reading of James McPherson’s 869-page Battle Cry of Freedom could be forgiven for feeling as though they themselves have lived through the U.S. Civil War. But that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s enlightening. And it’s largely due to McPherson’s thorough and compelling history of the events and issues leading up to, and beyond, the war. McPherson’s fellow historians, along with reviewer after reviewer, have found Battle Cry to be the indispensible single-volume history of the conflict. For what it’s worth, I’ll add my voice to the chorus. If you haven’t read it, your understanding of the war is at best incomplete.

“Southern apologists have taken issue with McPherson over the causes he gives for the Civil War, misunderstanding or mischaracterizing his study as a simplistic contest over slavery. They argue the conflict was more accurately a principled dispute over sectional economics and political philosophy. A reading of Battle Cry of Freedom makes clear the problem with that thesis. The causes of the Civil War really were many and complex, but African slavery lies at or near the roots of any cause the South cared to name. McPherson makes it clear: no slavery in America would likely have meant no American Civil War. And what’s worse (well, for southern apologists, Lost Cause advocates, and neo-Confederates, at any rate), is that McPherson meticulously sources his work from the words of the southern secessionists themselves. It’s awfully hard to argue that the war wasn’t about slavery when Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stephens, Robert Toombs, and Edmund Ruffin say it was.

“Nevertheless, Battle Cry of Freedom is not a political tract. It is a rich account of a quintessential American identity crisis. Who are we as a nation or a people? And who do we want to become? Prior to 1861, we referred to ourselves as Kentuckians, Tennesseans, and Illinoians and said that the United States are. It wasn’t until after 1865 that we began calling ourselves Americans, saying that the United States is. This book is a profound insight into why.”

Check out our Good Reads page for more recommended books.

Written by Matt Markgraf

March 10, 2011 at 11:59 am

Datebook: March 10 – Tibetan Uprising Day

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It’s Thursday, March 10.

The Paducah Chamber Music Association offers a concert Saturday at 7 p.m. at Tilghman High School Auditorium.  Tickets are $10.  The Van Fleet Chamber Orchestra performs works by Copeland, Bach, Chopin and Handel, featuring performers from around the region.  Purchase in advance at 270-443-2035 as seating is limited.

The Alpha Department of the Murray Woman’s Club hosts its Second Annual Adult Team Spellling Bee March 21st at 6:30 p.m. at the Murray Woman’s Club house on Vine Street.  Three member teams are invited to participate.  Register teams with Genie May at 270-227-7998.  $1 tickets at the door generate proceeds for the Adult Learning Center and the Club.

The Arc of Kentucky invites caregivers of individuals with developmental disabilities to a free training session on March 19.  Learn how to plan for the future of an individual with disabilities.  The seminar will run from 9:30 to 12:30 at the Easter Seals West Kentucky Child Development Center at 801 North 29th Street in Paducah.  Sign up at 800-281-1272.

Get more information at  Thanks for listening today.

morning cram [ga$ edition]

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Average gasoline prices across the country have soared to $3.50.

NPR reports Republicans accuse Obama of deliberately curtailing domestic oil production.

KENTUCKY~ Police think the (alleged) bath salt mommy hit her toddler with a stool before abandoning him on I-24. Paducah Bank warns a phone scam is making rounds. Mayfield’s Fire Department captures a $91k federal grant. A Fort Campbell soldier garners national honors. Lawmakers will head back to Frankfort to continue squabbling about Medicaid for $60k a day.

TENNESSEE~ Talks become ‘tense’ during a Henry budget meeting. Auditor: a (now deceased) former employee stole +$200k from a Clarksville non-profit. A proposal to permanently ban a state income tax passes the Senate.