Sydney White out as WMNF general manager

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The general manager of WMNF for the last two years is no longer with the station. WMNF board of directors president Nancy Johnson made the announcement today in an email. In an interview WMNF News asked her about it.

“Our general manager for the past two years, since 2012, has been Dr. Sydney White. Dr. Sydney White came from a vast background in the media industry with a lot of fresh ideas we’ve been so grateful for.

“He has not met the needs of WMNF. Therefore we will have an interim general manager, Cindy Reichard (WMNF’s director of finance & administration), and will very soon be beginning a search for a new general manager.”

We reached out to White for his reaction. He said he was …

“initially shocked. Once I sat down to digest it I understand where the parties involved — and I say the parties involved because I think the people involved tried to sell it to the rest of the board.
But I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong. I think I’ve worked my tail off in my time there, my two years. And so I kind of resent the way this thing went down. And quite frankly, life goes on. I’ve had a long career in this business. So I can’t make this be a blot on my reputation. They tried to make me go away like a thief in the night for some money. And I said, ‘No, that’s not my style.'”

Why do you think it is then that the board asked you to leave even though you said you were working very hard at what you were doing?

“You know, I don’t know. I think there might be some personal reasons. Possibly (I) don’t fit the style of the kind of manger that they want. …

“There are some specific things that they wanted done, which I thought were interfering with the operations at the station. Our policy says the board is for policy only. And not to interfere in the day … To be frank, I think they want a manager who they can manage the station through.”

What you’re saying: the board wanted to manage the station and just have you doing what they wanted to do?

“Exactly.”

Can you give us an example?

“Like firing an employee. I don’t think it’s the board’s right to tell me who to fire and who not to fire.

“Like my board chair doing departmental reports in every one of her monthly reports to the board. She does a departmental report. The Board is not involved in the day-to-day operations of a radio station.”

And what do you think is the next step for you?

“You know I haven’t thought much about it next. This industry is a big one. It’s evolving. And I’ve got a big role to play in it. I’ve been in it for almost 40 years. …

“This has left me with a very bitter taste. But then again I know that WMNF — what happened here — does not reflect great on the industry.”

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