John Hughes Removed From Duties at WPFW

Dear Fellow Concerned Members and Supporters of WPFW,

WPFW General Manager John Hughes has been placed on paid administrative leave; and an interim general manager is expected to start this week.

This surprise announcement was made by Local Station Board Chair Yves Point-du-Jour on Saturday, Sept. 14 in two email messages sent to programmers and members of the Local Station Board, in which he reported that Hughes has been placed on administrative leave and is “no longer responsible for the day-to-day management and operations of WPFW.”

Point-du-Jour’s messages was followed by a letter sent by Summer Reese, interim executive director of the Pacifica Radio Foundation, which owns WPFW, along with four other stations around the country.

Hughes, who has been the target of a community campaign for his removal, has been a lightning rod of controversy since beginning his tenure at the station three years ago. One of his first actions was to fire the respected interim program director, Bob Daughtry, as well as to strip Daughtry of his on-air time slot.

After brushing aside a letter of no confidence signed by 80 programmers, Hughes was embroiled in several more controversies, including financial mismanagement, unilateral programming changes, charges of unfair labor practices, FCC violations, a plan to import corporate–funded programming, as well as a plan to lock the station into an eight-year lease with the right-wing radio network Clear Channel, home of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

For at least two months, WPFW has been in a “low-power” mode, with vast swaths of the listenership unable to hear the 50,000-watt station. Despite the situation, Hughes launched into a major fall fundraiser that, so far, has had abysmal results—at a time that the station is facing substantial financial challenges.

The message from Point-du-Jour stated that Michelle Price, a consultant previously called in by Pacifica to facilitate WPFW’s move from Champlain Street, will be the interim general manager and is expected to start in the coming days.

You may not hear much about this change on the air since both Point-du-Jour and Reese cautioned programmers to not mention Hughes on their shows or in any other media.

Since Hughes’ programming grid change of December 2012, Concerned Members and Supporters of WPFW have sent hundreds of letters, email messages and phone calls to Pacifica Foundation interim executive director Summer Reese, demanding Hughes’ removal. In addition, hundreds more have signed petitions and urged the Local Station Board to vote for his removal, which the board did on January 31 of this year.

While elated at this long overdue community victory, CMS is determined to press on with other demands, including the restoration of our programming, programmers and listening audience.

We will be supporting a new campaign to regain our dwindling listenership, by letting listeners know that we are back and ready to, once again, fulfill WPFW’s mission for jazz and justice.

The City Paper has published an article on this subject.

Stay Tuned!
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  1. Michael Evans

    This used to be a good station, playing lots of good jazz. I don’t mind the addition of classical, but there’s way too much talk now about stupid subjects (with stupid people doing most talking).

    Just shut up and play music if you want financial support. Try listening to WRTI Philadelphia as an example.

    Oh!…..and are you even on the air this week?

  2. Sarah Marshall

    It would really be a step in the right direction if Ms. Price could invite some of the respected long time former personalities back, even if the time slot is slim. & seriously restore morning jazz, if I wanted to hear talk I could easily tune in elsewhere. The integrity has been compromised, there is time later for news & banter, let the morning awaken w/ straight up jazz!

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