Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Oh the PR messy mess: OPB says one thing, Ira Glass' agent says another

Oh, it's not over, is it? It came so quickly and so sweet: a lot of posts out to the blogosphere and voila! The message came from Ira Glass' agent that the venue would be changed for his upcoming Portland speaking gig. But tonight OregonLive reports from OPB that they're sticking by the venue. Even though it's not up on the OPB website anymore as being at the anti-LGBT church. Nice job there, OPB. You're not doin' the best job with this one today, despite having spent hours and over 37 page viewings on this website (according to my handy statcounter) by your IP address here on lelonopo. So Tom Doggett, vice president for OPB television programming is saying they're sticking by their venue choice?

Nice. I just sent Steven Barclay, Ira Glass' booking agent an e mail for clarification. Let's hope Tom just didn't get the memo that "things are in transition." If you'd like to ask Steven for clarification on this too, you can e mail him at: (e mail removed: they've changed the venue!)

7:50 AM: Yes, it's a PR mess for OPB, because despite this being reported in today's Oregonian, I just heard from Steven Barclay who says:
As of the close of the day yesterday, we were told by OPB that they would find a new venue, following Ira’s wishes. And he copied our friends at OPB.

11:50 AM update: From John Bell at OPB: " The information the Oregonian reported is incorrect. We are currently working on securing another venue and plan to have that wrapped up today. Mr. Doggit was called at home last night and was unaware of the details of the event." It will be interesting to see what OPB ends up saying about this: I hope we can all agree that our reaction to this odd booking choice comes from a strong audience base of LGBTQ people who truly love This American Life, and OPB, and just couldn't see stepping foot into an institution like New Hope who has worked so hard to discriminate against us. And congratulations to the 95 bloggers who sent e mails to Ira's agent and the calls from The Portland Mercury (see the comments to this post): you are awesome.

3:00 PM update: Sounds like Ira will be at the Convention Center. So much more easily accessible via public transit, too. For info on OPB's response, read the comments.


Kathryn said...

Oh they won't pull one over on us LeLo; we won't let that happen.

Time to start writing e-mails again peeps.

Anonymous said...

Hey Lelo in Nopo,
The media blitz continues! It's Kristi Turnquist here, of the Oregonian. I'd love to talk with you about this pretty remarkable chain of events. Can you e-mail me if you're willing to talk over the phone? I'm at Or you can call me, at 503-221-8227.

Katherine Gray said...

Thanks for being on top of this. I can't believe OPB would ever consider something like this.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Maybe we need to send Becky Chinn some emails. From The decision on the new venue is expected by this afternoon, according to Becky Chinn, who oversees fundraising events for OPB.

Chinn . . . said the decision to move the event was mutual, in part to move the focus of public discussion from the venue to the event itself.

"We could have been stubborn," Chinn said. "But the ultimate thing was that this issue was starting to distract from Ira's visit.

What the $%#@ does that mean, "stubborn"? Oh, yeah, Ira, you are having your talk at an anti-gay church whether you or anybody else likes it!

No wonder I don't contribute to OPB.


LeLo said...

Janek-My feeling is exactly the same. This is clearly watching OPB fumble this one, and the opportunity they have to apologize and move on. Her comment about they "could have been stubborn" is a very poor choice of words and positioning. It's interesting to note that Ms. Chinn is currently a part of the first class of the national PBS Diversity Task Force Leadership Program:
Let's hope she becomes a better leader on diversity issues than she's currently portraying.

witchtrivets said...

You go Lelo. Although I agree, this is a fumble on OPB's part for sure. I knew Ira Glass would not let us down, knowingly.

Great work following this, reporting this, and advocating for change.

Norm! said...

Wow. OPB is being stubborn about this controversy.

This controversy is no longer about the poor event venue choice. Now it's about OPB's unwillingness to apologize and re-affirm its commitment to inclusiveness.

Anonymous said...

You go! Will you throw up a little if i say "power of voice"??

LeLo said...

JGH-No. But I might if you say leverage or low hanging fruit. :)