Report reveals admin disputes with WKMS


WPSD Local 6 in Paducah will broadcast another report about Murray State today (Dionte Berry/The News)

Ava Chuppe, Senior Writer

An April 20 report from Paducah, Kentucky, news station WPSD Local 6 revealed disputes between University administration and Murray State’s public radio station, WKMS.

The report comes after Attorney General Daniel Cameron ruled the University violated the Open Records Act by withholding email correspondence regarding video footage of former 42nd Judicial Circuit Judge Jamie Jameson roaming the Marshall County Judicial Building in his underwear. The ruling allowed WPSD access to several documents, including emails, reports and contracts. 

The first reported dispute involves former WKMS reporter Liam Niemeyer’s attempt to learn COVID-19 case numbers, including cases within the University. After Niemeyer filed an open records request with the Calloway County Health Department, President Bob Jackson assembled Provost Tim Todd and then WKMS Station Manager Chad Lampe for a Zoom meeting to “discuss WKMS.”

Jackson, Todd and Lampe all declined to answer questions from WPSD regarding negotiations about the “mission and vision of WKMS” that followed.

As The News reported previously, however, Lampe testified before the state Judicial Conduct Commission he faced pressure from University administration when Niemeyer filed a separate open records request for email correspondence regarding the Jameson incident in 2022.

Lampe said Jameson told him University administrators, including Jackson, objected to the story.

“If we’re talking about this situation and whether or not I felt as though I was attempted, that someone was attempting to influence me or exercise some leverage over me because of the power they hold, yes,” Lampe testified.

Lampe said administrators then asked for a written explanation for the records request.

“There was no direct punishment to me directly, but the public radio station had received…changes in their budgetary allocation, as you would see lawmakers contact University officials…I can say the station—not necessarily me, but the station—could receive some negative blowback from the administration,” Lampe testified.

Another clash with administrators occurred when Niemeyer pursued a story about Kentucky Sen. Jason Howell’s Twitter account. The account “liked” several sexually explicit photos, a development Niemeyer and former WKMS News Director Rachel Keller agreed was newsworthy. 

However, the story never aired.

Niemeyer, currently a reporter for the nonprofit Kentucky Lantern, instead wrote the story for that publication. In an email to Marketing and Communications Director Shawn Touney, he requested an interview with Jackson on the subject.

In the email, Niemeyer said Lampe told him to stop the story before it aired.

“He [Lampe] told me he couldn’t guarantee that my job would be protected if the story ran,” Niemeyer said.

WPSD also obtained a 2021 email from College of Business Dean David Eaton to Lampe and Todd.

In the email, Eaton said Jackson received complaints about the “‘investigative’ nature” of WKMS reporting, which he called “a legit function of journalism.”

“Clearly, WKMS is not simply a publicity arm of Murray State,” Eaton said. “National news [and] events get covered by NPR… The issue seems to be what in-house reporters cover in this area.”

Though administrators reportedly declined to speak with WPSD, Touney issued a statement on behalf of the University, which read in part: “The University has provided consistent financial support to WKMS for many years, including during the pandemic. This financial support, future work and new leadership for WKMS allows us to fully pursue WKMS’ vision…”

Currently, WPSD awaits the results of their lawsuit against University administration for allegedly continuing to withhold public information. 

Anchor Todd Faulkner said this week the station plans to air a story regarding what transpired when WKMS received a grant to fund another reporter.

To read WPSD’s report and relevant documents, visit and click on the “Local 6 Investigates: Murray State University” tab.

Check back with The News for updates.

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