By Eric Ray
and Jeff Robinson
An editorial Friday in The Salt Lake Tribune criticizes the Salt Lake City Council, acting as the Redevelopment Agency board, for unanimously voting to approve a $250,000 bridge loan to KCPW Public Radio and questions the news integrity of the station in the wake of this decision.
KCPW listeners, donors and the community at large naturally want to know information about this loan, and to be assured that the station has not been compromised in any way.
It is an unusual situation. To that effect, we appreciate The Tribune's coverage of the story. However, it is unfortunate that the newspaper's editorial board has chosen to question our news staff's ability to fairly cover the city council.
Does anyone question the coverage of Tribune political reporters because of the numerous political ads that appear in the newspaper? Or the coverage that KUER provides of the University of Utah, from which it receives much of its funding?
Absolutely not, because readers and listeners know there is a firewall between revenue sources and the news staff.
It is exactly the same at our radio station, and for the editorial board to assume otherwise is extremely unfair.
Furthermore, the editorial characterizes our relationship with the City Library as "cozy," failing to mention that the station does a tremendous public service to the community by broadcasting numerous events from the library auditorium that enrich the lives of Salt Lake City residents.
Finally, we also take issue with the editorial's suggestion that Salt Lake City does not need two NPR affiliates. Our listeners time and time again have told us they value our station because of our extremely localized coverage of Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County issues, coverage that is not duplicated anywhere else on the radio, along with several alternative programs that can only be heard on our station.
We believe there is plenty of room in this market for a diverse range of news options, including both KCPW and KUER, and we are glad the RDA agrees.
But as we work to quickly re-pay that loan, that issue is ultimately up to our listeners, who will continue to receive fair, unbiased and accurate coverage of Salt Lake City.
Eric Ray is KCPW's program director; Jeff Robinson is the station's news director.