April 2024 WMNF News & Notes

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WMNF phone lines and emails have been inundated lately with messages by a few folks who are harassing the station, its volunteers, and staff. They all state reasons to support their behavior. It is harassment nonetheless. I have since become reflective about our level of tolerance for harassment and other unkind behaviors.

As a woman, a Jew, and a lesbian, I always expect some sort of harassment on a fairly, regular basis. Intolerant and ignorant people never disappoint me. When speaking to programmers or others in the WMNF community who also live on the margins, they express similar attitudes about expecting discouraging and sometimes hateful speech heading their way. Because of my own life experiences, I believed that checking in with those who received some of the most hateful words from these harassers would be enough. It was not enough. It is not acceptable. I recently contacted our attorneys and the police then filed harassment reports with the police.

Curbing free speech is a slippery slope. The recent book banning campaign around Florida is a good example of how steep that slope can get. Midday Public Affairs programmers at WMNF have been accepting calls from some of those harassers and handling them with grace, dignity, and courtesy. They are exemplars for how all communications should be in the world, certainly within the walls of WMNF.

Within our community, there are people who also make unkind comments directly to, or equally as hurtful, about others in the community. There is no kindness or grace or dignity or courtesy in these critiques. As a manager, I critique people’s performance all the time. I am still learning how to do it better, kinder, and more productively. Often I say nothing when I recognize that I will not hit those attributes, even when I have good reasons to say them. I appreciate my non-WMNF friends and family with whom I can vent and gain perspective.

I often say that WMNF content hits people in the head and the heart at the same time. I would like us to communicate with each other in the same way – with rational thought and attention to the human heart.

Regards,

Randi M. Zimmerman

General Manager, WMNF 88.5FM

 

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