Monday, June 17, 2013

The LuLac Edition #2448, June 17th, 2013

WVIA TV/FM’S Bill Kelly. (Photo: 


Many of you who have read LuLac know that I have major problems with inflated salaries for officials who don’t show results. Both public and private sector. If this was a fair world, I would demand refunds back from the officials who served at the Wilkes Barre Chamber of Commerce from 1995 until now. Pulling down a huge salary for big salaries for a select business few that couldn’t make it on their own in the private sector? That’s a joke! I have railed about Wall Street people who put us on the brink of financial collapse and still walked away with millions. That stated, you won’t hear a negative word from me about the salary Bill Kelly is making as Head of the Endowment Department at WVIA TV and FM. Let me give you a little history. Bill Kelly came to WVIA TV in 1974 when then GM George Strimel recognized that he had to have a more aggressive fundraising department, The station at the time had as its main revenue stream, the TV 44 Auction. (In a previous LuLac edition, we referenced the death of longtime Auction volunteer Jeff Rubel.) 
Kelly came from WARM, the Mighty 590. When he arrived, there was both surprise and snickers. What was a top forty guy going to tell us about Public Broadcasting? A woman I worked with (who shall remain nameless due to the fact that I cherish her memory) once sniffed to me, “Has he ever heard of the Philharmonic?” What WVIA learned from the top 40 jock (drive time 3pm to 7PM) was plenty. 
Kelly totally revised the look of the fundraisers. He brought in energetic young people to become “Funding personalities”. He squeezed every ounce of talent out of directors like Peter Brewer, Ed Finn and the late Allen Murphy. The sleepy department got a kick in the ass. 
After two years of growth for TV,  he took his skills to radio. The first thing he did was take us on a road trip to WSKG in Binghamton, New York to see how their operation ran. We sat with the classical music radio hosts. We were told to take notes. We then reviewed those notes when we returned. 
Kelly believed in having us see the big picture of Public Broadcasting. I went on a trip to Chicago with him in 1977 which was exclusively for radio. Again, notes. The plane ride back was reviewing not only what I learned but how I was going to put it in action. 
Through the years, WVIA TV and FM has grown. And through the years Bill Kelly has made enemies. I liken Kelly to a baseball manager. At any given time, he fielded the strongest players on the field. Once you got complacent or your batting average dipped, you were gone. Many a person who thought they had a home there for a while had a rude awakening. It wasn’t about them, it was about the station. And for those people he let go, if you look at a large percentage of them, they all went on to better and in some cases bigger things. If you were wise enough to take away what Bill Kelly taught you (and once when I told him this he got very embarrassed) you had a skill set that would serve you well in any position. 
Now about the amount. Again, you have to look at the job. Public Broadcasting is under attack by right wing conservatives who think funding should be cut. If you look at the State Legislators who cut Public Broadcasting, can you honestly say they are worth what they get? Fundraising is a tough job. You are first off selling the entity but selling yourself. Kelly says he can make the station millions and I believe him. I know how he’s going to do it too. But unlike some of the dullards calling in to talk radio and posting comments on websites, screaming about this, I’ve been following Bill Kelly. He will make more than anticipated. Kelly has historically over delivered in every capacity. 
Look at some of the salaries CEO’s around here pull down. When I worked at Blue Cross, Denise Cesare back in 2009 was at around $750,000. The head of the Geisinger Health System, Dr. Glenn Steele was up there too. College Presidents have healthy salaries. Profit making companies CEO’s pull down millions. For those salaries, their boards and higher ups confirm what they should make. But the product comes to them. While they work hard at their jobs, I can’t believe that any of them toil as hard for their money as Bill Kelly has through the years. Responsible people will always buy health care, colleges will always have students and never bat an eye lash about raising tuition. For the aforementioned CEOs, the money comes to them. People need to realize that with this job, Kelly will hustle like he always did. Personally, I think it never was about the money for Kelly, it was about the challenge. 
Last night, my wife had on “Inspector Lewis” on Masterpiece Mystery on TV 44. Throughout the show, there were three pre recorded breaks with the same two people giving the same spiel. Mrs. LuLac said that in her mind that funding model might be going the way of the Beta recorder. The endowment fund is at $700,000 or thereabouts. The old ways don’t seem to be working as well as they used to and because of its attack by the know nothings in Washington, it is at peril. Plus the public perception that “you can get what they have on Cable) is shuddering. I wonder how many of those people criticizing the station have even turned it on in the last ten years! 
If Public Broadcasting is to survive, (especially here in Northeastern Pennsylvania where our local news outlets are consistently challenged by quality issues,) we need a street fighter who will make it his personal mission to build that endowment fund. 
Salary be damned, bet on Bill Kelly. Unlike CEO’s making bigger salaries, he’ll go after what the station needs to not only survive and thrive, but he’ll get results.
The late John (Chickey) Watson. (John Watson Facebook page, Pamela Rivers photo


I began working at the Sunday Dispatch when I was 14. The late William Watson Sr., the founder of the paper gave me an opportunity to write a rock and roll column. Whenever I’d stop in, I’d see this young man there who was always unfailingly polite and friendly. A few years later, I found out that his grandfather gave me my start and that his father, “Pidge” always mentored me when it came to knowing the inside outs of how a local newspaper was produced. At no time did John “Chickey” Watson ever tell me “Who he was!”. No chest thumping for that guy. 
He had a wry sense of humor, if I had his looks I’d never make it to my 40th birthday, and I never saw him raise his voice. His writing was even and measured and had a liberal bent He was not afraid to take on the powers that be, sometimes he was right, sometimes he was wrong, but he was always interesting. 
You never stopped reading a John Watson column in midstream. You finished it, read it twice and then passed it on to your wife or friends. 
For the past year, John and I communicated on the Facebook machine. A few weeks ago, he sent out a request to his friends from the Greater Pittston Area to write him a recommendation letter so he could find a better job in Seattle, his home since 1999. Here’s what I wrote: 
June 3rd, 2013 
To Whom It May Concern: 
Please accept this letter as an endorsement of Mr. John Watson for employment with your company. In this competitive job market, I feel compelled to tell you about Mr. Watson. I have known John for forty years. I was associated at a young age with his family business in the East, the Pittston Pennsylvania Sunday Dispatch. During my time there, John was an earnest worker, a talented editor and had great management and analytical skills that span every vocation. I believe John will be a great asset to your organization. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at ***-***-****. .
Sincerely, David S. Yonki ,  Wilkes Barre, Pa. 
John passed away last Thursday at an age that was way too young for his talents to leave this earth. If he got around to using my letter, the people who are now trying to contact him will realize they missed out on knowing and working with a great, smart, kind and fun human being. He will be missed.


At 7:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Slice it anyway you want, Kelly was makin too damn much money! The Susan Komen CEO at $700,00 while money dries up for a once prestigious charity is another. PBS wthh salaries like Kellys will be gone soon. WVIA is not a good example of what local PBS can be and this comment comes from an out of towner who has been contributing to PBS long before WVIA hit the airwaves.

At 9:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two things, at last a little sanity to the WVIA TV debate. Good piece.
And a wonderful tribute to John Watson. As always, you excel in giving those left behind something touching to remember.

At 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Compelling, touching and makes a lot of common sense. You obviously were there with Kelly at the start and give more insight into what he did for the station. That local programming didn't happen by Magic!
And your thoughts on Chickey Watson are wonderful.
Damn you Pittston boys know how to write. RIP Chick. Yonk gave you a nice send off!

At 5:48 AM, Anonymous Professor Milburn Cleaver, OPA said...

Good morning Students,

As I see that class is full today, I can only assume that many of you have taken heed of my advice to refrain from the booze/drugs and /or gambling this past weekend. Or, more than likely you have already recovered from your hangovers (as this is Tuesday) and came out on top with your bets or, more than not, simply ran out of Mommy and Daddy’s money to use for your degenerate lifestyles. Either way, as the old vaudevillian once remarked, “Here we Go Again!”.

The work of this classroom moves forward……..

Students, I need to concentrate this morning on the idea of misconception. There is an old saying: “Repeat the lie often, and it becomes the truth.” I seem to have fallen victim to such practices. And I think now is as good a time as ever to put the lies and misconceptions to rest. So, those of you who do not normally use this classroom to sleep, please bear with me. For I shall address those who usually remain comatose. The myth being permeated by some of you malcontents is that I broke my word and did not, as you put it “GO AWAY” following the election of last year. Well, as Richard Nixon once put it: “Let’s look at the record”.
The reason I come here each day is not for my own satisfaction (obviously), but to educate you on the truth and not what you hear from the liberal fiction writers. One year ago, I was completely confident that Gov. Romney would defeat the President in his bid for re-election. I was so assured of this, what from the jobs numbers which I myself calculated (at 95% accuracy, mind you) that I could see no possible way that the public would re-elect an incumbent President with such a dismal record. And I will not deceive you; I was looking forward to having a seasoned man of business at that desk in the Oval Office. Confident that with he and the able men he would appoint to the cabinet/judiciary, business would automatically boom. Therefore, with that confidence I felt no need to come here after Jan. 20, 2013. And I must admit that I looked forward to retirement and a good night’s sleep (which I have not had since Jan. 20, 2009).
Unfortunately, the election went the other way and we will have Pres. Obama for the next four years. That completely put my plans in stall mode. Remember, I stated that I was leaving “Because it would not be necessary to tell the truth once we had an honest steward in the White House”> These quotes are all over my lectures of last year (and I hope you all take the time to read them).
And, THAT is why I asked the Dean to withdraw my retirement papers. Not for my benefit, but for yours. I hope this shall now put an end to the silly lies that some of you have told.
On the personal side, I had a very enjoyable weekend in NYC. I met with my publishers and presented them with the final draft of my book. My attorneys are now in negotiation for a final contract settlement (including royalties) as this is expected to be a fast seller. The title: “The Sleeping Giant of Conservatism and His Ultimate Awakening”. I must say that although I detest the present Mayor of that town, his predecessor Mr. Giuliani has done a remarkable job of cleaning up that city. My publishers took me to a very upscale restaurant where the food was delicious (though I assume one day, dining on filet mignon will be illegal in that fair city), the conversation intriguing and challenging and the ambience fitting for the “right crowd”.
Getting back to business, I hope that finally we will have settled the disease of idle rumors and hateful speech. Really, class, it is getting quite old. And that’s coming from an old fogy like me, so I should know (you may laugh).

Something to think about this morning……
Class Dismissed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At 5:59 AM, Anonymous Professor Milburn Cleaver, OPA said...


Please, do not leave the room as of yet!!

Before doing so, I would like to add one more personal note on the loss of young Mr. Watson. Although I did not enjoy the personal rapport with him that Mr. Yonki had, I do recall several encounters with his father (also gone too soon from this world). Mr. Watson and I disagreed politically, no doubt. However, from what I had observed years back when his father, Pidge ran the paper, John was there every step of the way. A young man with a strong work ethic. Pity that nowadays, young people seem to have lost this value. I also knew Bill, Sr. (his grandfather) who wrote some great editorials back in the day. All three of the Watson men were gentlemen and scholars. And two of them (as I mentioned) were with us only briefly. No doubt, it was a family operation which passed from generation to generation and the Dispatch was a well-regarded local publication.
I am sure young Mr. Watson is now re-united with his Dad and Grandfather, perhaps hoisting a beer and thinking of the next deadline. Character is not born in a person, but taught. All three of these men possessed a great amount of it.
You are Dismissed!!!!!!!!!!

At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have a comment about Mr Kelly, but I strongly believe WVIA Radio is in need of an overhaul. It is in a rut and has been for a long time. The programing and the announcers are stale and boring. You cited WSKG in your article. I listen to WSKG and find it to be far superior. There is so much good and varied programing available out there and WSKG excels
in that department. Strong national and even international programs air on SKG. No such shows are heard on VIA. As to local programing to cite one example George Graham has done a great service for local music, but he seems to have grown weary in the effort. I'd love to hear somebody new in the evening time slot. Thanks for a good job over the long haul, Mr Graham but its time to let somebody else have a shot. I am simply using Mr Graham as an example. He is not alone in the been doing the same thing for too long category.
Classical music is great but there are other options available which WVIA refuses to even experiment with and as stated programs like Democracy in America or some of the BBC programs heard on SKG never air on WVIA. I understand that these shows cost money, but even with cutbacks if programing isn't your top priority what else is? One of Public Radio's functions is to inform. You don't grow or attain new listeners with the same old thing. WVIA can boast state of then art facilities, but not programing in my opinion. Of note, I have in the past donated to Public Radio in two other major markets where I lived. I support Public Broadcasting.


At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess you and Steve Corbett are on different sides of the fence on that one. He was downright brutal on that subject.

At 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave you really need to stop listening and associating yourself with WILK.

This is all petty vindictivness. Do you remember when Kevin Lynn went to work for Kanjo. It was wall to wall Kevin bashing. Everything is personal, and this stems back to the ending of when the wilkers were on WVIA

At 5:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no problem with Bill Kelly's salary as long as:

1) the station flourishes, and

2) his salary is sustainable.

Who amongst us has the right to dictate another's salary?

Vote with your feet and your bucks.

At 7:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You might have your faults but one of them is not lack of loyalty. My family lives by that code.
Two great pieces today.
My cousin always thought loyalty was key.


At 8:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave you really need to stop listening and associating yourself with WILK.

At 8:32 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

Classical music is great but there are other options available which WVIA refuses to even experiment with and as stated programs like Democracy in America or some of the BBC programs heard on SKG never air on WVIA. I understand that these shows cost money, but even with cutbacks if programing isn't your top priority what else is?
As to local programing to cite one example George Graham has done a great service for local music, but he seems to have grown weary in the effort. I'd love to hear somebody new in the evening time slot. Thanks for a good job over the long haul, Mr Graham but its time to let somebody else have a shot. I am simply using Mr Graham as an example. He is not alone in the been doing the same thing for too long category.

At 8:33 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

I have no problem with Bill Kelly's salary as long as:

1) the station flourishes, and

2) his salary is sustainable.

At 8:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Watson was a good guy from the best place in the world. Pittston. He never left the town he served and loved. RIP Chick.

At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A double dose of pomposity from the professor who is himself a revisionist history buff. Yes he said he would go away and didn't. Yes he made a bet with a guy for lunch and reneged and yes he was absolutely convinced Romney would win! These are facts. The only other people similarly convinced of victory were Mr and Mrs Romney. Three people who obviously haven't set foot in the real world in some time if ever. The Professor seems to enjoy his fantasyland, but in truth he owes it to the rest of us to go away as promised and he should buy that guy a Happy Meal as I am sure his club serves them!
On another subject closer to home,
I am a regular listener and a long time contributor to WVIA. I never listen at night, but I truly enjoy the classical music played in the daytime. I don't even notice who the hosts are, but they all seem professional to me. Change for the sake of change isn't always good.
I say good job Kelly and with funding slashed lets all get on board and support local public radio. Its certainly far superior to the other options on the dial. Too bad you aren't still there and commenting on local news and politics. A show like that would be an excellent addition. Meanwhile keep up the good work with Lulac and stay healthy.

Ron R.

At 8:49 AM, Anonymous Professor Milburn Cleaver, OPA said...

RE: Ronald,
Young man, you completely validate my lectures on the lack of attention of today's youth. If you did your RESEARCH, you would not be making a complete imbecile of yourself in front of this classroom.
First of all, you state that I somehow am in denial of the fact that I predicted a Romney victory. Please, listen in class!!!! I admitted this fact!!
You keep harping on the myth that I (as you slackers would put it) "welched" on a wager to provide a free dinner to a fellow student if Romney lost. I DID NOT. If you did your RESEARCH you would know that the young punk refused my invitation. Granted, I could not bring him to the club because the majority of the members forbade it but I did promise the young slug a free meal. I will concede I should have checked with my brethren before promising the club as a location. Finally, I explained also in my lecture why I did not, as you put it, "go away". Again, your "instant pudding" attitude of wanting things so fast that you abandon RESEARCH in favor of fast and faulty conclusions makes you look silly and inept.
ANd for that Ronald, young man, I must now EXPELL you from this classroom!!! Please do NOT under any circumstances--RETURN!!! Unless, of course, you take up a position on the custodial staff (of which I am not even certain you would qualify for that).
Young Man,

At 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kind of funny isn't it, that decades ago, WVIA goes out and finds someone to help in their fund raising efforts and make a better PBS station.
They hire Bill Kelly --- he raises more money than expected.
He helps modernize WVIA, get local shows produced an on the air.
He basically oversees growth in every aspect.
Yet, people are upset because he is well compensated. I don't get it. If he took less money, would all the people whining be given more?
The problem with the wage slaves is that they are given a check for "hours" worked. CEO's, most, are earn checks for production produced .. Bill Kelly has earned his income.

At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Three people who obviously haven't set foot in the real world in some time if ever."

Patently false, mean-spirited and hatefully stated.

Come on Ron you know that. As a defense or opinion it dilutes your honesty and intellect.

Wise up.

At 3:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

$750,000 a year is $2,054.80 a day every day of the year.

$85.62 an hour every hour of the day.

$1.43 a minute every minute of the day.


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