MAIN hires ‘media manager’

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.

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2 thoughts on “MAIN hires ‘media manager’

  1. Barry Summers

    Nearly all the volunteers have left this organization frustrated and angry. I truly hope that Wally has learned some lessons, and that the new station manager will fare better than Jason Holland or Kim Clark.

    Many if not most of these experienced community radio folks have moved over to AshevilleFM.org. Read the article here:

    http://www.mountainx.com/ae/2009/090909come_celebrate_asheville_fm

  2. James

    Why is MAIN in the radio business? Why should MAIN be a nonprofit?

    It would be nice if MAIN got back into the Internet Service Provider business and provided rural Internet access, not set up a radio station and web sites to further certain political leanings. (Whether I agree with the leanings or not)

    Grants keep going to MAIN and there is no further movement to providing Internet access to people in rural areas. Yet places that already have choices for Internet access are getting yet another choice from MAIN funded by grants.

    And now MAIN has 5 Gbyte per month data limits like the cell phone data cards and actually costs more per month than US Cellular’s 5 Gbyte data plan.

    So MAIN is selling a 5 Gbyte per month data plan and running a streaming radio station can use up a lot of the 5 Gbyte cap if you decide to listen to it.

    It wouldn’t bother me so much how MAIN runs its business, but it uses up grant money that could be more wisely used to provide Internet access for those that have no alternatives, doesn’t pay the taxes that it should so the rest of us have to take up the slack, and dilutes profits that a better run company could go after.

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