chancellor lends support for WYSO as group stages protest
Beryl Brukner was among those who participated in a demonstration
outside the WYSO studio Thursday, Oct. 17, after the stations
news director, Aileen LeBlanc, resigned, citing problems with station
Tensions between Antioch
University and Keep WYSO Local heated up last week as Keep WYSO Local
members protested the resignation of WYSO News Director Aileen LeBlanc
and university administrators attempted to stop a Keep WYSO Local fundraising
In addition, the university chancellor, Jim Craiglow, last week gave his
full support to WYSO management, which has come under fire for changes
at the local public radio station.
The concert by MUSE, a popular Cincinnati womens choir, scheduled
for this Saturday, Oct. 26, 8 p.m., in Antiochs Kelly Hall, will
take place after all, after several days of negotiating between MUSE and
Antioch University officials, who sought to stop the concert because it
billed itself as a fundraiser for Keep WYSO Local.
In a compromise solution, the concert will proceed as a celebration
of womens music, according to organizers, but will not serve
as a fundraiser.
Keep WYSO Local was formed last spring in response to program cuts at
WYSO, where General Manager Steve Spencer removed from the air several
long-running volunteer-hosted shows, including Women in Music,
a womens music program that ran for more than 25 years. Keep WYSO
Local members are seeking the replacement of the volunteer-hosted shows,
as well as changes in what members perceive as a top-down, autocratic
management style at WYSO.
Although MUSE had signed a contract with Antioch University several weeks
ago to use Kelly Hall and had already done extensive advertising, organizers
were notified last Friday that the contract would not be honored and the
concert would not take place, according to MUSE representative Dorothy
Smith. Antioch University Vice Chancellor Glenn Watts told the group in
a letter that Keep WYSO Locals goals were inimicable
to those of the university. Watts, a member of WYSOs Resource Board,
serves as university overseer of WYSO.
Wed already put money out, wed sold tickets, Smith
Copies of Wattss letter had also been sent to Craiglow and Antioch
College President Joan Straumanis.
University officials sought to stop the concert, Watts said this week,
because they felt Keep WYSO Local members who organized the event had
not clearly identified the concert as a fundraiser for the group.
We felt it was a misrepresentation of purpose, Watts said.
We were asked to approve a concert, not asked to approve a fundraiser.
Keep WYSO Local is antithetical to the purposes of the radio station,
and to use our resources to do damage to ourselves didnt make a
lot of sense.
While MUSE considered alternative concert venues, Straumanis stepped forward
to offer wise leadership and a compromise, Smith said. Straumanis
suggested that the concert go on, but that the event no longer be considered
a fundraiser. MUSE organizers and Watts accepted the compromise.
It was a significant compromise, said local concert organizer
and Keep WYSO Local member Katie Egart. Although the event is no longer
a fundraiser, Keep WYSO Local members will have an opportunity to speak,
she said. Were not being silenced, she said.
While all of the proceeds from the concert will now go to MUSE, the group,
which traditionally donates proceeds to progressive causes, will decide
how to use the concert revenues, Egart said.
Last weeks resignation by LeBlanc sparked two Keep WYSO Local protests.
LeBlanc, the winner of many state and national broadcasting awards for
her weekly news program, Sounds Local, said that she had no
other job offers but was leaving due to problems with station management.
Responding to LeBlancs departure, last Thursday, Oct. 17, more than
70 Keep WYSO Local members and supporters staged a demonstration outside
the radio stations Livermore Street location on the Antioch University
campus. Some called for a change in station management. The group also
visited the Glen Helen Building, where the Antioch University Board of
Trustees was meeting.
A smaller group of Keep WYSO Local supporters demonstrated in the rain
downtown and at the station headquarters on Saturday morning.
Last Thursday, the first day of WYSOs fall fundraiser marathon,
Craiglow issued a press release in support of WYSO and station management.
With more listeners than ever in its 44-year history, an engaging
program schedule unrivalled in public radio and a core of dedicated and
talented professional staff and volunteers, it is time to celebrate and
support the kind of public service that WYSO provides, Craiglow
Craiglow also said that the university is exceedingly proud of WYSO
and fully supports the job that Spencer is doing.
Mr. Spencer came to Antioch four years ago and has since managed
to raise the stations significance and profile within the Miami
Valley. As a recent graduate of Antioch University McGregors Graduate
Management Program, Steve fully understands how to apply Antiochian values
to the daily operations of a public service oriented business, Craiglow
Regarding Keep WYSO Local, Craiglow said, Despite repeated efforts
to hold productive dialogues with representatives of Keep WYSO Local,
we have found that there is no way to fully address their complaints to
While LeBlancs resignation last week sparked frustration and anger
among some Keep WYSO Local members, the group seeks reconciliation, not
an adversarial relationship with the university, said Keep WYSO Local
member Steve Bognar.
We appreciate all the time and energy Chancellor Craiglow has put
forward on this issue, Bognar said. We very much hope that
we can continue to work with him. Everyone wants to resolve this. Its
painful for everyone.