KJZZ Hides Information from IRS, Donors

KJZZ’s Kristena Hansen

In a follow-up attack piece yesterday on the Police Officers of Scottsdale Association (POSA) and the POSA Outreach programs, KJZZ’s Kristena Hansen (ASU Cronkite School grad and former AZ Republic reporter) posted under the salacious headline, “Scottsdale Police Union Defends Big Payouts to Telemarketer“:

Instead, the question is really about ethics, said Sandra Miniutti, a spokeswoman for nonprofit watchdog group Charity Navigator.

“There are far more charities out there that are more efficient and we can’t afford to waste money on these for-profit firms,” Miniutti said.

It bears repeating that Hansen’s headline continues her inaccurate characterization of POSA as a “union.” Scottsdale doesn’t have collective bargaining for any city employee groups. Beyond that…

Just for fun, I looked up KJZZ’s entry on Charity Navigator via their affiliated “Friends of Public Radio Arizona” (FPRAZ). I was somewhat surprised to see that they only got three of four possible rating stars, and a score of only 81% for “accountability and transparency” for Fiscal Year 2013!

KJZZ got dinged for omitting information on their official Internal Revenue Service Form 990 annual filing, including the CEO’s name, salary, and process for determining CEO compensation.

According to Charity Navigator, KJZZ also doesn’t make publicly accessible on its website its

  • donor privacy policy
  • audited financial records
  • IRS Form 990

And that, my friends, is how with a few dozen keystrokes and a healthy dose of prejudice you manufacture news instead of really trying to understand and report it.

In reality, KJZZ may have a perfectly good reason for excluding this information from their official filings and from public view…or maybe they just forgot. Either way, I didn’t do any more investigation than these official records, because that wasn’t the point of my story.

It does, however, bear noting that public radio also raises funds through contributions. Those fundraising efforts come with expenses that are in-part paid for out of funds raised. And of course, public radio has enjoyed generous taxpayer-funded support which is NOT voluntary on the part of the taxpayer!

I’ve periodically donated to KJZZ, and I do listen on average an hour or two every week. For the most part, KJZZ seems to provide detail-rich, balanced coverage of events and issues. I’ve encouraged them to do more locally-focused stories, like the discussion about light rail in Scottsdale in which Jim Derouin and I provided contrasting perspectives.

Can POSA do better at fundraising efficiency (and perhaps more importantly, accurate reporting of expenses)? Of course. Few non-profit organizations are perfect in this regard, and neither is KJZZ.

But this Hansen effort has taken on the flavor of someone with an ax to grind, or someone who couldn’t find anything better to do…or both. I also heard one POSA supporter say that Hansen made a follow-up phone call to them implying that they should withdraw support for the POSA Outreach efforts like Shop With A Cop and even ask for a refund! It’s very disappointing, and I hope not reflective of the future direction of Public Radio in Arizona.

I do note that other sources list Todd Sanders as the FPRAZ chairman of the board, and Louis Stanley is cited as the CEO of FPRAZ. Jim Paluzzi has the title of “general manager” of KJZZ and “vice-president of public service.” Maybe they can put a stop to the Fox News-style hyperbolizing…and fix their own financial transparency problem at the same time.

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2 Comments

  1. NPR journalists used to be trusted to follow the lines of ethical, responsible journalism.
    Thanks Scottsdale Trails for shining the light.

  2. As the former Executive Director of a 501C3 in Illinois for 12 years, I am well aware of what is involved. As Executive Director, it was my job to raise the funds as well as write grants to enable our community-based, social service non-profit agencyt to continue serving the community…to that end I received a salery, as did the financial director who made sure we were keeping track and following rules of all expenditures, teachers who taught adults skills that enabled them to get a job,receptionist, the janitor and paid bills for utilities, telephone, etc., etc., etc…..Incidently…the CEOs of Red Cross, United Way, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc are all paid an ample amount for their services. What also is unbelieveable is that this was supposedly started by a phone call made by a member of the City Council. If this is true…personally I would support a recall petition. As a side note, a friend of my granddaughter was selected by her school to “Shop With A Cop” This will be a highlight of her memories for many years to come…a good one to maybe make some of the bad ones go away…thank you POSA

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