Where Does Our Money Go at KUT?

RECEIVED Wed., Jan. 25, 2006

Dear Editor,
    I am appalled by the article about KUT's highly questionable fundraising (or more to the point, spending) as delineated in your article [“KUT by the Numbers,” Music, Jan. 20]. I was confused and anxious when the schedule of the incomparable Larry Monroe, who provides some of the greatest radio programming in America, was shifted around to accommodate nationally syndicated "roots" music shows whose value to Austin, with its own internationally renowned native music, was quite questionable. Larry is still on the air, thank goodness, but is he being paid what he deserves for his inestimable contribution to our culture and our city? Likewise, the brilliant Paul Ray, host and source of so much of Austin's soul – which gave KUT its creative identity in the first place? I don't know, but I would lay odds they're getting woefully less than these pikers.
    We would, truly, be culturally lost without Paul Ray and Larry Monroe, not to mention Tom Pittman, Dave Obermann, Ed Miller, yes, John Aielli (whom as you say, it's doubtful gets paid any large portion of the more than $100,000 "budgeted" for his show); and all the other great KUT announcers (who also do their own programming – and thank God they do).
    So my question is why does KUT need five (by my count) "executives" earning $50,000 to $100,000 a year, and why isn't that money going to the people who have well-earned and deserve it? I've never asked Larry, but I strongly doubt he is paid anywhere that much and he's on-air more hours than many of us work our day jobs, and contributes more to KUT, and to Austin than anybody mentioned in your article.
    I've written checks faithfully as often as I could for as long as I can remember, to keep people like Larry Monroe on the air. And that's certainly the impression I've been given in every pledge drive and request for funds – pay up or lose Larry.
    Heck, I'm ready to file a lawsuit myself. I thought my checks were going to (real, Austin) deejay salaries and equipment and stuff – not some station executive's husband who wants to have a show. Boy, am I steamed. Thanks for a great article.
Regards,
Mandy Mercier
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