A WAMC First: Alan Refuses Comment!!!
(The following "Street Talk" column appeared recently
District Business Review. It is reproduced here without permission.)
by Barbara Pinckney
Piracy and the high C's
A Washington, D.C. man has started a Web site
dedicated to WAMC Northeast Public Radio, but it is not exactly
the home of the Albany-based network's fan club.
Glenn Heller, who lived for three years in the Berkshires and still
spends his summers in Western Massachusetts, launched the "WAMC Northeast
Pirate Network" website earlier this year. He said WAMC.net
(the official WAMC site is at WAMC.org) will provide a forum for
discussions about flagship public radio station WAMC, 90.3 FM, and the
entire seven-station network. The site also airs opinions about WAMC
executive director and State University of New York professor Alan Chartock.
"The goal of the new site is to let folks know what WAMC, 90.3 listeners
really think; to offer alternative views to those expressed over the WAMC
[network]; and to provide answers to probing questions about things people
might always have wondered about WAMC, but about which they could
never get a straight answer from WAMC management," Heller said.
Among the questions: Where do underwriting and membership dollars really
go? How much does management get paid?
And: "How did a valuable FM broadcast license, owned by the citizens
of New York state and formerly operated by Albany Medical College,
end up being transferred, for free, to the permanent control of one politically
connected SUNY professor and a small hand-picked group of his friends?"
Heller said he remembered what WAMC was like before Chartock
took over, and although Chartock has made some "very positive" changes,
"it has become very bureaucratic and a very sweet deal for the people at
the top. Members aren't allowed to vote for the board, like they
are at many other NPR stations. Chartock reports to no one."
He claimed that although WAMC has a listener phone line, comments
that are "anti-Alan or anti-WAMC" are not aired.
"So I decided to start this Web site. It seemed a natural."
The site contains editorials by Heller and allows WAMC listeners
to post their thoughts and opinions about Chartock and the station network.
on the site or the issues
Heller, who praises WAMC's programming, stressed that his raising
questions about the network's operations "does not imply that valued WAMC
listeners should stop pledging their dollars" to WAMC.
"In fact, we encourage all listeners to keep their generous good will
flowing freely, and we further entreat listeners to increase that bounty
if they are so minded," he said.
© 2000 American City Business Journals Inc.
All rights reserved. Reproduced here without permission.