Readers' comments about public television
A sampling of readers' opinions about what they want from a public television station and what the KCTS board of directors should do next:
"I have been appalled at the decline of KCTS programming. Do they really think that repeatedly broadcasting infomercial-like shows such as 'Donna Dewberry's Painting Extravaganza,' 'Play Piano in a Flash,' or the latest New Age guru fad will increase viewer donations? No way. I appreciate 'NOW,' 'NOVA,' 'Masterpiece Theater,' 'Frontline' and others. But there is such a desperation to the increased frequency and pleadings for viewer dollars that it has become painful to watch KCTS."
— Lina Kim, Seattle
"What would I like to see? My money back. It pains me to think I helped support a dictator of this magnitude (Clark) and further subjected a dedicated staff to continued tyranny. What should the board do? Are you kidding? How about RESIGN! They stink. Is KCTS pronounced, 'Enron?' Saddam is gone, now let's move Burnie along too."
— John Koffley, Woodinville
"I would like to see the board rely on its own money and donations and not expect the taxpayers to make up the difference, usually meaning losses."
— Paul Carrozzo, Everett
"Continue to show educational programs for teens and adults, especially on history and nature."
— Paula Murakami, Renton
"I have withdrawn any support for the station for several years due to knowledge of the disastrous direction that Burnie Clark has taken the station. His treatment of employees also should be the subject of investigation. To restore public confidence in the station, the board should be taking the following actions: 1. Dismiss Mr. Clark immediately and appoint a caretaker to run the station until a replacement can be found. Allowing him to sit in his office like a retiring senior statesman is an insult to the public and those who care about the station and its mission. 2. Pay the bills, get rid of the consultants and start acting like a public trustee. 3. Maintain current PBS schedule with a long term plan to recommit to at least a few relevant local programs."
— J. Marcus Wood, Leavenworth
"Take a good look at Oregon Public Broadcasting, as they have a very strong following and citizen support. I make regular trips to see my family in Portland, and everybody says that OPB is a great source of information for all ages."
— Gunnar Wiskoff, Seattle
"KCTS should swear off bottom-of-the-barrel advertising, like the infomercials it often plays at night and the cheap excuses for financial, diet and other gurus. This ... programming is an insult to the lofty ideals of public broadcasting."
— Ben Tansey, Seattle
"The first thing I'd suggest is that they take a look at what KBTC (Tacoma's public station) is offering during prime time. Shows like 'BBC World,' 'European Journal,' 'McLaughlin Group.' The second thing I'd suggest is to buy more dramas for prime time. Their pledge drives feature the same really stale variety shows day after day. Their pledge drives must not be too successful if they're in financial trouble. In my opinion, it has to do with their poor programming during those periods."
— Mary Ann Leskie, Tacoma
"Go back to what made them successful in the first place. Do away with what I call the 'begging' weekends. It seems that about every two months, they spend the weekend with their drive for more money. They have nothing that a good share of the watchers care to see while they are doing their drive. Example: cooking segments all day long."
— Dave Bartley, Snoqualmie
"Bring back Barry Mitzman and give him a position of responsibility. Refocus on local interests and recapture the quality of programming before Burnie Clark. Remove Burnie Clark from any active control of the station immediately."
— Bill Patterson, Seattle