Letter writer: WPVM encourages independent voices

Graphic by Lori Deaton

This letter is a response to the [cover] article published on Nov. 4 [“Lost in Transmission: Amid Heated Controversy, WPVM Charts New Course,” Xpress]. When local, independent media choose to write about another such entity, as in this instance when the Mountain Xpress deigned itself impartial enough to weigh in on the internal workings of WPVM to report gossip as “news,” it opens up a self-serving, myopic wormhole that does nothing to further the critical conversations we need to be having in our community.

Let’s not forget that Asheville’s best political reporter, David Forbes, now bangs out a living blogging for Patreon donations because he was fired from the Xpress for challenging the suppression of stories while trying to unionize the workforce. It also bears mentioning while WPVM has been smeared in your publication, you have simultaneously championed the fundraising efforts of another local radio station, Asheville FM. The takeaway here is those who work in the glass houses of independent media shouldn’t pile bricks outside their front doors.

Now to the more pressing concern of sparking community-minded conversation: I’m proud to announce WPVM has given me the opportunity to launch Asheville’s first truly independent nonpartisan political talk show. Since moving here, I have worked tirelessly for grassroots nonprofits and the local economy. The Venture Local conference, which debuted in 2011, was my brainchild. I helped ensure an independent, pro-cannabis candidate was on the ballot for district attorney. I challenged the former chief of police on the practice of filming peaceful political protests and won a victory for the First Amendment.

I’ve written for the Xpress, published opinion pieces in the Asheville Citizen-Times, collaborated on stories for WLOS News13, and given interviews on 880 The Revolution. In all that time I never hesitated to speak truth to power and call out corruption and ineptness, regardless where it might be found.

It doesn’t matter if you’re Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative. I have no knee-jerk loyalties or party affiliations. My only litmus test is [whether] you are trying to make Asheville a better place, or simply advancing your own self-interests. I believe WPVM is taking a huge risk bringing a controversial voice like mine on the radio. That fact alone should silence critics who believe there’s been some “conservative” takeover of the station. However, the proof is always in the performance; that’s why I invite the community to join in a real dialogue about important local issues on Fridays from 4 to 6 p.m. on WPVM.

Onward and upward.

— Jonathan Robert

Editor’s note: Xpress Publisher Jeff Fobes responds: Regarding our recent story about WPVM, we gathered extensive documentation and interviewed key individuals in order to provide what I believe to be accurate and balanced coverage of the disputes surrounding the composition of the Friends of WPVM board of directors and related issues. Regarding your reference to David Forbes, I disagree with your characterization of the facts. For the record, we enumerated the reasons for his termination shortly after the event in a publisher’s response to a letter to the editor. It can be read at http://avl.mx/23h

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3 thoughts on “Letter writer: WPVM encourages independent voices

  1. bsummers

    “I have no knee-jerk loyalties or party affiliations.”

    The activities are an innovative way to try to benefit from the convention — both politically and economically, organizer Jonathan Robert says.

    Most proceeds from the Big Tent Event will go to the Buncombe County Democratic Party, in order to help “put wind in the sails of candidates in the fall,” says Robert.


  2. Barry,

    Since you’re sooooo knowledgable about EVERYTHING that happens in Asheville, I’m sure that you’re aware this event was cancelled… It actually says so right at the top of the article you linked. Heck, you even commented on said article trying to explain away why it was cancelled. (You must have some type of inner compulsion that leads you to have add your 2 cents to literally every possible conversation happening in town. You’re like the constant, repeating answer to a question no one asked. It’s pretty sad actually, and like overcompensation, this eternal quest for attention and relevance must spring from some deep well of pathetic loneliness inside of you.)

    But since you bothered to advance your baseless conjecture, here’s the real reason the Big Tent Event was cancelled: The leadership of the Buncombe County Democratic Party are a bunch of cliquish, elitist, self-aggrandizing idiots who couldn’t collectively figure their way out of a wet paper bag (much less show any professional level of organization and leadership). Is any of this beginning to sound familiar!?!? I watched grown men and women who were entrusted with important tasks completely flail because they couldn’t get out of the way of their own egos and were constitutionally allergic to hard work. In all my life I have never been privy to such an assemblage of dilettantes as experienced in the brief time I tried to actually help the BCDP.

    At that point I had only been in town a couple of years, but the experience of observing the attitudes and actions of these so-called “Progressives” in the local Democratic leadership made me sick to my stomach. They are simply a “new boy network” that has replaced the old-boy one that existed prior to it. And tragically they seem to be just as self-serving and inept as any cabal of “leadership” that came before . The debacles with Pack Place and the Eagle Market Street development are just a few examples. It would take me more time than I care to spend this afternoon to lay out all of their sins in this commentary.

    Needless to say, the experience of being in the inner-circle of this group of fatuous morons caused me to immediately change my party affiliation to Independent. At 33 years old, I vowed to never drink the kool-aid and stand under some party banner ever again. Instead, I realized that treating politics like team-sports is what has led this great nation to this current point of gridlock and ineffectualness An evolution that you yourself seem unable to undergo, as you seem forever locked into your role of political attack dog for whatever agenda your “Progressive” overlords foist upon this community.

    In closing, there is still an open invitation for you to come on my show so that I can refute your tragic world-view in real-time for everyone to hear.

    • bsummers

      That’s just about the nicest interview request anyone has ever extended to me, but I think I’ll pass. You can refute my tragic world-view without me having to be there.

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