FCC denies former staffers’ nonrenewal request for KPTS, Wichita

The FCC decided in July 1999 that it did not have grounds to get involved in an extended staff-management conflict at public TV station KPTS in Wichita/Hutchinson, Kan., but it fined the station $5,000 for not reporting two staffers’ gender discrimination complaints. Before the
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554

In re Application of )
Kansas Public Telecommunications Services, Inc.) File No. BRET-980129KG
For Renewal of License for )
Station KPTS(TV) )
Hutchinson, Kansas )


Adopted: July 28, 1999; Released: July 28, 1999

By the Chief, Mass Media Bureau:


1. The Commission, by the Chief, Mass Media Bureau, pursuant to delegated authority, has
before it for consideration: (i) the license renewal application of Kansas Public Telecommunications Services,
Inc. (“KPTS, Inc.” or “licensee”) for Station KPTS(TV), Hutchinson, Kansas; (ii) an informal objection to
the renewal application filed by Candyce Hoop (“Hoop”) and Som Chanthabouly (“Chanthabouly”)
(collectively “informal objectors”), former employees of KPTS(TV); (iii) licensee’s “Motion For Extension of
Time” to file its opposition; (iv) an opposition to the informal objection filed by the licensee; (v) one letter filed
by both informal objectors and another letter filed by Hoop in response to the licensee’s opposition; (vi) an
amendment to the station’s renewal application filed on August 18, 1998, by the licensee; (vii) a “Motion For
Leave to File an Additional Pleading” and a pleading titled “Motion to Dismiss” filed by the licensee; (viii) a
letter filed by the informal objectors in response to the licensee’s two motions; and (ix) copies of the
discrimination complaints that the informal objectors filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of

Lawsuits are latest fallout from 1996 staff revolt in Wichita

The bitter conflict that led to the departure of the top two executives at Wichita, Kan., public TV station KPTS in 1996 has not yet been put to rest.  A leader of the staff rebellion, Candyce P. (Candy) Hoop, and her onetime assistant, Som P. Chanthabouly, filed suits in federal court May 7, [1999], charging that the station fired them in retribution for expressing workplace grievances three years ago. Though Kansas law allows plaintiffs to specify only damages “in excess of $75,000” in such lawsuits, the two former KPTS staffers are actually going for more than $1 million apiece, said one of their attorneys, Frank Kamas. Gloria Flentje, attorney for the station, gave the boilerplate response: “The station believes the cases are without merit and will defend itself vigorously.” The suits name not only KPTS but also the ousted longtime managers, interim and current presidents, and past and present board chairmen.

Parenteau resigns Wichita position under staff pressure

After six weeks of intense conflict with the majority of his staff, the president of Wichita’s KPTS, Zoel Parenteau, resigned his position Aug. 23 [1996]. His longtime v.p. of programming, Jim Lewis, resigned under pressure Aug. 8 [1996]. Parenteau will remain on staff as a v.p. and representative to the Kansas Public Broadcasting Council until July 1997, when he turns 65 and had planned to retire.

Wichita staff uprising forces v.p. resignation

Uneasy staff members have returned to their work at Wichita’s KPTS after demanding the firing of the station’s top two executives and prompting the resignation of Vice President Jim Lewis. But late last week they were still seeking the ouster of President Zoel Parenteau, and the Board of Trustees’ executive committee has declined to let them take their case to the full board. Board leaders said Parenteau already planned to retire when he turns 65 next July 26. Seventeen of the 24 full-time KPTS staff members petitioned the trustees July 12 to investigate the management of Parenteau and Lewis. “Zoel Parenteau and Jim Lewis have conspired …