On Monday, Asheville City Council’s Boards and Commissions Committee sent a letter to URTV Director Pat Garlinghouse and Board Chair Jerry Young giving a 14-point analysis of the problems dogging the public-access TV station.
The letter addresses concerns ranging from transparency issues and “internal turmoil” to the involvement of individuals with criminal backgrounds and arbitrary banning procedures for some producers.
The letter, sent by Committee members Jan Davis, Robin Cape and Carl Mumpower, comes on the heels of a July 14 appearance by URTV producers and board members before the committee and Asheville City Council, and urges station management to find solutions to the problems by the end of September.
The letter also notes that though Council has no direct oversight of URTV, it does approve funding for the station’s operations, which might be threatened if no improvements are made:
“[W]e do have stewardship accountabilities involving funding and an on-going management agreement that we must uphold in good fashion,” the letter reads. “To this point we have not had a sense that the level of partnership between URTV leadership and the City has been adequate to our shared accountabilities and interests in insuring the long-term viably of public access TV.”
“We are less interested in a ‘formal response to charges’ than an internal effort within URTV to right its own ship and press on to good places,” the letter continues.
The committee cautions in the letter that it may not know the whole story about the URTV controversies: “We recognize that our information and perspective will not necessarily be completely accurate and valid. We offer these concerns with that consideration, but a shared a belief that what we know your leadership.”
— Brian Postelle, staff writer