URTV: follow the money and run it like a business

Your article on the financial condition at URTV was interesting ["Broke," June 9]. Having operated a profitable production company and served on the board of a community-access channel, I continue to be amazed at how complicated URTV has made its financial picture.

The financial operation of a station the size of URTV is fairly straightforward. Money comes from primarily one source, the county, and may be supplemented by a local jurisdiction — in this case, Asheville. The jurisdictions typically allocate funds from the money collected from the local cable company (Charter Communications). This income is derived from a formula and then used to support activities like the county channel, the city channel and the public-access channel. The distribution process is open and based on percentages, which may change, but usually benefits the same organizations. The organizations receiving funds broadcast over Charter's network, so everyone benefits.

Often, as was done here, upfront money is supplied by the county and/or city to provide for capital costs. This money comes from general funds and is not dependent upon Charter.

The end result is that accounting for where the initial money came from, how much was received and how it was spent is a fairly simple process. When I first arrived in Asheville, I joined URTV and, based on nothing more than experience and looking around, I could not equate the production facilities I saw with the sums of money that have been described as being spent.

Once capital expenditures have been made, monthly operating costs should be designed to be covered by funds received through the county/city from Charter based on each year's distribution formula. URTV should be able to present an annual budget and base its operating decisions on how much money it is scheduled to receive.

URTV is a small business and needs to be operated as such.

— Karl Katterjohn
Asheville

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5 thoughts on “URTV: follow the money and run it like a business

  1. R.Bernier opinions

    Karl,
    Thank you for your views & asking the questions about funds & how they were spent.

    Three former board members ask the hard questions as far back as 2007 & all three were removed from the board.

    The next big question should be, does Buncombe County pay one more payment of $47,000 to this same Director/Board of URTV?

    I think not, let others use theses funds to find a new home for our public access, public access can be saved but not with the current Board & Director.

    RB

  2. I’d like to add that a number of URTV member producers (who I believe are no longer classified as members) tried to bring this to the public’s and decisionmakers’ attention as far back as the fall of 2006, mere months after URTV went on the air.

    The six-year budget showed, at that time, that URTV would be out of money and unable to operate by some time in 2010. There were hundreds of thousands of dollars to get the project off and running for a couple of years but fundraising was needed to keep it going.

    The reason they never hired a development professional was because the hadn’t budgeted for that position. Anyone who knows anything about running a 501(c)3 knows that an organization cannot continue without one.

    Garlinghouse was hired, in part, because of her fundraising expertise yet, no serious fundraising was ever done and deficit-spending year after year is what brought us to the point we’re at today.

    To anyone paying attention for the past four years, the current state of affairs is no surprise.

  3. Hey Karl,

    I have not seen or heard from you since you stopped the record tape and walked out the control room of GLoLady TV the day we filmed our Halloween show about Witches back in 2007. You went to China right? Back then you could not see us streaming live.

    Why don’t you come down to the URTV studio on Friday at 4pm and check out the show now? We have had 2 spin-offs and now filming 2 1/2 hours of live programing each week.

    It is hard to make an intelligent informed opinion from the outside. That is why we try to educate the public on GLoLady TV. Some people want to stay in the dark and cast shadows on those who try to do good. There is always a light in the dark, GLo For IT!!!

  4. R.Bernier opinions

    The current direction of URTV Glo person speaks for itself.

    How did this happen? Do you think the board could have done anything diffent? (if so,what?)

    Since you are “inside” then you may have the answers.

    Thanks
    RB

  5. In Sept 26,. of 2007 Mark Wilson issued an email to the BOD and the ED.
    It said: request from the executive committee
    Pat,
    The executive committee has concerns about URTV’s current and future finaacial status and are requesting the following:
    1. Immediate freeze on all hiring of salaried or hourly staff.
    2.An immediate freeze on all hiring of contract labor or services.
    3. An immediate freeze on all non-essential expenditures> (Essential expenditures defined as payroll and day-to-day operational expenses.)
    Additionally, for the next and all future Board meetings, please be prepared to present a detailed, Quickbooks -generated expense report .

    So she flew in someone from Texas and had them teach her or Joe Scotto, how to operate QuickBooks.
    This requirement from the Executive committee was never followed.

    See foundationcenter.org, key in URTV to see how much was overspent in the 2007-2008 fiscal year. URTV hss overspent their PEG fees to by from $60,000, to $87,000
    when one views the available 990s at Foundation Center’s website.

    For the full story see Oct. 2007 treasurer’s report at this link
    http://www.ourasheville.org/071115-urtv/

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