Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"The Nine" on 'Revolutionary Radio'. Download here.

Listen here to the first episode of 'Revolutionary Radio', WPVM's newest program. Several of the "Gang of Nine", the long-time volunteers fired by Wally Bowen, participate in a roundtable discussion of the issues underlying the current controversy at WPVM.



    Dear MAIN board members,

    I am stunned at the letter MAIN's executive director sent to 9 WPVM volunteers yesterday, expecting them to leave the station for a period of 6 weeks (Who are we kidding here? That 6 weeks will continue into eternity should Mr. Bowen have his way). I understand that the rest of the volunteers' participation in the station will be "revisited" as well.

    I can't help but characterize Mr. Bowen's actions as petulant, in blatant disregard of the participatory democracy specified in MAIN's mission statement, and in contradiction of the recent actions of this board. As I understand it, Mr. Bowen does not have the authority to issue such an edict; it should have come directly from you, MAIN's board.

    The WPVM volunteers have been acting in good faith based on the instructions of the MAIN board. During the last few months, they have run the radio station conscientiously and professionally. To allow the Executive Director to force them out unceremoniously and without opportunity for recourse would be a serious breach of that faith.

    Earlier this year, I discontinued my participation in the radio show (Making Progress), that I co-hosted with Barry Summers and Veronika Gunther. My co-hosts went on to devote countless hours to keeping the station alive after the station manager quit and was not immediately replaced. Again, their actions were consistent with MAIN's policies as articulated by you, the board.

    I left the station because, sadly, I knew this day would come: the day when Mr. Bowen would consider the considerable efforts of the WPVM volunteers and at best disregard them, at worst, sabotage them. Dedicated volunteers are the backbone of organizations such as yours. They deserve praise encouragement and when necessary, guidance - certainly not vilification. I think you'll Mr. Bowen's attempt to gut WPVM will prove to be a huge impediment to the progress of both MAIN and WPVM should it be allowed to stand.

    Though Wally Bowen is the founder of MAIN, you - the board - are its governing body. I urge you to be mindful of MAIN's by-laws and mission statement and remind Mr. Bowen that he does not have the authority to decide the fate of WPVM's volunteers. That is your responsibility. I only hope you move to correct this injustice and behave with the same sense of fairness and good will that the WPVM volunteers have demonstrated throughout the past few months.

    I urge you to act swiftly to defuse the misguided impulses of Mr. Bowen and give WPVM's volunteers the consideration they deserve.

    –– David Lynch

  2. I can guess at about 6 of the 9.
    Why aren't they being named?

  3. The 9:

    Stephen Kirbach
    Jeff Davis
    Steven Howard
    Jason Holland
    Greg Lyon
    Stephanie Biziewski
    Mark Ritzenthaler
    Brian Nesbit
    Barry Summers

    These are the ones who have all confirmed that they received the notice from Bowen yesterday.

  4. I just want to hammer into everyone's head that I am Number nine, number nine, number nine, etc.

    And oddly, Jason Holland has claimed that he is "Seven of Nine." (Wasn't she the blonde with the large breasts on Star Trek?)

  5. Here's the response to "Revolutionary Radio" from Wally Bowen:

    An apology to our listeners:

    We owe our listeners and supporters an apology for a program entitled “Revolutionary Radio” which aired the evening of Monday, Feb. 16.

    This program, hosted by WPVM volunteers who oppose a recent decision by the MAIN Board of Directors, contained multiple violations of core journalism standards of fairness, accuracy and balance. It was riddled with inaccuracies, half-truths, hearsay and innuendo, none of which were challenged due to the program’s one-sidedness.

    We were especially troubled by the participation of Mountain Xpress opinion-page editor Nelda Holder, who is also past-president of the local chapter of the N.C. League of Women Voters. Her presence lent an air of credibility to this unprofessional and biased program.

    This lapse in judgment among long-time WPVM volunteers is precisely why we called for a six-week, cooling-off period for this group.

    As we welcome our interim station manager, Kim Clark, we want to assure our listeners and supporters that MAIN and WPVM will, in the future, strive to uphold the highest standards of credible and professional journalism, even when it is produced by volunteers.

  6. It's worth noting that the WPVM.org website has had it's 'comment' function turned off, so we can't respond to this screed from Wally Bowen, or defend Nelda Holder, a respected journalist, who he casts in an unfavorable light here. So much for citizens access to media...

  7. "As we welcome our interim station manager, Kim Clark, we want to assure our listeners and supporters..."

    Excuse me? There's not going to BE enough supporters of WPVM to worry about offending if this course is followed. I've regularly contributed to WPVM, and I will not do it again with the station under Wally's thumb.

    I also plan to urge anyone I know who does contribute to stop. I know that finances have been an issue at the station in a while, and I can't imagine that this will increase listener contributions. It seems to me that wally bowen would rather see the station destroyed that let the people who run it RUN it, which strikes me as being not only crazy, but counter-productive in achieving a strong base of community media.

  8. This is in the rumor category, as in I have no proof of it, but we were told on good authority that when the whole thing started back in September, the Executive Director argued strenuously at the Board against taking the station away from his control (not surprising). He laid out three solutions, as he saw it, to the controversy: a) ride it out, b) give him even more authority ie: let him clean house of the troublemakers, or c) close the station altogether. Again, call it rumor. But I agree in general, from someone who has known him and worked closely with him over the years: WB would rather see it go under than go on without him at the helm.

    This goes to the guy's character, and is this the kind of person who should have veto power over everything and everyone connected with a "community" radio station?