We, the undersigned, are all former board members of Mountain Area Information Network.
Media reports regarding management issues at MAIN and WPVM are only part of the story. More recent WPVM volunteers—as well as newcomers to the Asheville area—deserve to know some background regarding the founding of WPVM.
Wally Bowen participated in the national lobbying effort for low-power FM radio in the mid-1990s. As executive director of MAIN, he prepared the organization and took all the steps necessary to successfully apply for the LPFM license. During this period, Wally was a leader in the effort to create public, education and government access TV channels in Buncombe County.
When word came that we had been awarded the LPFM license, the MAIN board debated at length about changing MAIN’s news-and-information orientation—as reflected on the MAIN homepage—to one of political neutrality.
In fact, the debate was so contentious that at least two board members resigned. In the end, MAIN’s political voice was preserved. The key in this milestone vote was the board’s confidence in Wally Bowen’s integrity, both as executive director and as a journalist.
We are grateful to have participated in the founding and ongoing operation of WPVM. We are proud of what the MAIN/WPVM staff and volunteers have accomplished since the organization’s founding in 1995.
We have been saddened by recent, negative hearsay and innuendo regarding MAIN and its executive director, and we feel it is unfounded. Wally Bowen is an honorable man who has served Asheville and Western North Carolina well. He, and MAIN, deserve better.
— Jim Tinkler, Hendersonville
Chris Johansen, Asheville
Elizabeth House, Marion
Geoffrey Willett, Berea, Ky.