UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

This morning I heard yet another Koch Industries sponsorship announcement on KQED (88.5 FM), during the Marketplace Morning Report broadcast. I understand that NPR needs to accept donations, but I personally draw the line at having corporate entities who are actively involved in political gerrymandering such as Koch et al (references below) essentially purchasing an improved public image, as well as increasing their name recognition and manipulating the public's perception of their mission by having their name promoted by NPR.

Below is my most recent letter to John Boland, President of KQED. My previous communication with KQED on this subject can be found further down on this webpage. I would encourage anyone who finds the Koch sponsorship  announcements distasteful and counterproductive to the mission of Public Radio to write to KQED, American Public Media, and Marketplace Productions and let them know your feelings.

 

Letter to John Boland, President of KQED - September 27, 2016

 

2601 Mariposa Street

San Francisco, CA 94110

September 27, 2016

R.E. Koch Industries sponsorship announcements

Dear Mr. Boland,

I was disappointed to hear another sponsorship announcement for Koch Industries onKQED this morning at 7:56 AM, while listening to the Marketplace Morning Report.

Several months ago I wrote to KQED, expressing my objection to this particular corporate sponsorship announcement, particularly as the Koch spot is misleading on several levels. I believe that this announcement demeans and dilutes the "public and community service" aspect of public radio, while simultaneously soft-pedaling the much more insidious and manipulative intentions of Koch Industries public relations efforts. 

I very much enjoy Marketplace. However, the enjoyment and benefits of hearing the Marketplace program is vastly outweighed by the conflation of KQED / Public Radio and Koch Industries in the minds of Public Radio's listeners. I decided that I would not make any donations to KQED as long as the Koch sponsorship announcements continued to air. I was hoping that by now these announcements would be over and done, but that was unfortunately an incorrect assumption on my part, as evidenced by this moring's broadcast.

I understand that Marketplace is produced by American Public Media, and that broadcasting stations such as KQED must air the entire package, sponsorship announcements included. Nonetheless, I cannot in good conscience give money to a station that, however benignly and indirectly, promotes Koch Industries. 

My family's donations are relatively modest; we have a certain amount of money that we annually distribute among several charitable organizations and groups that we feel are acting in the public interest. We cannot even remotely come close donation-wise to corporate entities with deep pockets. However, we do what we can to help improve our community and the world at large.

I will pledge to double my annual donation to KQED, once the connection between KQED and Koch Industries is severed. I hope this is doable without KQED losing the Marketplace program. In the meantime, our household will have to remain off the KQED donor list.

I've included my previous correspondence with KQED on this issue for your perusal. I also post such dialogues on my website, as well as on our local community website (NextDoor Oakmore). 

Sincerely Yours,

John Imholz

Oakland CA

 

cc: 

Traci A. Eckels, Chief Development Officer

DeLinda Mrowka, Vice President - Corporate Sponsorship
Red Dana, Manager - KQED Audience Services

2601 Mariposa Street

San Francisco, CA 94110

--------------------------------------------

NPR Corporate Sponsorship

1111 North Capitol St, NE

Washington, DC 20002-7502

--------------------------------------------

American Public Media

480 Cedar Street
St. Paul, Minn. 55101

---------------------------------------------

Marketplace Productions
261 South Figueroa Street, #200

Los Angeles, CA 90012

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

June, 2016

I recently wrote to KQED / 88.5 FM (my local public radio station) and informed them I could no longer support them with donations while they continued to air Koch Industries sponsorship announcements. KQED responded right away; I expect the dialogue to continue. I will continue to post updates. More details, links, and discussion below:

 

MARKETPLACE, a program broadcast on many NPR (National Public Radio) afiiliates, including my local station KQED FM-88.5 here in the San Francisco Bay Area, has recently added Koch Industries to its list of sponsors. Regular listeners may hear the following sponsorship announcement:

"Marketplace Morning Report is supported by Koch Industries. Koch employs over sixty thousand people nationwide. Learn more at k-o-c-h-i-n-d-dot-com."

I have written to KQED, Marketplace Productions, and to American Public Media (the producer of MARKETPLACE); I told them that I would no longer make donations to KQED until I no longer hear Koch Industries sponsorship announcements during their programming. I realize that huge corporate entities such as Koch et al have much deeper pockets than I do. However, I wanted NPR and its affiliates to know my position.

This is my letter to KQED (sent 5.31.2016) 

KQED's response.

And my follow-up letter (6.11.2016), which also went to American Public Media and Marketplace Productions.

-----------------------------------------------------------

I enjoy the MARKETPLACE program very much. The host (Kai Ryssdal) is informative and engaging, and listeners get information that otherwise might not have appeared on other news and entertainment media broadcasts.

 

I was disappointed to hear the Koch Industries sponsorship announcement. I disapprove of the tactics used by Koch et al to influence political / voting outcomes (especially at the state level), such that the resulting legal climate will be more friendly to Koch's business ventures, which include petroleum, energy, asphalt, chemicals, commodities trading, fibers, fertilizers, finance, minerals, natural gas, plastics, pulp and paper, and ranching. Many of these endeavors have serious environmental consequences. A less-regulated legal climate, while positive for the bottom line of such industries, is in my opinion, not a win for the environment.

 

New Yorker contributor Jane Mayer's recent book DARK MONEY is a well-written and comprehensive look at Koch et al. Here are some additional links that will provide more detailed information on Koch Industries:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/24/books/review/dark-money-by-jane-mayer.html

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2016/03/10/koch-brothers-new-brand/

I feel that tying the name "Koch Industries" to NPR through sponsorship announcements incorrectly gives the impression that these two entities have similar goals and hopes for America's social, political, and business environment.