Interim station manager named for WPVM

Interim station manager named for WPVM-attachment0

Wally Bowen, executive director of the Mountain Area Information Network, today announced an interim station manager for Asheville’s low-power FM radio station, WPVM. Kim Clark, the former program director at the popular public radio station WNCW, which is based at Isothermal Community College, is the new WPVM manager.

Bowen also said that nine WPVM volunteers who “simply don’t seem to be able to accept” the MAIN board’s decision regarding management of the station have been asked to stay away from the station for at least six weeks to allow Clark to do her job. MAIN, a nonprofit Internet service provider, holds the WPVM broadcast license.

Some WPVM volunteers have been upset with Bowen since last fall, when he dismissed volunteer Gillian Coats, saying she had continually questioned MAIN’s right to manage the station. At the time, a number of volunteers protested during their on-air shows or simply stopped volunteering.

Volunteers have also continued to push for a new management structure for the radio station, and made a presentation to MAIN’s board on Feb. 10. The board listened to the presentation, but said that it would ask Bowen to develop a new station-management plan. For a full report on that meeting, see Wednesday’s edition of the Mountain Xpress.

See the full press release regarding Clark, from the WPVM Web site, below.

Jason Sandford, multimedia editor

Kim Clark, former program director at public radio WNCW, has been named interim station manager for WPVM.

For more than 10 years at WNCW, Kim worked in virtually all aspects of this grassroots, nonprofit radio station, from technical operations and audio production, to news gathering and fundraising. During this time, she gained extensive experience in managing and working with volunteers.

In 2005, she wrote, edited, and co-produced Strike — a documentary series about the 1929 Marion textile strike. The program met with wide acclaim and is now in the permanent collection of the N.C. Textile Museum.  In February, 2008, she led the creation of a daily, locally-produced newscast for WNCW.

More recently, she co-produced a promotional film about PopAsheville that will be shown at the 2009 South-By-Southwest music, film and interactive media festival in Austin, Texas.  She is also helping to lead an oral history and documentary project for McDowell County.

Kim is a native of Morganton, N.C. and a cum laude graduate of UNC-Charlotte.

“We are extremely fortunate to find someone with Kim Clark’s experience in grassroots, community radio who is willing to help lead at this transitional moment in our organization’s history,” said Wally Bowen, executive director of MAIN.

Bowen called for a cooling-off period for those volunteers who oppose the board’s Feb. 10 decision not to change MAIN’s bylaws and restructure the organization.  “It’s time to turn the page, support our new manager, and move forward,” he said.

The MAIN board of directors unanimously approved an updated strategic vision on Jan. 6, 2009. Bowen will present “MAIN 2.0″ at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 23 in Pack Library’s Lord Auditorium. END

 

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89 thoughts on “Interim station manager named for WPVM

  1. francois Manavit

    Sound like Walt Bisney sold Wpvm to WNCW … a really stupid radio where programmation is based on red neck taste !!
    Good bye Wpvm !

  2. K.P.

    He also sent out an email to the VOLUNTEERS to go meet the new station manager at a Wally/WPVM/MAIN Board meeting on Wednesday or we are not allowed to volunteer. Additionally all VOLUNTEERS who have been instrumental in making the station run on a daily basis have been told not to come back for “a six week cooling off period”.

  3. francois Manavit

    ” The gang of nine “appellation is a way to isolate people from the whole . Actually the ENTIRE wpvm volunteer crowd is tired of the all shebang ! Except few showlickers , everyone agree on the dysfunction of the events and action against the WPVM/ MAin >

  4. Austin

    So did she know that MAIN was releasing a core group of volunteers, or did they hide it until she was hired? Either way it’s a bunch of crap. I did not like her presence on WNCW, and I’ll barf when I hear her on WPVM.
    WELCOME TO THE NEW VOICE OF 103.5. MORE AMERICANA AND BLUEGRASS FOR THE OLDER FOLKS WHO HAVE A FEW MORE DOLLARS.
    MAIN HAS LOST MY INTERNET DOLLARS.

  5. Austin

    I have heard some great programming on WNCW, I do not intend to downplay what they do. I just question whether the hire was ironic, or a calculated business decision to COMPETE.

  6. Barry Summers

    Forget words like “disrespectful”, “egotistical”, and “tone-deaf”. They do not come anywhere close to describing this guy, who I used to call friend. I am appalled at how low MAIN, this once-vibrant and important institution has fallen. Is the Board going to sit by and watch their employee tear the community apart to service his own ego?

  7. As one of the “WPVM 9″, this is very disappointing. For the 3 years I’ve been at WPVM, I have been Music Director, Assistant Music Director, member of the Program Committee, member of the most-recent WPVM Managerial Board, host of three different shows and substitute host for at least half a dozen others. I have also performed (music) at two WPVM Benefit shows.

    Now, I’m not welcome at WPVM. Why? Because I have questioned the leadership of the Executive Director of MAIN (WPVM’s license holder). I guess I should look on the bright side: 6 weeks from now I can “revisit my interest in volunteering” with the Executive Director. Ha! Yeah, I can hardly wait.

    If this is a “cooling off” period, why am I getting hotter by the second?

    I encourage all WPVM listeners and supporters to follow the story both here at Mtn Xpress and also on our new blog at http://www.wpvm.blogspot.com where you can get the latest, unfiltered news on your community radio station and you can post your thoughts and comments as well.

  8. U-haul

    Main’s problems have been around since day one but just now coming into public light. Local legend has it that the entire first staff except one, of Main walked off the job never to return and there have been problems of this variaty ever since but the turn over of the board and turn over of staff has kept it going. When you start messing with volunteers its more tricky because they will go public with not so much at stake. Dig deep this problem has roots.

  9. jeff

    I have volunteered at WNCW and I know Kim to be a fair, determined, great-to-get-along-with person who just loves making great radio. Kudos to WPVM for a really great choice.

  10. Rob Close

    those licenses are hard to come by. consider that even UNCA gave up and went internet….

    although this just might respark the fire under free radio. (here’s dreaming)

  11. david

    Glad to see my sentiment concerning Kim Clark and WNCW’s “Americana” content is shared by others here.

    As a former WNCW volunteer, let me say that I hope Ms. Clark doesnt bring the same good-ol boy/redneck attitudes concerning music that she enforced at WNCW with her to WPVM.

    Just what we need, another station dedicated to ignoring over half of the population’s musical tastes while they drown is in feel-good so-called “Americana.”

    Uhg!

  12. Austin

    Jeff, so you think we need two WNCW’s? You must be the most boring person on the planet.

  13. Barry Summers

    I don’t know anything about Kim Clark or her involvement at WNCW. I would hate to see Wally Bowens ‘divide and conquer’ tactics lead to good folks turning on each other. That’s what he does, and that’s what he’s willing to continue doing – pit people against each other and tear down a community so he can declare himself king of the ruins.

  14. I listen to WNCW a lot….and I have to laugh when Kim Clark is warned against bringing ” the same good ol boy/redneck attitudes concerning music that she enforeced at WNCW”.
    I’m sure Kim will get a chuckle out of that statement as well.

    Kim has done much for local musicians over the past decade. She’s been a postive and encouraging voice in getting increased airplay for our local musicians.

    She seems to have stepped into a hornets nest with her new adventures at WPVM…..and frankly she deserves better than the cheap shots which are already being lobbed her direction.

    Maybe we all need to take a deep breath….and give peace a chance.

  15. Barry Summers

    Don is right (and a darn good clogger to boot). I wouldn’t wish this nastiness on anyone. I could forgive anyone walking into this not knowing what was coming.

    That being said, I wonder if she knows what is actually going down at WPVM. If I were offered a job running a radio station, and the same day it was announced, almost the entire volunteer leadership of that station was declared ‘not welcome’, I would have some serious questions for my new boss. Unfortunately, as the previous station manager can attest, MAIN’s Executive Director is not known for answering questions gracefully, especially from his ‘staff’.

    This isn’t ‘peace’ we’re talking about at ‘PVM, it’s scorched earth.

  16. francois Manavit

    clogging music as much as you can handle it on the new WPVM !!!!!
    I ‘ll be darn !!!!!

  17. Barry…first of all thanks for all you continue to do here in Asheville to try to make it a better place….

    I’m a bit confused by all the back and forth I’m hearing regarding WPVM. It seems like an impasse has been reached. It sounds like “irresolvable differences” are present and thus a divorce is the only viable option.
    The question then being who gets custody of the child….WPVM in this case

    Realistically, what do you see as a practical solution???….(short of the current ED stepping out of the picture …cause that doesn’t seem likely)

  18. cwaster

    Barry wrote:
    “If I were offered a job running a radio station, and the same day it was announced, almost the entire volunteer leadership of that station was declared ‘not welcome’, I would have some serious questions for my new boss.”

    I surely would as well. That sums it up quite nicely. Things that make you go “hmmmmmm”…

  19. MusicLover45

    Unfortunately I was right when I said a couple days ago that Wally would not tolerate the people that fought against him staying at the station. He has to have his revenge, which in this case is suspending 9 people for a “minimum” of 6 weeks. I bet they will not be allowed back at all. The other thing I said was the volunteers need to walkout, without notice, in mass, and leave the station to Wally to deal with. Isn’t it time to do that now, after this????

  20. Piffy!

    “Kim has done much for local musicians over the past decade. She’s been a positive and encouraging voice in getting increased airplay for our local musicians. ”

    Correction, she has done a lot for local musicians who play a particular *kind* of music. For those of us who have volunteered at WNCW for years, we know that WNCW has a history of marginalizing many local musicians who dont play WNCW’s homogenized so-called “Americana”. “Local Color” is a great example–despite it’s “local” name, there are many local musicians who will never be played on that show due to WNCW’s white-washed programming.

    Kim Clark has been WNCW’s Program Director for years, enforcing these kinds of rules that many find incredibly racist in nature and intent. I say this from my own personal experience as an overnight volunteer for YEARS, as well as from hearing this same sentiment from many other employees and volunteers at the station. To think that she will now be steering WPVM is just one more reason for me to not listen to WPVM any more. Too bad, it used to have such promise.

  21. Piffy!

    Kim Clark was also chosen to run a Clear-Channel-owned Charlotte station a few years back. What ever happened to that?

  22. Attacking Kim and WNCW because they dont play your particular type of music seems rather immature. No one radio station is going to satisfy every taste.

    Take 105.9 The Mountain. They focus on a particular segment of the market (rock) to the exclusion of others. Bad Ash does a good job of featuring local artists on Local Licks…but not every artist is appropriate for 105.9.
    Some great musicians in Asheville never get included on Local Licks on 105.9 because Local Licks is building an identity as a ROCK station.

    Some folks may not like John Boy and Billy in the morning down in Charlotte but they have carved out a niche by staying true to their format and their reach has continually expanded.

    WNCW (for all it’s challenges and faults) has been successful by sticking with a popular format and providing a product which a large segment of the regional listening public wants.

  23. Barry Summers

    The last fund drive ended in early November, and the next typically happens April/May. I don’t know who is supposed to conduct it now, or who is likely to donate, given the actions of MAIN’s ED. Some people will still give to a Wally-dominated station, but I won’t.

  24. francois Manavit

    Go online and you can find just about any music or talk show that you want. It’s pretty much all free, and it’s computationally personalized to suit your tastes. You can get these services on the go, too.

  25. onlooker

    Didn’t Mr. Bowen want to let WPVM go all together? let these “9″ and the board take over completely without the shadow of MAIN. Wasn’t it decided that was a bad idea, as MAIN provides the majority of funding for WPVM. I really don’t know all the details of this whining, but I know that is what it sounds like and know Wally is a good man with good intentions. I went to the last meeting when Wally tried to unveil ideas for “MAIN 2.0″ and I watched as a bunch of griping took the stage without any consideration for Wally was saying.
    He was talking about citywide Wi-Fi, massive local area networks, truly open media locally minded and locally entrusted. Something so fundamentally unique to anything else currently available, I was amazed at the disregard given to it. He mentioned devices for cars that would receive Wi-Fi and transmit whatever is available. Anyone would be able to broadcast their personal blog (for example) for anyone else to hear. This idea bypasses radio (along with its vast amounts of limitations and regulations) all together.
    This is what Wally presents and all people want to do is bitch, it is disgraceful. The rants on the radio, on this blog, on mountain Xpress and wherever else they might be happening is childish, unprofessional and very much exemplifies a need for some people to “cool off”.

  26. cwaster

    I certainly wouldn’t donate to them the way things are now. Maybe if they get rid of Bowen.

  27. Barry Summers

    You don’t know all the details, but still feel confident in calling us whiners? Wow, it must be great to be you.

  28. Barry Summers

    As to the rest, Wally’s MAIN 2.0 vision is fine, and if he can pull off half of what he envisions, that will be a great thing. Everyone agrees that he has done great things, and is capable of doing more great things. Unfortunately, managing a radio station is not in his toolkit. Listening, trusting, collaborating, encouraging, these are the people-skills that you need to lead a bunch of independent animals like radio station volunteers. The list of complaints about Wally’s autocratic management style shows that he is either not capable of it, or has way too much other stuff on his plate to do it well.

    All we’re saying is, let’s start over with a structure that shares decision-making and authority over programming and other station issues (instead of having all authority in the hands of one man, who’s trying to do 15 other things, and has a long history of troubled relations with the volunteers who do 95% of the work). The current volunteer proposal does just that, while keeping WPVM under the control of a committee made up of three Board members, the Station Manager, two volunteers, and the Executive Director. How is this a crazy idea?

  29. jnstwrt

    I really don’t care for the programming on WNCW. I never listen to it anymore, and I don’t know how Kim Clark will change the nature of WPVM, which I liked very much. It was as good if not better than UM radio in Miami and WRAS in Atl.
    What is most saddening is to hear about the station volunteers being asked to stay away from the station due to the response recieved about the changes.
    We don’t need another bad bluegrass and jam band station clogging up our dismal airwaves.

  30. Piffy!

    “Attacking Kim and WNCW because they dont play your particular type of music seems rather immature. No one radio station is going to satisfy every taste. ”

    Not attacking. Merely pointing out the new Station Managers history, from my perspective, which is echoed by others who i know and have volunteered with at her former station.

    As an individual, she is a pleasant, kind women, in my own experience. But if the role she played at WNCW is any indication, I have even now even less reason to care about WPVM as a relevant voice for Asheville radio.

    And others are right when they say you can find far better music and info on the net these days anyway…its too bad Wally Bowen isnt even interested in remaining relevant.

  31. Barry Summers

    I don’t know how much influence, if any, a new (interim) station manager will have on music programming. Probably not much, especially since the Executive Director will likely put all programming decisions back in his hands only.

    Much more worrying should be the loss of four current or former volunteer music/programming committee chairs, and the former station manager in this Purge, not to mention their own personal shows:

    Mental Notes (Steven Howard)
    The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Greg Lyon)
    The Strange Boutique (Brian Nesbitt)
    The Doctor Awesome Show (Jason Holland)
    Stunt-Cypher Mayhem (Stephen Kirbach)

    Much of the history of WPVM’s music dept. just got kicked out the door.

  32. Piffy!

    Steven Howard’s show was a great asset to my ears, as were many others.

    I’m disappointed it will be gone.

  33. Austin

    Onlooker, your name says it all. You have no sense of how WPVM works. WPVM actually has allowed MAIN to get some of their grants, so in that sense WPVM supports MAIN. What you call childish and unprofessional is people responding to totalitarian mistreatment. I’m glad you liked what you heard from Wally, he will need your support as the community fallout from this causes MAIN subscriptions to decline.

  34. onlooker

    The station was intended as a local media outlet, which takes priority over music (along with personal views presented in a blog like nature), I am sure Kim Clark as more to offer than blue grass or she wouldn’t be joining the crew. If you read what WPVM is about,
    * participatory democracy
    * citizen access to media
    * independent journalism
    * local cultural and artistic expression
    * locally-owned businesses
    * social and economic justice
    * and environmental stewardship
    Music is not explicitly apart of the agenda, it is merely implied with “artistic expression”. What is happening with WPVM is the result of the station straying away from these principles and focusing on only one; local cultural and artistic expression. I believe Wally is trying to protect the station and listeners from what could easily become a narcissistic expression of a small few. Whether or not it is enjoyed by the public it is void of those other aspirations of WPVM and MAIN.

  35. FoReal

    Pull the plug!! No one listens to this station anyway. Blackout URTV, no one watches that garbage either. Get real jobs, find a hobby, write your senator, take it to city council, blah blah blah. Wanna-be Divas, all of you.

  36. onlooker

    “Do you even listen to the station? ”

    is that relevant? :] self expression is void of the rest of WPVM’s ideologies, specifically ideas like independent journalism as honest journalism is ideally void of self expression. I am aware the station still has a lot of those principles portrayed in it’s line up, but I think music and what I have decided to call “self expression” seems to take the bulk of the time, or at least the focus.

  37. francois Manavit

    That onlooker sound like wally Bowen himself trying to justify his action !

  38. Austin

    Onlooker, you obviously don’t care if your community radio station is an autocratic entity. You miss the whole point to the volunteers grievances. You still haven’t responded to my post about WPVM being what MAIN uses to get grants. So far as I know, every last volunteer is against Wally. That’s like seventy to one and you want to downplay us. You’re lost and ill informed. I’m interested on your affiliation to MAIN, and don’t lie.

  39. Don Talley

    Having been new to this controversy, I struggled to get a grip on the core issues throughout the day. I had no pre-conceived ideas about the struggle between the volunteers and the exec.dir prior to today.

    Reading posted comments just made issues more confusing…but my confusion was cleared up tonight.

    Tonight, I listened to the Revolutionary Radio podcast available at:
    http://rednailmusic.com/revolutionary_radio.mp3

    For those who are seriously interested in WPVM, I encourage you to listen to the podcast. It presents the issues in a rational clear-to-understand fashion.

  40. onlooker

    I don’t doubt that both benefit each other, I believe that was the intention. I do question whether or not WPVM can stand alone based on current donations. I am guessing both entities are integral to a lot of the grants, but I definitely wouldn’t say MAIN relies on WPVM. Wally is not an autocrat and if by some far stretch he is seen as one, he’s not an evil one. I have seen no other agenda from Wally other than to promote local journalism and independent media along with providing an outlet (internet) for those things. I wonder how much longer radio will even be a viable option before internet becomes the main means of information distribution. Wally has been on the forefront of a fight for Net Neutrality and keeping bureaucracy out of what has been the greatest outlet of free speech to date, as companies like ATT and Verizon and “Big Media” try to regulate and dominate. What do you think his autocratic goal is?
    I am also not sure that WPVM is a community radio station.
    “WPVM is a project of the Mountain Area Information Network, a nonprofit internet service provider and community network dedicated to increasing citizen access to the media and the public sphere.”
    “WPVM aims to provide to Asheville and western North Carolina what commercial and traditional public radio does not: an independent, progressive viewpoint.”
    That doesn’t sound like an outlet for free speech, MAIN is more of an outlet for free speech than that. I don’t think WPVM was ever intended for the community to say or broadcast whatever they want, but to bring the community what they weren’t getting elsewhere. Who gets to decide what that is? Well not ATT, Verizon, Big Media or advertisers that is for sure. So a man from a non-profit organization that’s goal is to fight those giants has some say in what it hits the air…eh, I can deal with that.

  41. onlooker

    I don’t doubt that both benefit each other, I believe that was the intention. I do question whether or not WPVM can stand alone based on current donations. I am guessing both entities are integral to a lot of the grants, but I definitely wouldn’t say MAIN relies on WPVM. Wally is not an autocrat and if by some far stretch he is seen as one, he’s not an evil one. I have seen no other agenda from Wally other than to promote local journalism and independent media along with providing an outlet (internet) for those things. I wonder how much longer radio will even be a viable option before internet becomes the main means of information distribution. Wally has been on the forefront of a fight for Net Neutrality and keeping bureaucracy out of what has been the greatest outlet of free speech to date, as companies like ATT and Verizon and “Big Media” try to regulate and dominate. What do you think his autocratic goal is?
    I am also not sure that WPVM is a community radio station.
    “WPVM is a project of the Mountain Area Information Network, a nonprofit internet service provider and community network dedicated to increasing citizen access to the media and the public sphere.”
    “WPVM aims to provide to Asheville and western North Carolina what commercial and traditional public radio does not: an independent, progressive viewpoint.”
    That doesn’t sound like an outlet for free speech, MAIN is more of an outlet for free speech than that. I don’t think WPVM was ever intended for the community to say or broadcast whatever they want, but to bring the community what they weren’t getting elsewhere. Who gets to decide what that is? Well not ATT, Verizon, Big Media or advertisers that is for sure. So a man from a non-profit organization that’s goal is to fight those giants has some say in what it hits the air…eh, I can deal with that.

  42. Brian Flanders

    I am of the opinion that, although this may be a confusing time for most, it is important to realize that often times things can appear on the surface to be negative in circumstance. Consider this.. Most of us devote our lives to seeking a sense of democracy, where we feel we have a say in opinion and that decisions be made according to those opinions. Well is not this a prime example of democracy in work? A group of people that made a decision to take a different course. Also consider this.. What happens now? Is WPVM going to turn into something more like WNCW? It’s not likely. WPVM is a low level station, where as WNCW has a larger broadcast range. If it does? Would the volunteers still want to participate? Things change. Roll with it!

  43. Austin

    Onlooker, please quit skirting the issues of the legitimacy of the volunteers grievances. We have roughly 70 volunteers against one Executive Director. Please state your affiliation and name if your man enough or disappear, because you are irrelevant to the issue at large.

  44. Matt Howard

    Few things to say:
    Im a WPVM volunteer, AND a URTV producer.
    After 2 years on URTV, my show Mount Dungeon got a spin off on WPVM a few months ago. Unless Im mistaken, this makes me and my crew the only folks in town to be actively involved with both.
    Giving 9 volunteers a ‘cooling off’ is not only unfortunate, but since they are the ones that have been running things, potentally invites more chaos. Nevertheless, my policy toward drama/politics is and has always been “Im on my side, and I just want to make my show.”
    Mount Dungeon both in TV and radio form, specialize in promoting local music of all types. We have had jam bands and heavy metal back to back. So long as Im able to continue programing myself Im good.
    And oh yes, to FoReal: People do watch and listen, people recognize me from TV, thank me when they hear thier music, and tell me that me and my friends are doing a fracking awesome job.
    Local independent media IS my hobby. It has gotten me jobs. What skills do you have that you can do better? Seriously.

  45. First, as usual, I think we can safely ignore the comments of those who hide behind aliases. Honest discussion requires that we identify ourselves.

    Second, I think it is extremely telling that Bowen has forced out most of the people who built the radio station, starting with Gillian Coats last summer and moving forward. I worked for the station for more than five years and was in on the early planning for local news programming before it went on the air. I donated a lot of money in every fund drive (until the most recent one) and did a weekly, three hour show for nearly five years and was named MAIN’s Volunteer of the Year a couple of years back. I believed in the station and MAIN’s mission. All of this DESPITE Bowen’s extremely shabby, behind-the-scenes behavior toward me in regard to the Rolling Thunder event I funded and organized in May 2003. (Many of you who were involved in that effort know what I’m talking about.) I swallowed my anger and my pride and moved forward because of my belief in democratic media.

    I say none of this to self aggrandize, but simply to point out that those of us who have been pushed aside in recent months are extremely dedicated to volunteer community service and poured thousands of hours and thousands of dollars into this project.

    As for MAIN 2.0, I sincerely hope it succeeds, but Bowen has always been a great salesman. Sometimes he delivers. As for me, I am preparing to dump MAIN’s hosting of my business and non-profit Web sites. There are other local ISPs I can support without helping to fund the autocracy and high-handedness I have witnessed in recent months. I encourage others who are using MAIN’s services and who share my disillusion to do the same.

  46. Austin

    Zen,
    Onlooker can tell you, he’s obviously tied to the organization, or maybe he just memorizes mission statements for fun.

  47. onlooker

    Does irrelevance need a name?
    roughly 70 volunteers, it will be interesting to see if that proves accurate. I didn’t know I was skirting an issue, I am simply expressing my views and observations. do I personally feel the volunteers grievances are legitimate? I think they aren’t very clear; I heard lots of different complaints from Monday night’s broadcast including a lack of respect for volunteers, complaints of being overworked by the same people asked to take 6 weeks off (that’s at least a little ironic), and a lot of concerns about policy and administrative confusion. yes, those are important issues, but obviously don’t constitute such a public spectacle. The issue of concern seems to be specifically Mr. Bowen’s decisions about particular volunteers and his right to make those decisions. How am I supposed to know whether he can make those decisions, it does seem logical he would be allowed to.
    I am just giving an opinion.

  48. onlooker

    I am associated with MAIN, but my name is irrelevant. I don’t know what percentage is driven by public funding and although memorizing mission statements is fun, in this case I just cut and pasted.
    roughly 70 volunteers, it will be interesting to see if that proves accurate. I didn’t know I was skirting an issue, I am simply expressing my views and observations. do I personally feel the volunteers grievances are legitimate? I think they aren’t very clear; I heard lots of different complaints from Monday night’s broadcast including a lack of respect for volunteers, complaints of being overworked by the same people asked to take 6 weeks off (that’s at least a little ironic), and a lot of concerns about policy and administrative confusion. yes, those are important issues, but obviously don’t constitute such a public spectacle. The issue of concern seems to be specifically Mr. Bowen’s decisions about particular volunteers and his right to make those decisions. How am I supposed to know whether he can make those decisions. It does seem logical he would be allowed to.
    I am just giving an opinion; Wally is a good man, I think MAIN has great ideas for the future,and the majority of this issue sounds unprofessional, one sided, and hostile.

  49. MusicLover45

    Zen, WPVM relies heavily on public funding through their fund drives and underwriting. Some grants are available for WPVM, but they are few. WPVM can not stand alone without financial help from MAIN. MAIN is supported by some donations and user fees from it’s internet service, but their biggest financial support is from grants.

  50. lumina

    MusicLover45, I’m not sure which Zen meant, but “public” funding usually refers to tax dollars or government support … as opposed to funding from the public through private donations, as would be the case with on-air fund drives. Public funding usually requires a more stringent set of guidelines for how it is spent and under what conditions.

  51. MusicLover45

    Here is the latest post from MAIN (Wally) on WPVM’s website. Remaining volunteers, do you realize that he has regained control of WPVM and it will be Wally’s way or no way?? He is going to control you if you are allowed to stay, and the station, so let him control the station by walking out in mass without notice!!!

    February 17th, 2009
    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. END

  52. Barry Summers

    I would like to apologize to WPVM listeners for this apology. The program in question was necessary, it was truthful, and we have had great response to it. This was no lapse in judgement, there is a difference of opinion between Wally Bowen’s view of “community”, and everyone else’s (except maybe ‘anonymous’).

  53. Julie James

    It’s a shame that the volunteers have invested so much time into the station and are now dissatisfied with the management’s decisions, but I think the key word here is “volunteers.” If I volunteered for an organization where I felt that I wasn’t treated with respect and I disagreed with the organizational structure, I would quit. It sounds like the volunteers need to recognize their position, which clearly does not include creating policy, and either accept the board’s decision, or else move on.

  54. Barry Summers

    This is what has been happening with MAIN/WPVM for years, and there’s a large pool of ‘former’ supporters out there. What’s changed, at least for me, is that specific promises were made by MAIN’s Board, to the volunteers, which have now been broken. A lot of work way past normal ‘volunteering’ has been done, especially by the elected volunteer leaders, and now that we have put our personal time, energy, and money on the line, and we asked for the promises to be kept. We were told by a member of MAIN’s Board, and I quote, “There’s the door.”

    Now it’s this same group that stepped up to volunteer past the call of duty who have been invited to stay away from the station we helped build. Hard to walk away without wanting someone to be held accountable for this treatment, because if I were the last, that would be one thing. I know, however, that this is just the middle of the parade of people that will be used up and spit out unless something changes.

  55. At first I shared your perspective Julie.

    But after digging a bit deeper, I discovered that these are not your typical volunteers. Some of these volunteers have worked for years of their lives on the engineering , fund raising, and content development for WPVM. It’s not a hobby for them…it’s a passion. They see WPVM as their way of serving the community.
    I know there are two sides to the dispute, but after listening to the volunteers and reading their proposals, I now understand their deep level of committment to community-based media and their reluctance to just walk away.

    I remain optimistic for a resolution in which both the director and the volunteers find common ground and a workable solution.

  56. The other thing I’ve learned is that not all of the volunteers are as “hostile” to the director as it might appear from just reading comments on this forum. Many of the volunteers, including the nine who were told to stay away from the station, are level-headed, service-minded, citizens. They respect the many skills, visionary spirit, and past accomplishments of the current director. Many of these volunteers arent’ trying to stage a coup or take over the station or set policy. They just want to work with the board to create a workable situation where mutual cooperation, respect, and people-skills are applied in making WPVM a true community-based media.
    It’s unfair for any of us to make judgements about the volunteers or the director based on the back-and-forth which occurs on discussion forums.

    (I guess I should qualify my comments by saying that I’m not connected with the station in anyway other than appreciating what MAIN, it’s director, it’s board, and the volunteers want to accomplish if they can work through the current struggles )

  57. Sham69

    I would like to thank Dontalley for his/her comments regarding the volunteers efforts. Passion about sums up their efforts. We are all better for them and their work.

  58. sequoia

    “Wally is not an autocrat and if by some far stretch he is seen as one, he’s not an evil one.”
    -onlooker

    I don’t know Wally Bowen, but if you know and like him, and the best you can say about him is “he’s PROBABLY not an autocrat, and if he is, he’s a good one” isn’t reassuring to me.

    So who DO I know? I know Cecil Bothwell, who has been one of this areas best journalists for a LONG time and who helped host the BEST show about local/regional news shows (I now listen to Take A Stand, the only remaining show about local/regional news).

    I know Jason and Stephanie from their hilarious music show, Easy mark from afternoon slacken, Francoise from Paris of the South, “Dr. Filth” from the replacement party etc. etc. etc.

    These are people I know from listening to every day on WPVM. They start the DN! stream in the morning, bring local news in the evening, and play awesome music all the time (ok, ALMOST all the time).

    If these people, whom I’ve gotten to know, respect, and TRUST during their time in my ears, if these people are being kicked out by and resigning in protest against MAINs Executive, there is a problem. The mere fact that the people who bring us the best local news are RESIGNING IN PROTEST indicates a problem!!!

    What I want to know from WB is this: Why are you trying to destroy the station? That is obviously what’s going on, and I can’t understand Wally’s approach of “If I can control it, no one will.”

    If wally sticks to his guns about kicking out passionate, dedicated, long term volunteers and to heck with what the listeners/contributors think, the station WILL FAIL, because fewer people will keep giving $$, and fewer serious volunteers will be willing to participate.

    I was of the sentiment that the volunteers should all just ditch and let things fall around wally’s feet, but that’s not what I want. I want a COMMUNITY RADIO STATION, GD it! So I hope that the volunteers (read:people who RUN the station) stick to *their* guns, and don’t go out without a fight. (I understand, however, if volunteers no longer have the will to keep beating their heads against a metaphorical brick wall.)

    I hope things work out, but if wally bowen insists on making WPVM as crappy as his ISP, I’ll not be giving $ again, and I’ll be looking into getting my last donation back, as it was given with the understanding of a volunteer driven station.

    tldr: I support the volunteers, wally bowen, quit being a jerk.

  59. Piffy!

    It sure seems like WPVM could stand to lose wally more than it could stand to lose the people who actually run the place (“Volunteers”).

  60. peter choyce

    I will miss “Mental Notes” with Steve Howard. I hope all the ballyhoo ends soon. It reminds me of the absurdity and ill will that pretty much ruined PACIFICA. I listen to steves show from LA. Peter- in Solidarity, whatever… KLXU FM Dj here in LA

  61. lumina

    PFKaP, there are also extraordinarily dedicated paid staff interwoven into the successful history of WPVM, including station manager Jason Holland and staff at MAIN’s main office who not only supported WPVM’s launch through their paid jobs, but volunteered themselves on committees on their own personal time and of their own volition. Whatever story is being told here has to include the paid staff whose livelihoods are dependent on the success or failure of the community network in part or in whole.

  62. Barry Summers

    Lumina – You’re absolutely right, MAIN is more than the squawking over the radio station. The staff at MAIN are decent folks who believe in the mission & work hard, and are caught in the middle of this. Those of us who have been vocal at the radio station have sometimes been accused of not considering their contributions and situations as much as we should, and that’s probably a fair criticism. However, it’s worth looking at the stream of unhappy people who have left MAIN/WPVM, including FORMER station manager Jason Holland, who quit in protest of Wally Bowens actions last fall. In spite of his disagreement with management, he continued to contribute his free time to the radio station both behind the scenes, and on the air on the very popular Dr. Awesome Show. His thanks for this continued volunteerism? He was one of the nine who have been shown the door. His show will no longer be on WPVM, nor will Paris of the South, Blows Against the Empire, Seven Layer Dip, Mental Notes, The Good The Bad and The Ugly, Making Progress: News for a Change, Thursday Morning Collabraform, Strange Boutique, Wordplay, Stunt-Cypher Mayhem, Absolute Slacken, on and on goes the parade of people that are used up and spit out by this organization.

    I’m confused how this sounds like a successful history to anyone? I am proud to have been a part of WPVM these past five years, and we have done great things, and there are still good people involved. Unfortunately, I am more and more convinced that under Wally Bowens leadership, which relies on pitting good people against each other, MAIN will continue doing more harm than good in this community.

    Wally, you and I were friends some years ago, and I was one of your biggest supporters. When you needed friends you could trust to produce your radio program, “Not the Corporate News”, I was proud that you picked me to help. If there’s any of that trust left, listen to me now: you need to stop and take a breath and look at the damage you are doing to the progressive community of Asheville.

  63. ceramicsong

    I am a full time listener to wpvm – it has shaped my life and experience here. I know Wally and I know Kim, they are both good people with good intentions.
    I think WPVM is more magnificent and powerful and effective right now – with a committed, diverse group guiding the way. One person in charge may be quick and the easy route but will never equal the bold brave radio that I am hearing.
    I haven’t listened to WNCW much since WPVM started. And its changed to more mainstreamish than I remember since, I guess, Kim has taken over – keep in mind one reason I moved to Asheville 13 years ago was because of the eclectic almost underground music on WNCW. Also keep in mind I likea nd admire Kim and she’s done a great job at WNCW. Its smoother and has a more cohesive voice but its definitely lost its edge. It lacks – the honesty that many voices and views provide. We need honesty, authenticity in our society. WPVM has that, its real people!! And it works so well in my mind.
    It’s so unusual to hear honesty on the radio – I feel so fortunate to have WPVM. Its revolutionary and will change the world but we need to keep hearing those individual voices. Its not as easy, not everyone is going to agree all the time, but for the long term, for true success, like Nature there needs to be diversity. Eliminating the views contrary to yours will not help the whole.
    I hope the board will give the volunteers some power, let the circle guide the hierarchy, then all will be served. and keep WPVM Honest!
    An Asheville artist, Marston Blow.

  64. lumina

    I’m not suggesting a contest for who is MOST important, just a note to include the interests, experiences and perspectives of ALL who are important.

    Board members, volunteers, paid staff, listeners and customers (past and present on all counts) all have an interest in how this is played out.

    If the company were Wal-mart or Verizon, what would this community network do to support the process?

  65. Barry Summers

    That’s easy, a no brainer. The shareholders would demand the resignation of the CEO.

  66. MusicLover45

    Barry, very well put. Unfortunately, Wally’s ego will not allow him to see the damage he is doing, nor do I think he cares. Someone else pointed out that Wally is a salesman above anything else he is. I have seen his sale pitches about his plans for the future of MAIN and WPVM, and know in reality that they are not realistic, in respect to their costs and effectiveness of service. But, when you have a hand picked Board chosen by Wally, no one is there to disagree or even challenge his authority. I think a good story for MountainX would be on the large turnover of MAIN’s Board, with interviews of former Board members, which would give outsiders a clearer picture as to what really is occurring at MAIN, and would cut through Wally’s sales pitches, like the one coming up on Feb. 23rd. Sounds like a good time for a sign holding protest to me.

  67. Sham69

    To Marston et al-

    Marston- 1st I want to thank you for your generous donations during many of our fund drives. I have had the pleasure in the past to take your donations, and then hand deliver your thank you gift (late) to your home! At those times, I was one of the most motivated volunteers in a 100 mile radius of this town. Alas, no more, not until Change comes.

    You may hear what made me one of the NINE here:
    http://wpvm.org/playlistarchive/?show_id=19 click on stream. I had the audacity to read the PSA letting listeners know about the 2 different views for a managerial process at MAIN/WPVM.

    Wally stated that I was not one of the nine until I read that PSA. Privately that is what he said to me in an email. It’s plain that the firings were arbitrary and directed to the loudest wabble wousers. Many more than 9 read those Public Service Announcements.

    At last night’s introduction to Kim Clark many questions were raised and it became apparent that folks wanted answers from Wally more than to welcome Kim, eh maybe 50/50.

    Wally stated the Nine were taken off the air for “defying the board’s decision”
    I am being punished because I alerted the public as to what was going on at the station they listen to. At least that’s the public face he put on it last night.

    Listen to what I did, take it for what it’s worth, draw your own conclusions, do what you will.

    Here is the Mission Statement:
    MAIN is a nonprofit community network using integrated media technologies to expand the local public sphere and to support:
    * participatory democracy
    * citizen access to media
    * independent journalism
    * local cultural and artistic expression
    * locally-owned businesses
    * social and economic justice
    * and environmental stewardship

    Thanks again Marston et al for your past support, I hope to relive those thrilling days of yesteryear with you somewhere, over the rainbow.

    Steven, Host of Mental Notes

  68. Matt Howard

    The problem with losing so many volunteers is they are the voice, they are what the listener who knows nothing about what happens behind the scenes relates to. The listener knows the difference between an automated playlist and a show with personality.

  69. Piffy!

    Great. Another pop-country/newgrass jamband station. I guess that’s the only viable market?

    WPVM was the only place I heard real radio in the Asheville area: eclectic, expansive, thought-provoking, soulful, and quirky.

    WNCW skirts it, but isnt willing to offend any of their big donors’ “sensibilities”.

    Looks like WPVM thinks they can cash in on the market too.

    Whatever happened to Free Radio Asheville?

  70. Matt Howard

    PFKaP: If it makes you feel any better theres a noteable and growing metal scene here in Asheville many people know nothing about. Playing something jammey and heavy metal back to back is one of my favourite things to do.

  71. onlooker

    apparently nobody was listening to the only good suggestion made at the meeting to introduce Kim; stop all the negative noise and finger pointing. Everyone is human EVERYONE has faults either start encouraging each other and thinking positively or destroy WPVM.

  72. U-haul

    When Main started it was a “co-operative” and was told to be member owned and operated as a co-op in the tradition of rural electric co-ops and such. Was that model formally dropped at some point or is Main still a member owned co-operative?

  73. MusicLover45

    onlooker- Wally is in the process of destroying WPVM already. We are just trying to stop that, if possible.

    U-haul- MAIN is classified as a 501(c)3 nonprofit. I don’t know anything about the “co-op” model. It is not one now, as it is ruled by a hand picked Board and a Dictator.

  74. Barry Summers

    As to the non-profit model, as I understand it from reading up at the NC Secretary of State website, which oversees non-profits, there are two kinds: membership, and non-membership. They are chartered differently, based primarily on where they expect to get the majority of their revenue from, and who they are rquired to answer to. I believe, for example, that the non-profit that owns WCQS is “membership”. MAIN is not.

    If anyone knows better, please say so. I could be wrong.

  75. U-haul

    In the tradition of rural electric cooperatives, FROM EARLY MAIN WEBSITE:

    MAIN is one of the few community networks in the United States to seek sustainability by operating as a non-profit Internet cooperative. In rural areas where major institutional support for community networking is rare, enabling citizens to use their Internet dollars to support their local community network is imperative.

    Moreover, MAIN has discovered that citizens feel a greater sense of ownership in a non-profit Internet cooperative.

    FROM: http://web.archive.org/web/19990221225146/main.nc.us/about/

  76. Barry Summers

    Thanks Jon, and thanks Gillian for recording it. It’s good to have people on tape – the part I would draw to your attention is at 1:09:40. I asked MAIN Board member Isaac Coleman if he thought it was fair to characterize the volunteers “Organizing WPVM” proposal as having no MAIN Executive Director or staff supervision. (The proposal can be read at http://www.wpvm.blogspot.com – at the top is the Board Committee that runs the station. It would be made up of: “three Directors, the Executive Director, the WPVM Station Manager, & two elected Radio Staff representatives as advisors.”)

    He acknowledged that it was not fair to characterize the volunteer proposal as operating under no staff or Board supervision, but declined to correct the Board statement to the public that clearly implied that. That statement has now been removed from the wpvm.org website, but no correction or apology to Edwin Shealy has (yet) taken it’s place.

  77. Piffy!

    After listening to the “meeting” with Kim Clark, it sure sounds like she is the Good Cop to Wally’s Bad Cop.

    Anyone in her position should be ashamed, IMO.

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