Diversity: the healthy alternative

I am a consistent listener of WPVM (at home, in car, at my studio) and have been so since it came on air. This exceptional station has greatly added to my quality of life—it’s creative, authentic, real, intelligent. It’s magnificent!

Nowadays, media is [mostly] geared to make a profit and appeal to the lowest common denominator. It has one voice or style directing it, usually a voice of influence. It’s motivated by profit, control—it will mislead and manipulate us, and sadly, we can’t trust it.

WPVM is unique and effective because it has a wide variety of people and voices dedicated to the station and what it stands for: community and free speech. It is an example of diversity working as a unit so everyone benefits. It seeks to raise our intelligence by offering incredible non-mainstream music and programming that honestly inform us of our town and the world. Where else do we hear of local issues and even dare to question the authority that makes decisions for all us?

I’ve gotten used to expecting this station to be on the up and up on all fronts, even about its own problems. There used to be a show that critiqued City Council; I learned so much from that! And I miss Cecil Bothwell’s Blows Against the Empire—that was rockin’ and so inspiring. Sometimes I would jump up and down in my house shouting “Yay!”—not believing I was hearing Real Truth on the radio. Our town is so brave. These are examples of what media can be, should be for us.

So I already miss those nine DJ’s who were just “fired.” We need diversity; we need a little fire to keep things honest. I know and like Wally [Bowen], but he may have something of founder’s syndrome, where the thing you start (birth) grows and becomes its own entity—and founders tend to hang on, feeling responsible and controlling, and are less open to other people’s ideas. Sometimes they have to let go a little so the project can evolve into its true potential, which is greater than any of us separately.

I hear Kim Clark is coming on board. I remember when WNCW was having some politics and problems before she was their station manager. I think things are pretty smooth over there now; then again, you never hear the inside scoop anymore. Their programming is organized but has lost its edge. (Still good, though!) I wish her luck here, but I hope it doesn’t homogenize WPVM any.

WPVM is the “Progressive Voice of the Mountains.” Don’t silence the dissenting voices! They are valuable and need protection. Volunteers should have some rights and protection, because they are the station. They are smart and have good ideas, even if conflicting with management.

The people that run the station know it the best and should have some power of decisionmaking, or at least be heard and be supported by the board. I don’t know all the facts, but I do know that the station was really inspirational regarding what media can/could be. I know it’s more difficult with more voices/views, but we—as a whole, like nature—are most successful with diversity.

— Marston Blow, potter and sculptor
River Arts District
Asheville

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