Controversy at WPVM
Saturday, December 12, 3:00 p.m.
Pack Library, Lord Auditorium, Asheville
Participants in the drama, and the author of the Mountain Xpress article (“Lost in Transmission: Amid Heated Controversy, WPVM Charts a New Course,” Nov. 4), choose to remain uncomprehending of parliamentary procedure or laws governing non-profits in North Carolina.
Chris Lawing thought he had a position on the official Friends of WPVM Board of Directors, but Lawing simply did not, and when informed of that reality, chose (with others) to take the route of fueling a smear campaign.
When Friends of WPVM was in the planning and start up phase in September 2014, an interim Board of Directors formed just to get the process rolling and Lawing, Byron Ballard, and others were placed on a interim Board. This was done to satisfy MAIN‘s requirement that the group demonstrate a commitment to doing the necessary steps to acquire the FCC license.
Once MAIN voted to transfer the license, the group began the formal proceedings of filing Articles of Incorporation with NC Secretary of State, and then the group was instructed to hold a formal organization meeting. An official Board was formed on Oct 8th to comply with NC State Incorporation law. (Signed documents verifying who was voted on to the official Board of Directors in October 8, 2014, for Friends of WPVM are below.)
MAIN Director Pat Battle inserted himself into Friends of WPVM, in a highly inappropriate manner, since he was in blatant conflict of interest at demanding to be on both Boards, and was against the FCC license transfer and had voted on MAIN as being opposed to the transfer ((A Director must act in the best interest of the organization of which are Director, as a first priority, and cannot be opposed to the business at hand, which was the transfer of the FCC license. One cannot be loyal to two different negotiating entities).
When it became obvious he had a clear conflict of interest (being both boards and opposed to the transfer) he was required to remove himself from Friends of WPVM dealings in any way, and thereafter he began an aggressive campaign to sabotage the license transfer process.
Sitting elected officials Gordon Smith and Cecil Bothwell have also participated in fueling the flames of controversy or have made attempts at sabotaging the license transfer. Smith commented on the Asheville Politics Facebook page and councilmember Bothwell used his bully pulpit to discredit the new management with some of the show hosts. Bothwell and his associate Barry Summers have engaged in fear-mongering and have suggested that people send letters to the FCC opposing the license transfer.
Also fueling the controversy are show host’s from Asheville FM, Barry Sanders, Shad Marsh, Steve Shields, Adam Strange, John Spears, TJ Amos. Sadly, Carmon Ramos Kennedy of WRES has also participated. Wally Bowen’s son Connar Elliott has participated. Some have collected screen shots of all the comments made in regards to this ongoing smear campaign so there is a paper trail to back up points made here, and those screenshots are available for anyone to view at the station.
Rusty Silvis, who is calling for the meeting is a member of a group that had a show on WPVM (Vets for Peace). When the show Vets for Peace lost their main point person Ellie Halsey due to internal conflict in the group (composed of Ellie Halsey, Rusty Silvis and Don McCeachan), untrained show hosts McCheachan and Silvis took over and clearly did not know, or chose to ignore, basic rules such as using the dump button when guests used profanities, or not having food over the broadcast mixer, endangering a major piece of equipment that runs the station.
Vets for Peace were informed that when a show loses it’s main point person, the replacements must go through the complete orientation procedure to insure that they know how to operate the equipment to do their show. Additionally they must be computer savvy enough to receive emails and know how to archive their shows.
The programming committee reviewed the shows and sent suggestions on improving the show delivery. The improvements have not been attained (because they have not come in to do any more shows), nor have Rusty or Don done the required show orientation follow up. Meetings were held with Rusty, Don and the VETS for Peace President and where it was discussed what they needed to do to be in compliance. They were unhappy at needing to go through the orientation and that all participants needed to know how to operate the equipment.