Cliff Mass proposes compromise with KUOW; board backs decision to can him
In an effort to try to regain his Friday spot providing weather news on Steve Scher’s “Weekday” public-affairs program, Cliff Mass has proposed a compromise. “I sent KUOW an email proposing a compromise that many of you suggested: a weather-only segment and their establishment of other periods allowing discussion of other issues,” Mass wrote on his blog.
If you’re eagerly awaiting the return of the city’s most erudite deliverer of bad-weather news, expect a long wait, at least in regards to returning to his volunteer post on 94.9-FM. Despite more than 2,000 fans on a Facebook protest page (Put Cliff Mass Back on KUOW) and more than 4,000 online-petition signatures, the board of KUOW is standing behind the decision to ditch Mass for not talking strictly about weather, but instead at times offering opinions about matters such as education.
The board of KUOW today issued the following announcement on its web site:
The KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio Board of Directors is aware that many listeners are upset by the removal of Cliff Mass from our programming. We support our program director’s decision, which was not made lightly or in disregard of the interests of our listeners.
Feedback is always welcome and considered. We have received many messages in email or online. We’ve read and considered these messages and appreciate the time it took to send these messages. And we respect the views expressed.
Ultimately this decision is the responsibility of KUOW’s program director and we support his decision. If a guest like Dr. Mass is invited to discuss a specific topic on air in a specific segment, he is expected to inform our listeners on that topic and work within the guidance of our staff. He chose not to do that, despite several requests. We appreciate Dr. Mass’s contributions to KUOW over the years and wish he had chosen to stay on to do our weekend weather segment.
Thank you for providing us with your input and thanks for listening.
KUOW/PSPR Board of Directors
Is that the final word? Don’t count on it, at least in terms of the issue dying. Tonight, Cliff Mass wrote an update to fans on the Facebook protest page:
“Over the weekend I emailed Steve and KUOW asking them whether we could find some compromise. I asked them to get back to me during the next few days. So far no word. Between the online petition and facebook pages, over 7000 have requested that the weather segment be reestablished. It is hard to see how KUOW can claim to be responsive to its listeners if such a large number are ignored. The great irony here is that KUOW claims to give great emphasis to airing both sides of issues, but when that issue is KUOW, a differing voice is silenced. .. cliff”
UPDATE: That KUOW board letter (above) makes it sound like “I decided to quit (not true) and that it was also the decision of the program manager, Jeff Hansen,” Mass wrote on his blog. “Just gets stranger and stranger.
“I think I was the only regular they had down there that was not allowed to speak on a variety of topics. Even stranger, I have talked to a number of other radio stations and NONE of them have said anything about constraining my speech. In fact, one news director laughed and said he WANTED me to talk about education topics–it would lend interest to the program. Why is KUOW different? Why is speech most constrained on a public radio station owned by the University of Washington?”