More bad news for WYSO
The disclosure that
WYSO is now facing a large deficit is just more bad news in what has been
a troubling year for the locally based radio station. On top of that,
it is unclear if station management has a realistic plan to address the
Station officials blame the deficit on the slumping economy, which may
be partly true. But there is no doubt that community reaction to some
of the changes made at the station, as well as the numerous public battles
that have arisen around WYSO and the stations handling of this situation,
have had an effect on WYSOs bottom line.
Over the last year, the WYSO Resource Board, which oversees Antioch Universitys
public radio station, has ignored warnings that things are not going well
at WYSO. One board member in particular, Char Miller, publicly criticized
the board for being a passive body and raised concerns about not having
access to the stations financial information. Ms. Miller and another
board member eventually resigned in protest after other board members
continuously disregarded their concerns. Antioch Universitys vice
chancellor, Glenn Watts, made those who were asking questions about the
running of WYSO look clairvoyant when he announced last summer that WYSO
had a $100,000 deficit for its 200102 fiscal year.
Now things appear to be even worse. A budget update, which includes figures
from July 2002 to February 2003, shows that WYSOs expenses are exceeding
revenue by almost $250,000. This deficit represents more than a quarter
of the stations operating expenses of $853,000.
The deficit can be attributed to a decline in projected revenue and an
increase in expenses at WYSO. Membership dollars and underwriting funds
are less than expected, while expenses have risen above projected budget
numbers. If WYSO was in a better, healthier fiscal position, the deficit
might not be so bothersome.
WYSO officials, including General Manager Steve Spencer, say they have
a plan to get the station out of its fiscal hole. Their ideas, however,
seem to hinge on more fundraisers, including extending this months
spring fund drive, adding another drive this summer and creating a major-donor
program. These tactics rely on listeners to come through for the station.
Given the backlash WYSO has received over the last year, asking people
for more money seems flawed.
The last year has not been a good one for WYSO. Listeners have been ignored,
or alienated. Shows have been unceremoniously canceled. At least one valuable
employee, Aileen LeBlanc, the former news director, has quit. Now the
budget is a serious issue. While station management said last year that
it had a plan to improve WYSO, things dont appear to be getting