Let us restore community to community radio
The present station manager, Winston Clark, and some board members, act as if they are unaware that federal rules about community radio require that they consult with their community and that they conduct station business in the public eye. They seem to be unaware that they are jeopardizing government funding when they exclude people. The federal Communications Act says, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) “may not distribute any of its funds to... any public broadcast station that does not hold open meetings in compliance with this provision... [and] funds may not be distributed to any public broadcast station unless such station establishes a community advisory board [which] meets at regular intervals.”
The recent sudden removal of a long-running local public affairs show, “Making Waves,” appeared to be the final straw. And so, on March 20, people came out, and they kept coming, until it seemed the meeting room could hold no more.
When Anne Larsen, one of the founders of WJFF, called for the resignation of Clark and some board members, only one of the 62 audience members objected. Instead, Larsen’s impassioned plea was accompanied by a round of applause that still echoes.
In the face of this community outcry, WJFF has postponed its pledge drive, which was slated to begin April 4. The board has set an executive session for April 10 to “discuss personnel issues.”
It is the hope of many that the board makes the changes that will restore community to our community radio station, that it realizes at last that it must act in the interests of the station and not of an individual, and that WJFF can once again proudly call itself “the best little station by a dam site.”
[Maureen Neville is the former host of WJFF music programs, “Riverside Café” and “Band Box.” She extends her thanks to those who contributed thoughts for this essay.]