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Did Chartock pull plug on staff E-mail?

by G.M. Heller
February 22, 2001 4:00 PM (EST)
Just hours ago, WAMC Northeast Public Radio's Internet Web server ceased accepting E-mail traffic destined for WAMC's general staff.

Now, if you try sending an E-mail to staff@wamc.org, all you'll get is the dreaded Mailer-Daemon response, with the curt message "User Unknown".  For years, staff@wamc.org has been the tried-and-true method by which to get information and announcements simultaneously to the entire WAMC crew. 

The cut-off occurs just as rank-and-file staffers had begun receiving the public's unexpurgated comments via the so-called WAMC Northeast Pirate Network Web site.  That site has been encouraging users to E-mail comments directly to station boss Alan Chartock in light of recent revelations on the site concerning WAMC's finances. WAMC is about to embark on a history-making, first-ever $500,000 fund drive. 
(To read the related story: "At 'not-for-profit' public radio, how much is too much?",  Click Here!)

Visitors to the WAMC Pirate Web site are able to E-mail comments directly to station boss Chartock, and simultaneously a copy of that message forwards to WAMC's staff.  At least it did. That staff address apparently has now been terminated. 

Assistant executive director David Galletly, questioned late this afternoon, refused to confirm or deny that the station's Web server was no longer programmed to accept E-mail traffic intended for the staff address. 

"I guess I will have to contact our Internet consultant in order to find out," Mr. Galletly yawned.  When pressed how he, of all people, would not know whether or not the server was still supposed to be accepting traffic sent to the staff address, his only response was to repeat his earlier answer again. 

Shortly thereafter though, a separate inquiry was made to WAMC's newsroom personnel.  A senior WAMC reporter claimed that he was unsure exactly as to how to answer the question, he also stated that Mr. Galletly happened to be standing in the newsroom that very moment, and was available to answer my question.  At that, Mr. Galletly could be overheard saying to the reporter, "Tell him you don't know."

The cut-off of incoming E-mail addressed to the general staff also occurs as WAMC Pirate has just released its latest article entitled 'Alan takes a hike!!!' which reveals and details the personal pay hikes Mr. Chartock has been taking from WAMC these past ten years. 

According to one knowledgable WAMC insider, staff pay at WAMC has always been a very sensitive topic.  Apparently, it is even moreso now as a result of WAMC Pirate's revelation that Mr. Chartock had been taking an average 13% pay increase annually.  The insider said that Mr. Chartock was always telling the general staff that there simply wasn't enough money in station coffers for general staff pay increases.

Another sore point, according to the source, is Mr. Chartock's tendency to control nearly every aspect of life at the publicly-subsidized National Public Radio affiliate. The source used today's E-mail cut-off as an example.

Apparently, some on Mr. Chartock's staff did indeed read at least one negative comment sent to the boss from a viewer on the WAMC Pirate Web site. A person identifying him/herself only as a 'North County former member/listener' E-mailed Mr. Chartock and wrote: "Your reign of liberal double talk is over. Bye."

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