2/7 from Marc

I just read each and every one of your entries on the blog. It is hard to know what say.

For starters, show up at the Community Board meeting on February 20th. It will be at the Baltimore Museum of Art in the Meyerhoff Auditorium at 7 pm. I have no idea what the WYPR representation will say but I am sure that it will be a continued misrepresentation of the truth.

What I am really worried about is the future of public radio in our community. WYPR will be here for a long to come. Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Car Talk, Prairie Home Companion and all the other national programming you love will be there. They won’t go off the air.

What is missing in the you in public radio. I think about all the times during the fund drives (which they cancelled for February) I said to you “that you are the public in public radio, that is why I named WYPR “Your Public Radio”. I feel like you were betrayed and lied to.

The management of the station has done a remarkable job building underwriting. Perhaps the best job in public radio
But they have let membership wither on the vine. No money, or I should say very little money is invested in serving members, getting new members or marketing the station.
While they may make enough money with underwriters to sustain themselves, the heart and soul of public radio is the listener members. There has to be a balance. The balance is gone. You are not cared about nor there to ensure the democratic nature of the station.

The board has some wonderful people on it who love and are very devoted to public radio. While we need corporate and philanthropic leaders on any non-profit board what is missing are the everyday listeners who invest their money in this station. They are not heard. They do not have a seat at the table. Gary Levin is there as President of the Friends Group but he is ex-officio with no vote. The board does not reflect those listeners who invest in and support the station.

These are just two of the battles I have fought and lost at the station. I will tell you more stories along the way on this blog, and soon we will begin some new productions on the web.

Jessica Phillips, who was a producer on the Marc Steiner Show from October 2005 to February 2007, has come to work for me. I have a production company called The Center for Emerging Media that has produced a series on the Vietnam War and a series called Just Words, about the lives of the working poor and other marginalized groups. You can go to our website to see some of what we have done. The whole Vietnam series, Shared Weight, will be posted soon. The website itself is going to be rebuilt.

I thought soon, even though we will continue for a time to talk about the station madness, we should talk together on this blog about the issues of day. We will be posting interviews and productions soon as well.

So, we will all stay in touch.

Thanks so much for your support.


54 Responses

  1. Hey Marc, what could you do with the Center For Emerging Media if we all sent our donations there instead of renewing our memberships with WYPR? Sounds like a better buy to me.

  2. I think our rallying cry should be “Democratize the Board”…there needs to be representation of membership, of poor people, of people of color-as stewards of the station…using our public airwaves…and the Board should be forced to actually consult with the Community Advisory Board…it should be independant and functional…lets see who really is running this CAB meeting…lets have the board open up its minutes and meetings to the public…only then will we have worthwhile local programming…make the board public!

  3. Marc,
    I now that this is short notice but why don’t you use your contacts to see if you can setup an internet call in show with Barak Obama before the Primary on Tues.

    Reach out to his campaign here in MD. and point out the timing of this whole story. Days before the primary, a voice of the poor and working class is pulled by corporate interests. Doesn’t this play right into the narrative of Hillary vs. Obama?

    For $50 you can buy a webcam, setup a Skype account
    and Obama could call in from whereever he is. Skype allows you to add others to the call so listeners could also call in if you streamed it at the same time.

    It would be a great venue for Obama to talk about the problem of Corporate money influencing public speech and debate.

    And you could get to ask him substantive questions about policy.

  4. I go away for a few days and what doe you do, disappear from the air!

  5. Dear Marc,

    As a LCSW-C and an alumni UMAB School of Social Work I was somewhat taken a back when I learned that Dr. Greif of UMAB was a board member…. Since learning this I have had email dialogue with both him and Dean Barth… Both of whom appeared to be very concerned with distancing the School of Social Work from any role Dr. Greif may have played in your firing….

    To be fair however I do not know what his stance was… he would not say in his reply… which could either be to cover his butt or because of pressure by the board.
    It would be nice however to know which board member supported you and which did not… or at least which ones may have been pressured into their decision; particularly after your comment that several of the board members have strong commitments to public radio.

    Michael Derry

  6. For those planning on attending the Feb. 20th meeting — and for everyone else as well — check out the site I just set up:

    (Marc, please let me know if you’d prefer I take this down and I’ll do so asap)

    I get NO profit from this… the prices only cover the site’s fees.

    If you have an idea for a slogan, or can make a better image, send it to me and I’ll put it on the site.

    A note about the stickers: the shipping is a little steep, so it might make sense to order them in blocks of 10 or more, then keep some and sell/give away the others to your friends.

  7. Marc,

    I’m in shock. I’m stationed in Iraq near the city of Tikrit and I’ve listened to your program religiously on Podcast since I’ve been here to stay in touch with what is going on back home in Maryland and Baltimore. For the past week I’ve noticed the WYPR website didn’t show your show in the 12-2 time slot but I figured this was a web site error. There was certainly no way that Marc Steiner had gone off the air without at least saying goodbye and telling what his future plans are…
    This decision by WYPR sickens me. I’ve listened to your show since moving to Baltimore in 2003 and I’ve given contributions based on the content of what I heard on your program in particular. To say that you were removed for ratings is proponderous… IT’S PUBLIC RADIO!!! Up to this point I didn’t think ratings are a part of the equation. Maybe WYPR can make a try to get Howard Stern in the 12-2 slot, he gets great ratings.
    Marc, I’m sad to hear that you’re not on WYPR anymore but I look forward to hearing what you’ll do next. Please know that your rating base extends around the world to the warzone in Iraq, and I’ve always enjoyed the balanced views of you and your guests on topics that concern Baltimore, Maryland, and national politics.


    P.S. – I just saw your cameo on Season Four of The Wire recently, the soldiers over here couldn’t figure out why I was so excited to see a debate moderator!

  8. 1) Did they really cancel the February pledge drive?
    Wow. At least our public outrage has gotten somebody’s
    attention. I doubt Brandon had any idea the impact his
    actions would take.

    2) “membership wither on the vine”
    Boy, that’s really true and I hadn’t really noticed it until all
    of this went down. Marc, remember in the beginning,
    there were all these ‘member party-type events’
    (dollar-a-day, etc.)
    What happened to all that?
    As they (or is it just ‘he’?) pushed you out, we were
    pushed out too. I never thought the expansion to western
    MD and OC would hurt the station or the focus.
    Boy, I was wrong.

  9. Abby,
    seeing that this in an election year . .how about soomething funny like

    ” Marc Steiner(or show) 2008″

    Free public radio form the corporate suits

    Bring back the Public in pulic Radio

    Marc Steiner show… is Public radio

    The Marc Steiner Show Hon !

    just some 8:00am, pre-coffee ideas… LOL

  10. I wanted some clarification from you about some comments made on the Ed Norris Show. Can you elaborate? Was there actual pressure from management NOT to do shows about Constellation Energy and Union Memorial Hospital (helicopter issue) because they were underwriters? You can see how important I believe journalistic ethics are and this would be a huge violation.

  11. Marc, many of us are meeting this weekend to explore action on the very issues you’ve raised. As you say, your firing has exposed the underlying issue – the corporatization of public radio and the power of boards which have no representatives from US on them. They’re happy to take our money but not happy to hear our voice. We all know how this has happened on the national level, especially with the role of the FCC and current and previous administrations in consolidating the corporate hold on media and removing all of that “liberal bias” from it so that it reflects, with few exceptions, the right-wing, conservative, corporate point of view. It’s about the ascendancy of business and money – everything in this country is a financial transaction in some way and we’re all the poorer for it. It has come home to roost right here at WYPR and we need to fight it. As far as I’m concerned, WYPR has engaged in false advertising – calling it YOUR public radio – what hogwash. It’s up to us to make the station live up to what it says it is. I think demanding and working for a seat at that table is of the utmost importance. I agree with Rhonda – send our money to The Center for Emerging Media – not to WYPR.

    We will be in front of WYPR today at noon and probably again tomorrow just to let them know we’re not going away. After this week of protests, we start the real work.

    On a personal note – I always knew I depended on you, Marc, but now that you’re no longer on the air, I am so bereft. I’ve been listening to Kojo Nnamdi on WAMU during your time slot, but it’s not nearly the same. I really miss you and your show – I learned so much and I miss more than I can say that hour when I would leave my deak and go sit in my car and listen and call in – it was my daily fresh air. How dare anyone take that away from all of us.

  12. Abby

    It could be S.O.S. on the front
    and then
    on the back!

  13. I agree…I really miss Marc’s show. Actually, I miss his presence at the station. Without Marc, it does feel like WYPR lost its heart and soul. It’s flat, generic – like a mall on the air.

    And yes, it is also all about the slow creep to total corporate ownership of “our” airwaves. I remember when I used to listen to WAMU and first noticed the corporate “ads” (oops, I mean “sponsorships”). So I guess that I was already immune when they started showing up with greater frequency on WYPR.

    Money talks…I’m sure that WYPR will have a slight dip in member support over this…but they will rebound thanks to corporate money seeing a lucrative ad (oops, sponsorship) opportunity.

    The real conversation needs to center around what Maria talked about above – what can we do to stop it?
    I know that I for one would be VERY willing to send my financial support to Marc’s Center for Emerging Media. I work in fundraising and I would even lend my skills to getting something bigger off the ground.
    Best wishes to everyone who is keeping up the fight.

  14. I wrote to WYPR requesting a refund of all contributions since Marc started the drive to save the station and explaining that I was supporting PUBLIC radio, not just another network-like corporate entity. You all might want to do the same.

  15. I had an interesting exchange of emails with Jim Lancaster, the proprietor of Rosina Gourmet. It sounds like some of Marc’s supporters (in their understandable zeal to express their displeasure with WYPR) are taking out their frustrations on the very people whose support we would like to have. C’mon, guys – these are people who were doing something that we all (at least until last week) thought was a good thing; supporting public radio. It’s one thing to write and ask that they withdraw support from WYPR, but it’s quite another thing to threaten.

    Unfortunately, I think a lot of this has been going on, both from what Jim wrote to me and from what I inferred from Dave Buscher’s post on the 6th (Dave? Input?) If your own personal stance is not to patronize a business that supports WYPR, so be it – I think even the proprietors of said businesses can appreciate that – but please don’t go in with guns blazing (literally or figuratively) during your first contact and alienate the very people who could help us. Remember, it’s not Tony Brandon you’re writing to!

  16. Hi Marc:

    I’ve written you and Tony and Barbara snail mail. As a volunteer and deeply loyal listener/donor I can assure you that You were the “YOUR” part of WYPR. For the last few days it really stings when I hear “WYPR YOUR PUBLIC RADIO” …….as the champion of the concept that public radio belongs to the listeners not the corporate sponsers is now gone. Management and the Board has seriously underestimated the inteligence of WYPR listeners. We know it is a business as well as a service. We know how they treated you and what the disagreements were. We know what you stand for and what is important to you. We support your ethics and sense of fair play.

  17. Isn’t public radio supposed to be public? if it is underwritten by corporate sponsers, who don’t like it when local hosts talk point out negative things about them (i can imagine bge and the bail bond industry being upset), how is it any different from mainstream media radio, owned and controlled by self-serving corporate interests.

    They should lose their non-profit license, because they are just going after profit. I wonder if you could file a complaint with npr or the FCC

  18. The Marc Steiner Show was a genuine democratic forum. The variety of views presented was extensive. Recent guests included Gov. O’Malley, Speaker Miller, Studs Turkel and Nelson Peery. Hardly a hidden political agenda. Callers could and did state their views without censorship or harassment. While Marc expressed his awareness of and sympathy for the impoverished, he made no requirement that callers or guests did. That some interpret this as a political program is a sad commentary on where we are at and how far we have to go. That the corporate-minded management had the authority to banish this forum is a dangerous attack on freedom of speech.

    We live in a dangerous time. Our ability to communicate and debate about what should be done is extremely important. Cancelling the Marc Steiner Show limits this ability It must be effectively protested. I do not know how to accomplish this but the demonstrations at WYPR at noon are a good start.

  19. Marc — here’s a copy of the letter I sent to Brandon. Good luck with your new ventures.

    Nice job — are you taking cues from Maryland Public Television? Their misguided firing of Louis Rukeyser cost them millions and led to the layoffs of 30+ employees — and they have still to recover from that bizarre management decision from over five years ago. I feel like I’m having deja vu.

    Steiner was the public voice and (though it sounds corny) the soul of WYPR. Yes, I know he only raised 750k, while you pumped a lot more into the station. But that matters little to me, and to most listeners — it was Steiner’s vision and ideals spoke to the community, and defined the station’s identity . . . not your money.

    And I have to wonder if his left-of-center political views played into your decision. Hmm.

    You’re gonna have a really rough time the next pledge drive. Good luck with that. I’ll be watching the ratings.

    Michael Hughes

  20. I agree with Rhona about not blasting folks who are, and have been WYPR supporters…. WE HAVE ALL BEEN WYPR supporters…. This is all very new… and folks are still trying to take all this in and make sense of it….
    I also bet there are WYPR supporters who are not even aware of what has happened….

    I think contacting under writers(if we can gets names of them) and asking them to reconsider their support is fine…. but shooting first with both barrels is not fair either…. If you want blast folks…. focus on the board members. Try to find out who supported this and who didn’t…..

    So email the station: tbrandon@wypr.org and let him know you are pulling your support.
    contact the board members (listed onn WYPR website) and share your displeasure.

    Boycotts have their usefulness… but at least find out where they stand and give these folks a chance to take a position before boycotting them…

  21. I have changed my radio presets from WYPR to WAMU until and unless Marc is reinstated. I was never able to pledge money so I won’t be hurting the staff financially. Maybe now WYPR will really see its so-called ratings drop. Goodbye WYPR.

  22. Given: I’m lost and lorn without Marc’s show.
    Given: The most effective way to reach these people is to reach out to the sponsors.

    So that means we should express outrage about Marc’s absence and ask for their reaction, and see what happens. Really, we don’t want to punish the wrong folks. Really, really. AND we want them to support Marc’s Center for Emerging Media when the time comes, so we can hear him again. We need to be civilized.

    And check out the American General Media website and their Vision, Mission, and Values statement. We ought to be able to use the Value of admitting mistakes for SOMETHING.

  23. Irony is a wonderful thing.

    2 p.m. Friday – Nathan Sterner just made a point of identifying the station as “Your Public Radio.”

  24. There are many points in this post and others that I could address but, I think that would be waste of time. I would like to think that if I appealed to your rational side you would consider my points but, I don’t think that is the case. Still, I need to correct a few inaccuracies and even some of the defamation of character that has taken place on this blog and in other publications.

    Full disclosure: I know Tony Brandon and Marc Steiner. I would consider them both professional acquaintances. We all know Marc’s history and most if not all of these posts are in his defense. I would like to mention a few things about Tony Brandon and how I arrived at my current position.

    Tony is passionate about public radio, especially in Maryland. He is a successful businessman that quite frankly could be doing many other things instead of taking punches on this issue. Many of you view the “corporate” image as a negative but those corporate connections are what in the end kept WJHU/WYPR on the air in Baltimore. That is not to downplay the role of Marc Steiner. Also, make no mistake that Marc is also a successful businessman. He runs his business just as efficiently as any other “suit”.

    Two or three days ago Marc was on a local talk show and he said a few things that were quite disturbing. It is unfortunate that Marc has tried to make this an issue of race and class. Marc is a great communicator and he knows the impact of those words. What I know of Tony and other Board members is that they fully support the idea of community based organizations. Organizations that they support with money, time and commitment. Organizations that cross the barriers of socio-economic status, race and virtually any other category. I heard a caller on that show suggest that angry supporters should tune to a Washington based NPR station. I was certain since Marc had talked about how important it was to have public radio in Baltimore he would discourage that suggestion. Emails and protests and forums would be more effective. I waited for Marc to respond since I’m sure he knows that action could silence the voice of public radio in Baltimore. Nothing…so that is when I began to wonder about the motivation.

    I don’t believe this was a politically motivated move on the part of the station/board. The facts that we do know are that Marc’s ratings had fallen and that there were other internal conflicts. Even as a public radio station it is not their obligation to contact membership on every personnel decision. The two factors mentioned are cause for termination and we don’t know of the severity or number of the internal issues.

    I don’t fully understand all of the reasons around Marc’s dismissal however I do know these facts. The management at WYPR attempted to keep the issue internal and avoid a public spectacle in an attempt to honor Marc and his status in the industry/community and to maintain the high road position. That has been difficult given the personal attacks on Tony, other employees and Board members.

    Public Radio is a business with overhead, debt and staff expenses….it would be fiscally foolish to carry a program that, judging by the ratings, had lost popularity and would be difficult to show on the positive side of the ledger. Finally, I enjoyed Marc’s show and I will miss him on WYPR but I believe there is a sustained commitment to public radio and making that product even better going forward. Marc will thrive. He is talented and I would bet there are several stations or projects already in the works. I would suggest to all of you that you get involved in the Advisory Board at WYPR and get close to the process. WYPR is still a great station with good programming and a dedicated staff.

  25. I am still shocked that the station management would fire you Marc. Your show delved into the heart of Baltimore, wrestled with its most pressing problems and showed how many people were working in creative ways to make our community stronger.

    It was a democratic (small d) show. A crucial part of the system. I feel like I have been cheated. The “Y” no longer seems to fit in W_PR.

    I miss your show, but more importantly, I miss having a voice in the city. We need a truly public radio station. Having you, Marc, back on the air wouldn’t be so bad either.

  26. Marc,

    For you, with my prayers:

    “My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world right now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.”

    “You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement…”

    “I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind… Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.”

    “In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency too to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails. We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?…”

    “Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of
    stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take “everyone on Earth” to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.”

    “One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both, are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.”

    “There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it; I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate. The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours: They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.”

    “This comes with much love and a prayer that you remember who you came from, and why you came to this beautiful, needful Earth.”

    Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D
    Author of Women Who Run with the Wolves

  27. The information about the next board meeting (March 12th) has been removed from the website. these meetings are required to be announced and open to the public. People should get in touch with Barbara Bozzuto, head of the Board of directors, and demand that she comply with federal law, or a complaint will be made with the fcc.

  28. speaking of fcc regulations…does anyone know of a national group or a lawyer that could help us figure out the rules for public access to public radio boards etc?
    Also, let’s make sure that the CAB is not pressured by the management of wypr…they were obviously not told about this decision before it was announced…they need to be strengthened and independent…

  29. Here’s the BOD meeting info again:

    “Notice to the Public: Board of Directors Meeting
    Your Public Radio Corporation will hold a Board of Directors meeting on March 12, 2008 at 3pm. Please call WYPR at (410) 235-1660 if you would like to attend.”

    I believe I’ll call NOW.

  30. …and now no one is answering the main line during normal business hours. How interesting.

  31. Rhonda, Please tell us what they say!

  32. 4:20pm – can’t get through via telephone, so I’ve emailed frontdesk@wypr.org and asked to attend. I’ll let you know!

  33. In response to PublicRadioLover,

    I can’t play inside baseball as you have, but I have tried to read and learn as much as possible about this situation.

    If you have been following the Sun’s coverage you will know that Chris Kaltenback posted the show’s ratings in the blog yesterday, which did not show as much of a drop as has been reported, and also did not show a significant difference between the 12-2 hours and the 2-4 hours. The Arbitron site does not have the ratings posted. But if this information doesn’t fully debunk that argument, it should at least give one pause.

    As for keeping this internal so as to honor Marc, from other things I have read, the announcement was made by the radio station before Marc himself was given formal notice, and reporters contacted him, not the other way around. This is Marc’s blog, so he can choose whether or not to clarify that assessment right here. But it has not been my impression that Marc went to the media first, but that they came to him. (Of course, there’s also the fact that Marc has been part of the media…)

    WYPR is trying to become a statewide station. Other Baltimore-based public radio remains: WEAA, and WTMD is based in central Maryland. Admittedly, the focus is different at these two stations. WYPR has, for a while, wanted to change the focus from central Maryland to a more broad based one. I think it is indisputable that the local shows that have been more highly promoted have avoided some of the hard, potentially controversial topics that were often the bread and butter of Marc’s show (but were not the only part of his show, we must remember.) And certainly the interview style, when interviews have occurred, is quite different. Furthermore, there is no community input on those shows, in terms of call in or email.

    Mr. Brandon may have a passion for public radio, as you say, but in my opinion his recent actions do not reflect a commitment to the core listeners, at least not to a chunk of them. I too have a passion for public radio. I have been a listener for more than 25 years and a regular contributor for most of that, even as a student. But I do not share Mr. Brandon’s view of the role of public radio.

    And that is what I find frankly insulting about his “updated” letter on the WYPR site. He asks us to consider how much Baltimore needs the spirit of involvement, education and community embodied in public radio. I personally think that those of us most bothered by Mr. Brandon’s actions have a far better idea of those concepts than he does himself.

    I think many people have been quite ill served by both the decision and the way it was handled. Admittedly, some of the reaction has been over the top as well.

    I do agree that Marc will probably do fine in the aftermath, and in fact may come out on top.

    I hope we can say the same thing for Baltimore and it’s cadre of public radio listeners who share his passion for this city.

  34. Notice to the Public: Board of Directors Meeting
    Your Public Radio Corporation will hold a Board of Directors meeting on March 12, 2008 at 3pm. Please call WYPR at (410) 235-1660 if you would like to attend.

    (Removed from WYPR’s website but retrieved courtesy of Google’s cache)

  35. Marc, I am so sorry to hear this. I am out of Baltimore for the semester and only heard the news from my wife just yesterday. I often spend days working at home, and at lunchtime, you and your guests were my companions. I never heard a show in which you didn’t bring a balanced panel on whatever the issue of the day was. I also admired the other work you did, including Inside Maryland Politics as well as efforts during pledge drives. Again, all I can say is: best wishes. I will miss you.

  36. PublicRadioLover,

    You’re right, none of us know the inside story. All we have to go on is the facts that are publically available. The facts are that a man with an acclaimed show that tackled tough local issues, who had been an important part of the station for 15 years and played a vital role in its existence, was canned without notice one week ago.

    That in itself would be enough to get many people upset, myself included.

    You suggest that we “get involved in the Advisory Board at WYPR and get close to the process.”

    I’ve spoken to a member of the Community Advisory Board and been told that they knew nothing of this decision before it happened. They weren’t a part of the process. I ask you, what is the point of a board meant to provide community input if they’re not consulted on the decision to abruptly remove what publicbroadcasting.net calls the station’s “flagship” show and “the city’s premier radio forum for discussion and debate of national and international political and cultural issues”?


  37. Barbara Bozzuto’s email address is:

  38. PublicRadioLover, are you the same publicradiolover on Wikipedia who made the most recent edits of the WYPR page? I couldn’t help but find your last edits
    “we reach from the Chesapeake Bay to the mountains for compelling conversations with people who make the news, and with people who cover it – including WYPR’s own reporters. Maryland Morning is produced by Aimee Pohl, Jennifer Chang, and John Notarianni. ”
    suggest that you are a part of WYPR itself. The fact that the only history of their account is for the edits of the page to state marc’s dismissal and praise the local flavor of Maryland morning is even more disturbing. Perhaps I’m wrong but if you are connected with the other account I would have to question your objectivity.

  39. I hope all the Marc supporters will join the growing protest movement. Whether he is reinstated or not- the event opens a window perfectly onto the inner workings of a sad, rigged, unjust society.

    A society that can’t even investigate the reasons behind mass murder in suburbia- like Cockeysville.

    Just look at the letters on the blog that do not support us? full of half baked rationalizations, miseducations- I could go on- look at the letter by public radio lover who can’t even sign their name. Look at the Board members and wonder- didn’t they get great educations? But were they educated in struggle? in class injustice? in ethics? in logic? Mr and Mrs. “Got rocks”?

    We who have been battling this monster (along with Marc- a rare individual) since the 60’s can only smile to see each time the scales are lifted off somebody’s eyes and it dawns on them. Hey- we need to fight back.

    Gaw awlleee Gee, Andeee, said Don Knotts.

  40. and one more thing-you had a gem like marc- the kind of combination of creative and political that doesn’t come along on any other station i know-
    a force that undoubtedly HELPED the station financially
    and these clowns let him go????!!!!! rather than work with him?????????
    beinstock, brandon, bozzuto- names that will live on in ? in baltimore history (u supply the $#@*&^)
    and guys who are with us at the staion? get off yr. butts too- u know there’s stuff u can do
    signed frog in bog dave or
    che meister junior

  41. One reason people may not be answering the phone is that listeners have been calling in understandably angry. Remember friends, the people who answer the phones did not make this decision, and probably don’t support it. Please, please do not take your anger out on them. Paul at the front desk and Deborah in membership are good people – please be kind to them.

    I do think we need a concerted effort to contact underwriters and encourage them to stop underwriting. You might have to listen to the station to get names as many of the banners have been removed from the website. Again, anger isn’t the best foot forward. Calm and courteous will get us a lot farther. Ask for the marketing department for larger companies or managers for smaller ones. The people answering the phones are usually no the ones making decisions. Let’s not make their lives more difficult.

    While Mr. Brandon may be a good business man, he doesn’t have a background in public radio or non-profits. The emphasis should be different in the latter. It is no secret at the station that Marc and Tony differ, and have pursued different methods to mediate their differences. What we don’t know is the exact involvement of other top managers like Andy Bienstock, the Program Director. We all think good of any, but you can’t seriously think that the Program Director wasn’t in the middle of this decision. Shame on you, Andy.

    I question the quality of management Brandon and Bienstock provide, considering the way they fired Marc without notice right before a pledge drive, they didn’t having a press statement in place immediately, and their not taking better care of those employees who interact with the public. Certain, neither Brandon nor Bienstock will be answering the phone or staffing a WYPR booth any time soon. They didn’t think there would be such a fuss, which again goes to show their shortsightedness and poor management. If the bank and board members are so concerned about their investment, look at the top.

    As for the buy-out, that tells us more about those who offered it than Marc: they can be bought and for a cheap price.

    The drive has reportedly been postponed until April, by when they think our concern will have evaporated, as we have such short memories. Please, we need to prove Brandon and Bienstock wrong.

  42. To Ben Bernier, stationed near Tikrit – please keep safe – I’ll keep your name in my thoughts. Come home soon.

    To all: we are meeting tomorrow and gearing up. Keep writing the BOD and the corporate sponsors. Yes, please be civil in all your communications and especially if you call WYPR.

    We are gaining strength and numbers – it’s not just this core group that’s angry and energized – it’s a good portion of Baltimore from the numbers of horn honks, phone calls and emails we’re all getting.

  43. Hi everyone,

    Someone asked above if “PublicRadioLover” is working for WYPR. I will share that according to his/her IP address ( they at least posted that message from WYPR.

    Take it for what you like.


  44. Sandy and Michael,

    I just wanted to let you know that I’ve seen your suggestions and that I’m going to be working on adding new designs to the store as soon as I get a spare minute. Since I have a basic account, I can only offer one version of each product type. Fortunately, there are lots of different shirt types, so there’s some room to play around.

    If anyone else wants to set up a cafepress account and design your own items, I’d encourage you to do so! It’s free and very easy, and I bet a lot of you would be able to make more attractive, professional looking images than I can. I’ve just been using Windows Paint. 🙂

  45. Another note to PublicRadioLover,

    You say that — “Emails and protests and forums would be more effective” ways for angry listeners to express their displeasure, as opposed to tuning in to WAMU.

    But if ratings are the supposed reason that Marc was taken off the air, why wouldn’t ratings be the most effective way to make our point? It’s obvious that they’re of supreme importance to WYPR’s management, since they saw it as sufficient reason to take the station’s flagship show off the air. Ratings and a focus on Baltimore are the ONLY reasons I’ve seen given by the management for Marc’s firing. Marc himself has been the one to bring up other internal issues, not them.

  46. Another response to PublicRadioLover, one which I had planned to post even before the notification that you are playing even more inside baseball than you were willing to admit:

    You expressed concern that Marc didn’t support the station when an ‘angry’ listener said they’d tune in to a DC station. Well, first of all, why in the world should he support WYPR after this shoddy treatment?

    Secondly, if WYPR wants to become a regional station rather than a local one, they should realize a few facts:

    – their reception is limited. I can get WAMU better in many of the areas I drive, including in Baltimore City, than WYPR. In fact, I can get better reception from them when I drive up to Abingdon.

    -WAMU is already a regional station. Yet they cover Maryland and Baltimore/Washington areas as well as anybody. Kojo had a really good show on the impending doctor shortage in Maryland the other day. Marc would have covered the same issue, and done it as well. But that’s no longer an option.

    -As for supporting a ‘local’ station, well, that is now best served by supporting other stations. In a previous post, I mentioned WEAA and WTMD. I’m not about to suggest to the other readers on this blog to whom to direct their support. Some of them may continue to support WYPR, although they seem to be in the minority. However, when it comes to supporting a regional station, I will support the one I find to be more professional and to have programming that I find interesting to listen to. Right now that’s that Washington station. And it’s likely to be a very long time before I decide to listen to WYPR to assess their programming. I am as committed to localism as anyone you’ll meet. WYPR does not meet the local bill any more.

    Finally, just let me say this: as a family, we decided when Hopkins put WJHU up for sale that we would not support Hopkins with any donations. We have stuck to that, despite one degree in the family from there.

  47. I heard or read somewhere that the budget for WYPR has gone from $1.5M to $5M in recent years. I know they have been on a big expansion spree but I wonder what the salaries are for the top dogs – the ones who fired Marc? Aren’t they required to report that somewhere? Does anyone know? As everyone knows, nonprofit doesn’t necessarily mean that nobody profits.

    I’d be REAL curious how much these guys are wringing out of “Our Public Radio”.

  48. Thanks for the confirmation on their ip. I thought they smelled a bit fishy.

    We’re all behind you Marc.

  49. WTBR is editing their wikipedia entry over this?


    That’s usually the first sign of a corp that’s gone off the rails.

  50. The long arm of the fossil fuel industry and corrupt corporations strikes again.

    They wanted Marc off (what is now growing to be) part of the mainstream media.

    We need to stand behind Marc and make our own mainstream media. Make it cool and sexy.

  51. I for one am coming to the meeting. And I am bringing the mugs and hats and other crap I have been given as a gift for my support to YPR. They can have it back.
    They seem to care more about material things like the CUP anyways than the ME who drank from the cup with pride.

    What I find amazing is that ratings had ANYTHING to do with this decision. Ratings are how a station determines how much to charge advertisers. How does that have anything to do with PUBLIC radio? When there aren’t supposed to be advertisers?
    Or were there?

    How can a bunch of station managers simly DECIDE to fire the top liason with this community?

    I’m going to the meeting and bringing their shnit back. If I had a key to building I’d give that back too. This is a bad break up folks. A very ugly break up.

  52. Here’s a link to the Your Public Radio 2006 Form 990 (a tax form filed by nonprofits). http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2006/311/770/2006-311770828-031f535a-9.pdf

    You can go to guidestar.org, register and look up any nonprofit’s 990. The form should list the 5 highest paid employees and consultants, etc.

    Interesting info. I encourage all to look up any and every nonprofit to which you make donations.


  53. Thanks for the direct link.

    It is interesting info, indeed. The highest paid non-director was in charge of underwriting.

    And this is the 2005 filing. Note that Marc was listed as a vice-president; he was removed from that position about 2 years ago.

  54. Our EMaIl to WYPR and REPLY from Tony Brandon:

    Dear Mary and Peter,

    I am sorry I was not able to respond to your email sooner. I want to let you know that I hear your concern and disappointment loud and clear and that I do not take your comments for granted. I want to assure you that as a listener, your opinions truly do matter to us and, for good or for bad, we do want to hear from you.

    The cancellation of the Marc Steiner Show was the result of many factors and I don’t feel it is appropriate for me to comment further on this. Please know that it was a difficult management decision. I respect the good work that Marc has done and I appreciate the role that he has played in building the station to what it is today. Truly, I wish all the best for Marc in his future journalistic endeavors.

    If you take away just one message from this exchange, I hope is it that this station is not about one person or one program. There are 30+ other dedicated people who work here day in and day out to produce the best public radio for Baltimore. I am confident that WYPR will continue to deliver intelligent, engaging programming that provides an opportunity for community exchange amongst all of our listeners.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I do hope that you will continue to be a WYPR listener and supporter and keep an open mind for new programming options.

    Kind regards,

    Tony Brandon
    —–Original Message—–
    From: Peter Semel [mailto:vermeer09@mac.com]
    Sent: Sunday, February 17, 2008 1:21 PM
    To: tbrandon@wypr.org
    Subject: Marc Steiner

    Dear Mr. Brandon:

    I returned from a vacation to the shocking news that the Marc Steiner Show was taken off the air. I have always admired Mr. Steiner’s ecumenical
    interests and enthusiam. I think his ability to connect with a wide variety of guests is unique. He is truly an asset to our community.

    I am very disappointed in WYPR. I am not planning to renew my membership in the immediate future, if ever.

    Yours truly,

    Mary H. Semel

    PS. My husband joins me in these sentiments.

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