Hughes Threatens Programmers for Staging July 5 Protest
At the July 10 Local Station Board Meeting and in a memo to programmers on July 11, Hughes erroneously asserted that the First Amendment protected peaceful assembly outside the temporary studios on July 5 was an egregious violation of Pacifica bylaws. He grouped the peaceful rally, which included programmers Jay Winter Nightwolf and Esther Iverem among the dozen gathered, in the same category as a recent theft at the office by a substitute programmer and the propping open of an entrance door by a programming “collective” as an act that had seriously damaged the station’s tenancy at the temporary location. In his memo he said that “each of these incidents is being dealt with on a case by case basis…I thought it appropriate to inform all of you of these incidents and to assure all of you who have the station’s best interests at heart that these violations will be dealt with firmly.”
CMS believes that free speech, especially by journalists and members who support this foundation with their dollars is protected free speech that will be vigorously defended. If you share this view, please consider putting it in writing to management, via the WPFW Community Advisory Board and the Local Station Board:
Leadership of both organizations have pledged to help make certain that listener concerns are delivered to management and do not get lost!
July Local Station Board Meeting
CMS was well-represented among the community who showed up for the Local Station Board Meeting on July 10 at the Thurgood Marshall Center. Most of the community comments focused on the July 4 holiday programming fiasco, as well as on calls for station general manager John Hughes to be removed for overall mismanagement and poor leadership at the station.
In response, Hughes laid aside all expressed outrage and said 1) that it is in his right to preempt programming and 2) that he had carried out such all-music pre-emptions on other holidays. He did not explain to the satisfaction of those gathered why no content in line with the station’s mission–jazz and justice–was played on July 4 and why programming was also pre-empted on a non-holiday, July 5. In one amusing exchange, Hughes said that the July 4 party music line-up was “heritage music” and board member Vanessa Dixon asked him which heritage it belonged to. Hughes responded that it belonged to the “African” heritage and the room erupted in laughter.
Also significant in the exchange between Dixon and Hughes was Hughes’ assertion of a new protocol for programmers to have substitutes sit in for them when they cannot do their shows. Hughes is using the unfortunate recent theft at the temporary studios by a substitute host to create a new rule that all music programmers must submit requests for substitute hosts to “programming coordinator” Yolanda Turner, who must approve them. Public Affairs hosts must submit requests for subs to Gloria Minott, who must approve them and news programmers must request and get approval with Askia Muhammad. While such a system, on its face, would appear to make sense, it is actually unprecedented for music and public affairs and reflects the fact that we have no program director–a manager who would be the normal go-to person in such circumstances. We suspect that one purpose behind these new “rules” is an attempt to take away what measure of autonomy programmers have had in recruiting and providing an opportunity for new voices at the station and in providing an outlet for programmers removed from the grid by Hughes in a manner in violation of the Pacifica bylaws. We will keep watching this matter.
Pacifica National Board to Take Up Issue of WPFW Management
In other LSB news, the MAS committee is proceeding with an evaluation of John Hughes and the Pacifica Board has agreed to take up the matter of WPFW management at its July 11 meeting. To email the PNB, send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 6 CMS Meeting
Those gathered decided to not devote the meeting the structure and development within CMS and wanted to devote the meeting to re-energize our longtime goals of removing John Hughes, removing Tony Norman–a publicly elected official who is illegally on the LSB and PNB, restoring the programming grid and preparing for LSB elections and recalls.