Turmoil at WJFF: eight trustees resign after contentious public meeting

By Ben Mook

Community criticism of the leadership of  WJFF-FM, a public radio station branded as “Radio Catskill,” prompted all but one member of the station’s board of trustees to resign April 19, one week after the ouster of former General Manager Winston Clark, according to local news accounts of the controversy.

During a contentious April 19 public meeting of the trustees, station volunteers criticized the board for “alleged complicity” in Clark’s uncompromising management style and board members responded to questions about station finances and compliance with FCC and CPB open-meetings rules, according to the River Reporter newspaper of Narrowsburg, N.Y., Eight of nine board members later announced their resignation.

In a joint statement posted on the website of the River Reporter, the resigning board members responded to criticism of their stewardship of the station:

“In recent months, and in particular in our last two board meetings, we have been subjected to personal attacks and unfounded accusations of financial and ethical violations, none of which are true. We believe our efforts have stabilized the station’s financial position and improved its programming for the benefit of the wide WJFF communities as we have strived to look outward rather than inward. Any further debate as to the future of the station can now continue without us. We wish Adam Weinreich, the interim station manager, success in his endeavor and thank the many dedicated volunteers for their work and support.”

Weinreich was appointed to manage the station after the April 12 resignation of Winston Clark, whose management style came under intense scrutiny in March. According to an April 3 statement issued by the station board, the controversy was triggered in part by a decision to cancel a locally produced program.

According to the Times Herald-Record of Middletown, N.Y., Weinreich had been WJFF’s assistant station manager prior to his interim appointment. The sole remaining WJFF trustee is Sonia Hedlund.

WJFF is licensed to Jeffersonville, N.Y., a village in southeastern New York state. The station is operated as an independent community licensee and broadcasts a mixed schedule of NPR news magazines, music programs, and locally produced shows.

  • Christopher Maxwell

    I wonder what the real story is … consider that of COURSE the board is “complicit” in the behavior of their employees! The *purpose* of a board of directors is to … DIRECT their employees!

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