As Sept. 18 quickly approaches I decided I had to write this letter. Since the news of the cancellation of "Pepper & Friends" TV show, myself and some others have been working hard to try to save the show. To begin with, I just knew this would be an easy task because I felt all of our community would be right there with me. Much to my naiveté and disbelief, I am shocked and saddened with what has not happened.
Paul and James for 27 years have given so very much to our community — their time, energy, voice but even better than that, their heart and love. They have always been there for whomever has needed them to help out because they care about others so much.
In the past few months I have personally been ashamed of our community. Where are all of these people who should be speaking out publicly about what is wrongly being done to Paul and James? For years sponsors have had the best possible advertising they could get from Paul and James. Guests from all walks of life have been allowed to come on the show and promote their events including friends, community leaders, and some of Columbia’s highest officials like our mayor, state legislators and the governor. Where are you people and why haven’t you spoken out publicly about the cancellation? Don’t you realize if the show is taken off the air you will not have that outlet anymore?
Contrary to what has been said, this cancellation is not about the money. Another person and I had a meeting with KOMU General Manager Marty Siddall on July 2. We asked Mr. Siddall if we found someone who would underwrite the show for $200,000 if that would save the show. His response to that was, “No, I will not guarantee that the money would be put towards Pepper & Friends.” Wake up Columbia and mid-Missouri. This show is not being canceled because of the poor economy or money loss — there is something else going on.
TV stations will not cover anything about this story. Radio stations, with the exception of KBIA, won’t cover our events, protests, town hall meetings, etc. And with the exception of the Missourian, we have had very little coverage lately from newspapers. Although all of the newspapers were sent press releases — the Missourian was the only one who showed up to our very important town hall meeting. Why didn’t the Columbia Daily Tribune want to cover this important meeting? We should all ask that question. Something bigger is going on behind all of this. If the show gets canceled our entire community has so much to lose. For those of you who signed our petition, gathered signatures, made posters, attended our protest, made phone calls, attended our town hall meeting, wrote letters to newspapers, Board of Curators, Chancellor Deaton, Jackie Jones, Marty Siddall and publicly stood up for Paul and James — thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. You make me proud to live in this community.
To those of you who could and should have stood up and made a difference — shame on you for not speaking out publicly. I’m going to keep on voicing my opinion and not give up. It is still not too late for you to do the same, but time is running out quickly.
As of noon Sept. 18 if the show has not been saved, I will sadly say goodbye to ‘Pepper & Friends’ and the two faces who are the heart and soul of KOMU: Paul Pepper and James Mouser. This show has held a place in my home and heart for 27 years. I will also say goodbye to KOMU and my dollars will "say" goodbye to any local advertisers that remain with the station.