May 7, 2014 —
JEFFERSONVILLE, NY — One year after the resignations of its station manager and eight of nine trustees, public radio station Radio Catskill-WJFF faces a $15,000 penalty imposed by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) for failures of compliance in 2011. The new board of trustees this week posted notice of the penalty on the station website, wjffradio.org, and mailed a letter regarding this matter to supporters regarding the penalty and the ways the station is moving forward.
“We very much value the trust that the community places in the station,” said board of trustees president Sonja Hedlund. “Because of this, we wanted to be as transparent as possible in regard to the recent findings of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the penalty that was incurred by a past administration.”
“We also want our listeners to be aware of the many steps the new trustees and manager have taken in order to restore openness and full community service at WJFF,” she said.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting was established by Congress in 1967 in order to promote public media and to administer grants of federal funds to public radio and television stations. Stations that receive those funds must follow requirements established in federal law. In recent years, WJFF has received an annual grant of about $90,000 from the CPB. The Jeffersonville-based station has an annual operating budget of about $340,000.
The penalty against WJFF derives from an examination conducted by the Inspector General of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting last year and was imposed because WJFF did not take appropriate corrective actions to comply with all requirements of the Federal Communications Act after being instructed by CPB to do so in November of 2011. Among other obligations, the station is required to have a Community Advisory Board which meets regularly, and to hold board and committee meetings that are open to the public.
Winston Clark was station manager at the time of the CPB’s instruction. He resigned in April 2013 following public outcry over the radio station’s lack of transparency and diminished connection to the community. The entire board of Trustees with the exception of one resigned the week after Clark left.
The new board of trustees, elected in June 2013, now meets in full compliance with the open meetings regulation and has appointed a community advisory board (CAB) which meets regularly in open sessions. Adam Weinreich, the new general manager at WJFF, has worked under the guidance of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to put other compliance procedures in place and to create an archive of compliance documentation.
“The hard work that the new trustees and our staff have put toward full compliance at our community radio station is impressive and I am proud to be working alongside them,” said Hedlund. “Our listeners and supporters have stood by us as we worked to restore openness and accountability at WJFF. I cannot say enough about the many people who have stepped forward in volunteer roles and with their pledges of time, talent and financial support to make WJFF stronger than ever. We welcome any questions the public may have and invite all members of the community to attend our board of trustees meetings.”
The WJFF Board of Trustees will meet on Wednesday, May 21 at 6:30 p.m, at the Town of Callicoon Town Hall at the corner of Legion Street and Willy Avenue in Jeffersonville. The CPB Inspector General’s report and notifications of penalty can be found at wjffradio.org.