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Issues and Voices that Matter January 31, 2019

So Long

It's time to say so long...

On February 11, 2019, this web site will be permanently deactivated and no longer be accessible to a visitor like you.

(Written by Stephen McKenney Steck, (Title graphic - Rob Kammel/KMDG. Photos – CMF Public Media)

The Beginnings

From August 2009 forward, as an early adopter of the on-line audio podcast platform, CMF Public Media produced and posted more than 400 podcasts featuring “Issues & Voices that Matter” principally in East Seminole County Florida.

CMF operated as a non-profit, non-commercial public media entity exempted by a 501-c-3 code approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt, charitable organization. CMF is governed by a local board of former and currently engaged trustees.

Hyper-Local Content

From our first podcast to our last, CMF’s mission was to produce hyper-local content focusing on issues that were not sustainably or substantially addressed by local mainstream electronic media. We took pride in addressing issues about which we believed you needed to know in order to be an informed community listener. The vast majority of CMF’s audio podcasts were edited for brevity and clarity. However, we always posted the full length, unedited version for the listener who sought more depth. Almost a quarter of all listeners listened to the unedited version, too.

Page Views, Downloads and Streaming

Through December 2013, more than 90,000 CMF page viewers each year streamed or downloaded 35,000 podcasts about local issues addressing our economy, homelessness, public education, the histories of our communities, the environment, commentary by local thought leaders, and issues addressed in local public forums. In CMF’s program archive, noted by categories at the bottom of our home page, you may click-through a long list of local topics. We particularly note that more than 180 podcasts featured topics about your local government and your elected officials. For 5-years, CMF produced “fresh” content on a regular basis. And for those 5-years, local donors gave CMF $96,000. If you were one of them, we thank you!

Same Mission + Additional Platforms + Wider Geographic Reach = Radio & Newspaper

In 2014, the CMF governing board redirected the time and focus of the organization’s leaders toward the possibility of applying for a non-commercial low or full power FM radio station frequency. This decision was made to enhance CMF’s reach to the broader geographic area of East Seminole County Florida including the cities of Oviedo, Winter Springs, Longwood and Casselberry. The population in this area was substantially underserved by local electronic or print media who chose to report on broader metro, state or regional issues oriented to a more metropolitan audience in greater Central Florida.

CMF faced the reality that such a broader public media initiative – like a radio station — could not be fully developed or even pursued if, at the same time, its leaders continued producing fresh productions every month while simultaneously dealing with on-going fundraising and administration issues. As a result, the board shifted CMF’s podcast production schedule to an “archive” mode and appropriately ceased the cultivation of new donors and stopped renewing existing donors given that CMF was no longer expending donor funds for fresh CMF podcasts produced on a scheduled basis.

Later, the board also tentatively discussed creating a CMF-published community newspaper. These three public media platforms – on-line podcasts, broadcast and print — were envisioned as a synergistic opportunity to enhance hyper-local news coverage in an underserved area like Seminole County Florida.

Regulatory Snail Pace

Yet, the idea of a local radio station for the area faced a fluid date for applications put in place by the United States’ Federal Communication Commission (FCC) which regulates broadcast stations. Experts with whom CMF consulted then believed such an application window might be opened by the FCC between 2015 and 2019.

A Time and a Season for Everything

While CMF planned and waited for an FCC application window, the board faced the inevitability of “a time and a season for everything.” To make the future more acute, the likelihood of a useful radio frequency in the area lessened during the wait as other broadcast technologies encroached on those frequencies. This awareness, coupled with an additional 2-year development and fundraising phase (were the FCC to approve CMF’s license application), led the board to realize CMF’s “time” had come and the “season” for CMF was likely over.

A Vote to Dissolve

As a result, on January 23, 2019 the CMF board unanimously voted to dissolve CMF over the course of the next several months and to deactivate the CMF web site. The board also directed that CMF dispose of its assets (equipment and cash balances) to local non-profit organizations having a mission similar to CMF’s.

The CMF board, Desta and Steve offer sincere thanks to a loyal multitude of CMF donors, program participants and all other advocates and volunteer stakeholders who have given so eagerly over the past 11-year life of CMF.

And Steve offers special thanks to the web design, development and maintenance team (past and present) at KMDG for their untiring 11-year tender love and caring of the web site and for CMF. And to volunteer photographer Charles E. Miller for literally hundreds of photos he snapped for most of our podcast features.

Should you feel inclined to offer your comments – positive or constructively critical — about CMF and its 11-year role in hyper-local media in East Seminole County there is a comment box at the bottom of this page. You may comment anonymously or leave your name. As warranted, we’ll offer a response.

So Long

Whether you’re from CMF’s local area or you have listened from somewhere else in our world and whether this is your first visit or your 100th, thank you for visiting CMF’s web pages and listening to our podcasts. We are grateful.

For CMF’s current and former board of trustees and from Steve’s namesakes, so long!


Stephen McKenney Steck and Desta L. Horner, co-founders, CMF Public Media



After you launch the slideshow below, click “Next” and “Previous” to rotate through the photos.

10 Responses to “So Long”

  1. Randall Morris says:

    Stephen and Desta,

    So sorry to read of CMF’s dissolution. Your thorough and thoughtful programming was of tremendous value to our community. The shear breadth of the subject matter covered over the past decade was remarkable. I enjoyed the diverse views in the commentary. Of particular note, was your historical perspective and those marvelous oral histories. I learned so much. Thank you for your outstanding effort. Also, thanks to your volunteers and board. My best to you in your future endeavors.

  2. steck says:

    Randall Morris,
    Our thanks goes to you for the sustained commentary you provided on the “ViewPoint Seminole” podcasts. The panel was always more alert and on their game when you were part of the discussion. With you in the mix, CMF was able to more eagerly advance its mission of addressing “issues and voices that matter.” Your voice and viewpoint mattered to many.

    Thanks, Randy.

    Steve & Desta

  3. Constance B. says:

    This choice must not have been easy, Steve. Yet, it might be riddled with the paradox that accompanies so many of our decisions as we grow older: personal commitments aren’t always appreciated by the audience for which they are intended. For you, however, there remains the pure commitment of service to your community.

    So, now it’s off to the road and 100 miles  of awe and adventure. Take care of yourself, Steve, and thank you.

  4. Peter says:

    Congrats to CMF on a great run and providing exceptional service to Central Florida!

  5. Steve Henken says:

    Dear Steve
    Thanks for all these years of service to the community, I always enjoyed sitting down with you for an interview. That majestic voice we all heard for years on the radio and with your cmf media site will live on always. Enjoy the peaceful days and continue to enjoy retirement with health and happiness for you and desta. Best always my friend.
    Steve Henken

  6. Pam Garris says:

    Is the gentleman who did the presentation on steamboats in Florida still with us? How would one contact him for a presentation to another historical society?

    Sorry to see this site cease.

    Pam Garris

  7. Pat Southward says:

    You will be missed. The need for local news coverage is becoming ever more urgent. Thank you for your dedication and your sacrifices to make this service available for so long.

    PS - I hope your archive will wind up preserved for history somewhere. Imagine how much we’d appreciate having similar resources from 100 years ago!

  8. steck says:

    Pat Southward,
    Your encouragement along the way has been noticed and appreciated, and yes, we’ve already given the audio files for “burial” in the Oviedo (Florida) Historical Society’s time capsule. And, of course we have full and complete digital copies of every podcast stored in safe locations.

    Stephen McKenney Steck.

  9. steck says:

    Steve Henken,

    As an advocate for — or a sometimes critic of — CMF Public Media, you were always engaged. Thanks for your own involvement in the life of the City of Oviedo!

    Stephen McKenney Steck.

  10. steck says:

    Ms. Garris,

    Yes, Ed L’Heureux, is still around. Feature producer Desta Horner will send you his contact information in a separate email.

    Listen fast — the web page and all its 400+ podcasts will be taken off line on 2/12/19!

    Stephen McKenney Steck.

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