Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"We are scaling back our volunteer capacity"

"Many thanks to those of you who submitted volunteer applications..."

With this email to the remaining volunteers at WPVM, MAIN's Executive Director Wally Bowen signaled the end of the community radio station WPVM, and the christening of a new station under the same call letters that has little or no ties to the community that created and funded it all these years. With a very few exceptions, the 60 - 70 volunteers from the community who have contributed thousands of hours of service have left - either in protest, or after being told (in the infamous words of one MAIN Board member,) "...there's the door." At least one longtime DJ was told he wouldn't even be allowed to do a farewell episode, leaving his regular listeners to tune in to a new syndicated talk show in his place.

From now on, all programming and scheduling will be decided unilaterally by the Executive Director. All editorial, operational, and governance decisions will be handled under a top-down, corporate-style authority structure, with all power resting with one man, Wally Bowen.

"Though we are scaling back our volunteer capacity at this time and
thus cannot accommodate all who applied, we hope many of you will
consider volunteering again in the future. In any event, we greatly
appreciate the contributions that so many of you have made to our
organization and to the community at large."

The fear and loathing demonstrated on a personal level by the Executive Director towards the volunteers belies this boilerplate pleasantry. A new group of volunteers is being recruited, with no experience or connection to the recent 'unpleasantness', and it remains to be seen whether the past will repeat itself...

Reportedly, those new volunteers, along with the few who decided to re-apply & were accepted by the ED, will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement. This will, in the future, allow the ED to eject anyone who voices disagreement with the internal management or strategic vision of the station.

more as it happens...

Again, thanks to those who have supported 'people-powered' radio in Asheville.

1 comment:

  1. This makes me so sad for Asheville. Thanks for keeping up the flow of info.