The Mountain Area Information Network has hired a new manager, who will help integrate the Internet service provider's Web site with MAIN's low-power FM radio station, WPVM.
K.P. Whaley will start as "media manager" for the Asheville-based nonprofit on Sept. 1. Whaley has been working as the news and public-affairs director for WORT-FM in Madison, Wis., a station known for its trailblazing work as a nonprofit community radio station.
Wally Bowen, MAIN's executive director, says Whaley has the skills and experience to help move MAIN and WPVM further into Web streaming. MAIN holds the license for WPVM.
"He understands radio is undergoing some monumental transformations, and he understands the future is digital and in mobile broadband," Bowen says, "and that's exactly where we see it going."
Earlier this year, Bowen outlined a new direction for MAIN, called "MAIN 2.0," which includes providing wider access to mobile broadband Internet and building a full-fledged community-news operation. The plan also includes an integration of MAIN's news Internet portal and the radio station. Working as media manager, Whaley will lead that effort.
"Community radio must change or it will fade away," Whaley says in a written statement. "I am excited to be working with an organization like MAIN that understands the challenges faced by community radio and has the vision and technical experience to embrace these challenges and to help provide a roadmap for other community media."
Whaley's hiring is the latest in a series of changes at WPVM over the past year. After months of tension between station volunteers and Bowen, WPVM announced changes in both its programming and the way it works with volunteers, including requiring contracts for producers of local programming.
Many WPVM volunteers and most of its local programming left the station. With Whaley on board, WPVM is now prepared to accept applications for new volunteers and ideas for programming, according to Bowen.
MAIN and WPVM will also be holding a mini fund-drive Labor Day week to honor working people and focus attention on the prospects for green jobs. It will feature interviews with Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed; Van Jones, author of Green Collar Economy; and Robert McChesney, author of The Political Economy of Media.