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KOWED & KOWTOWED KRATKA KOMES KLEAN (KINDA) ON DECISION TO PULL STURGEON; LK ADMITS HE CAVED INTO TO ‘PRESSURE’ FROM POLITICAL TYPES … QUESTION IS: WHY STAB A GUY IN THE BACK AND WHY HIDE IDENTITIES OF THOSE WHO OWN HIM? … plus … RANDOLPH TO THE RESCUE ON SHAKESEPARE & CO.s DEBUT OF 35TH SEASON IN ‘CASSANDRA SPEAKS’

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, JUNE 4, 2012) — THE PLANET has stripped the cloak of mystery and secrecy off of The Great WTBR Flip-Flop, wherein talk meister Bill Sturgeon, with John Krol riding the point, thought he had station manager Larry Kratka‘s OK for a show to following Krol’s “Good Morning, Pittsfield.” 

He did. Then he didn’t. What happened in so short of time to convince Kratka to change his mind? It’s not a pretty story.

Kratka Caved to GOB

LARRY KRATKA: Straight out of typecasting

Our investigation reveals that the GOB ordered Kratka to yank a show that he himself had only days before championed. Bottom line is that Kratka, rather than stand up for right and righteousness, caved in to GOB demands and like a timid mouse pulled the rug from under a well-intentioned Sturgeon. Rather than fight for what he still admits is a show he wanted to have, Kratka committed a journalist’s cardinal sin: He got into bed with those who have him bought and paid.

One wonders what offer THEY gave Kratka that he could not refuse? What? Did “They” threaten Kratka with being pulled from rinky-dink Fourth-of-July Parade PCTV voiceover work? Probably nothing that serious.

BILL STURGEON: Sold out by Larry the K.

Kratka and THE PLANET — as you will see in the e-mails that we shall share — agreed to disagree on the nature of this story. Kratka didn’t see that this was a story at all. We, however, thought it was signficant for the way it shows, in plain sight once we peeled back the layers of this rotten onion, how the GOB operates in the city of Pittsfield. It knows who it can pressure with success — and Larry Kratka is one of them thar “presurees.” Rather than man up and fight for Bill Sturgeon, it seems he died of fright at the first hint of pressure.

This story sheds light on:

* How the Politically Correct in the city of Pittsfield “own” the Boring Broadsheet  and all of local radio.

* How running WTBR, the high school radio station at Taconic HS and now a direct competitor of WBEC due to adult daytime programming, is a conflict of interest for Kratka. You can’t run WTBR and be the news director at Vox. One has to go, and it is now up to the school department to pull Kratka from WTBR.

* How Kratka’s permitting the airing of shows by adults during morning drive and prime time on a high school radio station spills programming from lily white into a muddy gray area. We know now that any adult programming must first meet a GOB litmus test or it won’t be allowed to air.

* This situation takes all legitimacy from non-student programming on WTBR and creates a massive conflict of interest for Kratka, who is in the employ of the commercial Vox radio at WBEC.

The E-Mails Tell the Story

THE PLANET sent Kratka the following e-mail on May 31, at 10:19 p.m.:

LARRY
Can you give me your version of what happened with Bill Sturgeon’s aborted show on WTBR.
I received a release announcing all was well and good, and that the show would be debuting on Tuesday 5/29. The show was pulled. Both John Krol and Bill say they don’t know why? Bill says you pulled the plug after plugging it in.
Can you tell me why? John and Bill say they don’t know what happened. Bill says there’s more to this than you’re letting on. So what gives?
Please give me something for the record.
If you would like to talk, let me know.
I would like [your comments] ASAP.
Thanks,
DAN

—– 00 —–

The next day, Kratka sent not one, not two, but three e-mails, at 3:47 a.m., 4:18 a.m., and 4:50 a.m. Each had the same one word answer, and we quote: “NOTHING.” That was it, three times.

PLANET: So what gives?

KRATKA (x3): NOTHING!

Yet later in the morning, after apparently being convinced we would not stop our investigation, Kratka responded at length for the record, at 7:43 a.m. He wrote:

Hi Dan….
Here is what happened to Bill..and my version is gospel. I’m putting this to rest once and for all.
I originally thought that having Bill on would be a good thing.  I talked it over with him and was satisfied that it would be good radio and many other people were behind the project including School Committee Chair Alf Barbalunga and Superintendent Jake Eberwein.  Then the pressure began to nix the idea.  NOT one single person took the time to contact me….but the pressure was building NOT to put Bill on from…lets say, political types who are afraid of good talk radio. Finally on Friday May 25th, I spoke to Bill about delaying the May 29th open.  He wasn’t happy with the idea but I did it anyway.  Saturday, he emailed me asking me for a simple YES or NO to his being on the air.  I said NO and explained that while I thought he would do great interviews…with no phones, I thought it better to drop the project.  He’s not happy and I can’t blame him. 
I was bothered by students and adults who approached me about blogs they were reading about the station and Bill.  Kids were asking “is the station doing something wrong??”  No…station is fine.  Did I read the blogs?  No.  I don’t read blogs.  I told the Principal, John Vosburg[h] that I believed it was in the best interest of the station and the kids that I stick by my decision NOT to put Bill on the air.
I don’t need my student staff wondering whats going on after reading blogs or facebook posts. 
I really hope Bill pops up at another station.  I am hoping he surfaces at WRRS-LP, operated out of the UCP building. He would be fantastic there and the political types who are afraid of him, wouldn’t be able to touch him there. 
BY THE WAY…..to answer an issue brought up by someone on the net….students are NOT allowed on the air during class time from 7:20am – 2:20am.  Thats a long-standing rule by the principal.  The exception is elective classes or study hall for seniors or juniors.
There is already an elective position coming up in the fall for 1 or 2 students at WTBR. 
Students are on air between 2:30 and 6pm most days and until 8pm on others.  They team up with up to 3 kids on the air at any given time.  Students are generally not on the air in the evening due to supervisory issues.  There are some exceptions. 
Our student program director takes care of scheduling for students and adults. Students schedules change all the time as they get more involved in other school activites.  So the PD is usually pretty busy keeping up with that.  We have a student who goes over the music logs created by students during “live” shows.  The PD is also in charge of checking the FCC required transmitter log to make sure that a meter reading is always done once-per-shift and that all Emergency Activation System messages are received and transmitted by WTBR..per FCC rules and regulations.
The kids do more then meets the eye.  I have the most fantastic adult volunteer staff in the world and I have the support of Principal vosburg and Superintendent Eberwein.  They both know how much work goes into running that station. 
—– 00 —–
Where does one begin to analyze and respond to this statement? Kratka tells us:
* He thought having Sturgeon on the air “would be a good thing.”
* He still thinks Bill deserves to be on the air (an contradictory statement given that Kratka pulled Sturgeon off the air. His actions obviously tell us he think the opposite, that he agrees with the Political Powers who learned on him).
* He cleared Sturgeon’s with the school board chairman and the superintendent.
* Then, he gets pressured NOT to put Sturgeon on.
* Who pressures him? “Political types,” Kratka says. He does not names names.
* Sturgeon cooperated about delaying the May 29 opening.
* Sturgeon then asks Kratka for a YES or a NO. The answer, NO, is given without an adequate explanation. He leaves Sturgeon hanging high and dry and also clotheslines John Krol.
* Kratka then says he did it “in the best interests” of “The Children” (how many times have we heard that before when the school department defends the indefensible? It’s for the good of “The Children”).
* In the same e-mail, Kratka says he “was bothered by students and adults who approached me about blogs they were reading.” Then Kratka admits he didn’t read the blogs! He doesn’t read blogs. Well, how well-informed! And which blog do you think we’re talking about here, my good friends. Could it be … oh … ah … THE PLANET???
* One would think an erstwhile journalist such as Kratka would at least want to read first hand what the dreaded blogs were saying.
* On the basis of hearsay, and not doing his own investigation, Kratka caves to the GOB.
It’s unbelievable, but there it is, in black and white: The GOB, “political types” that Kratka doesn’t name yank his chain, and he obeys. Kratka, who stepped into the deep doo doo with his cowardly decision to pull The Rush Limbaugh Show from WBEC, has at this point enough judgmental credibility to half fill a thimble. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the type is mush-mouthed fatalism on the part of the local mainstream media that has sold this community down the river.
—– 00 —–
THE PLANET followed up with this e-mail to Kratka (June 1, 10:43 p.m.):
LARRY
A few follow up questions:
* From whom did the pressure come not to put Bill on? Rather, since you had decided to put him on, who got on you to reverse your decision and pull the plug?
* Who were “the political types who are afraid of good talk radio?” 
* Why did you agree with them? Why didn’t you fight for Bill and the show?
My story goes live for Monday probably late Sunday night. I will need answers n later than 4 p.m. Sunday.
Thanks,
DAN
—– 00 —–
Kratka, getting annoyed, replied the next morning (June 2) at 6:04 a.m.:

Dan….this has gone far enough.  You know as well as I do who THEY are.  I didn’t agree with those who opposed the Sturgeon show….I thought it better for the station if it didn’t happen.  Enough. LK

—– 00 —–

Notice how cleverly Kratka tries to put the onus on THE PLANET to name those responsible. The Unartful Dodger gets caught with his own cleverness. If we knew the names, we would have identified long before. That’s the point. HE, Larry Kratka, is the one who covered for the bandits. HE is the one who sold Bill Sturgeon and his grand profession of journalism down the river. “This has gone far enough.” Well, no. “Enough.” Not by a long shot.

—– 00 —–

THE PLANET replied (June 2, 6:17 p.m.)

LARRY

I don’t know who they are. That’s why I’m asking.
You know what’s gone far enough? Answers like this. Just come out and identify the culprits. Why the reluctance? Why the fear? 
You’re a newsman. Without knowing definitively from the best source — you — I don’t and can’t know who they are.
So again, please tell me who was behind this. That’s how we can put the story to an end.
Thanks,
DAN

—– 00 —–

Kratka then sent this response:

Dan…I’ve never been on the other side of your investigation by a reporter into something that he thinks is a juicy story.  This isn’t.  I don’t have anything else to say about it. Each newsman has their ideas of what is a juicy story and what isn’t.  This isn’t.  See ya. LK   

By this point, as you can see from his muddled first sentence (what does it mean?), Kratka is hemming and hawing. Is this a “juicy story?” No, it’s something bigger: It’s a relevant story for reasons we stated above.

—– 00 —–

Finally, THE PLANET responded (Sunday, June 3, 7:24 p.m.):

LARRY

Well, it was “juicy” enough to have you accede to outside political pressure and pull Bill’s show, after you gave him the OK.
The story is that, as you have admitted, GOBs didn’t want Sturgeon on, and instead of telling them where to go, you gave into their demand. Question is, why?
I respect your decision on what’s newsworthy or not, in this case, but obviously don’t agree with it. In any case, my coverage shall appear tomorrow on THE PLANET. If you want to comment on what you read, we shall, of course, welcome it.
All the best,
DAN
As you can see, we were doing our best to show respect to a colleague.
Presuming that Kratka breaks his personal vow never to read blogs and reads this one, we ask him directly:
* Who were the people who pressured you to stab Bill Sturgeon in the back?
* And why, oh why, in the name of Horace Greeley and Ambrose Bierce, did you ever roll over and play dead? Didn’t you owe to your craft, to the profession of journalism, to you tell them where they could stick their discomfort with Sturgeon’s talk show — as far as their hairy arms could reach.
THE PLANET advises the School Committee to invite Kratka to appear and defend this decision and also to state why he should be retained as adviser to the station, he who is not on the faculty and has a direct conflict of interest with his position at WBEC.
We also would say that if we hosted a show on WTBR, Kratka’s actions would cause our immediate resignation in protest. That will be up to the individual consciences of the adult on-air jockeys, of course, but how could anyone work with a station manager who refuses to stick up for what he himself admits was the right thing to do?

———————————————————–

‘CASSANDRA SPEAKS’ OPENS SHAKESPEARE & CO’S 35th SEASON; RANDOLPH TO THE RESCUE IN THIS UNEVEN PLAY

On Friday night, Shakespeare & Co,. launched is 35th season in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theater at its Lenox campus with a world premiere, Cassandra SpeaksNorman Plotkin‘s one-woman portrait of journalist Dorothy Thompson.

TOD RANDOLPH as Dorothy Thompson (Photo by Kevin Sprague)

The “one-man show,” allowing the generic label for both genders of our species, has a couple of built-in advantages for a theater company, the first of which is economy. Putting on play with one actor saves a lot of money. There’s also no “fourth wall,” that is, nothing that separates the actor from the audience, which we enjoy for the way it forces everyone to acknowledge up front that the suspension of disbelief required of the theatergoer need not be some great secret the audience must withhold from the actors. Indeed, with no fellow performer, the actor — in this case, S&Co. veteran Tod Randolph — relies on the audience in the same way she would take cues and draw energy from an on-stage colleague.

No ‘Fourth Wall’ (or AC) on a Hot-Tin-Roof Night

Randolph played that lack of the “fourth wall” as well as it can be done, engaging directly with those seated in the house. Given that the intimate Bernstein Theater had no air conditioning on opening night, Randolph cut through the heat to distract patrons from their hot and humid discomfort. Give S&Co. credit for knowing how to throw a season’s premiere: Not only did they give the audience their money’s worth artistically, Artistic Director Tony Simotes threw in a free sauna as well for each member of the audience. Not all were appreciative, and several were trying their best not to collapse in the stifling boxcar heat.

Dorothy Thompson, a graduate of THE PLANET’s alma mater, Syracuse University, was America’s first purebred female journalist, a reporter and columnist with a penchant for “the story,” a recklessness in pursuit of the news, and a fearlessness that made enemies of the right people — Adolph Hitler, for example. Thompson, who met Hitler during his rise to power, badly misjudged his capacity for world historical greatness.  ”I met him,” she tells us. “There was nothing there.” How wrong she was.

Thompson later poured her guilt from this glaring mistake into pounding away at the evils of Nazism and the dangers Hitler represented to Europe. Her earnestness won her the honor of the first journalist to be thrown out of Nazi Germany. Thomspon, without irony, dubs herself Cassandra, after the character in Greek mythology who had the gift of prophecy. This prophetess got it wrong on Hitler and went into 20-10 hindsight to convince the world she whiffed.

Randolph: Wringing More than the Uneven Script Allows

Randolph wrings as much as can be gotten from Plotkin’s uneven script and saves the production. An actress with less presence would vanish in a “talky” like this.  Randolph hits her cadence from the play’s opening, where we see Thompson laboring to finish her newspaper column on the day of her third wedding (accomplished in journalism, unlucky in love). Director Nicole Ricciardi moves Randolph well across the well-appointed set — designed in utilitarian fashion by Patrick Brennan — which depicts Thompson’s office and living room in her Vermont home.

Lacking the luxury of development given the confines of one act and one character, Plotkin takes us immediately to the key to Dorothy Thompson’s life in her self-admission: “I’m always busy … not likable, overbearing,” she confesses early on. Neat trick: Can we ever not like someone with the self-deprecation to say they are not likable?

RANDOLPH as Thompson, seen in rehearsal (Kevin Sprague)

The set exudes a comfy, lived in look, with books in their shelves, magazine strewn about, two manual typewriters, and even a pack of Lucky Strikes on the end table, stage left. Twice during the play, Randolph takes out a cigarette (once from the pack, once from a silver cigarette holder). The sweltering audience twice had but one thought: “Please, oh please, don’t light that smoke.” With the dead, 90-degree+ air, the cigarette smoke would have KOd half the crowd. Randolph did not light up. We wondered: Was that in the script, or did Plotkin call for her to fire up, only to have Randolph do a great bit of non-active improv by mercifully refraining to introduce flame to tip?

From Booming Outrage to Teary Introspection

Randolph adeptly conveys the force of Thompson’s character, firing outrage at her inability to convince Americans through her writing and speaking of the growing war danger in Europe. When it comes time to emotionally dial it down, as when she reflects on her inabilities to stay in marriage, Randolph hits the right notes — soft notes, feminine notes, a weaker side to which her public persona simply could not admit.

Plotkin makes one large mistake in the structure of the play. Granted, in 90 minutes, he can’t say everything there is to say about a larger-than-life force such as Dorothy Thompson. He limits the action to the day of her third marriage, where she is having wicked bouts of writer’s block and marriage block. In this choice, Plotkin ignores a far more interesting period in Thompson’s life: her disenchantment with Zionism and the creation of Israel after World War II.

Earlier in life, Thompson had championed a Jewish state in Palestine, but seeing the horrible state of the Palestinian refugee camps in 1948, she became a strident supporter of Palestinian rights for a homeland and saw the blatant injustice committed in the name of Zionism with the U.N.-forced creation of the state of Israel that same year. She came to see the imposed creation of the state of Israel as a mistake. Why did Plotkin ignore this much riper dramatic situation?

We will hazard a guess: Did Plotkin conveniently ignore this side of Thompson because a “summer set” of Big City arts patrons might find it politically incorrect? Did he cave in to the less controversial pro-Israel stance only to ignore the most dramatic fight of Thompson’s career? Alas, one can’t direct nor can one act what is not there.

Lights, Sound, and Costumes: A Token This and That, and the Night Off

The production asks hardly anything of lighting designer Stephen Ball  except to fire up the overheads, dim and raise the brightness to match the emotions of the character, and throw a few blue gel sheets over spots. He had to be thinking: “I went to college for this?” except that college is a long way off for this 24 year veteran of S&Co.

The same applies to sound designer Michelle Pfeiffer and costumer Kara Midlam. Pfeiffer had an especially rough night with the little (and the obvious) that director Ricciardi asks of her. Her sound effects were barely audible — an excerpt of a Hitler speech, for example, or the sound of stormtroopers marching. Midlam had to pick out a period dress and pair of shoes. THE PLANET might have fared as well with a visit to the local Goodwill. We have seen Midlan’s other freelance costuming work, however, and we know Randolph’s duds were in good hands. We might also add that THE PLANET and Midlam share an academic honor: We have both been adjunct faculty members at LeMoyne College, Syracuse, NY — she now (in the theater department) and we then (in the English Department).

In the end, it’s Randolph to the rescue of Cassandra Speaks.

The play runs through Sept. 2 in the Bernstein Theater. Tickets range from $15 to $50. The box office phone is 413-637-3353 or visit www.shakespeare.org. 

————————————————————–

WHAT EXERTIONS LAY IS STATE, LAID OUT BY YESTERDAY’s EFFORTS? WE ASK YOU, MY DEAR HUNTINGTON? WHEN YOU HAVE THE ANSWER, YOU MAY DELIVER IT BY THE USUAL MEANS. LATER, EVERYONE.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

52 Responses to “KOWED & KOWTOWED KRATKA KOMES KLEAN (KINDA) ON DECISION TO PULL STURGEON; LK ADMITS HE CAVED INTO TO ‘PRESSURE’ FROM POLITICAL TYPES … QUESTION IS: WHY STAB A GUY IN THE BACK AND WHY HIDE IDENTITIES OF THOSE WHO OWN HIM? … plus … RANDOLPH TO THE RESCUE ON SHAKESEPARE & CO.s DEBUT OF 35TH SEASON IN ‘CASSANDRA SPEAKS’”

  1. morally bankrupt
    June 3, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    Dan,

    You have provided, yet again, another great investigative story.

    But I must ask: How do we stop the political corruption when the political structure was originally designed to encourage this kind of unethical behavior?

    • danvalenti
      June 4, 2012 at 11:15 am #

      MB
      Appreciate the nod. The answer to your question lies in the question itself. It is up to We The People to participate in sufficient numbers in government. That would drive the snakes out of Pittsfield right quick.

      • dusty
        June 5, 2012 at 1:26 am #

        I might add that it is not always easy to tell who the snakes are when new faces arrive on the election ballot. Many have been vetted and recruited by the GOB who seem legit to the public until they hit the city council or appointed place.

        Krol seemed to have some measure of integrity until he unveiled himself.

  2. Diogenes
    June 3, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

    Sympathies to Bill Sturgeon. If he didn’t know before, he certainly knows now “how it works” around here. They want you gone, you’re gone. No rhyme or reason (that’s discernible), sometimes no reason at all other than someone, somewhere thought that he could cause “them” trouble at sometime. That’s all it takes. He’s not the first and he won’t be the last. Unfortunately.

  3. dusty
    June 4, 2012 at 1:25 am #

    “And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the type is mush-mouthed fatalism on the part of the local mainstream media that has sold this community down the river.”

    Dan, those words are so relevant and true. The GOB know that taking away the voice of the people is the first step in controlling the money. If the people are ignorant they can’t be asking pointed questions.

    Who are the GOB who applied pressure? I do not know but those associated with the school committee, probation dept, police dept, fire dept and others who control large amounts of money would rather discussions of their budgets be kept under wraps.

    And I would not be surprised to find out that Krol was GOB a sleeper agent in the whole thing.

    • danvalenti
      June 4, 2012 at 11:17 am #

      DUSTY
      Kratka made two mistakes: (1) After he approved the show, through channels, he should have fought for the show. No man worth his keep would fold the way LK did. (2) He refused to name those responsible.

  4. Ron Kitterman
    June 4, 2012 at 5:09 am #

    I agree with Larryn Katka we all know who THEY are, so why the double standard ? John Kroll is okay for a show but not Bill Sturgeon. We the people demand that John Kroll’s show be taken off the air too.

    • danvalenti
      June 4, 2012 at 11:18 am #

      It’s a fair question: What qualities to Krol’s show makes his OK and Sturgeon’s not OK?

      • Ed Shepardson
        June 5, 2012 at 4:27 am #

        Why aren’t the students allowed to decide who is allowed on the air?

        WTBR GOALS

        1) Develop and exercise the thought process.
        2) Implement basic technical and engineering skills.
        3) Improve confidence and self-esteem through public speaking instruction.
        4) Create an awareness of community service.
        5) Establish values of respect and ethical behavior to build character.
        6) Develop integration for working in small groups.
        7) Teach responsibility and discipline for following rules and directions.
        8) Provide networking opportunities for students within the community.
        9) Encourage individual creativity and self-expression.

  5. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    June 4, 2012 at 5:11 am #

    Yeah DV…Is there an on the record comment from YOUR “Right and Honorable Good Friend” Mr. “I’m gonna run for Mayor next election shhh” John Krol?

    • danvalenti
      June 4, 2012 at 11:18 am #

      Not yet. I will be putting a request for one in, however.

  6. K-Man
    June 4, 2012 at 6:10 am #

    Kratka: Kracked up on this one.
    Krol: What WAS his role?
    This whole thing stinks. School committee: Please look into the WTBR mess, return the station to this roots. High schoolers learning about radio not adults who are in and out based on the politics .

  7. Bull Durham
    June 4, 2012 at 6:23 am #

    While I may agree with much of what you say here, Dan, I have to take issue with you laying the Rush Limbaugh decision at Larry’s feet. Clearly the news director of WUPE did not make that decision, nor was he even consulted on it. It was made by Peter Barry, the GM of all of the local Vox stations. If you’ve ever had any dealings with Vox, and I’ve had many, you would know that people in Larry’s “rank” in the station management have absolutely no say in real management decisions. And that isn’t unusual – can you really picture Len Bean being given any formal management decisions at WBRK by the Hodgkins family?

    Larry should have stood up to the powers that be once he had offered Bill the show slot, plain and simple, and for that he should take the heat.

    He also did answer the question that’s been asked here a lot of late – why isn’t the station filled with students doing on-air shifts in the morning… because they can’t. I worked at that station when I was a student at Taconic many years back, and the rule was the same. No students were allowed on-air in the morning or afternoon unless they had an open period, like a study hall, so most morning and early afternoon shifts were dead air. And that was back in a day when being on the radio was something you could picture as a career, unlike today, where few real positions are available.

    The FCC mandates that any station that has a full license, which WTBR has (as opposed to what they had before TBR, which was WTHS, a station that was only broadcast over the PA system in the school), must be on-air for a certain number of hours each week or they lose their license to operate. The same is true of WJJW at MCLA, which has many students doing shows, but also has several local adults from the community filling slots. They do this so they can keep the station on the air.

    • danvalenti
      June 4, 2012 at 11:19 am #

      K
      “The whole thing stinks.” That says it all.

    • danvalenti
      June 4, 2012 at 11:22 am #

      K
      “The whole thing stinks.” That says it all.
      BULL
      Good points.

  8. rick
    June 4, 2012 at 6:32 am #

    who would have thought that censorship would raise its ugly head in beloved pittsfield?…. between the eagle and the radio station they are trying to control the people! without the independent journalists writing the wrongs of political types they will be free to continue on their path to wealth and power in this sleepy little town called pittsfield. its funny how no telephone call was a negotiating tool….. when i tuned into bills show and dan valentis, the best part of the show was to hear what the people of pittsfield felt on certain issues… the silent majority finally had a say..and in recent years with the eagle not allowing certain people to write in and radio trying to control the on air topics that concern the commoners its evident to me that their is collusion with the local media. these political types need to come to the fore front and be exposed and asked a simple question… and that is… what the hell are you afraid of??????

    • Home Run
      June 4, 2012 at 9:17 am #

      Agreed Rick…. Such lengths have been and continue to be taken to silent any form of questioning. You are so right, it does beg the question -What the hell are you afraid of?

    • danvalenti
      June 4, 2012 at 11:44 am #

      Yeah, imagine. The shock, the shock.

  9. Still wondering
    June 4, 2012 at 6:40 am #

    I’m hearing that there is a whole lot of “payback” going on. Not just GOBs.

    • Dawn
      June 4, 2012 at 7:11 am #

      read: terry

  10. Baby Baby
    June 4, 2012 at 7:16 am #

    I hear it was someone with the initials of PM that made the initial call to Larry.

    Is the “GOB” the current corner office or the former one?

    Maybe there is another “organization” behind Larry’s decision, has anyone considered that?

    • danvalenti
      June 4, 2012 at 11:46 am #

      BABY
      Yes, that’s precisely the point: Who was behind LK’s decision? He refuses to name them. Why?

  11. Jim Gleason
    June 4, 2012 at 7:18 am #

    Dan, you yourself said that WTBR is for kids and for them to learn the ins and outs of radio. Why, then, is it suddenly right and good for the Sturge to have a show at TBR? It seems you’re looking to hang Larry out to dry here, no matter what he says or does. I don’t think it’s time for him to go at TBR. He puts in countless hours ti help kids on the station and their programming is superior to any station in Berkshire County, adult volunteers included and appreciated.Sturgeon is gone and Krolly should be too. If we get that done it’s a success.Larry needs to stay where he is, helping kids. Period.

    • danvalenti
      June 4, 2012 at 11:49 am #

      JIM
      It’s two separate issues. In principle, I don’t think adults belong on the WTBR air. In this case, with the decision already having been made not to follow that sensible procedure for the high school station, it becomes a matter the integrity of the station director. If he’s approving and canceling shows based on the pressure from unseen forces, it’s time for him to go.

      • Jim Gleason
        June 4, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

        Dab, I have no objection to adults being on when kids can’t or don’t want to be on. The guys who just play music for the love of doing so are fine and very entertaining to me and a lot of others in town.It’s when someone (Krol and Sturge) have a private political agenda to push that I want them off or not on to begin with. Krol also has a conflict of interest, his voting on the school budget while being under the budget he votes on.I like that station and listen almost exclusively to it and would be very upset if something happens to stop its existence.

        • Jim Gleason
          June 4, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

          Sorry, Dan.

          • Chet Hunter
            June 4, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

            Jim. If your girl Melisa had a radio show you would e her #1 fan. ps. Jim she is happily married !

          • Jim Gleason
            June 5, 2012 at 4:40 am #

            Chet, or whatever your real name is, you’re the one who seems fixated on Mrs. Mazzeo, you write about her all the time.

          • Home Run
            June 5, 2012 at 5:33 am #

            Chet

            To answer your question about McNally .. Well it is quite simple. If the UEP can keep squeezing the tax payer and operate with selfish concern, well then there is every likelihood McNally will become Intrem super.

            Just as the UEP ignores any ones need but their own so too acts the school dept. The fact that McNally was the principal of Taconic when a whistleblower law suit was brought against PPS seems to be of little consequence to the school comm. A law suit that brought forth major violations of students’ civil rights and Special Ed law amount other things.

            The UEP acts in a similiar fashion with neglect o the city’s tax payers.

            Sounds to me like The UEP and mcNally are like two peas in a pod. Too hard to tell one from the other.

            Just my opinion Chet.

  12. Andy
    June 4, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    Nice subtle nod to “Miracle on 34th Street” in the headline, I got it.

  13. Home Run
    June 4, 2012 at 9:07 am #

    This story has very similiar characteristics to other events in out city and other GOB strong holds in Pittsfield – our courts, school dept, police and fire dept.

    Bill Sturgeon remains some what of a curious figure to me. He had the suppot of Alf B and Jake for the show, but yet other GOB’s in the city forced Larry to nix the show. It appears from this article that the school dept and other GOB’s in the city had opposing views and serious opposing vested intrests. In my opinion, this is the highly unusual element of this story- that The usual GOB crew have opposing self intrests. It begs the question.. Are there cracks developing in the GOB network?

    • Still wondering
      June 4, 2012 at 9:13 am #

      As long as their budgets are intact, then no.

    • levitan
      June 4, 2012 at 9:22 am #

      Just an indication that casts doubt on the presence of a GOB social/political class. I believe it’s a term to characterize a type of influential person, but does not describe a formal group.

      I believe the term is shorthand and ought to be dropped.

    • danvalenti
      June 4, 2012 at 11:50 am #

      HR
      Yes, it’s unusual to an unusual degree. That’s why LK’s claim that this is a non-story is ludicrous.

      • rick
        June 5, 2012 at 4:12 am #

        it could be a non story if they weren’t so sneaky about it… cloak and dagger politics in this city right down to the air waves and print…..if they want to stay under the radar they have to get better at lying…….. red flags go up all the time when the gobs are involved… their not in sink with their stories… as with sturgeon hes ready to go and they pull the plug,, its as if the grand poo bah of the gobs stepped in and killed the deal….. does anyone out there know whos the grand poo bah of the gobs ? and do they have a secret hand shake or greeting at their club house….lol.

  14. Home Run
    June 4, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    Can anyone make out what is written on the hat Larry is wearing in the photo posted above?

    I think it says ‘Goofy’, … If that is the case ‘ what more needs to be said’ …..

  15. Swen
    June 4, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    How many groups of GOB’s do we now have in Pittsfield? or who are the new people who think they are members of the GOB’s? Certainly B.Sturgeon had the best of friendship with former Mayor Ruberto and that didn’t help him with his job at this new radio job? It is time that they got Krol off the station. I am sure no one would miss Larry’s voice doing the 4th of July parade. That would insure a better 4th of July parade. Of course, it is makes a great reason to go to the parade, rather than stay home and listen to his many goofs in explaining the parade.
    Certainly the present Mayor in the corner office is NOT a member of the GOB’s for the person who asked that question.
    Amazing the GOB’s were/are afraid of Bill Sturgeon!!

  16. Terry Kinnas
    June 4, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    A little more background:
    At the May 23rd School Committee meeting I suggested that we meet with the advisor and have it as an agenda item for an open discussion. I also wanted to know if other school faciIities could be/are open to adults during school time. The chair indicated the agenda item would happen. I did not speak to Larry or anyone else about it. An open meeting would have been a good way to let everyone know what the mission of WTBR is and the requirements needed, like CORI checks for any unescorted guests.

    • danvalenti
      June 4, 2012 at 11:52 am #

      TERRY
      Your action on May 23 shows you were, again, playing the game 8 steps ahead of everyone else. In light of recent developments and Kratka’s shocking admission, we would suggest it’s more pertinent than ever to get him before the committee and explain himself … and to identify who pressured him.

      • Chet Murphy
        June 4, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

        Whats up with your prediction of McNally as the interim superintendent of Schools?

        • Hurdygurdy Man
          June 4, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

          Don’t know what DV thinks but I work in the dept. Scuttlebutt in the union is McNally is a sure thing.

    • Pittsfield Pete
      June 4, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

      Terry

      As you well know other school buildings do not even allow school comm members to enter without a public notice announced by the superintendent.

      How ironic !

  17. joetaxpayer
    June 4, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    Why not let the kids who’s grades are in good standing,and are not in any trouble have a hour slot during study halls. Until this rule is changed all this crap about the kids is mute.They cannot be on the air during the school day.So why not let adults on until this rule is changed.

  18. bobbyd
    June 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

    You’ll all be happy to know that there is another local group out there looking out for our best interest. After some investigation, the Berkshire Zombie Action Committee was able to uncover the originator of the rumors that prompted the Centers for Disease Control to issue an official reassurance that THERE IS NO ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE.

    Given that I am generally distrustful of government, I feel so much better knowing for sure that there has been no cover up and that the Zombie Action Committee has been able to verify that THE LQP-79 VIRUS IS, INDEED, A HOAX.

    For more information about the LQP-79 hoax and the Zombie Action Committee, go to http://surviveberkshires.wordpress.com/.

    Thanks to Regime12 and others who protect us from the zombie menace! We will all sleep better knowing you guys are out there keeping us informed and safe!

    • Scott
      June 5, 2012 at 4:16 am #

      So the guy who ate the homeless mans face just had a bad case of the munchies due to too much bath salt intake?

    • levitan
      June 5, 2012 at 6:22 am #

      I still keep a cricket bat by my bed at night.

  19. Ray Ovac
    June 5, 2012 at 12:46 am #

    DV, regarding WTBR pulling Sturgeon. Did you ever stop to consider how many truly gutless people there are living in Berkshire County in positions of varying amounts of authority? In a place where only 130,000 live, there seems to be almost endless supply of those willing to cave even when obvious principles require defending. Case in point: Larry Kratka claims “but the pressure was building NOT to put Bill on from…lets say, political types who are afraid of good talk radio.” Hey Kratka, who the hell cares what the local political types are afraid of, don’t you have the ability to think for yourself and take a stand? Is your job at risk? Will you be shunned if you put Sturgeon on the air? Where are your balls, Man? Kratka, you make the astounding admission that “I really hope Bill pops up at another station. I am hoping he surfaces at WRRS-LP, operated out of the UCP building. He would be fantastic there and the political types who are afraid of him, wouldn’t be able to touch him there.” The question, Kratka, is why are those ‘political types’ “able to touch” Sturgeon under your watch at WTBR?
    Really Kratka, what the hell kind of example are you setting for Taconic’s students who are watching the dance these so-called adults are doing? Lesson for the Day from Larry Kratka: ‘Fold like a cheap tent when faced with even slight adversity!’ WOW, Kratka, isn’t that The Berkshire Way?
    And DV, the gutless Kratka certainly is not alone in this. We see this total abandonment of principles every week in one form or other in Berkshire County. How long did it take for Gerry Doyle and his City Council whores to lay down for GE’s lawyers when it came to capping not dredging Silver Lake, and building not removing Hill 78? (Was it even thirty seconds; or maybe three drinks, if that?) The City of Pittsfield is in rigor mortis because of everyday decisions over the years of those in varying levels of authority who just found it easier to go along rather than do the right thing or stand on principle. Face it, DV, there’s almost total lack of personal integrity amongst Berkshire County’s apparatchiks. Oh, and thank you, Larry Kratka, for today’s life lesson!

  20. Bill Sturgeon
    June 5, 2012 at 4:44 am #

    I would like to thank Dan Valenti for a fair & accurate investigative article concerning the WT BR affair. As most of you know the show that I did on WBRK was an opinion – talkshow. The show I was going to do on WT IBR was an interview and informative show – If I had ever gotten the chance to do it.

    I want to thank all of the people who e-mailed, Facebooked, sent written notes to me expressing how much they liked the show and how much miss it.

    I like so many of you really want to know the names of those politicians who pressured Larry to cancel the show! It is a public radio station and I believe the people have the right to know.

  21. Ron Kitterman
    June 5, 2012 at 5:02 am #

    I don’t read blogs either, I like to get my news from the at WRRS-LP action team atop the UCP Building ? They are fair and balanced there and know a news story when they see one.

  22. Dead to Rights
    June 5, 2012 at 5:36 am #

    Perhaps I am the only one who both reads this blog and who attended the opening night of “Cassandra Speaks.” As to the first, bravo to Mr. Valenti for his intrepid reporting. As to the second, we agreed with his evaluation, except for the quibbles. Tod Randolph was marvelous in the title role of a well-written play. Thank you Shakespeare & Co. for being a community asset for more than a generation.