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Friday, March 5, 2021

A New Newspaper in Ely? What are you smoking, George?

 When I moved to Ely in 2008, I found a vibrant business community.  While it was obvious that the community had seen better times, there was opportunity for Ely to improve and grow.  The Ely Times and KDSS had active offices and KELY, recovering from a significant period after the AM and the FM KCLS were sold to different owners and KCLS moved first to Pioche and then to St George, Utah.  

And just like that, Ely went from four media outlets to three.  

Then Valley Broadcasting sold off co-owned KVNV-TV, being operated as a repeater of their Las Vegas Channel 3, to PMCM-TV.  There was a minor attempt to operate the station as an Ely television station, but it was short term as PMCM planned to move the station to New Jersey using some ancient FCC laws.  They succeeded.

The Ely Times was a vibrant concern when I moved here.  Ken Kliewer and Kent Harper produced a quality newspaper.  Until the paper was sold by the Las Vegas Review Journal, Ken Kliewer retired, Kent Harper moved to the RJ’s Mesquite property before he retired.  Apart from a short run under the tutelage of Rudy Herndon, the paper hasn’t been the same since.

When I first ran KELY from 2008 until 2011 I did six daily newscasts, aired City Council meetings on a same day delay, and until advertisers decided they thought it was too expensive, broadcast Bobcat Football and men’s and women’s basketball.  The expenses all came out of my own pocket, and I usually rode with the sports teams on the buses.  Then the owner’s partner, upset with the expenses, cut my salary and commissions to unviable levels.  I opted to exit temporarily the business and open  I closed the web site after several people went to my employers and threatened them.  

If it hadn’t been for Floyd Brown and Fred Weinberg purchasing the USA Radio Network and hiring me to be the host of Classic Radio Theater, and to keep KELY running with Ken Kliewer hosting the morning show from 8 to 9am, I don’t know what would have happened to this radio station.  To be honest, Classic Radio Theater has had to be my focus.  In the past five years, we’ve put over 50 radio stations onto Classic Radio Theater from Boston to Anchorage to Florida to Dallas to Alturas CA to Atlantic City and dozens of stations in between. Since Ken Kliewer retired a year ago, I took over doing two hours locally every morning in addition to my three hour national show.  

Local input has been a challenge.  Every week White Pine County Sheriff Scott Henroid has been on the air, even after the newspaper dropped his weekly column.  Every week Cozette Eldridge has been on our station, even after the newspaper dropped her weekly senior news from RSVP.  Every Friday a member of the White Pine Ministerial Association has supplied spiritual commentary.  

But other members of Government have been disappointments.  Ely Mayor Nathan Robertson came in for a while at the start of the pandemic but eventually stopped.  The County Health officer made a few appearances but he eventually stopped.  And not a single member of the White Pine County Commission feels it important to talk to the community through our station.  (That in and of itself is nothing new.)  Even our head of the Tourism and Recreation board hasn’t come back on since the pandemic began.

Local advertising has been a struggle.  If it wasn’t for advertising on our affiliated stations, we would be struggling more than we are.  Advertisers from Reno, Carson City, Dayton, Genoa, Virginia City, and Hawthorne, pick up the slack where Ely businesses have let you down.

Media is not inexpensive to operate properly.  And businesses and consumers of media are being seduced by “free” Social media.  

Except Social Media can and does limit your reach dramatically unless you advertise with them.  And all you REALLY get through Social Media is opinion, not news.  And it’s decidedly left leaning opinion. All you have to do is look at the last year to realize that Facebook is NOT the place to get your news.  If Markie Zuckerberg decides your opinions aren’t leftist enough for him, you’re censored.  

So when former Mayor George Chachas continues to rant about the City or County needing to “bring another newspaper” in here, who?  Newspapers across Rural Nevada have closed.  All you have left is a newspaper that’s a shell of it’s former self...and us.

And when I retire in 2024 or 2025, there are no bets what happens here then.  Better embrace your remaining local media and support them while you can.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

"Foreign Bride" websites not Human Trafficking but Human Fleecing

Originally broadcast in 2015, but still very relevant today. 

Back in 2011 I became increasingly frustrated with a number of late night commercials on ESPN promoting a Russian Dating website.  Tiring already of the pending coronation of King Obama II, I decided to embark on a definitely not-political piece.  What I found was stunning.  And life changing.  

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Poverty never comes with privilege by Dr. Glenn Mollette

Poverty never comes with privilege
Dr. Glenn Mollette
I hear a lot about white privilege.
I grew up in Martin County, Kentucky. We were considered one of the poorest counties in the United States. In April 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson and his entourage of staff, secret service, media, and other politicians swarmed into the county seat of Inez during his war on a poverty campaign tour.
Johnson and the entourage rode through our town waving and then proceeded on down route 3, which was less than three miles north of my homeplace. He walked onto the porch of a local family where he did a photo session that would be shown on every media source around the world. I just watched it on YouTube. He then returned to his Cadillac, came back through Inez, and shook a few hands at the courthouse before he boarded his helicopter and left us. He had what he needed which were real pictures of real poverty and a story of real poverty from the hills of East, Kentucky. There was nothing about Johnson's visit that communicated anything about the white privilege of East, Kentucky. We had never heard of white privilege. We hadn't thought much about privilege or poverty either. I don't think too many of us thought we were poor. We didn't know the difference really. We didn't have anybody telling us that we should be demanding equity with others in the country.
After Johnson flew out, we resumed our normal lifestyles. The family pictured in the photo op continued to have a very difficult life of poverty. Even though they had the President of the United States on their front porch it wasn't enough to save them from lives of poverty and difficult times. President Johnson's intentions were good. He led Congress to pass the Economic Opportunity Act in August 1964 which was part of his war on poverty effort. It was a nice gesture.
Unfortunately, families throughout Martin county and East, Kentucky still grappled with poverty after the government money and new programs were approved. Common life continued to be living without indoor plumbing. For many people, this meant a very difficult life of finding alternative ways to access water. Some people had outdoor wells. They would drop a bailer bucket into a well and "draw" up a bucket of water. Several of my family members had wells of this nature and I remember their water tasting pretty good. This also meant many families did not have indoor bathrooms. Going to the bathroom meant going outside to a tiny little building built over a hole in the ground. In the winter, trudging snow to go to the bathroom at any hour of the day was cruel. This also meant taking a bath by collecting water from the well and carrying it into the house which involved a lot of carrying if you were going to take a bath. The same process occurred when washing clothes. Enough water had to be collected to wash and then rinse the clothes. This was a massive job. Does this sound like white privilege?
By the time I was born, my family had indoor plumbing and we had one bathroom. We still had an outdoor toilet that sat out from the house in the back yard. I tore it down a couple of years back. Actually, it was hard to tear it down because I knew it symbolized a very different era of life which too many of us Appalachian people are all too familiar.
We had terrible water as a kid. It was really bad to drink and terrible for washing clothes. The sulfur in the water would ruin our clothes. This meant my mother was always catching rainwater in large tubs outside the house. In dry weather when I was a child we would walk to the creek and carry water back to the house one bucket at a time. That always embarrassed me as a kid. I don't know why. Most of the people up and down the creek where I lived had to do the same thing plus many of these people did not have indoor plumbing either. Does this sound like white privilege?
When school was in session at my elementary called Tomahawk, I sat with classmates every day who came to school hungry. The free school lunch program was the only decent meal they ever got to eat. Several boys in our school who did not have indoor plumbing came to school dirty but would often stand in the school bathroom washing their hands and faces before class. I'm sure some girls did the same thing Our little elementary school bathroom was a luxury to them. Does this sound like white privilege?
I hear all this talk about white privilege. Growing up in an inner-city dwelling is surely filled with hardships but these dwellers at least have access to a real kitchen, running water, an indoor bathroom, and even television and radio reception. These are luxuries that many Appalachian kids did not have growing up. Even today, in too many places in East, Kentucky and throughout Appalachia there are still families growing up without indoor bathrooms, access to water, and surviving daily hunger. Internet cannot be found in too many Appalachian areas. These are the scenarios that have become ignored by the media, government, and employers. Thank God it's not even close to what it once was but I've been in the hollers of the mountains and seen enough to know poverty is still real and cruel existence.
Today, 14 of the 50 poorest counties in the United States are all from the same East Kentucky region that Johnson visited in 1964. For Martin county, "The per capita income is just over $18,000," according to the 2019 Census reporter. Twenty-six (26.3) percent of the county is still at the poverty level according to Data USA with a median household income of $35,125. The county is 99 percent white. Does this sound like a place of white privilege? McCreary County is located in the Daniel Boone National Forest in southern Kentucky along the Tennessee state border. The only county nationwide where most households earn less than $20,000 a year, McCreary is the poorest county in both Kentucky and the United States. The life expectancy is just 73. (USA Today) Does this sound like white privilege? The Washington Post reported that the life expectancy for the 5th district in Eastern, Kentucky is under 73 making it the shortest life span expectancy in the United States. Owsley County Kentucky's life span expectancy has been reported to be 67.3 years while in San Jose, California the life expectancy is 83. 
The white privilege I enjoyed as a kid was that I was fortunate to be raised around hard-working people. My dad spent four hours a day driving to and from Holden, West Virginia to work in an underground coal mine. He spent over 30 years stooped over, on his knees, or on his back in a dark coal mine. He made a living until at the age of 55 his health started failing him and he had to quit. He and my mother kept food on the table. We raised a garden. We had livestock. My family worked hard. My uncles and aunts farmed and worked whatever jobs they could find to make ends meet. My grandfather and grandmother Hinkle worked in a very small grocery store six days a week until he was 83 and she was 80. They worked hard until they died. No one had unemployment checks rolling in. No one had Social Security Disability checks. No one was receiving stimulus checks. There weren't food stamps or other federal or state money available to help anyone out. Our family had a mindset to work because that was our only means of surviving. 
I have never experienced anything like what some of my American friends have experienced growing up. Or, what some still experience. I'm certainly not intending to belittle your experiences or trying to "one-up you" on who was poorer or had it harder. Just be aware that Appalachia is still filled with hurting, poverty-stricken people of different colors. Poverty never comes with privilege regardless of color. 
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