Facing budget shortfalls WMNF lays off three employees
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06/23/10 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

Please note the important update to this story on 30 June: the layoffs were taken back.

The economy is hitting everyone hard, especially media organizations. This radio station, WMNF, 88.5 FM has faced economic difficulties in the past and has made budget cuts over the last few years. But for the first time in the station’s 31-year history, WMNF laid off employees yesterday because of budget cuts. We spoke with station manager Jim Bennett this evening.

"What's happening at WMNF is not unlike what is happening across the country with media. Whether it's community radio or commercial radio. The revenues are way down and cuts are having to be made at a lot of stations, which doesn't make it any easier for us to have to react to the downturn in the economy everywhere. Our listeners have been really great and giving us as much as they can. But at the same time, we have a huge deficit in our budget currently that is a crisis enough that we have had to make cuts with some staff positions here at the station."

"What were those positions?"

"That includes the receptionist position, the special events position, and the music director position. It really is about, is there a way we can continue to have the station and perform some of the functions; some of the essential functions of those jobs with other staff members and some volunteers? And at the same time we've had incredible people in those positions who can not be replaced; who are really part of the heart and soul of this station; who will be sorely missed and we can not possibly replace them. We're going to do the best we can, and it's family. It hurts a lot."

The three 88.5 FM employees who have been laid off are receptionist Julie Schied, and part-time employees, Music Director Lee Courtney, best known by his on-air nickname Flee (he will still DJ Mondays from 4pm until 6pm), and special events coordinator Linda "Linda Lu" Reisinger, who has been with WMNF for more than 30 years.

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Comments

Life and soul of the station

I'm sorry but WMNF without Ms Julie at reception is unthinkable. Cannot get my head around this.

Reap and Sow

Ironic isn't it that for the first time in 31years there are layoffs. Listening to the station in 2008, I was told Barack Obama's election was going to save the world. Ha Ha Ha Ha.

Miss Julie

The heart and soul of WMNF pulled right out.

W.(hite)M.(en)N.(ow)F.(ire)

I vote for Randy at reception!

"reap and sow"

Hey doctor doom, a lot of good people are having to deal with the recession that was caused by the GOP. No one could just push the off switch on this, and anybody, democrat, republican or Green that said they could is a liar. Of course, that does not matter to you, no, you just want to sit in the safety of your own little cubicle, safe from the fact that if whoever you wanted to get elected got elected, the exact same thing would happen if not worse.

white men fired

last I checked, neither Julie nor Linda were white men, they did however, bring a lot to this station. But of course, when a White male gets fired, it's the end of the world, right?

misquoted

White men fired them, not white men fired.

sad news indeed

WMNF is very important to my family and I. We have been members for years. We renew during each fund drive. We attend every Heatwave for twenty years, and many other events, especially at Skipper's. We are very sorry about this. We actually gave twice in the last fund drive. I could give some more money right now, but it is too little and too late. The best thing we can do now is provide support to Julie, Linda and Flee. Tell them something encouraging when you get the chance. Help them find a job. They are going to be worried until they get more work. We are all members of the WMNF Tribe. Let's stick together. I'm surprised that someone who cares enough to visit wmnf.org could say something mean. Sure there are big picture ideas about free trade and mortgages, but right now three people are hurting and WMNF is weakened. Let's all be supportive. Sincerely, Joe

Never too late to correct a mistake

Bring back the 3 and cut Jim Bennett instead.

strategic loss

My first reaction is that Lee helped raise a lot of money for the station, for example, through the manic organizational energy he brought to all the Skipper's featured artist shows, and that it might be counterproductive in the long-run to lay off a guy who has been so tireless in raising the station's visibility and who, to many people in the music community here, is one of the most public faces of WMNF. I'm just saying this may be a net fiscal loss, all things considered.

leadership

will the leaders of this organization please step forward and make themselves known. Leadership is needed now.

retorts and retractions

ok nostalgia, I stand corrected. To be fair though, if anybody gets fired, anyone can say that it is a bad thing, because, truth be told, we are understaffed as is. Joe, I salute the fact you are being positive. Let's be honest, there is nothing more that the Rush Limbaughs of the world would love to see more than us infighting. We all have common beliefs, if not a common enemy. Sandra, no one would envy Jim's job after trying to fill the shoes of the one before him. What would happen if we fired Jim? Would anyone want the job of trying to run this place?

Management

Whose brillant mind came up with the idea to fire three of our most popular and dedicated people just before a marathon? Good luck getting money from a bunch of really angry listeners. Catch 22 here. Love the station but am especially hurt at the loss of Miss Julie at reception so don't feel very generous after this news I say last hired first fired

Thanks Jim

Thats what you get when you hire a station manager with no soul...

arewethereyet

Are we on or way to Atlantica? News and public affairs are great , music built this station. If this is the direction ,news, we the listeners need to be informed so we can create a new one or take back this station. If this is the case we need to ask Jim to resign now and readress the board now.

send Bennet back to Cali

Bennett needs to go for many reasons,he has limited management skills(his backround is engineering)and has showed his colours in other instances beyond this one,the board are complete idiots for hiring this man and lack business sense,it makes more sense to trim off the big salaries not the small ones,who taught these people how to run a business?

a coup is necessary

All the volunteers need to do is organize like they did in the pre-Greg Musselman days and run Jim out,they did it before and it can happen again

Bad decision.

How does station management think they can get by without a receptionist? It's a full time job, and Julie did it well. Linda and Lee contributed far more time and energy to the station than their part time salaries cost; all three were part of the heart and soul of WMNF, and the "faces" of WMNF at events and when people walked in the station door. This is not a popular move with long time supporters right before a fund drive.

long time listener supporter

how much did it cost WMNf to add the HD stations? How much is paid for NPR news??? is there a way to trim fat and keep good folks working???

Member

If Julie, Flee, and Linda had not been laid off, then someone else on staff would have had to be laid off, and you would be just as mad. Why don't you people understand that WMNF is suffering from the same terrible econony that every other nonprofit organization and company is suffering from now. Who among us has not been affected by layoffs? After listening to the last few pledge drives, why do the layoffs surprise you? I think that folks need to calm down and assess the current economic environment, and realize we are in a new economic reality. And if you really want to enact change, why don't you run a seat on the WMNF board, and put yourselves in the hot seat? You might find yourself making some of the same tough decisions made by the Board.

Natty

I am so sad and sick about all of this. Isn't it wmnf who preaches about corporate responsibility... Can't budget cuts be taken somewhere else beside with the people? Can't more revenue sources be found?

Spread the wealth

Our "community" radio station could shave the salaries of others to maintain the people who have dedicated themselves to the station and are needed. Many employees have retirement/pensions from previous jobs.

Sad Mistake!

Flee was one of the best things to happen to this station...Someone made a big mistake letting him go. 88.5 benefited from him in so many different ways and will loose a lot of supporters and listeners by this decision, me being one of them.

Let's Get Creative

With all the brainpower of the members, let's think of a way to raise money to rehire these employees. Can special concerts or other events be held to raise the funds? How about a special marathon?

what is wrong with this picture?

WMNF has three paid news staff. As of Tuesday, WMNF has one paid music staff person. The decision to layoff two INCOME GENERATING staffers indicate that the decision making process be reviewed on several levels.

If nothing else

The manager should have waited until the next marathon, with a lot of honest talk about how bad things might get. He could have also floated an idea for everyone to cut their pay, after all, many of the more responsible companies have done that. I do not think people, management included, realize how fragile we are. Go to the St. Pete Times, and you will see people blather nonsense like "If WMNF stopped being so lefty, it would make money." Or "why do we need indie radio when we have Itunes." Never assume people would "never be so stupid as to think" that their corporate, for profit baubles can replace community assets; it's one of the reasons our world is in sad, sad, shape. Also, about the HD, I do not agree with the HD, but I do agree with them giving the students of USF a radio station. I love WUSF, but when you tell students that they are not worthy to have their own radio station, a pleasure even Hillsborough Community College students have, then you cannot be surprised when student activity and loyalty is LOW. WMNF MUST be there for the people that will not be represented, which, in an age where Democrats of today do things even Nixon would consider too crazy, is more important than it ever was. However Jim, hear this. I do not know how you did things back home. I also realize that you came after we lost someone who was a friend as well as our boss. However, let me tell you this, we here at WMNF built this station, out of our blood, sweat and tears. While we realize someone has to make the hard calls, we do expect transparency and at least some measure of respect; this action has shown NEITHER. Oh, by the way, in case anyone thinks I write this because I like Flee, let me set things straight. Myself and Flee went to loggerheads over the Music library; he won, and i found somewhere else to work. I also found him annoying, and disliked his show. Now, am I saying this to slam Mr Cortney at a time he does not need slamming, h_ll no! I say this because, as much as I disliked Flee, I knew he was one of the best things going for the station. Whenever I worked marathon, I knew Flee would always come through, and as sure as Swiss Clockwork, he did. I knew his skipper shows brought in money and fame, which is why I often wear (and wore) his t-shirts. The point is, Flee was good for the station, something I recognized, and dealt with, and despite myself, was thankful for. If I could see that, why could'nt Jim see that? We need to stop eating our own, the jackals on the right are already laughing at us, with the same sick grin they reserve for oil covered dolphins and dead Arab children. We are ALL collateral damage to them, just something else to kill and pave over and make their stock portfolio hum. Wake up everyone, especially YOU Jim. Do not become known as the person that wrecked one of the strongest communities in community radio.

the station wasted money in hd radio

Mr Bennett is as useless as his inane idea of wasted donation money that went to HD radio,This money and it's wasting is not only clear cut proof he is an idiot who doesn't do his homework,but proof he should resign-today,just look up info on HD radio,it's already projected to go the way of HD DVD players,Beta Max vcrs or DAT tapes-reason simple with the bad economy no one is going to buy the receivers,this is another project that is failing before it takes off and the writing has been on the wall,even the state he came from(California) has already pulled out of it,he came from there so if he couldn't see that then how can you expect this man to keep the ship afloat on go forward?Answer is he can't,also not being a long time resident of our community he has no clue of what we are about,if I had the cash I would pay off the deficit in exchange for his dismissal!

hd waste

Maybe it wasted in hd radio, but I do agree with giving USF students a home a BULL radio. Granted, if USF were serious about serving students, they could have at least donated a stream, but as an alumnus, I can tell they do not care. They might very well look at WMNFS problem as a chance to swoop down and grab some carrion, while the right wing laughs at how the left eats itself. If nothing else, Bull radio connects to the students we will need to survive, and shpould want to encourage and inform regardless. None of that takes away from the fact that firing these three was silly at best, stupid at worst.

Bad Decision

My heart goes out to Julie,Linda,and Flee.Their dedication to this station is unmatched.Call me stupid but was this decision totally Mr.Bennett's,or was it voted on by 'the board'? I love this station more than words can describe and without the people that have made it so special,it becomes just another station.News is important but it's the music that adheres us all.Can't we cut some of the expensive news programing instead? Bring back our family and open up the discussions on where else we can save. We need to keep our talent here.I've been a supporter of WMNF for 28 yrs. and want to continue for another 28 yrs.Back to basics,guys!!

BAD decision

I agree with the majority here that laying off Julie, Flee and Linda wasn't a well-thought out decision. Flee has probably raised more $$ for the station as well as bringing in more supporters with all the Skippers shows he's organized. He and Linda put in time for the station way beyond their PT hours. Julie has been a dedicated employee and always talking up support for WMNF during her off time and at special events. Seems to me that more was lost then gained with this move and open discussion with ALL of those involved in the station could have resulted in more tolerable cost cutting measures.

News vs Music

Just like I would never want to give music the ax, I would never want to give news the ax. The same media outlets have a such a strangle hold on both that we are the only chance to hear anything not allowed by Clear Channel. However, since USF does play the NPR stuff, why should we have to pay for it? Why not simply fill that with local programming, of any sort?

no one I have met likes Jim Bennett(even outside t

If I am not mistaken the word "Community" is part of WMNF's moniker,so why doesn't us,the community have more say in what you guys do down there,we pay your bills,and if we, the community which has spoken,don't like your decisions(the layoffs-hiring an unlikable,less than qualified man to run the show down there)you should listen to us and take proper action,I will donate next marathon,but I am serious about this the only "premium" I and most of the fellow Tampa Bay listeners agree that the board makes some radical changes,or simply we won't pay,It's just that simple,I had wondered why nobody came up with ideas like looking to local businesses that support WMNF,or local bands to maybe perform a gig on their own as a benefit or hell a car wash-anything,but apparently the jerk you hired as boss really doesn't care about us or the station(and having him there is a liability because alot of these locals have strained relations with the station because of the unfriendly cliqueish attitude that many of the station people have,and now most of them have lost faith because they also view your new boss as quote"An Asshole" unquote)instead of making enemies,you need someone with ambition and Charisma who knows how to make people feel good,Bennett is completely not that person(and if you've met him,there is no doubt on this),remember no change,no money coming in-period!!!!!!!!

WWVD?

Can anyone out there imagine Vicki firing three people without so much as consulting the person those people worked for? I can feel her fury all the way down here. Then again, she managed to avoid layoffs by gathering the tribe and finding community solutions. But really, now: is this the ethos she helped create at WMNF?

Capitalism Works

All the smug and self-righteous circle of friends are now finding out that they are a tiny minority and that their opinions are worth even less than this station. Let's all hold hands and sing kimbye ya! :)

musician, writer

Here's my 2500 word blog on why the music scene in Tampa is awful and how firing Flee just made it worse. Good job. http://jeremygloff.wordpress.com/2010/06/25/flee-from-wmnf-was-fired-more-bad-news-for-tampas-mediocre-music-scene/

It's not the Economy

Articles about the declining state of WMNF seem to all blame the economy. It's not the economy. Almost all of us still have our jobs and haven't suffered a reduction in pay. Other radio stations in Tampa aren't laying people off. Blaming the economy is typical for these crowd-following sheep. The problem is that people are waking up and realizing that their actions have consequences. We now have a foreign-national bent on our destruction as president. A lot of people are surprised --they thought their continuous whining and radical posing was fashionable and had no real effect. Now they see that they've gone too far and they regret it. They're pulling back and reevaluating their beliefs. They realize that their support of your corrosive, subversive station had some small part in the demise of the things we all hold dear. I, for one, am glad to see people are waking up and taking responsibility for their actions. I predict WMNF will be a memory in less than five years.

the wolves come out

Well well well, out come the right wingers. to Mr/Ms. Impeacher, the media outlets that has been subversive is Fox news (owned by Rupert Murdoch and Saudi prince Abullah), because they want this country to pursue the same War Mongering and Tax cutting that has made us the world's bad joke, and which allowed the Chinese to own us. As for demise of things held dear, your drill baby drill types had a lot to do with that, as even now, idiots drone to drill more, despite the fact that pour gulf will probably be dead. And never is any finger pointed at the company that was supposed to maintain that little rig, the one called halliburton. But that is okay, because for people like you, rich people should never be held accountable. Why Rick Scott can steal a billion dollars from Medicare, and he can become governor. Let me guess, you probably plan to vote for him. Go follow Rush and Beck, because we know who the sheep are, and sadly, thanks to Jim, we may lose one of the media outlets that stands up to sheep, the sheep that shovel soldiers into war and let rich people shovel in the gold so that they can pour it into places like Dubai and Beijing.

It's not the Economy

Stay on topic, leftie. The point is, it's not the economy to blame for your misery. Fox news is prospering. Your fan base is declining due to your radical views. Change or vanish.

firing

You know, IF, if Jim had waited until the next marathon, but used the podium to say "Look, we are in REAL trouble this time, if we do not turn things around, we might have to look at doing things like fire people.", then things might be different. Yes, some people would say no fire no how, but at least people could have gotten together and put our brains together, and in the process, if nobody put their money where their mouth was, we know that failure would be ours. This was done shady, stealthy, and frankly, against the culture we have built here. As far as Vicki, we do not know if Vicki may have had to fire people, but we do know she would have pulled out all the stops, and been very open. The fact is Jim, while you are the manager, you get the paycheck from people who want to have somewhere where we all have a say, where we share common values. If you cannot deal with that, then this place might not be the best place for you.

Brings to light

If nothing else, this debacle seems to have brought out into the open issues that have been building below the surface for a number of years at the station. If WMNF is to survive with the aims and ideals it was originally founded on these need to be addressed. I for one as a volunteer/supporter can no longer lend my financial support and time to the station until I see it returning to what it once held dear.

So you'd rather kill the station?

I'm very disappointed by the postings from a lot of listener/supporters who say they will withdraw their support from the station. So... do you really want to kill the station by withdrawing your support entirely? Do you really want a boycott, or think the station deserves one? You must realize this community needs WMNF, and we must keep it alive. I hope all of ya'll will calm down and think about what you're thinking/feeling. If this station dies due to your stubbornness, you'll regret it down the road because you'll miss it and wonder why you were being so pig-headed. If you're really so pissed at Jim and the Board, then you should run for the Board yourself and be in the hot seat with such decisions as budget, HR, policy, etc., etc. I'm not ashamed to say I support Jim's decision, and I hope the naysayers don't push him out.

Come on, You Cheapskates!

I read in TBO that your station is in dire financial straits. If you really love your station, you'll dig deep and cough up a couple of bucks. We know none of you rich, liberal whiners have lost your jobs. In fact, I know many of you have received raises! So man up and spend a buck or two. Put your money where your mouth is, you cry babies. Our favorite time of day is 1300 when all the weirdos call in and complain about whatever it is that's bothering them that day. There's a couple of regular callers --you know, the ones that are so mad they sputter and rail about Bush and Christians and Oppression and Oil Spills --they have us on the floor laughing. If you don't keep this laughter factory afloat, we will come down there and paste Bush stickers all over your station! :)

Mr Bubba johnson you must not be a volunteer or in

You might want to stay out of this Bubba,you are ignorant of what is really going on,so before you comment you need hands on info from a close source,I really want WMNF to stay but if the same rudderless crew are in control,they will destroy it,I would love to either manage the station or be on the board,unlike them I would be honest and work toward the future,and unlike much of them I am a people person and am communicator,simple attributes that no of them have,I have been in management and I can tell you Jim lacks all of the qualities you need for the job,He is a Tech,nothing more

revolution

The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe,you have to make it fall

It's not the Economy

Barnacle Bill, You are right about this tragic comedy. I listen to the one o'clock show too. It's funny as hell. It's not quite as good as it was before Osama was elected though. A couple of years ago these people were really frustrated. It was hilarious to hear their frenzied, impotent raging. And Rob Lorei's failed attempts to appear neutral. That was comical. They're still pretty agitated and entertaining but not quite as frantic as they used to be. The surprising thing about all this is how they have turned on each other. I had no idea they were so hateful to each other. I pictured them as a united, touch-feely love-in type of group. But I guess if I had thought about it, I would have realized that this kind of vicious in-fighting fits the general profile of arrogant, holier-than-thou elitism. Oh well, this is democracy in action; people voting with their pocket book. I'll miss them. :)

Que???

What??? Those insufferable pompous windbags at WMNF are going down??? It's about time. I will miss the music though. They had the best music in town, maybe in the state. But their politics were toxic.

Is Bubba Johnson = Jim Bennet?

Re-read his last post. "We had to make cuts somewhere and I made them where their effect would affect the station's outward appearance the least. If I had left it to you and your friends, you would have argued amongst yourselves and ultimately have made no decision and the station would have gone under. I made the tough choices and I single-handedly saved this station for another year. I think I deserve some credit for that --not blame. Think before you jump to unsupported conclusions, jackass. " Name calling on a message board is not becoming for a station manager.

comments removed

No, the comments made by "bubba johnson" were not made by station manager Jim Bennett. I have removed them to avoid confusion. Please keep in mind that comments posted on this site are expected to follow the WMNF style statement. Thank you.

pull my finger

some of these posts appear to be made after happy hour. if bubba has revealed himself lets hope its accidental. if the SM speaks from behind the curtain that should be enough evidence of a bad hire.

why the first person Matt

Matt if those were not Jim's statement then why are they written as if they were ?

idiots

First off, to those wanting to paste Bush stickers, etc, obviously you never had this station's interest at heart, or for that matter, the nation's. However, there is one point they make, and that is we do need to avoid eating each other, as they will stoke the flames, and then go on to vote GOP she the right can finish off selling this country to China and Saudi Arabia. Jim, you need to call a meeting with the volunteers, and answer their questions, or else you can get paved over. WMNF is stronger than you, just as it is stronger then the right wing yahoos that have been predicting our demise for years. Don't worry, right wing, when the oil hits the beaches, and the Chinese own all the money in your wallet, then maybe you will see the light, and if not, you can get paved over like the rest. If not wanting to see my country waste it's treasure and blood in war, and turn it's schools into default arms of the churches, is elitism, then I am an elitist, and despite the fact Obama has been too busy chasing "bipartisanship" we are beginning to see history turn the right's page.

When is the emergency "save our family" meeting?

When was the emergency "save our family" meeting? There have been lots of meetings called to deal with urgent matters at WMNF. Did I miss something? It seems serious enough to have a LOT of listener/supporter involvement in order to at least brainstorm and try to attack this issue. This is an issue that NEEDS attacking. The station IS the people. Can someone at least generate a brief on how the decision was come to? Sorry, I am out of the loop on this, and apparently not in the "station biz" mailing list so if I missed all that please someone bring me up to speed. I want to withhold any opinion on the matter but it is awfully difficult to do that under the circumstances. Lack of information always leads me to lean towards ugliness when the result of a decision knocks my breath out. How was the idea brought up to let these fine people go? How long did the serious discussions go? Were the listener/supporters involved in the process? Did the board make the recommendation and the Station Manager act on the recommendation? Did this decision come out of the blue to these folks? This organization is supposed to, I think, have pretty transparent financials. What options were brought to the table to save money? Why were they dismissed? Didn't anyone see the potential backlash? I am now frightened that out of spite, enough people will withhold their donations out of protest, which will affect more than just Flee, LindaLu and Julie. People, remember, how many other family members at the station are holding their breath to see if they are next. This is going to end up very ugly in my opinion. The precedent has been set, cost savings through layoffs. Now that we understand that, how do we as supporters react? Stop donating and then lose Carrie, Gene, Laura, etc? Where are the answers? Someone PLEASE Answer the questions regarding the process of the layoffs? Also, those of you who are posting anonymously, please use your real names. If you believe in your statements why should you be nervous to reveal your identity? You are expected to have an opinion and it is important that you do, share it openly. Peace!

Let the People Decide

Scott, A recent poll shows that 80% of the people in Louisiana support continued off-shore drilling. Why should you decide what's best for them and the country? They have more at stake and quite frankly, have more common sense. P.S. I hope there's another pledge drive coming soon. It gives me a warm feeling to hear you guys begging.

Weighing in

I am a newbie on the WMNF scene but I am still feeling shock over the decisions last week. I have to agree wholeheartedly with Don's comments and wonder, is it too late to consider other options, to allow our community some voice in what occurs in our station? Don't misunderstand: I totally get bottom lines and budgets; what I don't get is the "corporate america" smell this has to it, and I can't say that I like it. What would have been wrong with taking this to the community, to the listeners, to the volunteers weeks or even months ago? Budget cuts aren't usually seen to be necessary overnight; if we had been apprised of the possibility of losing these 3 people, perhaps alternatives would have been found. Don't know, but it doesn't appear that that particular option was ever on the table, which strikes me as being in opposition to my perception of the station's culture. I don't want to be judgmental when I am not aware of all of the facts, so more information would certainly be welcome. I will say, though, that I'm not going to withdraw my support from the station; as someone said above (sorta) it's bigger than any one person and I want it to continue.

louisiana

With all due respect barnacle bill, their oil is getting onto OUR beaches. Just those Louisianans in the oil producing areas chose to ruin their land does not mean they have a right to ruin ours. We have more at stake, as our economy is about to hit the toilet once our beaches turn black, and I suppose you think ruining Florida is common sense. You would. As far as begging goes, we will see who begs once more GOP chickens come home to roost. When the GOp comes to Tampa in 2012, we can show them oil-slicked beaches, empty hotel rooms, and foreclosed houses. But that will not matter, as what they call common sense is nothing more than "I got me, screw you" and "if I gotta screw you to get more, screw you." And of course, they wind up getting screwed by their masters once their jobs get downsized or outsourced. That is what your "common sense" ignores, that the rich do not care about hurting America.

bigger than one person

You are right dana, this is bigger than one person. Jim may come or go, but this station will survive. We can and should apply the heat to his heels, but the last thing we want is for the vultures to swoop in. As far as aliases, I posted enough about myself to where those at the station know who I am, but I sure won't give any information to the right wingers who miss their days when they could simply lynch whoever they hated (and who are working to bring those days back.)

Wanting Station Manager Job

Many people lined up for the opening left by Vicki. One was Arlene Englehardt--and who got her? Pacifica Foundation--Executive Director. This was a person who really got MNF, but to some people...?? Why she didn't get the job, I will never understand. What a loss it was, and now even more so.

Scott's email

Scott just sent out a very nice and straight forward email from the volunteer representative perspective. It's definitely party line and legal in the delivery. Interestingly enough, he says that the volunteer committee has been communicating to the volunteers during this past week and the time of BOD posturing. That's great, but the impending layoffs or possibility of layoffs should have been a point of interest for the general populous. Heavy weight is often managed easily with many hands instead of few. Since WMNF is a community, the volunteer base needs to be informed of questionable decisions with this great of an impact. The email goes on to talk about the layoff phenom. Most of us have felt it and it can be business as usual, but again we are not what would be called normal or strictly a business. You do not layoff personnel from a community unless you live with soylent green. So that needs to be considered. As we wait to hear out the decision process of the BOD and input from the Volunteer Committee, the community of this station needs to consider a couple of things. First is how we get back the family we just lost but believe should have not been released. Second is what kind of station are we. Are we fish or foul? News or music, and what balance? So can we get back the positions that were released by executive decision? Do we have the need and ability to raise or redirect monies that would fund those position? I believe we have both! Fish or foul? I read some discussion that involved the most recent hires at WMNF belong to the news and public affairs area. What is the relevancy of more bodies in the news area? Would the impact be felt as heavily in that news world versus the music, the fund raising, and the operations side of the house? Redirecting the efforts in the News area and cutting a FTE position there potentially may have a sizable impact on the budget. There must be other solutions and a better gut check process. Check and balances were created for an excellent reason and our lack of planning didn't mean that we had to forget our core values. Community Radio, baby!

A side note

Karen Zack came up with a great idea to fund the lost positions at WMNF. She's suggesting a benefit concert to bring back Linda Lu, Flee, and Julie! Considered by the BOD to be incidental positions, the lost slots were for the office manager, special events coordinator, and the music director. Let's bring them back and put the BOD on notice!!!

scott who

Fpor one, I am not that scott...as i said, Flee knows who I am, but i am no high up.

What?

It doe's my heart good to know as many Fox viewers have time to give wmnf a listen . It sounds like you listen a lot. O I only listen for the tunes and I only read the articles.The problem at hand, if this is a stunt I will be so disappointed. To dismiss some of the most regarded and biggest fundraisers just before a marathon this just doesn't play. No one can be that damn dumb. We do need to scrape up this mess and go on.

Music to My Ears

I am inclined to agree but for one even fail to see the logic. No one can be that damn dumb. I agree we need to regroup and point our ship in new except for the dam Fox viewers thats WHY we re having these problems now, If it wasnt for the conservatives we would ll be bettr off

Matt you know it was Jim

we need to keep the positions and fire the SM. if money is an issue we can use the money from the next fund raiser to buy lottery tickets, with the kind of mony we raise will clean up! only a loser plans for failure.

time for a picnic

be advised that any poster can claim to be anybody they want. This is not the forum for working through the issues. Lets plan a potluck picnic for July 10th and we can all get together and talk it over with our true faces on.

new manager now

A "Family" picnic,this is the real problem I have always seen down at WMNF,if this is a "Family" it is a dysfunctional one,the atmosphere is more like high school,with cliques and subsects,immaturity and envy,which is really sad considering it's full of supposed adults,don't get me wrong there are many diamonds in the rough in the buliding,but the place has always been a soap opera like mess with a few moments of peace here and there,I just think it's all finally catching up,especially with a outsider brought in to run the place,whose personality and qualifications are left to be desired,maybe a gathering is really is what is needed in attempt to get things out and really solve problems with some type of togetherness,others than that I concur Bennett really needs to go,Jim do you yourself and WMNF and bow out with grace,you are only making yourself look worse,thank you!!!!!!Support WMNF,at least for what it stands for,just maybe not what it is right now!

american public media

Why doesn't WMNF merge with American Public Media and just dissolve the NBSF and the whole board in the process,they are a nationwide proven non profit media group with ideas that work for today and tomorrow,look them up on the internet,find out for yourselves!

lose HD and rehire 3

I have no idea what the gimmick HD radio cost the station. I do know I never supported it and found it counterproductive to WMNF's original purposes. I do know that I have heavily supported the station for many years and I am NOT in agreement with these decisions. I care about the music and not the extras. Firing those three people is a very poor decision and I am furious.

where's the info

Knowing the laws behind this very well,I want to fully know how are money is really being spent,I have donated for years and this craziness going on now itched my curiosity and I reviewed your 501 c3,it doesn't give you all of the info required by federal law,this is not only shady but illegal,you really need to fix this,all Tampa should know what you do with the money we give you,I no longer have any trust in what you do!!!!

bury the story

this thread is getting harder to find maybe somebody thinks the story will go away quietly. Will the leaders of the station please identify themselves

Please Follow Directions

dikemebe, accountant, Marian, Did you overlook my post above? This is not the forum for working through these issues. I'm planning a potluck picnic for July 10th where we can all get together and talk it over then.

What are you all afraid of?

If I was one of the three let go I would not take too much solace in a bunch of people hiding behind internet aliases bitching on my behalf. Show your faces. Only when there are names associated with the comments will anyone listen. What the heck are they going to do, not take your donation? If you are a volunteer or listener supporter, your voice (with your name) needs to be made known. I want those people reinstated. I am not afraid to let EVERYONE know where I stand on it. I have no information on the process which upsets me and makes me suspicious. I will say that I have not received a reply from anyone either regarding a complaint letter I sent to at least 4 individuals, including the Station Manager and the board president, canceling my Circle of Friends membership due to ugliness on one of the public affairs shows. When I called the SM about 6 weeks later, he acted like he had never even seen the letter. It was pretty scathing, and quoted the mission or vision and values statements of the station and wanted answers as to how the show was reflective of the vision and values. It was almost obvious he never even read my letter. This is not hyperbole, or exaggeration, just a fact. Pity. I am hoping that posting here will get my point across because it is clear to me that the people I direct these rants to will not read a letter if I write one. I do not blanket support all of the views expressed by WMNF, and frankly, I am less and less tolerant of their party line, but I am glad they have an avenue. I have grown to love the best little station on Planet Earth, but this whole episode is melting my affection a little. I am Don Hyde, The Pancake Man, and a supporter, community partner, and sometimes volunteer at my favorite charitable cause, WMNF, 88.5 Tampa. Silently and/or anonymously complaining will do no good. Our friends need us. Show your faces.

I'M Spartacus!

I guess we're just not as good as you, Don. Plus we have nothing to advertise.

really?

We had a chance to hire Arlene instead of Jim? hmmmmm

...I of the 3 let go

I was let go... by lindalu sounds like a title to a book, or a band name....here we go. Last Tuesday, I phoned Jim Bennett, per his request. I am in Ohio, UNPAID family leave, caring for my mother. Jim told me he had some bad news."the budget is down $30,000 . Special Events line lost money and I need to cut the special events position." Jim said he had to cut 3 positions and had to do it immediately. I want to note- I tried to convince Jim we could work out something. Perhaps a big cut, down our hours or even volunteer . his answer was NO! oh... he did say "...we might be able to hire you for Heatwave." Jim stated he had to cut the job immediately.( According to our Board pres julia morris, he did not have to do it immediately, the fiscal year ends at the end of Sept..?)why the rush? the special events line , true did not do as well as in the past.But, I for one, did not do the booking? This year Jim Bennett booked 3 shows- total loss on the three shows,$12,000. Heatwave bookings, Jim booked 2 bands at $5000 each. Jim should have been watching the budget, instead of booking shows?? As for the budget, fact is Flee raised so much money at his tribute shows, he could cover 2 salaries. . thanks Flee. Miss Julie brought in money too! silent auction. She was responsible for getting all the items in order for the raffle.at special events. the great raffle team brought in a lot of money during the shows... there are creative ways to fund positions-that is what makes community radio so special, the creativity and spirits that surround us. In August the Peace Awards are taking place. How can we hold these awards ? and be true to our own organization? Almost seems funny to think we hold awards to honor those in the community who have given so much, when our own organization (I will let you finish that one..) "whats so funny about peace, love and understanding?"-the other Elvis.- LL

lindalu

From what you are saying, some things become apparent: Jim did not try to work with you. Two: it sounds like he tried to cover for his own botching of heatwave. Granted I was not there for either, but nothing you say sounds fishy.

Jim, here's an idea

And no, I mean no humor. Flee is great at concert promotion. Why not ask Flee to run a concert fundraiser, to try and get back his job, and or the others. Flee would promote it, as would many others. If it fails, you can at least say you gave people a chance. I am sure Skipper's would want to do that, as they do not want to lose the shows Flee set up.

my name has been hijacked

I am John Cunningham coffee guy community partner, Circle of Friends, Heatwave volunteer, etc., some of these posts under my name are not by me, I was asleep at home in bed at the times they were posted.

Not MNF-ish !

This sudden firing episode of three hard working and committed members - each one a key figure to the heart and soul of OUR community station - seems to be about the most un-WMNF type of action imaginable. Having been an active contributor, volunteer and participant for over two decades, I am shocked and outraged! How could this happen in OUR beloved community station? How can WE allow this to stand?

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

What is Jim B.'s annual salary figure as station manager? Is he taking a pay cut to help offset the budget deficit this year? Are the Board of Directors paid positions? If so, how much?

and the rest too

How about all the paid staff positions

Holy Cow, You People Are Crybabies

Holy cow, you people complaining about the firings are crybabies and have bad attitudes. I can see why the station had to hire a real manager. You guys would never be able to balance the books and make the hard decisions to ensure the station's survival. And the person who was fired who used this forum to complain: what a poor attitude. A person with a good attitude would have been grateful for the opportunity she was given to serve and for the experience and for being hired at all. A person with a good attitude would have, after recovering from the surprise of being let go, continued to support the station in whatever capacity was still possible. That supportive attitude would have been recognized and welcomed and this person may have been rehired when things got better economically. Instead, this person complained and criticized. Obviously this person cares more about herself than the station and now, after exposing her true nature, will not be rehired if the station again becomes profitable. Short sighted, wasn't she?

Salvation

It was just announced that there has been salvation in the darkness that was recently created. Here's what was posted by the station, "Good news has come to WMNF after a week of controversy. Yesterday WMNF received a large one-time gift which will enable us to rescind the announced layoffs of three staff members due to a financial crisis at the station. The timing was coincidental but couldn't have happened at a more critical time. As of this afternoon, Julie Scheid, Lee Courtney, and Linda Reisinger remain on staff at WMNF." The is certainly wonderful news, but let's buckled down to ensure that this never happens again.

seems there are folks who are 'out of touch'

while i am very very very glad that the 3 positions have been reinstated... it does seem that there are larger issues than the budget that need to be dealt with.... "what we have here is a failure to communicate"

Radical Republican disconnect

Radical republican must have a huge egotistical problem to believe that being laid off is positive opportunity that should be cherished. Of course there is a certain disconnect that can also be seen this person's message. They obviously don't understand the mission statement of WMNF or could have participated in any of the WMNF events. This person doesn't have any feel for the station. I've had my share of being laid off, but that doesn't mean that it always makes good business sense. When you release your key point people for fund raising, people that have measurable accomplishments and a proven track record, you are making poor decisions.

patriotism

Radical Republican your rhetoric sounds like calling contrary free speech unpatriotic. Linda Lu served the station's interest by sharing her experience. Mr. Jim's capacity merits further discovery

smells funny

this reinstatement feels like a stunt. stay skeptical my friends

That's great news the three were rehired.

It sounds like Jim needs to spend more time managing and less time booking. And the local bands pulled great crowds at Heatwave - Nervous Turkey had a large, enthusiastic crowd, and Sons of Hippies caused the gates to be closed at New World Brewery- they could (and should) have been playing a bigger stage. Heatwave doesn't need $5000 bands. Rebekah Pulley hasn't been asked to do a Heatwave in 5 years, and Cope pulls in 500 peeps at Skipper's - why aren't they being asked to play Heatwave?

Let's Organize!!!!!

I just heard: "because of voluntary staff benefit reductions and a generous donation unrelated to the layoffs, Bennett had notified the three employees that the layoffs were retracted". See what we can do when we all pull together and pool our ideas? That's real WMNF style! Now, while the iron's hot, let's get a union in here to formalize workers' rights and prevent this from happening again. Does anyone know of a good labor union we can hitch our wagon to? That will preserve our jobs AND probably result in raises and maybe more jobs! I will put in a call to my sister --she works for a labor union in California.. the Media Workers Guild? Viva La Revolution!!!!!

No Way!

Unions are well and good for other companies but not this one. With our strained budget all we need is a union to drag us under and finish us off once and for all. I have to say one thing about conservative non-union types: they know how to run a business and recognize unions for what they are: a serious parasite on the blood of the working American.

PROFIT IS MURDER

REVOLTION NOW!!!

Good News!

YMCA has been assimilated! They are dropping the offensive "Christian" moniker and will heretoforth be known as merely, "The Y". Another blow for FREEDOM! Soon we will rule all AmeriKa!!