A Message From College Of San Mateo President Mike Claire On The Future Of KCSM FM

staff | March 24th, 2017

Mike Claire, President

Mike Claire, President
College of San Mateo
San Mateo County Community College District

Dear KCSM Listener,

My name is Mike Claire and I am the President of College of San Mateo. I am also an avid jazz fan and a fellow KCSM-FM supporter. In addition, I was a professional musician at one time, and I have played in many jazz combos over the years.

I share these details with you because I share your passion for jazz. I understand fully what makes KCSM-FM unique, and I appreciate the trust and the support that you have placed with KCSM-FM. That is why I am writing to you directly.

There have been some recent news articles about proposed changes at KCSM-FM. I want to assure you that there are no plans to sell KCSM-FM, change the genre, or remove the remaining on-air personalities.

You may have read that most of KCSM-FM’s DJs will no longer be on-air after July 1, 2017. This is not true. It is true that 3 of the part-time DJs are no longer with KCSM. However, there are no plans to “lay-off” the remaining DJs. There was a miscommunication, which has now been corrected. I know that this has created unnecessary confusion and anxiety for all. On behalf of the management team at KCSM-FM and the College of San Mateo, I apologize.

It has also been reported that KCSM-FM is in financial trouble yet has a sizeable reserve. KCSM-FM operated at a deficit in 2016 and used some of its reserve to cover excess expenses. While the station has a reserve, the reserve is meant to cover major emergencies, not operating deficits. The station’s reserve will be exhausted rather quickly if KCSM-FM does not bring its operating expenses in line with revenues over the next few years.

The good news is that KCSM-FM’s financial situation is not dire. I am confident that the station will be able to bring expenses in balance with projected revenues—with minimal impact to the on-air programming that we all enjoy.

At the same time, I do not want to make false promises. Over the last four years, weekly hours provided by part-time DJs have increased by 28%. Thus, part of the solution to the deficit has been to make some adjustments to programming. This is a tough balancing act, and I know that some of the changes have upset listeners.

I will be working directly with KCSM-FM to look for budget reductions in areas that do not impact on-air programming. While I cannot promise that we will be able to restore all of the live hours, we will do our best. Regardless, I do not anticipate any additional reductions to live programming.

Many of you have shared your concerns and your support of KCSM-FM and its importance to the jazz community. I appreciate that KCSM-FM has such dedicated listeners. I am looking forward to working closely with the KCSM-FM team so that with your continued financial support, we can deliver the programming that you enjoy.

Mike Claire, President
College of San Mateo

2 Responses to “A Message From College Of San Mateo President Mike Claire On The Future Of KCSM FM”

  1. Running-Grass says:

    As a long time member and donor to KCSM radio, I implore the College to continue to support the station, the programming and the staff hosts. KCSM is historic, authentic and unique, providing programming not easily available elsewhere. It would be shortsighted to say the least and ultimately unforgivable if the College degrades the programming and reduces our access to the jazz expertise of the current staff. I am not reassured by the Mike Claire’s statement and will be watching carefully the actions of the College on KCSM. I have recently participated in the successful transition of the former KPLU station transition to KNKX, a listener and independently operated station in the Seattle area. I hope that KCSM can overcome the challenges and continue to bring the public top quality programming.

    –Running-Grass, Sausalito, CA and Seattle, Washington

  2. Peter Yedidia says:

    Dear Mr. Claire,

    What a blow! KCSM has been an essential part of the lives of thousands of us for decades, both locally and now worldwide. Many of us regularly contribute multiple times a year to what has been a regional treasure. As a jazz fan, you probably know that the only other station in the country that comes close to KCSM is WBGO. And you should know that the station’s incomparable jazz personalities, including “part timers” Dick Conte (52 years!), Sonny Buxton, Keith Hines and Michael Burman (he didn’t “retire,” as you know) are an essential part of the mix.

    If you want to clear the air, you’ve only gone part way. You say only three part-time staff have been let go. Who are they? You also say that there are “no plans” to lay off others. Please clarify what “no plans” means?

    If you want to be direct with your passionate listeners, do it! If the station truly is in financial peril, do tell us the details. If you were to do that, many of us would do all we can to help! We’re smart enough to know that, with regards to sincerity, today’s communication doesn’t pass the smell test.

    Yours sincerely,

    Peter Yedidia
    San Francisco

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