MAIN board to meet this afternoon on radio controversy

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



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7 thoughts on “MAIN board to meet this afternoon on radio controversy

  1. Dwayne

    Wally, honey, why are so many people upset with you, if you are doing everything right? You complain that the volunteers think they “own” the station…. um……… no offense, but it kind of sounds like you think YOU do. Much appreciation for all you’ve done over the years, but you can’t just dismiss what sounds like a lot of solidarity going on. You’ve worked hard and had a good long ride in our nonprofit media here, but if this is the best you can manage, and you end up “firing” a volunteer (??) I don’t need to know much more, to suggest you might want to turn the mirror around and just have a little look.

  2. Musoscribe63

    I dunno how they run things over there. Not too well, it would seem. A year or so ago they put out the word that they were looking for new DJs/programs. I submitted an audio demo and followed all the rules for submission. Even after repeated followups I never got so much as a “no thanks.” Even if my demo sucked (and it didn’t) it deserved at least a form rejection letter. Very unprofessional. I know they’re all-volunteer and all, but there’s no excuse for that.

  3. cwaster

    I’d have to agree. I submitted an application some years back for station manager, and I have radio experience. They never responded by any method. Not even an email.

  4. Musoscribe63

    I must say, however, that MAIN’s web hosting operation is VERY professional. The “they” to which I was referring was the radio station.

  5. Sham69

    From what I’ve read and heard so far on these issues, I’d like to respond to cwaster & musoscribe63. The lack of continuity & process within various committees designed to deal with interested parties is one of the many reasons for the hullabaloo. It sounds like the same frustrations hold true for potential volunteers as do current ones. I think that should the MAIN Board hear your concerns or already have from others, that they will do the right thing and reach out to you again, perhaps this time with new processes in place.
    Continue your support, resubmit, and stay involved (get involved). It sounds like Asheville’s (community?) station needs your voices. Growing pains indeed. You (we) are all so lucky to have a station like WPVM. Ever been to a town w/out a station like this? It can be pretty bland. Hooray for all readers, listeners & those volunteers for supporting 7 Layer Dip. I would hope that those who’ve elected to remain silent or leave, would find that their voices are more effective on the air.

  6. slowlocal

    yes, i’ve lived in many towns without the very insightful news broadcasting provided by WPVM – the news in most communities is not only bland, it’s pretty much useless. we are incredibly lucky to have WPVM and i concur with sham69, please let’s work together to work past our differences and keep WPVM.

  7. MusicLover45

    I agree with sham69, as long as WPVM is not used as a fundraising arm for MAIN, and Wally changes his management style and attitude towards the DJ’s, other volunteers, and his station manager Jason.

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