Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Iron County People's Voice-page 2

I received an reply from Mr. Mark Eakin, the General
Manager at WIKB, that is worthy of being shared.

"I read your Iron County Doings, thank you for the copy
and for listening. Telephone Time has never to the best
of my knowledge accepted any political talk, candidates
are not allow to advertise doing that time nor do we
speak about issues. The main reason for this is because
we would be swamped and would not have time to put
items on the air or for people looking for items nor our
regular advertisers. Plus those that did not get on would
claim we did not let them on purpose. It would be a no win
situation for us. Our AM station 1230 is talk radio and we
hope to in the near future put a local show on that these
issues can be discussed.
"Thank you again for the copy, I did enjoy reading it.
"Mike Eakin CRMC RMA
General Manager
WIKB 99.1fm WFER 1230am
Iron River Mi."

WIKB cannot be faulted for the position they take, a
position that was easily predictable. The owners have
invested money and can legitimately expect a return
on their investment, and to be sure, a small station in
a sparsely populated region doesn't have the sorts of
return that a similar station in a densely populated
region can achieve for a similar investment.

They're doing the best they can, and we cannot expect
them to give voice to the community's needs any more
than the Iron County Reporter does. I wouldn't hold my
breath for call in political discussions on the AM radio side
of the operation. I take Mr. Eakin's prediction to be more
about discussions about Medicare and so forth by
"experts" in the field, not our local population because
the exact same management views that he expressed
about Telephone Time apply on the AM station.

So the question, and the challenge for the community is,
do enough people want a voice in what happens to all of
us enough to do something positive about it?

Those of us who have been doing a lot of the pulling in
this community are tired of being out there alone with no
support or backup except for rare occasions. If we can
interest enough people, no one will have to carry a large
burden. But it takes the sorts of numbers that only rarely
come together in Iron County for some single issue that
infuriates many people.

I've been relatively silent for the past few weeks because
I am engaged in a federal lawsuit with the City of Iron River,
the County of Iron, and the Michigan Municipal League as
defendants. I am doing all the work on that suit, I have no
lawyers on my team. While I am doing this lawsuit for me,
I am also doing it for everyone who lives in Iron County.

Since all the documents in lawsuits are a matter of public
record anyway, I'll be making all the pleadings in my lawsuit
available online over the next few days. Or you could go to
PACER, which is a courts web page and read it, but there's a
charge involved to each person for that service.

Right now, I've submitted my papers for this go-round, and
have a brief period of peace and quiet, so here I am
working on current issues. The "new county airport" needs
more discussion. Do you want to pay taxes for the maintenance
that airport will require forever in the future? Will you have
any personal use out of it? Can it actually ever improve the
local economy? Or is it just a plaything for a few rich folks
to have the convenience of flying in and out with a shorter
drive to reach destinations in Iron County maintained at your

I'm not asking anyone else to get quite so heavily involved
as I am, but there's no reason why we can't get some
newsletter and perhaps a monthly, or at least a quarterly
meeting started for folks to formalize their gripes with the
government, and present their ideas of potential solutions.

Please send me email if you have some ideas about creating
a mechanism for the population at large to be heard, and
don't be shy, volunteer if you are able. I promise that if this
thing, whatever it becomes, gets off the ground, nobody will
be asked to donate any more time than you're comfortable
with. You should be aware that we can create a series of
television programs and have the cable providers air them
on the required local access channels, but that sees a highly
limited viewership. Nevertheless it could be a starting point.
And DVD copies are quite cheap as a method of distribution,
cheaper even than print copy.

On the other hand, if you're happy with the way things are,
send me email about that.

My email address is at the top of the page.

Bill Vajk

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Where Can People in Iron County Find a Voice?

I was listening to radio station WIKB's "Telephone Time"
program this morning when some old sounding soul
got on the air with Kurt Paro. Among the first words
out of this man's mouth was the word "Medicare" at
which point Kurt cut the line and said something like
"you're not going to get away with that." The average
listener had no idea, from the few words uttered by
this older sounding man, what he was going to say.

I don't listen frequently enough to know whether the
caller has been a regular troublemaker, but I have
listened enough, and talked to enough local people, to
know that Kurt typically quickly censors political any
conversation whenever he's the host on the show,
which is most of the time.

Four things spring immediately to mind as a result.

1) This is an election year with the mood in the USA
is one of great political unrest and a desire for

2) Where and how can the people of Iron County voice
their concerns? The local newspaper, The Iron County
Reporter (which I consider a social rag supporting the
local old-crony network and oligarchy) uses a significantly
heavy hand in deciding what they permit to be published,
whether it is on the opinion page or even in paid ads. For
example, the last paid ad I put in the paper was published
in a tiny, almost unreadable, font surrounded by a terrific
amount of white space, typical Iron County corruption at
work. And they actually had the nerve to take my money
and treat me like that.

We have little voice there, unless you're lining up behind
the people who run municipal or county government.
The radio station apparently affords no voice at all unless
it is something people want to buy/sell/give-away or a
paid commercial unless it is something approved by the
local oligarchy.

3) Our Iron County population is aging more quickly than
the rest of the nation, because our young people mostly
can't afford to live here with limited to no job opportunities.
As such, we're significantly interested in hearing anything
and everything about Medicare.

4) While a commercial business like WIKB has a right to
establish the guidelines for what will and will not be permitted
to air, they haven't published that or taken the trouble to
provide notice to the listeners what's fair game.

It seems to me that in a 15 or 30 second announcement once
or twice a week the station could do that, and people wouldn't
hang on for 30 minutes to get on the air only to have Kurt
(shouldn't that be spelled curt?) hang up on them in 5 seconds
or less. Come on, Kurt, fair is fair, and hanging up on a man
like you did today wasn't fair or reasonable.

I'm providing a copy of this article to Mr. Mark Eakin, the
General Manager at WIKB, tomorrow morning. All the
folks at WIKB need to remember that the only reason for
their success is listeners, and satisfying the listeners needs.
Maybe WIKB should think about having someone host a
political call in show for a few hours a week. Or think about
setting aside a fixed half hour time slot of Telephone Time a
few times a week dedicated to political discussion!

If the people of Iron County aren't given a voice somewhere,
they'll eventually find one, and it might end up being one
that WIKB and the Iron County Reporter (more merged
than not these days) don't like.

Frankly I don't care where it is the people find a voice,
I'll support it, so long as they have a voice.

Bill Vajk

Sunday, September 19, 2010

At a dinner held at the George Young Recreation
Center on the evening of September 18, 2010, the
Iron County Democrats gathered to meet their
nominees for the upcoming election on November

As is a tradition with the local party, the dinner
was held to honor the former chairman of the
County Commission, Lawrence (Larry)

A local attorney, Stephen Tinti, acted as master
of ceremonies. Candidates for the upcoming
election present included Scott Dianda,who is
seeking to succeed. Rep. Mike Lahti, who is
running for the senatorial position for district
#38, was represented by his campaign manager
Jack LaSalle.

Gary McDowell campaigning to succeed Rep. Bart
Stupak, who chose not to run for re-election,
was also present and made an appeal for
support from the Democrats present.

No reporters from the traditional media were
present to interview candidates and interesting

Ben Smith

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