John Hughes

1. John Hughes woeful mismanagement left the station’s finances in shambles, surviving month-to-month with the threat of the station going dark. Hughes has developed no substantial fundraising initiatives, has squandered several significant off-air fundraising opportunities and, rather, has locked programmers and listeners into more frequent and longer on-air fund drives. Now, the station’s finances are being audited and the business manager, Robert West, has resigned.

2. Were if not for community pressure, the station would either be homeless or locked into an eight-year lease with no exit clause with the right-wing radio network Clear Channel. The deal, supported by Tony Norman Campbell Johnson and Pete Tucker, would have forced $1.4 million of our “jazz and justice” dollars into the coffers of Clear Channel–home of Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and Glenn Beck.

3. Shamefully, Hughes’ management style qualifies him as an anti-labor manager and he’s come under fire from union officials with the SAG/AFTRA union representing workers at WPFW. On Nov. 30, 2012 AFTRA filed a grievance against Hughes with the American Arbitration Association for raises owed WPFW staff since 2011. In addition, the union filed an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB for Hughes’ failure to provide documentation about the station’s financial status.

4. Hughes disregarded the carefully worded dictates of the Bylaws and mission of the station in Dec.2012 when he summarily and haphazardly removed programming and programmers from our airwaves in Dec. 2012  without any input whatsoever from the LSB, programmers impacted by the changes or station members and supporters.

5. Hughes showed just how out of touch he is with the mission of the station when he attempted to import corporate–funded programs from NPR, some of which already air in the same media market.

6. Hughes has created a hostile work environment for paid and unpaid staff, leading programmers to sign a letter of no confidence in him in Dec. 2011. He has presided over repeated and ongoing FCC violations and stifled the potential of WPFW to make the best use of its most precious resources—its programmers and member-listeners.



8. As of January 2014, station supporters want to know how long Hughes’s “paid” leave will continue and do not want to continue paying his salary.

One comment

  1. ThePeopleForWPFW

    After nearly a year of frustration at trying to work with John Hughes for the benefit of WPFW, 80 percent of the on-air programmers signed this letter of “no confidence in Hughes at the close of 2011:

    To Members of the Pacifica National Board and the LSB:

    We the undersigned programmers of WPFW radio in Washington, DC, representatives of the ‘PFW Programmers Association, a non-profit organization representing a broad cross-section of WPFW programmers, hereby issue this public letter of NO CONFIDENCE in WPFW General Manager John Hughes. We issue this letter with full expectation that our concerns will be met with speedy redress.

    We are aggrieved that GM John Hughes has performed in a manner that is incongruent with the principles of democratization that are the cornerstone of Pacifica’s core mission and by-laws. As programmers we make up the very lifeblood of WPFW’s on-air presentation and on-going representation and we demand to be regarded with respect and inclusion.

    • Mr. Hughes has failed to formally present to the Programmers any strategic, long or short-term development plan(s) to address the impending crisis of finding a new home for the station prior to the current lease holder’s July 2012 deadline for vacating WPFW’s current premises.

    • Mr. Hughes is placing the Pacifica Network in jeopardy of another potential lawsuit. His inefficient and non-transparent handling of the current Program Director vacancy has undermined the integrity of the process.

    • Mr. Hughes’s decision to reject all three PD candidates submitted to him by the MASC Committee raises serious questions as to his vision regarding the on-air sound philosophy, political, and musical direction of WPFW Jazz and Justice radio. In these critical times, politically, economically, and socially WPFW’s on-air philosophy must adhere steadfastly to our station’s original mission. We are concerned that Mr. Hughes has other intentions.

    • Mr. Hughes’ management and leadership approach demonstrates insensitivity to programmers and staff. He is aloof, arrogant, and often dismissive of programmers’ concerns, engendering divisiveness.

    • Mr. Hughes has refused – over the course of his 10-month tenure as GM – to call a mandatory all-station meeting on a range of programmer concerns, despite repeated calls for same from programmers, the Programmers Association and the staff.

    • Mr. Hughes has failed to respond to calls for investigation of a highly questionable potential conflict-of-interest matter regarding pledge gifts promised by a WPFW contractor. To date this matter remains unresolved.

    • Mr. Hughes insists on raising funds primarily through frequent on-air pledge drives in close proximity. Current economic conditions indicate that on-air fundraising alone is insufficient to meet WPFW’s goals. His sole reliance on this method as a primary fundraising tool disrespects listeners and members. Further, it demonstrates an unwillingness to address WPFW’s chronically flawed development department’s lack of ability to secure funds through off-air means.

    The programmers at WPFW collectively represent not only the lifeblood of the station but we are also highly regarded members of Washington, DC’s professional, political, and social community. We request an immediate hearing and redress of our grievances.

    We hereby declare that we have NO CONFIDENCE in the management ability of John Hughes at this critical stage of WPFW, due to his lack of leadership or vision.

    *November 8, 2011 *names have been updated daily since the 8th

    1. Andrea Bray
    2. Andrea Thompson
    3. Aramus Thompson
    4. Askia Muhammad
    5. Ber-an Pan
    6. Bert Withers
    7. Bill WItherspoon
    8. Candy Shannon
    9. Carol Tyson
    10. Charlie Dee
    11. Chester Chichester
    12. Chris Deproperty
    13. Clarence Lusane
    14. Cyreita AYeni
    15. David Lozell Martin
    16. David Whettstone
    17. Don Walker
    18. Elliott Gross
    19. Esther Iverem
    20. Gloria Minot
    21. Guy Middleton
    22. Hassan Abdul Ali
    23. Helen Viksnins

    24. James Pope
    25. Jared Ball
    26. Jay Winter Nightwolf
    27. Jim Brown
    28. Jim Byers
    29. Jim Dombrowski
    30. Jo Reed
    31. John Crawford
    32. Joni Eisenberg
    33. Katea Stitt
    34. Katherine Cromwell
    35. Kenny Barnes
    36. Kimberly C. Gains
    37. Kofi Kissi Dompere
    38. Lakeisha Harrison
    39. Liz Hill
    40. Lona Alias
    41. Luke Stewart
    42. Malcolm Wiseman
    43. Marcello Tolliver
    44. Miles Willis
    45. Millie Ware
    46. Miss Lollipop
    47. Miyuki Williams
    48. Mwiza Munthali
    49. Myrrh Cauthen
    50. Naji Mujahid
    51. Nana Kwabena Brown
    52. Nathan Giles
    53. Netfa Freeman
    54. N’Kenge Toure
    55. Norberto Martinez
    56. Oscar Fernandez
    57. Pamela Brewer
    58. Rick Williams
    59. Robert Frye (Captain Fly)
    60. Robert Northern (Brother Ah)
    61. Robyn Holden
    62. Rope Flanagan
    63. Rusty Hassan
    64. Sheila Reid
    65. Steve Hoffman
    66. Terry D. Kester
    67. Tim Masters
    68. Tom Cole
    69. Tom Porter
    70. Tony Carr
    71. Tony Regusters
    72. Verna Avery Brown
    73. Verona Iriarte
    74. Von Martin
    75. Warren Scooter McGruder
    76. Willard Jenkins
    77. Yolanda Turner
    78. Zarinah Shakir
    79. Zezeh Lusane

    List updated 12/02/11

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