Amid heated controversy, WPVM charts a new course

Davyne Dial, president of the board of directors of WPVM, in the station's new broadcast room at 34 Wall Street. Photo by Virginia Daffron.

Light fills the airy rooms in WPVM’s new headquarters on the top floor of the Self-Help Building in downtown Asheville. Vintage radio sets and old rattan decorate the lobby; a bright shag rug adds a touch of whimsy to the broadcast studio while helping eliminate echoes.

But for Davyne Dial, the most beautiful part of the new space is the bundles of multicolored wires snaking from the old-school soundboard into a computer tower. From there, the signal travels to a server and then to a transmitter on the building’s roof.

“At the old station [in the Vanderbilt Apartments on Haywood Street], we had a 10-year accumulation of tangled wires and dust,” Dial, the station’s board president, recalls. “We got everything separated and tagged at the intake and outtake of a component. Now if a wire comes loose, we can look at the code on it and know exactly where it goes back in.”

Volunteer show host Paul Rollins shares Dial’s satisfaction, noting, “Even though it was a massive undertaking, it was all done right, so we can track mistakes and upgrades.”

But WPVM’s recent housecleaning went much deeper than clearing away dust and sorting out electrical connections. Disillusioned volunteers, allegations of wrongdoing and a decade of frustrated hopes litter the wake of the station’s new course.

A history of difficulties

WPVM was born in 2003 after the Mountain Area Information Network, a local nonprofit, secured a low-power license to broadcast at 103.5 FM from the Federal Communications Commission. From the beginning, however, the station was beset by conflict.

A tangle of wires getting sorted out during the WPVM station move. Photo by Virginia Daffron.
A tangle of wires getting sorted out during the WPVM station move. Photo by Virginia Daffron.

Run by volunteers under the direction of MAIN founder and Executive Director Wally Bowen, the station endured a series of clashes involving volunteers, Bowen and MAIN’s board of directors. In 2009, after years of dissension, the board dismissed a number of volunteers; many others chose to leave.

Another issue was the station’s extremely weak signal, due to problems related to the location and elevation of the Busbee Mountain antenna, former WPVM Manager Jason Holland recalls. And MAIN, which provided almost all the financial support, was having serious money troubles. In early summer 2012, the station went off the air, though it continued streaming programming online.

In February 2013, WPVM received a license to broadcast at 100 watts on a different frequency: 103.7 FM. That June, programming returned to the airwaves via a transmitter on the Self-Help Building.

A worsening picture

Nonetheless, past debts and disagreements continued to haunt both MAIN and WPVM.

A longtime progressive political activist and dedicated champion of independent media, Bowen spearheaded the push to secure the station’s license. But his management style alienated many volunteers. In a March 4, 2009, commentary in Mountain Xpress, Bowen wrote, “Since August, I have been called ‘dictator,’ ‘tyrant,’ ‘Big Brother,’ ‘keeper of the Gulag’ and ‘enemy of free speech.’”

And by 2013, MAIN was facing a severe financial crisis, says Patryk Battle, an organic food activist who was then the nonprofit’s board president. Bowen had taken out a loan with PNC Bank using WPVM’s equipment as collateral, but that merely bought the station some time. Eventually, says Battle, creditors and grant funders lost confidence in Bowen’s leadership and demanded his resignation as a condition for continuing to support the organization.

Bowen, who has Lou Gehrig’s disease, stepped down on July 1, 2013. Mark West, a professor of mass communication at UNC Asheville, was named interim executive director.

John Blackwell, who served on MAIN’s radio committee, says that after Bowen’s departure, the board asked WPVM to develop a plan for becoming financially independent. This was difficult, he says, because the station had never generated a significant portion of its support through fundraising or underwriting.

When no workable plan emerged, MAIN’s board decided to find a new owner for WPVM. “We wanted an entity which could successfully operate the radio station while MAIN focused on our core competency: providing high-speed broadband services,” West explains.

Blackwell, who’d worked with Dial and her husband, Dr. Herbert Johnson, at the now-defunct public access television station URTV, invited them to MAIN’s membership meeting in the summer of 2014 — an invitation he says he now regrets.

NEWSradioTimeline.indd

In transition

As MAIN’s board considered alternatives for WPVM’s future, Battle says he worked to preserve the station as a public resource. “I wanted WPVM to promote really good public discourse, with conservative voices as well as progressives,” he explains. To that end, Battle negotiated a low-interest bridge loan from his employer, Living Web Farms, to MAIN.

Once again, however, this only delayed what a majority of MAIN’s board felt was inevitable: transferring the station’s license to some other entity. Dial and Johnson were eager to create that entity and were willing to contribute significant financial resources. In the late summer of 2014, they began negotiating in earnest with the board.

There were many challenges. The station’s equipment had to be cataloged, its financial situation clarified and the extensive FCC application process navigated. Anticipating “some resistance to transferring the license,” says Dial, “everything had to be done in as pristine a way as possible. And that is what we have tried to do.”

In order to qualify under FCC rules, however, Dial and Johnson needed to establish a nonprofit community organization with engaged volunteers. Accordingly, they began setting up the Friends of WPVM. Battle, who also hosted a show on the station, says he was one of the first volunteers to join the group, along with Justin Harrison, a 20-something radio newcomer.

Christopher Lawing, who’d previously hosted a show on Asheville FM, says he was surprised when, after Dial invited him to visit WPVM that September, Dial, Johnson and Harrison asked him to join the fledgling nonprofit’s board.

A week later, Jacquelyn Hammond was also invited to join the board. Hammond, who manages the Goddess Underground event space on Broadway, says she’d never even considered hosting a radio show before meeting Dial and Johnson socially but thought it would be a fun way “to highlight other women entrepreneurs.”

On Oct. 2, 2014, Friends of WPVM Inc. filed bylaws and articles of incorporation with the state. Under the heading “initial directors,” the bylaws named Harrison as president, Dial as vice president, Johnson as treasurer, Hammond as secretary and Lawing as member at large. Those five plus show host Carol Anders were listed as initial members of the corporation, with full voting rights, including “authority … to confirm, modify or reverse amendments to these bylaws by the board of directors, and … to fill any vacancies on the board.” Battle says that due to his leadership role with MAIN, he opted not to be included as an initial member, to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest.

Secret videos

During those first months, the new nonprofit was busy filing paperwork with the FCC, negotiating with MAIN and lining up show hosts. But as fall moved into winter, station volunteers began to suspect that some board members — namely, Dial and Johnson — were more equal than others. When Hammond and Dial met with a graphic designer to discuss a new station logo, Hammond says Dial told her, “I’m paying for this, so I get to decide.” Others, including Blackwell, were upset when they saw that new marketing materials had changed the station’s tag line from “The Progressive Voice of the Mountains” to “Voices of Asheville” without a board vote or discussion with volunteers. Hammond, Lawing and Battle say policy changes were frequently dictated by Dial and Johnson, rather than a board vote.

Show host and founding member of FoWPVM Chris Lawing. Photo by Virginia Daffron.
Show host and founding member of FoWPVM Chris Lawing. Photo by Virginia Daffron.

At a membership meeting in early December, Lawing says he discovered an iPhone on a small tripod, tucked behind a computer monitor and wondered why it was there. At a subsequent board meeting, Dial accused Lawing of drinking alcohol during his radio show, saying she’d seen it on a live-stream video feed to her home. Lawing says he was drinking iced tea and that the label was clearly visible in the video.

Meanwhile, station volunteers were upset to learn that they and their radio show guests were being monitored by the iPhone. According to the minutes of a mid-December committee meeting, volunteers voted to remove the camera, though affidavits later filed by Lawing and Hammond indicate that the monitoring continued at least until Dec. 31. At an early January meeting attended by volunteers and members of the public, tempers ran high as Dial and Johnson were confronted about the surveillance, Hammond and others say.

In emails and Facebook posts, Dial and Johnson said they wanted to know how the station was being used throughout the day, were concerned about the security of the equipment and suspected that alcohol was being consumed on the premises.

A rancorous meeting

Even as the debate raged, however, the board was expanded. Battle was unanimously elected on Dec. 17 and Anders on Jan. 21, 2015, meeting minutes show.

But in early March, Harrison resigned as president. In an email announcing his decision, he wrote, “It was my only intention to be a part of a radio station where anyone who put time into a show was given adequate and sincere consideration when voicing any concern, no matter how offensive it may be to those in leadership roles.”

In a March 19 email to Dial, Johnson, Hammond, Harrison and Anders, Asheville attorney Mike Wimer, acting as counsel to the Friends of WPVM, advised, “With Justin’s resignation, you are down to four board members, which means you need the affirmative vote of three board members to fill any vacant board position, including the president’s spot.” The email wasn’t addressed to either Battle or Lawing, even though they’d been attending board meetings and voting as board members up till then, meeting minutes show.

The board of directors normally met at the station, but on April 1, the group convened at Wimer’s Haywood Road office. A video recording shows that Dial tried to call the meeting to order with Johnson, Hammond, Lawing, Anders and Wimer present. Battle arrived shortly afterward, and Johnson tried unsuccessfully to prevent him from entering the room. A dispute immediately arose over the attempt by Wimer (who was not a board member) to direct the meeting. After about 10 minutes of heated discussion, Hammond, Lawing, Battle and Anders left.

According to the minutes, Dial and Johnson then voted to add John Miall and Roger McCredie to the board. Miall, a conservative City Council candidate this year, failed to make it past the Oct. 6 primary. McCredie, a reporter for The Tribune Papers, is a former executive director of the Southern Legal Resource Center, which consults on cases defending “America’s most persecuted minority: Confederate Southern Americans,” according to its website.

But Wimer’s email had said three votes were needed to fill vacancies. Asked about the discrepancy, he said the situation was “very fluid” and that his legal analysis showed that only Dial, Johnson and Hammond held valid board memberships on April 1. Thus, two board members constituted a quorum.

The bylaws, however, state, “The board of directors of the corporation shall consist of a minimum of five and a maximum of seven directors.”

Wimer says Battle was ineligible because of his role with MAIN, and the original incorporation documents didn’t list Lawing as a director. The paperwork appointing Anders was incomplete, says Wimer, adding that during the April 1 meeting, she resigned, saying she couldn’t participate in a body characterized by dissension and distrust.

Anders was reluctant to comment on what happened at the meeting. But Lawing and Hammond contend that Wimer was merely acting as Dial’s personal attorney. “The board never voted to appoint Mike Wimer as legal counsel to the organization,” notes Hammond. “Justin Harrison, as president, never co-signed a check to pay Wimer through the WPVM bank account.” Thus, she maintains, Wimer lacked the authority to run meetings, interpret the organization’s bylaws or weigh in on the composition of its board.

In addition, Hammond and Lawing argue that since the April 1 meeting never actually came to order, no official decisions could be made, and that Miall and McCredie, lacking previous involvement with the station, didn’t meet the criteria for board membership stated in the bylaws.

Wimer, however, says Hammond and Lawing were part of a “cabal whose motivation was to be so disruptive that the transfer of the license would be jeopardized.” Battle, says Wimer, also “tried to form an alliance to stop the sale” of the station’s equipment.

Asked to respond to Wimer’s assertion, Hammond said, “If I were part of a cabal, the cabal was working to save the station from imploding.”

And Lawing said, “Far from being disruptive, my efforts have been to hold Dial and Johnson accountable for their questionable management decisions, often taken without consulting the board.”

 In the dark?

On May 8, 2015, the FCC authorized the license transfer; it was finalized on June 26. Wimer and others say that Bowen, MAIN’s founder, lodged an objection with the FCC, but it’s not included in the agency’s online public file.

Bowen, though, says, “When I stepped down as [executive director], I knew that selling the radio station was a real possibility. That’s why I repeatedly requested first right of refusal if they did decide to sell.

“In addition, I purchased the station’s new transmitter with my own funds in 2013 ($2,676) when MAIN didn’t have the funds. I made it clear to the board that I needed to be reimbursed, but I didn’t press the issue. I figured my owning the transmitter would prevent the station being sold on the sly. That’s why I was stunned to learn last April that a sale was not only pending but had been underway since January.

“If I was in the dark, I wasn’t alone. Apparently, the community of MAIN supporters, and the community as a whole, were unaware that the station was being sold. … I did not write a letter to the FCC. I did, however, email both the MAIN board and Friends of WPVM to put them on notice that I own the transmitter, but I never got a reply.”

Dial says that she and her husband, fearing that the license might be surrendered due to the station’s ongoing troubles, “decided to do everything in our power to see that didn’t happen.” She continues: “My husband was willing to finance it [the transfer] because he has a commitment to independent radio. He is our benefactor. Without him, this station would not be on the air today. … If other people wanted the license, all they had to do was step up to the table and hire their own legal team.”

In a May 29 comment on the Buncombe Politics Facebook group, which she moderates, Dial responded to questions about the license transfer and board reshuffling as follows: “The truth is we have spent $35,000 on legal fees to make sure every step in the process was done legally as required by the FCC. Spurious & libelous statements will be handled in due time in court.”

Police investigate alleged wiretapping

On May 8, the same day the license transfer was approved, Lawing, Hammond three radio show guests filed a complaint with the Asheville Police Department alleging that the secret video recording constituted wiretapping. Affidavits by Lawing and Hammond asserted that Dial and Johnson had collected audio and video recordings without their knowledge or consent during December 2014.

The city obtained a search warrant for Dial’s email address, which Lawing and Hammond say received notifications of new recording activity from Dial’s in-station iPhone when an app called Presence detected motion. On June 11, attorney Sean Devereux filed a motion to quash the search warrant, to prevent review of Dial’s email account. On June 22, the city responded by filing a motion to strike or dismiss Dial’s motion; the city ultimately prevailed.

The investigation was later closed. City Attorney Robin Currin declined to comment on the case, and Sarah Gross, the city’s records facilitator, said the file is protected from release by state law.

Wimer says the wiretapping complaint “was brought by people who had a vendetta against Davyne Dial. It was completely without merit.” Video recording in a public place is legal in North Carolina, he says, and volunteer workers “don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the workplace.”

Asked whether audio recording is legal under those circumstances, Wimer said, “I don’t know.” Asked whether radio show guests had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the station, Wimer again said he didn’t know.

No stranger to controversy

The brouhaha over the license transfer wasn’t the first in which Dial’s name had figured prominently. In April 2009, URTV members removed her from the station’s board of directors on a 33-12 vote whose legality she disputes. Dial subsequently took her case to City Manager Gary Jackson and also sued the city seeking financial records; Wimer served as her attorney.

In 2013, Dial ran afoul of the League of Women Voters of Asheville-Buncombe County while serving on its board. With the approval of at least two fellow board members, Dial began live-streaming video of Buncombe County Board of Education meetings in conjunction with the league’s Observer Corps initiative. While filming, she sometimes cheered for statements made by then-school board member Lisa Baldwin. In letters to the league, school board members Pat Bryant and Steve Sizemore complained that Dial’s vocal support for Baldwin suggested bias or partisanship, which they felt was incompatible with league policies. Dial eventually resigned from the board and published a website, ablwv.blogspot.com, detailing her contention that the organization had curtailed her freedom of speech.

Several former WPVM members interviewed for this article expressed concern that their statements to Mountain Xpress might result in legal action against them. “Knowing Dial’s litigious nature,” said Lawing, “I am worried that my comments may result in a lawsuit.” And in response to an initial interview request, Hammond wrote, “If I start talking about the station will I be ensured that the board president [Dial] won’t sue me?” To substantiate her concern, Hammond provided an email from Dial titled “Jackie I’m hearing [expletive] through the grapevine.” Talking about a dispute over the administration of WPVM’s Facebook page, Dial wrote, “If that doesn’t not [sic] stop you, I have the option of legal action for your slander that hurt our reputation and the stations [sic].”

Moving on

Some people considered challenging the Friends of WPVM’s legal right to the license but concluded that “would take more money than any of us had,” Battle explains. Attorney Eileen McMinn, whom Battle, Lawing and Wimer say assisted the group challenging Dial and Johnson, declined to comment for this story.

Battle and others involved with WPVM during this turbulent period have since moved on to other projects. But some have continued working with the station.

Show host Carol Anders at the microphone. Photo provided by Carol Anders.
Show host Carol Anders at the microphone. Photo provided by Carol Anders.

Anders, who hosts the weekly “Asheville ’N the Arts” program, says “There was a lot of controversy” during the transition period. “While I was sympathetic to all sides, I was just hoping that we would preserve what we set out to do, which was to provide an outlet for the voices of Asheville.”

At this point, she continues, “I feel we are on a good path, and I think we have a bright, sustainable future. Kudos to the current leadership: I’m glad they had the resources and energy to make it happen. There are always going to be issues and challenges.”

On a mission

“The advantage of having a local-led, volunteer-run radio station with low overhead costs is that you can go into subjects that mainstream media cannot afford to take on,” says Dial. “That’s one of our main goals: to present voices that are unheard elsewhere.”

Busker Abby Roach, aka The Spoon Lady, hosts two weekly shows and also spontaneously pulls in buskers off the street. “The buskers really like being on live. … I think it’s just going to grow and grow,” says Roach, who believes her broadcasts are the only ones of their kind in the U.S.

“We want to be the true voice of what’s happening in the community,” says Dial. “We’ve had about six months of developing show hosts, and we are in the market for more of those folks who really reflect the richness of this community.”

Hosts also get a chance to learn technical skills, notes Dial: “A commercial radio station has a producer, a host and talent. A lot of times here, one person is doing it all at the same time.”

Ironically, WPVM’s new facility is next door to MAIN. When the station received word on July 31 that its Haywood Street lease wouldn’t be renewed, Dial explains, West, who’s now MAIN’s board secretary, said, “You should really consider taking that space next to us, because we are trying to sublease it. It’s got all the wiring you need, plus your signal will be much closer to where it’s going.”
That signal carries an average of 3 miles from Wall Street, though the granite of Beaucatcher Mountain limits its range to the east. “But if you go west,” notes Dial, “we have a strong signal all the way out to Canton, and to the north we have a signal up to Weaverville.” Dial plans to continue recruiting show hosts representing a range of perspectives, and program underwriters who want independent media to flourish.

Some passionate former volunteers, though, no longer feel welcome at the station. “When I look at the four years I put into trying to ensure that WPVM remained a resource for the progressive community of Western North Carolina and look at the results,” Battle says with a sigh, “it’s a pretty tragic outcome.”

Lawing, meanwhile, says, “I still believe the just resolution of this situation would be to re-establish the duly appointed board of directors, who should have an opportunity to vote on appointments and decisions made since April 1.”

Wimer, however, sees things differently. “You [Mountain Xpress] have to decide what’s newsworthy,” he says. “It seems to me that the intracompany politics with regard to boards and members is a sideshow, but you may decide that it’s the most important thing in the reporting of it. We think the most important thing is that the station has survived, and survived despite some incredible financial difficulties and in spite of some pretty intensive efforts by people both inside and outside of WPVM to kill it.”

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About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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66 thoughts on “Amid heated controversy, WPVM charts a new course

  1. Those of us disenfranchised by the actions you have read in this story, are taking control of our own destiny and starting our own internet radio station, http://www.FuzzyBunnyRadio.com We currently have an Indiegogo campaign to raise the funds needed to get it off the ground, but we need your support. Please consider contributing to this project and help get those lost shows back on the air. Thank you. Dirk Flytrap, The Fuzzy Bunny Cuddle Time Hour
    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/fuzzy-bunny-radio/x/602004#/

    • Jax

      Yes!!! True Radio! No boards, no “benefactors” and no bulls**t!

    • Kramer Coswell

      Isn’t that the way Asheville FM started, those that were unhappy with Bowen??

      • Yes Sir, exactly the same way. I was at AFM and am so proud of what they have accomplished. However, we wish to keep this new entity as internet only. We have no interest in going terrestrial. There is a lot more freedom, programming wise, in that format. We are looking forward to helping the lost talent have a safe, drama free, spying free environment in which to flourish.

  2. C. Lawing refuses to understand that he was appointed to an interim Board that was formed to get the process started, not the official Board that was voted in on Oct. 8. 2014. The organizational meeting ***paperwork shows four officers duly elected to the official Friends of WPVM Board of Directors.

    Friends of WPVM was under the misconception that Lawing was a director until Attorney Wimer looked at our official paperwork in February. Attorney Wimer met with the Board and explained what happened, some people choose to understand and some do not.

    *** https://www.scribd.com/doc/288512630/Pg-1-Organization-Meeting-Document-Wed-Oct-08-2014
    *** https://www.scribd.com/doc/288512632/Pg-2-Organization-Meeting-Document-Thu-Oct-08-2015

    • linda

      I have known Chris Lawing for more than 10 yrs He came as a handyman and has done extensive work
      in and around my home. He is trustworthy, honest and reliable, and a loyal friend.

  3. Andrea

    I have known Mr. Lawing for almost 13 years and am proud to call him a friend. He is one of the most ethical people you will ever meet. If he says that’s the way it happened, then that’s the way it happened.

    • Illuminatti_01

      Yeah, right Andrea.

      http://www.bbb.org/asheville/business-reviews/home-improvements/chris-lawing-handyman-service-in-asheville-nc-92006208/complaints#breakdown

      Complaint Breakdown by Resolution About Complaint Details
      Complaint Resolution Log (1)
      The business failed to respond to the dispute. (1 complaint)
      8/31/2013 Guarantee/Warranty Issues | Read Complaint Details
      X
      Additional Notes
      Complaint: I had leaks and he said he could probably fix them. He spent about 4 hours on my roof and I still have the same leaks, for $600.00. He said I would probably do better with a new roof, but I explained there was NO way I could afford it. My son was witness to most of this. When I called and told him it was still leaking, he said unless he saw an actual hole he couldn’t help me. He said I needed a new roof which he would be happy to do. I feel like he knew he couldn’t fix it and thought he would convince me to get a new roof. He spent a lot of time telling me how horrible my old roof job was. He seems to have blocked me from his Facebook and I don’t have his number. He told me the estimate was free till I pointed out how little time he spent on my roof, then all of a sudden the “consultation” became pricey. Even if I knew he was going to charge me, I would have cut off all his talking about the last roof job. I need my roof fixed.

      Desired Settlement: At this point, refund my money. I don’t trust him.

    • Jax

      Agree wholeheartedly! I always look to the common denominator in local controversies and Chris Lawing has always remained above bar.

  4. mcates

    So people can hurl false accusations of racism at Roger McCredie and Davyne Dial and the Mountain X is silent on it.

    The double standards the Mountain X applies in the comments section should be embarrassing to the paper. Sadly, that’s apparently not the case.

    • Virginia Daffron

      Mark, can you specify which comments you object to? I have deleted comments in this thread that violate our terms of use, and those deleted comments were aimed toward different parties named in the story, including Dial.

      I don’t see a specific claim of racism, but I am open to hearing your point of view.

      • Detroitt

        Certain people don’t like it when Roger McCredie’s past associations with racist groups are pointed out.

        • mcates

          Kind of surprised it has to be pointed out, but okay.

          “to turn the group into a fund-raising, rabble-rousing propaganda generator for the CCC/KKK.”

          That’s a blatant accusation of Roger being willing to practice racism.

      • mcates

        Virginia… let’s see if this helps you to see it.

        “Very interesting to see neo-Confederate Virginia Daffron in this mix.

        Before any Conservatives get excited about her inclusion in WPVM, let me remind other “Confederate-Americans” how Virginia Daffron…. … to turn the group into a fund-raising, rabble-rousing propaganda generator for the CCC/KKK.

        Thanks for nothing, Virginia. And what does this say about Ms. Dial and her motives?

        • Virginia Daffron

          Mark, I was in the process of removing the comment when your third reply came in. To be clear, I think that a reader has to make a couple of conceptual leaps to go from Big Al’s comment to an accusation of racism. But since you feel the implication is a strong one, and because the original comment arguably strays off topic, I have taken it down.

          • mcates

            “I think that a reader has to make a couple of conceptual leaps to go from Big Al’s comment to an accusation of racism.”

            Sorry, but I find your comment absurd and disappointing.

  5. MichaelE

    For those curious as to who Roger Mcredie is and his supposed right wing ties with Kirk Lyons and their impact on the Son’s of Confederate Veterans: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/08/us/member-s-racist-ties-split-confederate-legacy-group.html

    “Mr. Lyons, who now holds a lesser leadership post in the Army of Northern Virginia, seems to hold considerable support within the Sons. Roger W. McCredie, the group’s chief of heritage defense, backs him because ”he has succeeded in making other people see that instead of always reacting, we have got to seize the initiative.” Patrick J. Griffin 3rd, the immediate past commander in chief, said he admired Mr. Lyons because ”it takes a true person of character to stand up and defend unpopular individuals.”

    For those unfamiliar with Kirk Lyons, here is what the Southern Poverty Law Center has to say:https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/kirk-lyons

    • Virginia Daffron

      Now that we’ve heard various allegations and denials regarding Roger McCredie, who only gets a single short mention and has a minor role in the story, let’s get back to the article’s many other aspects.

      • Roger McCredie

        Gee … nobody asked me for a comment. I feel plumb left out.

          • Virginia Daffron

            Michael, thank you for asking. Current board members Dial, Johnson, Miall and Roach were interviewed.

      • MichaelE

        Understood. However, I believe the people need to know. Roger is on the station board of directors, which plays a major role in the direction of the station. I’m not slandering, just providing insight that has already been reported on by the likes of the likes of nytimes, the SPLC, and should have been reported in this story. Yes, he had a minor role in your story, but maybe that was a mistake. Where you aware of his ties to Kirk Lyons?

        • Virginia Daffron

          Michael, thank you for your concern. I was aware of the NYT article you reference while writing this article. Again, it’s not the focus of the story.

          • MichaelE

            Aside from a couple criticisms, this was a fine piece of journalism. The story was long overdue. Thanks Virginia

        • mcates

          You mean the Southern Povertly Law Center that the FBI had to remove from it’s website?

          [“Writing in the left-wing website Counterpunch, Alexander Coburn called SPLC founder Morris Dees “king of the hate business.” Coburn wrote, “Ever since 1971, U.S. Postal Service mailbags have bulged with Dees’ fundraising letters, scaring dollars out of the pockets of trembling liberals aghast at his lurid depictions of hate-sodden America, in dire need of legal confrontation by the SPLC.” In fact, so prolific is Dees at direct mail that he is in the Direct Marketing Association Hall of Fame.”

          Writing at the Harper’s Magazine blog in 2007, Ken Silverstein said, “What [the SPLC] does best… is to raise obscene amounts of money by hyping fears about the power of [right-wing fringe] groups; hence the SPLC has become the nation’s richest ‘civil rights’ organization.”

          A critical analysis published recently by Professor George Yancey of North Texas University concluded that SPLC targets only those groups its leaders disagree with politically while leaving liberal groups who use extreme language alone.

          A 2013 article in Foreign Policy concluded that SPLC exaggerates the hate crimes threat, saying SPLC is not an “objective purveyor of data,” instead calling them “anti-hate activists” and suggesting that their reports need to be “weighed more carefully by news outlets that cover their pronouncements.”]

        • mcates

          Perhaps we should read what Stephen Bright, an Atlanta-based civil rights and anti-death penalty attorney has to say about the “facts” provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center?

          Kenneth C. Randall, Dean and
          Thomas L. McMillan, Professor of Law
          School of Law
          University of Alabama
          249 Law Center
          Box 870382
          101 Paul W. Bryan Drive
          Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0382

          Dear Dean Randall:

          Thank you very much for the invitation to speak at the law school’s commencement in May. I am honored by the invitation, but regret that I am not able to accept it due to other commitments at that time.

          I also received the law school’s invitation to the presentation of the “Morris Dees Justice Award,” which you also mentioned in your letter as one of the “great things” happening at the law school. I decline that invitation for another reason. Morris Dees is a con man and fraud, as I and others, such as U.S. Circuit Judge Cecil Poole, have observed and as has been documented by John Egerton, Harper’s, the Montgomery Advertiser in its “Charity of Riches” series, and others.

          The positive contributions Dees has made to justice–most undertaken based upon calculations as to their publicity and fund raising potential–are far overshadowed by what Harper’s described as his “flagrantly misleading” solicitations for money. He has raised millions upon millions of dollars with various schemes, never mentioning that he does not need the money because he has $175 million and two “poverty palace” buildings in Montgomery. He has taken advantage of naive, well-meaning people–some of moderate or low incomes–who believe his pitches and give to his $175-million operation. He has spent most of what they have sent him to raise still more millions, pay high salaries, and promote himself. Because he spends so much on fund raising, his operation spends $30 million a year to accomplish less than what many other organizations accomplish on shoestring budgets.

          The award does not recognize the work of others by associating them with Dees; it promotes Dees by associating him with the honorees. Both the law school and Skadden are diminished by being a part of another Dees scam.

          Again, thank you for the invitation to participate in your commencement. I wish you and the law school the very best.

          Sincerely,

          Stephen B. Bright

          cc: Morris Dees
          Arthur Reed
          Dees award committe

      • Ms. Daffron, you had to be very aware of the spurious accusations against Roger McCredie fueled by the very people you give credence to in this article , and the direction the article would take given the relentless social media smear campaign against the station, so please spare us your innocent act. Roger McCredie has extensive background in radio production and promotion. That past history and the value of that experience for the station, speaks for itself.

        I ask that people view our schedule and our past history of providing eight hours a week airtime for young hip hop culture and City Council candidate Pastor Spencer Hardaway , this is proof positive of support of local minority community. No other station in Asheville has done this for the under heard voice.

        https://soundcloud.com/dixiegirlz/wpvm-20151029-200000

          • bsummers

            I don’t hate Davyne, I hate her wildly unethical behavior and the trail of disrupted organizations and wronged individuals she leaves behind (how messed up do you have to be to get thrown out of the League of Women Voters?)

            She has nothing but a lot of money, a lot of time on her hands, and a vicious drive to do harm to the political left of Asheville. And after getting cast out of URTV, a previous attempt to wiggle into WPVM in 2009, and an attempt to use the League of Women Voters as a partisan bullhorn, she has finally managed to take over a volunteer-driven entity and cast out anyone who challenges her control of it.

            People of Asheville who helped build WPVM, the Progressive Voice of the Mountains – note that the first thing she did was erase the word “progressive” from the title. What does that ‘P’ stand for now, I wonder?

        • You’re just wrong Barry Summers. I was not kicked out of AB League of Women voters. I resigned, as is clearly shown in the video on the page linked in the article.

          I was asked by Nelda Holder to go film a BCBOE meeting after a troubling article was written by Jake Frankel. See original email Holder forwarded to me.
          After videotaping the first meeting all manner of protest broke out by Pat Bryant and Steve Sizemore. (Clearly show in emails from Bryant and Sizemore)
          I was then told not to videotape any more by Karen Oelschleager. (Clearly shown in emails from Oelschleager)
          At that point I became concerned at the numerous red flags on the BCBOE field, and made a choice, stay with the ABLWV and know that questionable things were happening at the most important entity in the County, leave the ABLWV and continu videotaping the proceedings. I chose to resign (as is clearly shown in the video) ,
          and I livestreamed the meetings for another 18 months. At which time BCBOE began livestreaming their own meetings.

          WLOS went on to do a series of investigative reports on red flags at BCBOE.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKm37wptu8o
          There are many more videos associated with this investigative report on the Youtube sidebar.

          • bsummers

            Davyne, your own gripe website “Asheville Buncombe League of Women Voters limits first amendment rights of it’s Board Members” shows the whole thing (with a little photo of a woman with tape over her mouth – poor you, required to stay non-partisan while representing the League at official meetings).
            http://ablwv.blogspot.com/

            Board of Education members complained that while you were attending their meetings as the official observer from the League, you were clearly applauding and supporting one side in contentious debates – in this case, one Lisa Baldwin, well-known conservative agitator and bomb-thrower. (“Next time I come in here, should I say, ‘Heil, Hitler?’ “)

            You seem to be claiming that being required to restrain your support of Ms. Baldwin’s actions on the Board while wearing the pin of the League of Women Voters constituted limiting your right of free speech. Well, that’s what you sign up for when you represent them at official meetings. The video of that LWV meeting (did they know you were taping that? It’s not at all clear) was most illuminating.

            This is a perfect example of your slippery grasp of ethics. In your mind, your right to show your support for rightwing troublemaker Lisa Baldwin whenever and wherever you wanted, superseded your responsibility not to besmirch the League while acting under their official auspices.

            We can talk more about your many other ethical lapses if you want. Shall we talk about how you agreed to document a forum on the water issue, and then destroyed the video out of spite?

          • mcates

            Barry Summers – “(how messed up do you have to be to get thrown out of the League of Women Voters?)

            You mean the organization that had a PEDOPHILE serving on it’s board that Ms. Dial opposed?

            Geez… Mountainx… how about some community standards?

          • bsummers

            So I take by your changing the subject, mcates, that you don’t dispute my central point – that Davyne violated the responsibility entrusted to her as an official LWV observer? Thanks for that admission.

  6. Good lawd, if i had known an email sent via phone would end up re-printed in Mountain Xp, I sure would have corrected my durn spelling errors. Oh well.

    Just to fill in a missing part of the story, Ms. Hammond was chastised for spreading sh_t), because while butter would melt in her mouth to my face she was incredibly venomous about me behind my back. I was contacted by several concerned mutual friends, that a sitting Board member would be spreading smack about me behind my back. Needless to say that’s not mature Board Director behavior. So I openly confronted her via email. Anyone on Facebook can follow her and view the kind of pathological venom she habitually spews.

    And then there’s the screenshots of ongoing venom…reams of screenshots have been stored. Perhaps Ms. Daffron would like to view them sometime.

    • Detroitt

      What does it say about D. Dial that she actively stalks and collects screenshots of her imagined enemies on social media?

      • MisterShackelford

        Let’s give her a break. We shouldn’t complain about her cyber-stalking as she collects her gobs of screen grabs – she’s gotta have as much “evidence” as possible so she can sue and/or threaten to sue. How else is she going to strong arm the world?

      • Janice Beam

        Seemingly out of context screenshots I might add. I’ve never commented on a mountain express article before but I feel compelled to in this case. Ms Hamond had nothing to gain by posting anything on social media. This article told the story. And my understanding from the deleted comments is that it was briefly posted on her personal Facebook account. Snatching screenshots from your adversaries seem pathological to me.

  7. Detroitt

    Laughable attempts at smearing the SPLC aside, Roger McCreadie’s leadership status in the Neo-Conferderate movement is simply a matter of public record. Certain people may not like that, but facts are facts.

  8. Some people do not “feel welcome” for a reason.

    Jacquie Hammond has been actively spreading malicious lies about me and my husband Dr. Herbert Johnson. That was the main reason she was no longer welcome in the station. Just recently she said on her social media account that I “got drunk and killed my kid.” That is patently untrue but it is an example of how low she will sink in order to destroy my reputation. I did lose my only child to an accidental death, and that is the worst thing any parent can experience, The loss is made much more painful by people rubbing salt in the wound by blatantly lying in a callously inhumane manner, as happened with Jacquie Hammond. To have others who hear that lie not do anything but continue to wallow in the negativity speaks volumes about those who were part of the conversation. That is the extent the people mentioned in this smear campaign article will go to attempt to spread negativity about me.

    There are screenshots of the specious slander that was on social media, should there ever be any doubt what I’m saying happened is questioned.

    The bottom line is, had we not stepped in a year ago the station would be closed, and Asheville would have one less outlet for local voices like the in depth conversations with people like Dr. Darren Waters, Pastor Spencer Hardaway, political candidate interviews and forums, elected officials, writers, story tellers, buskers, the Asheville hip hop community, the arts and theater community, traditional mountain music, 20-40 big band and swing, classic rock, master gardeners, and syndicated shows like Interfaith Voices, Democracy Now and Thom Hartman, Native America Calling and more. WPVM will continue to move forward in spite of a long period of the people mentioned here attempting to destroy the reputation of me and others involved with the station.

    It’s extremely disappointing that we were not asked to respond to the exaggerations and confabulations mentioned here before Ms. Daffron’s piece went into print.

    • Virginia Daffron

      I am deeply saddened to learn of Ms. Dial’s unimaginable loss.

      However, regarding Ms. Dial’s statement “…we were not asked to respond to the exaggerations and confabulations…”: I interviewed Ms. Dial twice for this article. I appreciate the access and information she provided me. When I asked her about the board controversy and the statements and feelings of those who considered themselves shut out, she referred all discussion on the subject to her attorney, Mike Wimer.

      I spoke with Mr. Wimer on three separate occasions. During the second conversation, he said he didn’t have the time or inclination to explain the intricacies of the situation to me. However, he later called back and answered additional questions.

      Over the course of three conversations as Dial’s designated representative, Wimer’s views regarding those removed from station membership and board positions are depicted in the article by his comments that Lawing and Hammond had a “vendetta” against Dial and that the two were part of a “cabal whose motivation was to be so disruptive that the transfer of the license would be jeopardized.” Also, Wimer said that actions taken by Dial and Johnson were appropriate and reflected the couple’s concern for and commitment to the station’s survival.

      • Ms. Daffron, don’t you think it would have clarified the complaints had you added this information into the article? Instead it appear to people who have assessed your article that you gave their invalid points a lot of credibility.

      • bsummers

        Only five conversations with Davyne and her lawyer? Why, that’s not fair at all. Obviously, you should have let Ms. Dial write the article herself.

    • Since I was the target of ongoing slander, both here and on social media I am claiming “fair use” of screenshots of a recent conversation on social media in which the “killed my kid” comment was made. There are also references or allusions of racism and my belonging to a racist organization. I am a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, with patriot ancestors that fought at both Kings Mountain and Cowpens, the two battles that turned the Revolutionary war to where we were able to become one of the greatest nations in history.

      https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5NR22-HKDtrWDV4Q0dRRTNCYTA

      • bsummers

        Affidavits by Lawing and Hammond asserted that Dial and Johnson had collected audio and video recordings without their knowledge or consent during December 2014.

        D.Dial says:
        April 7, 2014 at 11:56 am

        Taping a private conversation is just wrong. And had the opposition done this the local “water carriers”would be all over it like white on rice.
        http://ashvegas.com/ashvegas-op-ed-in-moffitt-vs-turner-its-turners-story-that-stands-up-to-scrutiny/comment-page-1#comment-113322

      • Janice Beam

        Is anyone still listening to you? I’m new to Asheville having moved here about 16 months ago. I read the mountain express to get to know my new home and the people in it. I know nothing of this story other than what is represented in this article. It seems you Ms Dial, enjoy the attention- positive or negative. Many of the previous comments to this article were deleted but it seems to me from your response to those unfortunate comments you thrive on taking things out of context to draw attention to yourself. Based on what I read in the article you were surrounded by a diverse group of hard working individuals with good intentions who wanted what was good and fair for the station. You are a bit of a tyrant. It is understandable that your former team is feeling resentful and inflamed. I speak only for myself when I say I think it might time for you to bow out of the spotlight.

      • Jeri

        I looked at your screenshots, and nowhere does Jacquie say you got drunk and killed your kid. Since you lied about that, why should anyone believe anything else that you say? You just come across as a bitter, miserable person who will go to any length to harm those you dislike or can’t control.

    • bsummers

      “We’re going ahead with this, and if you don’t appreciate it, you can sue us!
      Davyne Dial, to WPVM Board members objecting to a Board meeting being run under the supervision of her personal attorney, in his office.
      “Please do. We would love to see you in court.”
      Davyne’s attorney, taunting WPVM Board members.

      Wow, you can just smell the fully ethical behavior, can’t you?

      • Detroitt

        Interesting videos. These people are beyond sleazy…especially the lawyer; almost a characature of a corrupt southern good ol’ boy up to no good.

      • bsummers

        “Battle arrived shortly afterward, and Johnson tried unsuccessfully to prevent him from entering the room.”

        This is a MAIN Board member and member of the station, and he’s being physically shoved out the door, apparently at the direction of Davyne’s lawyer. It’s too bad that Patryck did not file assault charges against Davyne’s husband – he was clearly contemplating that at the end of the second video. “He pushed me hard enough that it hurt.”

        I’d heard about this meeting, but actually seeing how it was run, apparently violating several of their own by-laws, with Davyne’s lawyer sitting there intimidating anyone who disagreed, and with a physical altercation trying to prevent a MAIN Board member from even entering the room – WOW. And all because it was Davyne’s intent to pack the WPVM Board with people who were ineligible to serve on it, like conservative “Chief of Southern Heritage Defense” Roger McCredie.

        Wow… just wow.

      • Jeri

        I bet there are some who wish this video had not been made public! To mix some metaphors, some things really stink once the light is shined on them. Nasty business right there.

        • bsummers

          I happen to know this story was in the works at XPress almost two months ago. I wonder what, if any, threat of litigation was thrown their way over it?

          Anyway, thanks Virginia & XPress for getting some light shone on this sordid escapade.

          The real curious part for me, is how did Davyne and her high-powered criminal defense lawyer Sean Deveraux get those illegal wiretapping charges squelched?

  9. Carolinagirl

    Not any surprises when it comes to Dial. She is her own biggest fan. Surprised Miall would join this group. A good thing he was not elected to city if the kind of people he hangs with. Dial controls Roger no surprise.

    • bsummers

      I am a little surprised about John also. He’s a relatively conservative guy, in the old-school Democrat kinda way, but in the Roger McCredie mold? No way. He wants to take a swing at the current crowd that runs Asheville govt., I get that. But he may not know who he’s gotten into bed with.

      • Carolinagirl

        Got in it before the contest. Looking for Bothwell to be the next board member. Yawn.

      • John Miall

        Barry comes close to figuring me out in this. I am an old school “D.” I hold some very liberal thoughts on some issues, but also have a 30+ year track record I am very proud of at being a fiscal conservative with the taxpayer’s dollars. I refuse to take (let alone pass) the ultra left wing litmus tests handed out at every turn in Asheville, and equally could not pass a Tea Party litmus test. I despise both extremes of the political spectrum for the damage they do. I have accepted in my advancing years to being a “party of me.” That is sufficient for my needs.

        That said, my involvement with WPVM is very simple. I have known Davyne and Herb for over 2.5 years now. I refuse to judge them or anyone else for what others say about them, trusting that I will know them and everyone else my life path intersects with on the basis of what I personally experience with them. This has allowed me in the course of my life to know, and respect deeply many people with VERY different political views. I refuse to choose my friends and acquaintances because they share whatever political beliefs I hold. I like the diversity that life brings me by befriending many different people. I can say of Davyne and Herb that they have NEVER once not been truthful with me. And, until I should ever find they have not been, I will hold them as friends and good people.

        Similarly, I have known Roger McRedie for over 2.5 years. I have never once observed or heard a remotely racist deed or utterance. I will not judge him based on the rants of a largely discredited organization who rail to the contrary, rather I will judge him like I do everyone in my life….. Is he honest and truthful with me….. “Yes,” is again the answer.

        Now, if I found myself friends with a liar or racist, I would probably put distance between me and them, and as a Christian I would pray for them and “love” them as my faith requires of me. But, I would not join them in a business setting nor seek their company socially.

        Now, if anyone is still reading this missive at this point let me share a TRUE story with you…. About a year and a half ago I was interviewed by 2 different media outlets for jobs. BOTH have well known and (they freely admit to being) left leaning / liberal / progressive (pick an adjective) outlets. One came as a referral from a third party and following that interview I was told they didn’t feel my political stances (from my campaign) would serve them well and they declined to hire me. No big deal. That’s life. A year later they came BACK to me and wanted to revive that conversation. Apparently whomever they did hire didn’t work out. I told them “No, thanks.”

        The second of those came direct to me. I was approached by a well known media figure in that place and was told they were looking for someone and felt I could fill the need. I had several interviews, culminating with two people who basically run the business. To my surprise, one is a “back door” neighbor where I have lived for 23 years… In that last interview I was asked how I was registered to vote (anyone but me would have sued their asses for that one) and was further told that there was concern that financial support could go away because of some of my “less liberal views.”

        As for WPVM, everything I have seen, read, and heard is that it was a station upside down in debt. The people who owned, managed, ran it couldn’t or wouldn’t pay the mountain of debt. Enter Davyne and Herb with a checkbook willing to not only pay the debts owed, but invest tens of thousands more to get the FCC license transferred. Following that, a majority (concentrate on this) a MAJORITY of the previous owner’s Board voted to sell the station and its assets to the new owners.

        I have been on the losing side of some things in my life. I know how bitter the taste of defeat is. But not once did I ever blame my losses in life on anyone else. Rather, I learned from what mistakes I and others might have made that led to that loss, and moved on. How much crying and whining will it take before people accept, it’s over?

        Takeaway what you will from this, but take that I judge people based on my personal experiences with them. Nothing more. And, further that to my experience in the past couple of years in Asheville you either drink the progressive Kool Aid served up, or you will not only be dismissed, but vilified and demonized.

        • bsummers

          Thanks John. You know I respect you from the times we met on the water issue. I too am willing to work with anyone who comes to the table on an issue of common interest, regardless of ideology or party registration. Witness my own odd bedfellows on the water, or the way I was welcomed in to theTea Party to work on the drone issue.

          That being said, my problem with Davyne isn’t about party or ideology – it’s about unethical and dishonest behavior, like erasing the video of the MVA water forum out of petty personal vendetta. This type of person should not be in control of an LPFM radio station just because they can whip out a checkbook, and are willing to be ruthless in driving out people who disagree.

  10. lluminatti

    Update: In a precedent setting lawsuit settlement Jacquelyn Hammond admitted to spearheading a smear campaign against the station and Ms. Dial on social media, blogs and even here on Mountain Xpress. News of the settlement was featured in newspapers and news reports locally, nationally and internationally.

    Interestingly if other news organizations and legal journals that followed the lawsuit could easily figure out this was about a MAIN Director who wanted to obtain the FCC license, and instigated a sabotage campaign when he didn’t get voted to receive the license by MAIN Board of Directors, why couldn’t the author of this article figure this out also?

    https://www.scribd.com/document/344999579/Press-Release-PDF

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