Friday, August 03, 2007

Jim Ellinger attacks!

Jim has done some great things. Even previous to this fiasco I'd heard of the work he's done and I'd describe it as civic and community-minded. Immediately following the havoc of Hurricane Katrina he filed with the FCC for a low-power FM license for the evacuees in the Houston Astrodome. It was one of the few things treated with expedience for the evacuees; the Feds granted approval in a few days. He has a blog here.

Honestly I thought he was just an idealist, sacrificing his own time and money. Then I read about his house. Apparently in addition to making an art project of his home, he also considers himself a an amateur vexillologist (flag expert). So he's an indigenous hippie weird too. So what, that's the best part of Austin, better than the BBQ.

Then it went bad. In 1999 KOOP kicked out Jimbo. Problem being.. Jim helped found KOOP. That kind of coup (nice phononym) never goes well. Info here. It was a purging. Non-profit organizations have bords of directors. Sometimes as the power is ceeded from visionaries, and those who built thigns directly from their own sweat and blood goes well. But usually not. apaprently the board of 1997 began allegedly changing the bylaws to their own benefit. It was ugly, members suing other members, trustees suing volunteers, name calling, 30 grand in debt... the Save KOOP website explains it better.

Jim was probably pretty pissed. He turned on KOOP. The station was being mismanaged, mishandled, the board was acting illegally in some cases even. I'm not local so without being fully informed it looked like he lost his mind. At license renewal time Mr. Ellinger formally filled a number of complaints against the station he built. The FCC handed down a big wad of fines to KOOP. KOOP was guilty as sin and has been made to pay almost all of them. You can read the legalese here. It must feel like having to shoot yoru own dog because it's rabid.