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Re: Boston Phoenix Article About WBUR

At 04:28 PM 12/1/01 -0500, Laurence Glavin wrote:
>Dan Kennedy's media column in the Boston Phoenix this week focuses on the 
>money troubles at
>WBUR-FM (and by extension WBUR-AM and WRNI-AM).  It can be accessed at

You might find this interesting/amusing...it's an e-mail comment I just 
submitted to WBUR.  I wonder if I'll get a response other than a form letter...
(for those of you who don't know, I worked at WBUR as a Production Tech for 
three years under Mark Navin and, later, John Hoder)


This article offends me. Why? Not because of anything said in it per se, 
but rather the quote of Jane Christo: Just a month ago, Christo told me she 
was going to broadcast first and figure out how to pay for it later. "We 
are overspending our budget, and we don't know where the money is coming 
from. But we have to spend whatever is necessary," she said. "There's no 
time in my lifetime that this has ever been more important" (see "Don't 
Quote Me," News and Features, October 26).

So essentially, she made it publicly known that she is showing poor fiscal 
restraint. Okay, I can deal with that...we're talking about a news 
organization covering a singularly unique event in American history. It's 
completely understandable and forgivable.

What is NOT forgivable were the subsequent layoffs of six good, 
hard-working staff members. Basically, these six people paid for Jane's 
poor fiscal restraint. Their blood paid for Jane's prestige. It's no secret 
I don't care for the politics at WBUR, but this is a new low that's been 
sunk to.

Especially in light of the rather-high salaries Jane was oh-so-willing to 
offer one Christopher Lydon not even a year ago. Granted, times have 
changed - belts must be tightened. But let's be realistic here. Just how 
much are the senior managers making there? Hmmm? I don't see (either 
because it hasn't happened or it's not being reported) the Underwriting 
Director taking a pay hit because his or her team underperformed this 
quarter. What about George Boosey taking a hit for authorizing "Special 
Coverage"? (note: I can only assume he authorized it, he is the Program 
Director after all) Special Coverage is nice, but it's also mighty damned 
expensive. One wonders: is the ROI really there?

Or what about the useless consultants that are continually employed by 
WBUR? Quite frankly, what has Mage done for you lately? (and 
congratulations all around if WBUR actually has already jettisoned those 
useless blowhards)

In short, I can think of several ways WBUR could have saved money, and not 
had to deprive lower-level staff of the entirety of their already meager 

But instead, it looks like WBUR will forge ahead on the backs of the little 
people. Why? Because they can.

If I'm wrong, by all means. Tell me I'm wrong. Please, tell the world I'm 
wrong...because I'm not the only one drawing these conclusions after 
reading the Phoenix article. And I really don't want to think such nasty 
things about a station I greatly respect and still listen regularly to. But 
someone's got to come out and say the things you might not want to hear.

Aaron "Bishop" Read

Aaron "Bishop" Read     / aread@speakeasy.net
Fried Bagels Consulting / www.friedbagels.com
12 Walnut St. / Waltham, MA / 02453