Share your CAB meeting reflections

I want to thank all of you who came to the CAB meeting tonight.  I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to see your faces and hear your thoughts.

I see some people already made post-CAB comments in the previous post, so I imagined others would follow suit, and I wanted to make a place for all the post-CAB comments.  So feel free to share your impressions, feelings, thoughts in this post.

I am sure Marc will write something to you tomorrow.


61 Responses

  1. Two of the CAB members at the meeting tonight let us know where they stand, I’m sure I can guess the position of one other. I don’t know what the attitude of any of the other CAB members, but regardless…

    Thank you.

    Many thanks to the CAB members who attended the meeting, and special thanks to the people who gave their time and effort to make the excellent gathering possible.

    I don’t suppose C-SPAN was there but I saw some video cameras – any chance the meeting will appear on YouTube?

  2. I wasn’t able to attend the meeting last night since I have the flu. I turned the radio on this morning at the local news time to see what the establishment view was of the meeting. Brandon was quoted as saying something along the lines of that there were only 300 people there and the listenership is much larger; that the CAB can only make recommendations and the management is under no obligation to follow it; and that he is happy to listen to what anyone has to say and will continue to do so, but that he hadn’t heard anything new.

    For those who were there, I understand the auditorium only holds 300. Were people turned away? I ask because the Senator Theatre was offered as a venue at Tom’s personal expense since a showing of the current feature would have to be cancelled, and he found that he was turned down only because he checked the meeting info on the W*PR web site and the BMA was still listed. The Senator has 900 seats so could have accommodated 3 times the number that the BMA could.

  3. Unfortunately, I could not make the meeting last night; you know snow in the suburbs prevents us from getting down to The City!

    I was actually impressed by the coverage this morning. I wish I had been there. I am sure one of you will be able to put this more eloquently, but I felt that Tony Brandon’s comment on the piece about something like his only hearing the voices of ‘only 300 people’ our of 160,000 members, was extremely condescending.

    I know that many of us that listen to WYPR are community activists and involved in political campaigns. I know if I actually had 300 people show up to a meeting for a presidential candidate in a general election in Bel Air on a snowy evening, I would have fainted. I love Marc, but, let’s face it; this does not affect the direction of our country – sorry Marc. But, you know what I am saying. 300 people voluntarily showing up for a community radio station meeting is absolutely INCREDIBLE! (You all weren’t giving away concert tickets, were you?)

    Way to go!

  4. It is now 8:07 a.m. Thursday morning. WYPR just aired a report from the Baltimore Museum of Art,after the CAB meeting, including comments from Mr. Brandon. The evenings proceedings seem to have made Mr. Brandon even more stubbornly recalcitrant, if that’s possible.

    My interpretation.

  5. The Cab meeting…. Wow !!! Last night after I got home I felt like I had to express what I was feeling…. So I posted under Marc’s pervious 2/20 thread topic…. So I’ll just summarize what I felt….

    Words like Cathartic, Powerful, passionate, moving all come to mind….
    Last night was many things but most importantly… it was a tribute to Marc and his vision for what public radio is all about… what community is all about

    Last night was the culmination of everything Marc believed in and tried to make WYPR into….. black , white, rich, poor, lawyers, collage professors, bus drivers, liberals, conservatives, activists, homemakers, business owners, politicians….

    Great diversity but all coming together … and all having a voice in what happens in our community….

    Last night a powerful message was sent to Tony Brandon. But it was more than “Bring Marc Back”…. it expressed to the fullest what public radio should be all about…. What Marc vision was and what he helped create…. I hope Marc Felt that too… I certainly “experienced” that as much as I heard it….

    I’m sure Mr. Brandon was hoping the CAB mtg would give us a chance to “vent” and just put this behind us…. I hope he “experienced” what this is all about… what public radio is all about…. What Marc means not only to WYPR listeners but to the welfare, culture, and identity of Baltimore area…. and what the station’s role and responsibility is to the community.

    Michael Derry

  6. Congratulations to WYPR for covering last night’s meeting. According to their story, it sounds like Mr. Brandon made it pretty clear how much regard he has for listeners. I am no longer a listener because Mr. Brandon has ceded 88.1 to satellite radio in my area. I was able to read a transcript of their story this morning. According to that story, Mr. Brandon stated that “we’re certainly not going to make any decisions from the forum here.” It sounds like he believes that the 300 people at the BMA last night are the only ones that aren’t on his side. Mr. Brandon’s comment last night is a striking contrast to what he states in his letter to listeners. In that letter he states that “the sequence of events that led to the sudden cancellation of Marc’s show unfolded rather quickly.” What was the sequence of events that unfolded so quickly that it required the cancellation of this one show? My conclusion is that Maryland has lost what used to be the best public radio station in the state. If Mr. Brandon doesn’t value the opinion of 300 listeners, why would one expect him to respond to the opinion of the CAB. There might be some hope if public radio had friends in the FCC but there is no evidence that they do. What is happening here is what the enemies of public radio have been trying to accomplish for years. The easiest way to shut down public radio is to get the stations in the hands of their friends and that seems to be what has happened here.

  7. I also missed the meeting last night. But I am very grateful to all who did make it – my deepest thanks for showing up in person and expressing my views. I’m sure that there were hundreds of others like me who couldn’t make the meeting but who share the outrage.
    Tony Brandon’s remarks this morning were just horrible. Really condescending and dismissive of our views…the listeners he supposedly cares so much about!
    So what does everyone think will happen at the Board meeting on the 12th?!

  8. First I have to say that I was overwhelmed by the community we created last night. What an incredible experience and honor to be with so many committed passionate people. Last night we were everything the powers that be have always tried to suppress, especially these past few years. We are what democracy looks like – in its purest and highest form!

    I too listened to the WYPR report this morning and Tony Brandon’s comments came as no surprise to me. If he were someone with a different mindset, what we did last night would have made a difference to him – we could not have done any better. But he is not – he is particularly arrogant and insulated to everything but money and his love of his own power and position. I believe that he felt all he had to do was “get through” last night and we will eventually go away. It’s up to us to prove him wrong.

    For him to dismiss us AND the CAB is a stupid business move – he thinks he can do that and he can short-term, but only if we let him. We need to do whatever we need to do to get the CPB investigating not only Marc’s firing, but the manner in which the station is run.

    We must continue our daily 12-1pm protests outside WYPR, be out there in force on the 25th to welcome Mr. Rodricks and continue with our long-term strategy. One of the CAB members told me afterward that it was very important that we continue these daily protests.

    For me personally, I didn’t get to complete my statement – but I wanted to say that Marc’s show was a daily source of denied information for me – I “met” so many wonderful people who do such great things for our community through Marc’s show. My intellectual life is all the poorer and I do not accept this, I will not accept this. I also wanted to say that I and another member of the MD Coalition to Stop the BGE Rate Hikes were going to be on Marc’s show the Monday after he was fired. We were going to be on with BGE executives talking about the reregulation bill introduced in the House of Delegates recently as well as Constellation’s suit against the state and the rip-off that deregulation really is. So that’s the first show our community was denied. Personally, I believe the corporate sponsors and underwriters did influence this and they have had a most willing ally in Tony Brandon and certain executive board members. I believe that, in addition to Tony Brandon’s personal/political issues with Marc, the underlying and more important issue is that Marc’s show provided a forum for people and ideas that often ran contrary to the interests of the corporate and powerful. That’s what Brandon et al can not tolerate.

    We are engaged, right here in our community, in the age-old struggle between those with money and power and the the rest of us who are community and have more power than we know. Let’s continue to use that power as we take back what is rightfully ours – YOUR PUBLIC News Station!!

  9. Did someone at the meeting last night really compare Marc to Jesus? Ouch.

    To that end, true or not, am I the only fan of Marc Steiner who thinks the Marc worship is getting weird? Please tell me I’m not.

    Am I the only fan of Marc who thinks that Marc blog’s links to the sites calling for people to “contact underwriters” and to effectively boycott YPR sponsors is also kind of weird, sort of scarily reminiscent of the people eating “Freedom fries” and boycotting French wine and cheese because the French govt didn’t support Bush in the early days of the Iraq war? Weren’t you ashamed when our fellow Americans engaged in such publicly ridiculous and borderline fascist behavior? And yet now Marc’s blog appears to be implicitly promoting similar behavior, that is teaching those local underwriters and businesses who still have the gall to support WYPR a lesson, that they should remove their support for YPR immediately or suffer the consequences.

    Am I the only regular reader of this blog who’s a little dismayed that any criticism posted about Marc or Marc’s show gets roundly shouted down? Seems not like measured consideration of the issues at hand but instead gang or herd behavior, blindly following Marc without thinking acutely about how we got here. Perhaps a blog’s comments section is not the best forum for an objective consideration of recent events. I wish it was.

    Am I the only fan of Marc Steiner who thinks it’s weird for Jessica Phillips, a producer for the Center for Emerging Media, to basically undertake as the CEM’s first ultra-public task the promotion of the job prospects of a single figure who happens also to be the founder and chief fundraiser of the CEM, as well as being her boss, via the blog that bears his name? Does the CEM want to define itself during a time of limitless new possibilities and growth as a backward-looking organization focused so intently on getting its leader’s job back at such a confused and obviously dysfunctional organization as WYPR, or at least supporting those who believe such should occur? Or should they instead be looking forward, as their name certainly implies is part of their mission?

    Am I the only fan of Marc Steiner who is actually excited for him and his talented producers to move on and to prove to Tony Brandon and Andy Bienstock that they made a tremendous mistake by letting this team go NOT by groveling and taunting these sad and pathetic dorks but instead by Marc, Jessica and Justin moving forward and kicking total ass with the newly powerful and focused CEM, rather than continuing to obsess and to hand-wring over Marc’s mistreatment? To paraphrase Nick Cave, why not kick against the pricks at YPR by proving to them they made a huge mistake?

    Please tell me I’m not the only fan of Marc Steiner who checks this blog regularly waiting for exciting news about how the CEM’s going to do what I think they’re supposed to do: produce new content. Maybe even about the roles public television and radio play in our contemporary culture.

    And yet each day I read more and more posts and comments by people who seem actively to wish for something that absolutely should not and will not happen–Marc returning to WYPR. I just don’t see the point. I know a lot of feelings were hurt and some of us feel personally attacked by what’s happened to Marc, but I don’t count myself among that number, much as I liked the show.

    It would be far more humiliating for Marc, Jessica and Justin to return to YPR than it was being forced out. The Marc Steiner era at YPR is over. It was a great run and now it’s done. The Center for Emerging Media has the opportunity to use all of this energy as a positive force to play an important role in our society by investigating the corporate media culture behind a lot of our recent dismay, or something, but instead it appears that they’re wasting the energy picking at a scab.

    I’m done with Marc at WYPR. You should be, too. Now I’m waiting to be informed by some news from CEM that I will support fully, financially if I have to, and am excited about the future. Internet radio, something.

    Am I the only one who believes this?

  10. I just got into work and had a chance to read Tony Brandon’s response to the Cab Meeting .. Unbelievable !!!

    I think this man’s true nature and character are now clear… and what he thinks the WYPR listening public… Does really believe the 300+ folks who jammed to the tiny BMA auditorium are Marc’s only supporters ??? Does he not know that this 300 only represent a fraction of the folks who are angered by Marc’s firing….???

    He knows… He just doesn’t care….

    Last night someone said when they fired Marc they lost the “Y & P” in WYPR…. That is certainly true…. Brandon has no interest in what the public wants… what the community wants… He is only responsive to the corporate underwriters… and he has made it clear that in his view the corporations and the few holding the larger purse strings own WYPR….

    So… Mr Brandon…. You need to change the name of the station…. How about “WMCR” for “My corporate Radio” because as it is now WYPR is no longer a “public radio station”

    But I think last night and this morning’s comments have energized folks… prior to this I was in a state of disbelief, shock, anger… but after this.. .after listening to passion and conviction in the auditorum… I feel energized to do something..

    I hope everyone feels the same and gets involved in as many ways as possible..

    Michael Derry

  11. Last night was magic. There were listeners there on a snowy night from Belair, Columbia, Frederick, Annapolis, and all over the Baltimore metropolitan area. They were young, old, black, white, professional, blue-collar, gay, straight, urban and suburban.
    Just like Marc’s show.
    It was a beautiful outpouring of love and appreciation for Marc and his body of work. I hope Marc could really feel that.
    It was a night I’ll always remember.
    As for Mr. Brandon’s comments this morning,
    this is a man who just doesn’t get it.
    Marc – you’re lucky to be rid of him.
    Center for Emerging Media – you had me at hello.
    Tony Brandon is …..oh, what’s the word I’m looking for…..
    an ass.

  12. A couple things:

    First to Jack’s comments:

    While I always considered the “Freedom Fries” people to be ignorant lemmings I never would have argued against their right to speak out, organize, boycott or use any other legal form of expression to air their views.

    Also, WYPR is still the best avenue for Marc’s show in Baltimore. Bringing him back there is way more likely than moving his show somewhere else (WEAA?, satellite?) along with all of his supporters and their pledge money. WYPR is not just Tony Brandon. He is not the only decision-maker.

    Which leads to my second point:

    Tony Brandon is not the only decision maker. According to the page ( there are 22 people on the Board of Directors of WYPR and they are not going to let Mr. Brandon drive the station into the ground. Here are some things we can do:

    1) email each and every one of the board members with a personally-written note explaining why Tony Brandon should be fired and Marc brought back.

    2) show up at the board meeting (3/12) to protest. Will it be at WYPR? What time of day?

  13. I, for one, would be happy if something could change at WYPR and the show would come back–not because I “worship” Marc but because I crave the information that I got from the show, and because I want to be able to get it by clicking the switch on the radio, like I used to. Free radio is still the best way to inform the average person who may not have internet radio on all day or satellite radio–it’s live, it’s everywhere, it’s in homes and trucks and diners and boomboxes. This is why public radio needs to be restored to what it is meant to be.

  14. in response to Jack’s comments:

    hi jack,your post caught my eye and i wanted to say that I don’t think it is weird at all for the underwriters to be brought into the discussion. hitting the purse strings is a time worn, effective tactic.

    i think a lot of people are still getting up to speed on the situation, i saw someone who commented in the last days who’d just found out that marc was fired, so in response to your question about an era being over, and creating content – i’d say that it seems like the process of understanding, healing and making something new is still in process…however eager baltimoreans are for new content from CEM, we might have to wait a bit – at least give time for digestion…

    are re: freedom fries…Pro-war politicians villified the French for not going along with our bogus, pre-emptive war; WYPR, public radio is a different story – people are upset and passionate about a vibrant news / public affairs prog4ram that was part of the fabric of the city of baltimore. Baltimoreans want to stand up for a journalist they honor and love; Pro-war politicians wanted to go invade and occupy a country…

    i think the big story is Media consolidation. And the WYPR story is the micro story within that. Look around at our media, 6 companies own all of the nation’s newspapers. Does anyone else feel like we are living in the Weimar Republic ?

    I’m sure Marc, Jessica and Justin are going to totally kick it with CEM. And I can’t wait to see!

    very best – antrim

  15. Jack,

    I don’t agree with everything you posted – after all, much of the anger here is being stoked by the ever-increasing arrogance and megalomania of the WYPR bigwigs, specifically Brandon. I think it’s entirely justified, and I haven’t seen many people go off the deep end.

    I do agree with much of the following:

    //Am I the only fan of Marc Steiner who is actually excited for him and his talented producers to move on and to prove to Tony Brandon and Andy Bienstock that they made a tremendous mistake by letting this team go NOT by groveling and taunting these sad and pathetic dorks but instead by Marc, Jessica and Justin moving forward and kicking total ass with the newly powerful and focused CEM, rather than continuing to obsess and to hand-wring over Marc’s mistreatment? To paraphrase Nick Cave, why not kick against the pricks at YPR by proving to them they made a huge mistake?

    Please tell me I’m not the only fan of Marc Steiner who checks this blog regularly waiting for exciting news about how the CEM’s going to do what I think they’re supposed to do: produce new content. Maybe even about the roles public television and radio play in our contemporary culture.

    And yet each day I read more and more posts and comments by people who seem actively to wish for something that absolutely should not and will not happen–Marc returning to WYPR. I just don’t see the point. I know a lot of feelings were hurt and some of us feel personally attacked by what’s happened to Marc, but I don’t count myself among that number, much as I liked the show.

    It would be far more humiliating for Marc, Jessica and Justin to return to YPR than it was being forced out. The Marc Steiner era at YPR is over. It was a great run and now it’s done. The Center for Emerging Media has the opportunity to use all of this energy as a positive force to play an important role in our society by investigating the corporate media culture behind a lot of our recent dismay, or something, but instead it appears that they’re wasting the energy picking at a scab.

    I’m done with Marc at WYPR. You should be, too. Now I’m waiting to be informed by some news from CEM that I will support fully, financially if I have to, and am excited about the future. Internet radio, something.//

    As many others have said – including Marc himself – this isn’t JUST about Marc. This is about a radio station that is clearly “public” in name only. Marc’s show wasn’t the only thing I liked about WYPR. The Signal and local news are two big strengths as well.

    But with MD Morning, and now this Rodricks…thing…they’re clearly in the process of jumping the shark. It’s sad, because there are lot of very talented people there who I want to see succeed and prosper.

    As for CEM…the guy just got fired three weeks ago. Should he already have his entire plan ready to go? How much time were you willing to give him? I think a lot of people are still in mourning, even if you’re over it. Just give it time.

  16. I cringed when I heard that comment on WYPR this morning saying that Marc had been “compared to Jesus.” What the speaker actually said was that firing Marc was like the Christians firing Jesus. The audience totally understand what he meant – it seems only the WYPR reporter did not. There was no comparison between Marc and Jesus; only a perceptive comparison between firing your public face, most beloved member and best “fundraiser.” I understood the speaker to make that comparison in a primarily business (and then cultural) context. Marc is the face, heart and soul of WYPR as Jesus is for the Christian religions.

    Leave it to media to sex it up – even if it just wasn’t true.

    It’s up to us to make the media not only responsive to our community, but to get the reporting right!!

  17. (Re-posted from the other thread:)

    Allow me to paraphrase the best quote of the night (and that’s saying something):

    “I walked away wondering what kind of idiot could possibly hate Johnny Cash for being a ‘convicted felon’….And that was the first and only time I met Tony Brandon.”

    Also loved Irene Smith giving Tony her WYPR mug. Brilliant.

  18. Last night was cathartic at some levels for sure. However, Brandon’s obstinate words this morning on WTCR “Their Corporate Radio” were quite discouraging in their minimalization of the crowded room where no one spoke up for the station’s position and they themselves lacked the courage to stand and address their listeners. To follow the assailable logic of Mr Brandon “thought processes” if we had filled Raven stadium last nite, it would have still been less than 1/2 of his audience, and thus of no import. Jeez, this guy is dumb. Julian Lapides pit it so well last nite, he has met no one who thinks canning Marc was a good idea, no one!

    But what should one expect from a man who thinks MLK’s Birthday is a black holiday and Johnny Cash is a convict unworthy of a 70th birthday greeting. Personally, in all the NPR rules and regs, there has got to be a “moral turpitude” clause somewhere that disqualifies Brandon from holding such a responsible NPR post for holding those assine beliefs.

    My concern is the CAB will take this matter to the Board March 12th-the Board will do nothing, perhaps say they take it under advisement, and how does the CAB communicate with “The 300” and other former station listeners. The CAB will probably have to resign to have any impact, and “WTCR” will sail on to its doom leaving Steiner supporters without their community. Everyone who was there last nite (and all those county wimps who could not make it thru 1/2 of snow need to attend the next CAB when it is scheduled and the March 12th Board meeting to keep pressure on Brandon and his golf buddies.

    A special shout out to the bus driver who came down from Belair to tell us what Marc’s shows have meant to him and his wife.

    One other thread to discuss further-some speakers referred to the very recent creation of the CAB to be an admission of improper/defective organization of WYPR for some years-can some flesh that out some more? Is that something we can take to NPR National?

    Thanks to everyone who attended last nite and testified to Marc’s and their vision of genuine public radio.

  19. How about lodging complaints about the BOD’s treatment of the CAB with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting…(they who mandate the existence of the CAB and say that the BOD has to consult with them about major programming and policy decisions)? If WYPR is found to be in violation, could the CPB take money back from the station or fine them?
    If you google “Corporation for Public Broadcasting” and Ombudsmen, there is a place to leave a comment. Maybe they would notice if there were hundreds of comments about this.

  20. Just a heads-up. Last night as I listened and then spoke (busdriver from Bel Air), a thought kept creeping in that I need to share. Having worked as a volunteer, all of us need to remember and give credit to the many folks (the worker bees) who are still at WYPR who still care about the station and Marc Steiner and may not be in a position right now to have a voice. This is a tough thing for them too and my heart goes out to those who get it and really care. Ted

  21. I think Jack hit how I have been feeling on the nose.

    In fact lately I have started to think that I liked the “WJHU Marc Steiner Show” better, back when Marc had more time to focus on the show, and fewer of these distractions of who is the boss or the face or the voice of the station.

    Come on. It is getting just a little weird in here, isn’t it?

  22. Sorry to be all over this thread today, but a couple of other observations from last night:

    1) I really appreciated the multiple people who said that they first “met” Marc when they called into his show to disagree with him, and not only did he let them speak freely, but he asked them to be on a future show. Seriously – who else would do that?

    I really don’t want to seem like I’m deifying the guy, but Ron Smith and Limbaugh won’t even let you get past the call-screeners if you disagree with them; Marc both practiced and preached civility and free speech.

    There are a lot of people right now on (cough) certain other message boards spewing witticisms like “Steiner and Castro gone in the same month…O’Malley would complete the trifecta” – har, har, har.

    I wonder if those people ever actually listened to his show.

    2) I felt very at home with a lot of the people there last night. Even when most people probably wanted to wring Brandon’s neck, even the most passionate speakers stopped when the “stop” sign came up.

    Civility, respect, playing by the rules. It’s funny how an angry mob can do that, but a radio station cannot.

    To the speakers last night: Ya done good.

  23. A few comments:

    I didn’t attend the meeting last night, but my husband did, and was incredibly impressed by the diverse, incredibly articulate, and impassioned people who were there. He relayed some of the comments to me, including the bus driver from Belair. He also reported the Jesus comment. Unfortunately, as so often happens, that’s the kind of thing that people hang on to, and that’s what has happened.

    In response to Jack, I do share some of your concerns. However, I previously posted an interaction that we had dealing with one of the underwriters. As I said previously, it is a difficult situation, because these are for the most part local businesses that we already do, and want to, support. But I think it is personally legitimate to let people know how we feel about what’s going on.

    I agree with Maria Allwine that my intellectual life is diminished by the loss of Marc’s show. Dramatically. I find myself in a type of mourning. But I wouldn’t call that Marc worship. I am also looking forward to what comes next from CEM, and I hate to say it but I agree that the likelihood of The Marc Steiner Show returning to WYPR is slim to nil.

    I also have to say that when we were discussing my husband going to the meeting last night, we found out that Marc had two more impassioned fans in our house: our kids. I guess we hadn’t really discussed these events around them, and since they’re kind of passive radio listeners they weren’t completely aware of what had happened. They were both astonished at Marc’s firing. Our older child said that Marc Steiner was the best thing the radio station had, because he had good topics and listened to people. The younger one put it even more succinctly: “They fired Marc Steiner? That’s just stupid.”

    One final thought. After reading the comments this morning (I didn’t hear them, I now listen to WAMU) there’s only one conclusion I can make.

    Tony Brandon is a very, very small man.

  24. I’m just dragging myself back to work after the ‘flu and I’m sorry to have missed the meeting…but 3/12 looks good for me and I’ll crash that meeting

  25. I’ve just found this link – to info from the meeting last night.

  26. I am as much an NPR fan as anyone, I’ll posit. I can remember listening to ATC as a kid and finding something oddly comforting about everything about it: the music, the measured and reasonable voices and points of view. Even then I identified it as an antidote to the increasingly obnoxious tv news, and as a kid brought up during the latter years of the Cronkite era I was able to understand that here, on the radio, I was listening to vital news rather than some corporatized and grotesque tv version of it, driven by ad dollars and ratings.

    I was ecstatic to get the chance to work at NPR national HQ in the mid 90s. While I was there a big hubbub occurred because a corporate head was named who the old timey radio people did not support. He was a “suit”, didn’t know about public radio, didn’t care about the people, etc. The seeds of the current corporate juggernaut of NPR were being planted then; older hosts like Noah Adams and Susan Stamberg were soon put out to pasture, great emphasis was being placed on “new” production values, the themes to the big shows were being reworked. I worked in the department–now gone, consolidated into something else–that dealt with public complaints and let me tell you there were a lot of them, and an awful lot of them sounded much like the complaints I’ve been reading on this blog: “You’ve just lost not just a member but an entire family of them”; “Congratulations, by removing Noah Adams you’ve just ruined ATC for everyone, I’ll never listen again”, “I am starting a community-wide effort to bring Susan Stamberg back,” etc.

    Then of course Bob Edwards being fired in, what ,ought 3?; and now “younger” seeming hosts like Steve Inskeep and Meshelle Norris on ME, Ms Norris based in Los Angeles in order, supposedly, to assuage those who accused NPR of having an East Coast, specifically DC bias…

    I suppose this (one hopes) not too rambling anecdote is simply to illustrate a broader picture, that it’s dangerous for us to become too attracted to our on-air personalities regardless of where we live or how much we love and respect them, and perhaps my long-view attitude about WYPR and NPR more generally is based on this recognition of how important change is to corporate media institutions, which as we all know now is exactly what WYPR is. This is in no way in support of Tony Brandon, who really has shown his azz throughout all of this, and who I think has realized how poorly he played his hand. At the same time I don’t like schadenfreude and I hope somehow the YPR ship is righted and we all continue to sail on.

    It was fun to pretend that it was “our” public radio and I swear I’m not trying to be a drag or sarcastic when I say I thought that was wonderful and smart marketing when it was first announced that those were to be the new call letters, but never once did I believe it to be true. I listened to the Marc Steiner show almost every day since I moved to Baltimore during the JHU/YPR shift–I was there from the start, dog, a member from the getgo–but never once did I believe that this was “my” or even “our” public radio station, knowing that that would be disastrous: there are paid professionals whose job it is to ensure that what is broadcast does not suck. Those people do not listen to you or me. “The public”–whatever that means: whose definition of “the public” do we follow? Is my public the same as yours? I’ve never voted for anyone but democrats but a good friend is a repub, and I love him; he loathed Marc’s show, which lest we forget was on FOR THREE HOURS per day not too long ago…was it *his* public radio as well? A lot of you are saying that people listened to Marc’s show for balanced and fair accounting of the issues, but I hope I’m not being disingenuous when I say that I cannot for the life of me figure out how anyone could listen to Marc’s show and find it ‘balanced’: Marc preached to the choir, of which I was a member–should have a say, which is exactly why I support everyone who went to the meeting last night and why I can’t hate on anyone who has chosen to be civilly disobedient. It just seems like there’s a lot of misplaced anger and it doesn’t strike me as terribly constructive to turn on members of our community simply because they continue to support WYPR.

    Since I don’t know Marc, I’ll say I love the figurehead or this character we call “Marc Steiner”, this rumpled, streetwise guy who’s quick to laugh at others as well as himself, who has a fantastic voice, who’s not afraid to make a goof of himself, who has an obvious love for our city and its denizens, particularly those who may not get the media attention others do, who really *knows* this great American city and the people who live here, who seems truly to care for the downtrodden, the underdog, and who, finally, pursues what he does with tenacity and passion, which is why I’m excited to see where he’ll go next and why I don’t want this experience to be too much of a drag.

    I am not sure what to make of this:

    “What the speaker actually said was that firing Marc was like the Christians firing Jesus. The audience totally understand what he meant – it seems only the WYPR reporter did not. There was no comparison between Marc and Jesus; only a perceptive comparison between firing your public face, most beloved member and best “fundraiser.” I understood the speaker to make that comparison in a primarily business (and then cultural) context. Marc is the face, heart and soul of WYPR as Jesus is for the Christian religions.”

    A question we must ask: is it a good thing for a public media outlet, whether it be a newspaper, magazine, television or radio station to be identified by one person or entity? Isn’t that exactly why many of you declaim corporate consolidation of media? Isn’t that why many of us thought it was an awful thing that Rupert Murdoch bought the WSJ last year? I think this undermines even further the argument that Marc should be brought back. So Marc’s no Rupert Murdoch, but still many of you seem to think it’s a *good* thing for WYPR to be identified so specifically with Marc, whereas I see it as a root cause of the recent debacle.

  27. Jack, I really don’t think you do listen to Marc if you don’t find him balanced.It seems to me you have an idea about him that is not grounded in reality. You surely must notice that your remarks are not being sensored or removed. Marc is a mensch to let your comments remain on his blog. I think you might want to take a “time out” and read over what he’s been saying. I have to admit that if Marc (and his vision) are not brought back I would love to see the station fail fail fail.

  28. I think a few of the posters on this forum are missing the point. This isn’t about “Marc worship.” Ultimately– for many of us– Marc is a symbol. He was OUR voice. He provided a platform for us to speak and be heard.

    His show was a hub where all kinds of people from all kinds of divergent backgrounds and neighborhoods could get together and talk and argue and laugh and maybe, just maybe, gain the tiniest spark of enlightenment into the other person’s situation. And it didn’t matter if you were sitting at a red-light or slicing carrots in the kitchen– you were in the studio as well.

    That’s called community; that’s what Marc and YPR listeners and the unsung heroes behind the dials at the station… that’s what WE built. And where is it now? Like old Homer says at the end of the film Hud, “It don’t take long to kill things. Not like it does to grow.” Amen.

    So that’s my humble & unsolicited opinion. My apologies to Marc for reducing him to a symbol– I think he understands what I mean. Obviously I feel deeply for him on a personal level as well– his loss is our loss. But this fight is only just beginning– and contrary to what some might think, this is most definitely about the future of the country. All politics are local. The media is the message… or the massage.

    What is happening at YPR is happening throughout the media at large. It amounts to corporate ownership and corporate mindset. What’s the bottom line? Is it the people of Baltimore and the surrounding area? Is Tony Brandon looking out for us? His dismissive comments about the CAB meeting spoke volumes. I was there– the place was packed. It was truly heartening to see and hear so many ordinary, decent, bright, passionate and caring people. Again, this is only the beginning. We aren’t going away. Tony Brandon, sir, you have our most undivided attention.

  29. Jack,

    You bring up some very good points. I’m not sure I can say I’ve been listening as long as you have, not as a child (we didn’t have news on public radio where I was) but I do remember Bob Edwards interviewing Red Barber every Friday. So that’s been a while.

    As for the personality issues, I am one of those who was really ticked when Bob Edwards was fired. But it wasn’t just that he, specifically, was fired. It was a decided tilt in the coverage, not only from a political perspective (and there have been any number of reports that showed how, even in the late 90s, there were more Republicans than Dems interviewed, and there were more reps from right-wing think tanks than left-leaning ones; that discussion is too broad for here) but a trend away from hard news towards more fluff. Admittedly NPR has never covered Britney Spears or Where Are The White Women stories, but the coverage certainly changed, at about the same time as the Bob Edwards incidents. Was it the Kroc money? Was it Wal-Mart as a sponsor? Was it just a more conservative era in the public at large? Hard to say.

    But, here’s the thing: I think that Marc’s firing represents something going on at WYPR that is bigger than Marc, a change in focus, certainly away from Baltimore to a more regional station, but also away from the kind of probing and provocation that many of us, myself included, turn to public radio to get. That’s what Marc as an interviewer and Marc’s show means to me: challenging, thought provoking shows that I’d come back and talk about time and time again. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called my husband or a friend to say “hey, Steiner’s doing [topic x] on his show today” and have it be food for conversation.

    There aren’t any other shows on WYPR that I can say that about, maybe occassionally Diane Rehm, but otherwise not.

    As for a question of balance, I could show you words accusing Marc of being too ‘corporate.’ I think the public discourse has been so thoroughly tilted in the broader perspective to the right that anything else looks liberal. Certainly, when Marc expresses his postions, they have generally been on the liberal side of middle (but not always) but his balance was in the way he dealt with his guests and with his callers. In my humble opinion.

    I agree that it is not a good idea for a media outlet to be identified with one person. But on this blog, Marc posted from the beginning that this is not about him but about a bigger perspective on public radio. I agree as I hope I showed above. I only speak for myself, however (well, okay, a bit for the husband and kids.)

    I find myself unable to continue to support WYPR for several reasons:

    1) for the incredibly bone-headed way in which this has been handled and by Tony Brandon’s utter disdain for the listeners;

    2) for the shift in focus I think has happened as I’ve tried to describe above; and

    3) frankly, because I don’t find anything compelling now on that radio station that I can’t get from, well, WAMU and if I’m going to support a public radio station, which I am, I might as well go to the more direct source.

    (Also, WAMU got rid of TOTN a while back. That, if nothing else, for me is a reason to give them support.)

  30. To Joe in Waverly:

    Re how can the CAB communicate with listeners, the blog at the CAB website would be a good two-way mechanism. Thanks for the link, Janet. The website has been revised and expanded (overnight!). For listeners not able to attend last night’s meeting, some of the handouts are available there.

    Also, with regard to disqualifying Brandon. It seems to me that Brandon’s bribery attempt ($50,000 hush money) should have resulted in his immediate dismissal. Didn’t happen. Question – can the BoD fire Brandon? I mean, supposedly the bank issued the loan contingent on Brandon being president. Is that a legal stipulation of the loan? Does it matter if the stipulation is written into the loan agreement or not? What would happen if the BoD fired Brandon, would the bank call the loan? Can the BoD fire Brandon only if they get the banks pre-approval, presumably including approval of his replacement?

    Also, I think Brandon is one of the loan guarantors, isn’t he? If he is, what are the consequences of that if he is fired? Maybe nothing? Maybe a lot?

    To Chris Merriam:

    Piggybacking on your comment about civility, respect, playing by the rules – my own takeaway, I was blown away by the tremendous good humor shown by the speakers (and the listeners.) I didn’t expect angry people to be so funny.

    To Theresa: when you write of a business underwriter, I think I know who you mean, and I think they also are loan guarantors. Is that your understanding?

    To Jack: the Morning Edition Los Angeles anchor is Renee Montaigne.

  31. Jack, you bring up some valid points, but I have to completely disagree with you on the balance issue.

    If your post on his blog had been a call to his show, you would have gotten on the air – just as you’re not being censored, shouted down or ridiculed here.

    That’s where the balance was. Anyone with a brain could figure out that Marc leans to the left politically, but as far as I can recall, he never called anyone names, never belittled anyone, always let people speak, etc.

    I guess I have a different definition of “bias” than you do. Bias isn’t having opinions; bias is allowing your own opinions affect the way you treat others.

    I’m sorry, but I just can’t agree with you on that.

  32. Ron: If I ever find that my civil rights have been violated, I have Irene Smith on speed dial!

  33. Chris, I agree with what you’ve just said. Marc often had guests on with whom I disagreed. For instance, Richard Vatz drove me crazy most of the time, as did various guests from the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, for starters. But I listened and learned how the other side of the spectrum was spinning the events of the day. I often wished Marc would have more representation from the progressive community and I sometimes felt he gave those AEI type folks too much leeway. But again, I learned and grew to appreciate that opportunity to do so.

    I think the climate in this country has changed so much (hating liberals has become an art form) that someone like Marc who gives equal weight to the progressive side seems left-biased, when in reality all he’s doing is giving people like me/us equal time.

  34. (swoon) I would marry Irene Smith. …except that were both women and I think we’re both straight and she’s already married.

    I would also like to point out that according to the Baltimore Sun’s Jill Rosen, no station management was at the CAB meeting. Funny, there must have been some very cleverly constructed doubles there. Perhaps they were robots.

  35. Have lost access to CAB portion of WYPR’s website but noticed some interesting information there earlier which I hope I can recall accurately. There was an interesting pie chart indicating where money came from but there wasn’t a pie chart indicating where money went. Most legitimate non-profits provide both together. There was also additional information about the financing of the station purchase which I also found interesting. If that information is true, WYPR is Tony Brandon’s radio station. The bank loan stipulated that he be president. As long as the guarantors are willing to keep making payments, the bank probably won’t care but Brandon can’t be replaced without violating the terms of the loan. The bank might be willing to allow a change but won’t without the support of the guarantors. YPR has two choices. It can continue to ignore their former listeners and let the guarantors pay off the loan or it can try to get changes made that will bring listeners back. We former listeners can pressure the station for change now and hope for the best. If that doesn’t work, we can try to go after the license. Tony Brandon and the guarantors probably don’t want to lose the license but that could happen. I am wondering if anyone happens to know when the stations license is due for renewal.

  36. I have just emailed The Washington Post about giving the story and the understory some good coverage. The woman I was told to contact is I hope this a good idea but the undercoverage of the Sun on a big story is appalling. It is not investigating but reporting events. I encourage you all to do the same. I explained to her that there is much more than the firing of Marc , although we believe this to be our major concern. Chris M, thank you for a more articulate way of describing balance. If Marc returns to the air it will not be humiliating it will be in triumph. And I would bet if Gerry of Pikesville (naughty Gerry!) would call, Marc would welcome him with grace and a smile. That is also balance.
    On another note, should we drop off our WYPR “gifts” at the protest? I can’t bring myself to wear the sweatshirt anyway. Irene was very funny but she made a point. Throwing this stuff outside office would a good exercise for them in a bit of humility.

  37. To Jack, thanks for your different perspective. I too think this is an exciting development for Marc, and I hope and trust that he will make the most of it. Unfortunately for the rest of us, the story’s not so simple. I am not ready to cede the battlefield to those who so obviously think that neither your opinion nor mine (nor the 300 admirable folks who showed up last night) matters. Marc Steiner’s show is but one issue here. What about all the other reasons I choose (still) to tune in every day? There is nothing weird about continuing to fight for a valuable public resource that has been coopted by commercial interests and commercial thinking. This is especially true if, as is the case with I’m sure the vast majority of us contributing to this discussion, we have put our money where our mouth is in the past. I still think I own a piece of that station, albeit a small one, and I’m going to push for the recovery of that asset. You should too. These people are wealthy and have better things to do with their time, so keep making them feel uncomfortable and see what happens.

    I wish Marc the best but I’m going to continue to believe we should hold onto our money, bug the underwriters, and generally make life unpleasant for those who are responsible for taking this radio station away from those who have contributed to it. Nope, nothing weird there.

    Mark Thistel

  38. Station license expires on October 1, 2011. Would be nice if things improved before then but that is probably a date to stay aware of.

  39. Oohoohooh Sweet!

    The audio of the CAB meeting has been posted, available through a link in the CAB blog. Apparently I have done something witless that makes Quicktime the default player for mp3 files. When I clicked on the link, a window appeared that stayed blank for a very long time. This is characteristic for long Quicktime files on my machine. If this happens to you, be patient, the file will play eventually.

    If your machine plays mp3 files in another player, I think it probably will start quickly. For myself (using a Microsoft machine), I will save the file by right-clicking the link and pressing Save Target As…

    Then I’ll be able to move the file onto my iPod.

    CAB meeting audio

  40. I’ve always felt Marc to be very balanced and fair… I remember a one caller who said to Marc one time… “I know what your politics are on this” (I think it was regarding O’Malley) and Marc Responded “No you don’t ”
    It is a shame that being committed to to social justice issues labels you liberal or biased….

    Marc was very balanced and I agree with Chris…. it is not about not having an opinion but creating an accepting environment and forum where people regardless of their political and social perspective can engage in constructive dialogue…. And Marc was the quite skilled and gifted at that…. Chrsit he regularly had republicans as well as democrats on.. liberals and consevatives…. But Marc didn’t focus on the political party or ideology…. he focused on addressing THE ISSUES… And when you focus on the issues there is room for several perspectives

    And his guests knew that….. you didn’t get bashed on his show…. didn’t mean he wouldn’t ask hard questions.. didn’t mean the callers wouldn’t ask hard questions…. But I think his guests knew they would be treated fairly and with respect….

    now if you want “Biased” listen to the Diane Rehm Show… She can be a bulldog…. and has no problem letting folks know what she thinks and what she thinks of their views…..

    We have lost a tremendous platform for public discourse…. And while I generally like Dan Rodricks…. He is no Marc Steiner…. and will not command the the same level of respect Marc has earned over the years.

  41. I am one of those people who could not make the meeting last night. Many thanks to those who did.

    Ever since Marc’s dismissal I have felt a loss as many have expressed here. Not only do we have the loss of Marc’s show every day – his intellect, his common sense, his good humor and civility – but also the loss of WYPR as a trusted institution. Maybe it never was “our” public radio station, but I always believed WYPR respected its listeners and at least on some level programmed with an eye toward the needs of our community. After reading about the things that have gone on behind the scenes over the last few years and now to hear Tony Brandon’s dismissal of the events of last night indicates that he holds the station’s listeners in low regard indeed. What is this guy doing in public radio? It’s certainly not “my” public radio station now.

    Like many others I have written to the station to complain about Marc’s firing. I, however, have not demanded that his show return. It’s not going to happen. Brandon is not going anywhere and if he were to back down and put Marck back (which he won’t) then a few months from now he would come up with some other reason to get rid of him, or make his work life so miserable he would quit. I would not wish that situation on my worst enemy. I believe Marc himself said in the beginning that this is not about him, this is about how public radio is run and about who makes the decisions. I agree with Jack in that we need to look to the future and I too am excited to see what Marc will do in the months ahead.

    I am glad there are protests and people are speaking up. I would encourage those leading these actions to change the focus from Marc’s show to getting the station to include listeners in decisions and have a voice in the station they ask us to support. Perhaps then something can be salvaged from all this mess.

  42. When I clicked my own link to the CAB meeting audio, the file was intercepted and downloaded by a program I use, which is fine with me. I don’t know what will happen if you click it, though.

    You might prefer to use the CAB’s own link, which is at the top of this post.

  43. This e-mail exchange I had today with Tony Brandon about says it all regarding his contempt for the community.

    From: Tony Brandon
    To: Sheldon H. Laskin
    Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2008 3:53:18 PM
    Subject: RE: Do the math, stupid

    Its a very big community…..and I assure you that I listen…. The decision was correct….

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Sheldon H. Laskin []
    Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2008 3:41 PM
    To: Tony Brandon
    Subject: Re: Do the math, stupid

    I think not, or you would have gotten the message loud and clear last night.

    It takes a big man to admit he made a mistake. So I’m sure you won’t be admitting yours.

    Please, prove me wrong.

    Sheldon H. Laskin

    —– Original Message —-
    From: Tony Brandon
    To: Sheldon H. Laskin
    Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2008 3:10:27 PM
    Subject: RE: Do the math, stupid

    I do every day

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Sheldon H. Laskin []
    Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2008 3:07 PM
    To: Tony Brandon
    Subject: Re: Do the math, stupid

    Please let me know when you are prepared to listen to the community.

    Sheldon H. Laskin

    —– Original Message —-
    From: Tony Brandon
    To: Sheldon H. Laskin
    Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2008 3:00:37 PM
    Subject: RE: Do the math, stupid

    Please write me when you would like to engage in civil discourse….

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Sheldon H. Laskin []
    Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2008 9:21 AM
    To: Tony Brandon; Barbara Bozzuto
    Subject: Do the math, stupid

    Dear Clueless,

    So you have 160,000 listeners, 300 of whom show up, all of whom are opposed to your brainlessly irresponsible act in firing the heart, soul and — apparently — brains of WYPR. And of the other 159,700 listeners, how many showed up to defend you? ZERO.

    If you only had a brain, this would be about the most definitive research you can do.

    Sheldon H. Laskin

  44. Stephen,

    Regarding the terms of the loan, I looked at that too. The terms of the original Mercantile loan came with the provision that Brandon be GM. Unless the terms have been modified or superceded, as I read that, he ain’t goin’ anywhere. No wonder he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about his listeners.

    Unless he can’t pay the loan. And I don’t think we know where the loan stands at this point in time. Does anyone know anything about the purchase of the other two transmitters, how that was financed, etc?

    Ron, you asked a few posts back about an underwriter I mentioned. That person is also a board member. I don’t know whether or not that person is a guarantor.

    And Maria, I agree with you about Vatz, but it wasn’t his conservative views per se but his personal attacks (and his personality) that drove me batty. I always appreciated the other conservative commentators that were on the show. Even if I didn’t agree with them usually, Marc interviewed them well, gave them time to express their views and challenged them appropriately. I NEVER heard him attack anyone with whom he disagreed, even when sometimes that person needed to be smacked upside the head. IMO, Vatz not infrequently fell into that category.

  45. Jack
    to add to what Mark T said, probably you are right about what will be the final outcome of the late unpleasantness at WTCR{their corp radio}. By your narrative timing which you said was from the getgo,actually has you coming in only halfway through the life work of Marc’s to create an easily accessible ostensibly free to all multicultural. multi-generational, multi-ethnic community of listeners and a discussion group of some gravitas unseen and unheard in these parts. I, like Mark T, am unwilling to seed this base of operations and free exchange of ideas.

    It is, at its core, an unwillingness to accept the corporate takeover of the public airwaves: the national trends you saw at NPR National, writ large in the public personas of Tony Brandon and Marc Steiner. You don’t have to be a worshipper of Marc Steiner- who I can personally attest to can be somewhat of an SOB to deal with some days-to know who is the Public Radio guy in that dichotomy!
    Drawing the line in the sand, accept no substitutes.

    Part of the genesis of this fiasco is the greed of my alma mater, JHU in dumping its civic duty and its WJHU and charging too much and giving Steiner so little time to fund a purchase. That said, transfer of the operating license of our public radio station to a Board of Directors that looks like, and probably is, tee time at a restricted golf club near the city line is to be fought all the way to the mat. These folks should get their own commercial radio station-gee, Tony Brandon already owns 5. He should be barred by that simple fact or my previously posted reason of “moral turpitude” disrespecting Martin Luther King and Johnny Cash.

    You may be cynically correct not to have believed it was “your” station, but that ad lady went with the name as we were solicited for pledges as you were going our conversation room. Bald faced lying is SOP within corporate radio, but is not acceptable in public radio. Reference the YPR Mission Statement : 1. WYPR will remain fundamentally non-commercial in spirit and practice; 2 WYPR will adhere to the highest standards of journalistic
    and artistic excellance.

    On it face, Brandon has violated #1 with the ratings argument from Steiner replacement and #2 by offering Marc $50,000 to keep his mouth shut. I really can’t wait to get their pie chart on expenditures to see how much hush money is appropriated by these hacks.

    I think Brandon is on somewhat of shaky grounds here. I think this action has reduced the WYPR value by approximately $1 million dollars- perhaps a 20% reduction. If we keep up the pressure, perhaps there is a way to convince the other guarantors that Tony has devalued their investment and put Humpty Dumpty back together. Long shot, I know, but I am going for it. Respect the poor folks strapped by job security and family issues to the mast by Tony at WYPR, but that ship will sink sooner or later under Tony; we can save both beacons of original discussion YPR and Marcs CEM.

    Any thoughts you would have for how to frame this to NPR-National?

  46. Someone should get a response from the King of public radio, Garrison Keillor. He was on Marc’s show and was so impressed with Marc and the station. What would Mr. Keillor think about this? Perhaps he would give us his opinion!
    Has Minnesota Public Radio ever tried to fire Keillor?

  47. Wow, there is a lot of thought and a lot of heart in the blogging going on here. Obviously this is a much needed dialog… no matter who says that they are tired of hearing about this most serious issue!

    It is imperative that we demand transparency from our public radio. This is about serving your ‘constituency’….us! The new show would have to go above and beyond the Marc Steiner show in order to prove to me that management knows exactly what they are doing and that they are doing the right thing.

    I have heard others state that withdrawing financial support is futile and that withdrawing support from advertisers is ridiculous. How else are we supposed to press forward with our outrage over this ill-advised decision? It isn’t about worshiping Marc, it is about TRUSTING in my public radio station. If someone can tell me that we can make an impact on decision making at the station by doing something different than let me in on that secret. If you are saying “do nothing and just let it go” than you are not a true fan of democracy and you may even be a coward.

    I was at the meeting last night and was shocked to see that no one stood up in defense of the powers that be. That speaks for itself. I grieve the loss of The Steiner Show. It was my lifeline to my community. The easy access of a multitude of information was invaluable. I feel instantly disconnected. I can not find the time to search web sites for the info that I was getting daily in a 2 hour segment that allowed me to listen while dealing with kids, traffic, etc.
    I hope the voices of democracy win. I am ashamed of the leaders of WYPR.


  48. Last nite at the CAB, Dana Moore mentioned that there was a filing on record for a transition to new ownership of our station.
    What are the details and time frame for this transfer? Details please.

    This stink should be laid at the door of the FCC reg board in hopes of blocking any financial profiteering by this Board.

  49. I think emailing Keillor and anyone else, Sedaris, Terry Gross, Ira Glass would be a great idea IF Marc sees fit. Marc knows what the chemistry was with these people. These folks come to WYPR for the big fundraisers that Marc usually MC’s and it would be wonderful to inform them for a possible boycott. I will be happy to get all email addresses if anyone is interested.

  50. The previous hit was for andi.

  51. I noticed on one of the “protest links” a listing of some of the corporate underwriters…. I was surprised to see that these are some of the establishments I give business to….

    While I am not going to vilify any of these folks I am going to contact them and encourage them to “Do the right thing” Even a threat of pulling sponsorship might get Brandon’s attention… maybe encourage them to advertise on other stations….

    I bet with consistent urging at least some of them would go for it….

    Regarding Sheldon’s email exchange with Brandon…. I know we are all trying to be civil in our discourse…. But after reading his response to the CAB meeting and reading Sheldon’s email….. This is guy is just a “Prick”

    Sorry for being so graphic…. but if the shoe fits….

  52. Hi all. I couldn’t get to the meeting but want to thank all of you who did, and all of you who are here talking about this. I’m glad Jack spoke up to share some dissenting views, even though I don’t share them. I agree entirely with Mark Thistel and others.

    Marc’s human like the rest of us, of course, and I’m not deifying him at all. For me this isn’t about him personally, but about trying to protect our little corner of the media universe from the rising tide of corporate influence, and about protesting when a station I’ve invested in for years both treats an employee terribly and displays such total lack of regard for what the rest of us think. I’ve had enough of that attitude from the Bushies.

    I’ve routinely tried to support WYPR sponsors over the years, and to let them know I appreciate their contribution to keeping it on the air. To me it now makes perfect sense to communicate, and act on, my new feelings about whether they’re doing a good thing in supporting the station.

    Warm regards to all.

  53. We have a version of a story from the BoD via quotes from Bozzuto, and I assume the BoD chose Bozzuto to be their chair. I don’t think I know how truly Bozzuto reflects board sentiments, however, and I surely don’t know the extent to which the board was involved in Marc’s dismissal.

    I’m refraining from being judgemental about the BoD until I hear more from them. In any case, I see no merit in ad hominem attacks.

  54. Ron…

    the only Board member I’ve been able to get in touch with was Dr. Geif from UMAB school of social work… I’m alumni. I emailed him and the dean… Both were more concerned wth distancing his actions from the school… I had 3 email exchanges with him but never got a direct answer as to whether or not he supported this or was bulldozed…. he seemed intentionally evasive on the issue… So who knows…. And he is a prof. of Social work and a social worker himself…. I would hate to think that someone in a field that is so commited to the community, to the poor and social justice would support this…. But who knows

  55. I went to that meeting, and was a regular listener, but think the Steiner woship has gotten really out of hand.

    The show hod gotten stale, he could have done so much more in two hours on the air.

    Mark talked more then his guests, and spent too much time with callers. On Inside MD politics, Marc crowded out guests like Frasier Smith and Barry Rascovar who regullarly had more insight.

    It’s to bad there could not have been compromise years ago that would have made the show more appealling to a greater number of people.

  56. Again, Congratulations Chris.
    You missed the point. Again.

  57. Chris… While I did not pick up on what you heard… I did read a couple other complaints about that on other blogs….

    Even so… these are issues that could have been easily addressed…. ie; interview style…

    These are not reasons to fire someone and not the reason Marc was fired…

    There were personal and professional Jealousies and poltical/philosohical differences in the direction the station and show go….

    And this is not “Steiner worship” This is about the forum and platform he created…. I have called into his show on numerous occassions…. The topics covered… the need for more detox and substance abuse treatment in the inner city, childhood lead paint exposure and treatment in the city…. charter schools, school mental health programing, ect…. What other media platform allows you to address such issues..???.

    Someone at the CAB meeting referred to Marc’s show not as a talk show… but rather a public service forum….

    And beyond Marc … that is the great loss oo city and state as a whole…. Whether it be issues in inner city, the state of the chesapeake bay, or legislatiive issues on taxes, slots,…. Marc provided the forum and always brought in knowledgeable guests….

    We like Marc… But this goes well beyond him as a person and as a radio personality. It is about the importantace of the content of his shows and the attention and public discourse it brought to important issues ; whether they be local, state , national, or international

  58. Dear Jack,
    I was the someone who compared Marc Steiner to Jesus, and I thought the comparison was obvious. Both share a religion and a concern for the down-trodden, and both were mistreated.

    I’d like to thank Maria for trying to explain the meaning of my outrageous statement. In my defense, I had no prepared statement but was certainly outraged. What I meant is when you remove a vital part of something, what you are left with is no longer as valuable. I assure you I worship neither Marc Steiner nor Jesus Christ, but I do have a deep appreciation for both.

    Now that this silly matter is behind us let me explain what I would have said before the board had I prepared a statement for Wednesday night. A little over 200 years ago our forefathers rebelled against an autocratic government. However, they recognized that in order to rule ourselves we needed an informed citizenry. See Washington, Jefferson, Adams. I take this responsibility very seriously.

    If you haven’t noticed, the sun has dimmed somewhat. I counted on the Marc Steiner Show to keep me informed of local issues and I take the loss of the show very seriously.

    You stated, “…absolutely should not and will not happen- Marc returning to WYPR.” I ask you: why not?

    This matter falls into the lap of CAB. Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that they agree that Mr. Steiner is a high maintenance diva and that his dismissal would be the best thing to happen to WYPR. The fact remains they weren’t informed, much less consulted as to the wisdom, of this major change. It was suggested at the meeting that the members of CAB resign in protest, or at the very least censure this rash decision. So there is hope.

    You failed to ask a pertinent final question: Am I the only Marc Steiner fan that doesn’t get it? My answer would be yes.

    Chris from Bel Air.

  59. andi
    if we are goin to seek outside support for Marc in this battle I think we need to broaden the advocates’s list substantially to include substantive guests such as Tavis Smiley, Michael Eric Dyson (down the road at Georgetown these days), poet Coleman Barks, actor Charles Dutton, David Simon etc.
    lets be brainstorming names from great shows that had great rapport between Marc and guests. I am sure Jessica has some contact info…..thoughts? suggestions?

  60. Hi, all. I have read (and in some cases, re-read) each blog comment here. The things I think are important points are the following: the firing of Marc Steiner represents the attitude of the WYPR management. Anthony Brandon has no experience in public radio. He is corporate through and through. He has a sweetheart deal with the bank and loan guarantors that allows him to be stupid and behave dictatorially. He allows Dan Rodericks to break public radio protocols at will. I listened to the last five minutes of his show one day just to hear how he signs off. In that five minutes he mentioned that the price of tickets to a show at the Meyerhoff were $25.00, $65.00 and $100.00. It is against Corporation For Public Broadcasting protocols to mention prices on the air except for things directly related to on-air fund raising during a pledge drive. Otherwise, you say “For more information, please call… .” It seems that the best case scenario for the public’s future is to have someone (CAB?) create an escrow account for members who wish to continue support for the station but not for its current management. Funds could then be released upon the replacement of the management and Board of Trustees. Tony Brandon can be easily and should be swiftly removed despite his deal with the bankers and the loan. He broke the law. In private/corporate practice, he can pay hush money all he wants. He is actually guilty of the fraudulent use of public funds for having offered Mr. Steiner money to keep quiet about his shennanigans. Therefore, the loan and WYPR’s relationship with the bank would have to be re-constructed, because a clause in the agreement has been corrupted by Brandon’s activity. I actually talked a few days ago with a deputy counsellor at the CPB who informed me that they are prepared to consider Inspector General investigation into the mismanagement of WYPR. The danger is that the fools in power there will let the station lose it’s CPB funding and become purely managed by their arrogant wealth at public expense. I would hope that the CAB would make it a matter of record to advise them to step down before the CPB takes action. Meanwhile, we need to find amongst the membership those who can help to bring sponsors that will keep the loan from defaulting while protecting the escrow account from subterfuge on the part of the bank. Thank you, Mr. Brandon for this fine mess. You should be ashamed. But I’m presuming you have no conscience.

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