The Mountain Area Information Network’s board of directors plans to meet this afternoon to talk about the controversy regarding the recent dismissal of a volunteer at MAIN’s low-power radio station WPVM (103.5 FM).
Following the Aug. 22 broadcast of the WPVM show “7 Layer Dip,” hosted by long-time station volunteer Gillian Coats and a fellow volunteer, MAIN Executive Director Wally Bowen cancelled the show and dismissed Coats as a volunteer.
Several other volunteers protested that action by not speaking during their on-air segments or refusing to do any further work for the station until Coats is offered her slot back. The station’s one paid employee also resigned following the show’s cancellation.
MAIN holds the broadcast license for WPVM, a community station run almost entirely by volunteers. MAIN is a nonprofit Internet-service provider based in Asheville.
At a meeting last week, a group of volunteers met with a group of MAIN board members to talk about the issue. Notes from the meeting obtained by Mountain Xpress show that the volunteers complained about the lack of structures in place governing volunteers and their committees. Volunteers also complained that Bowen’s leadership was too heavy-handed, and some called for checks on his control of WPVM or his outright removal, according to the notes. Bowen has defended himself, saying his actions have been aimed at moving the WPVM back to its stated mission as a community radio station.
See Wednesday’s Xpress for more on this story.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor