WAIF-FM is in trouble

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WAIF-FM's East Walnut Hills studiosUPDATE: CityBeat has posted a story about the membership campaign on their Blog.

In Cincinnati we are very lucky. Many of those reasons are obvious. Fountain Square. The River. The Reds, The Bengals. Also, our many visual and performing arts organizations, our wonderful people and our tasty chili, among so much else.

Other lucky reasons aren’t quite so obvious, and they arguably better tell the story of our region. One of those, I think, is WAIF-FM (88.3). And it is in trouble.

You may have seen the May CityBeat article that outlined, in a more or less technical way, some of the issues at the station. Where there is a problem I see a splendid opportunity. I hope you will join me.

WAIF is a membership organization, counting on new memberships to drive its annual budget. With every $15 membership, each person gets a vote at the station’s annual meeting. That vote allows members to elect new board members and begin the process of moving the station in a new direction.

A good faith effort was put forth to talk with the organization’s leadership in the hopes that collectively we could come up with a solution to the stations problems and begin to discuss an alternate future for WAIF. Unfortunately, these overtures fell on deaf ears and issues at the station continue to go unaddressed.

Now we need you to join the station. The deadline to do that is August 1. I am sorry for the rush. The Board moved up the deadline this year. Then, we need you to vote at the Annual WAIF-FM Membership Meeting Sept. 17, 2006. Location has not been announced.

You can join online. Please print out the confirmation page. However, I would prefer you contact me and sign up through me. This way a full accounting of all memberships can be done before being sent to the station. The deadline to do that is Saturday, July 29, 2006.

If you are interested in being part of this plan to get more members – and we only have about three weeks from now – please use the “Contact Joe” form and I will send you further instructions on how to help get new members.

Here are some reasons you might want to support WAIF-FM.

  • Once a member joins the station, they have a say in one of the country’s last community radio stations. WAIF – owned completely by its members – has been on the air in Cincinnati for over 30 years.
  • WAIF embodies a way for your group or organization to become the voice of the station – whether that is on the air, being on the Board of Directors or a member.
  • With an FCC educational broadcasting license, WAIF delivers truly original programming, commercial free – and the opportunity to create new programs – to an audience throughout the Greater Cincinnati area.
  • The potential for the station is limitless. Remote broadcasts, new programs, the chance to increase WAIF’s programming hours, better management, better programs, better audience development and better fundraising.
  • Cincinnati has dwindling radio diversity. WAIF represents a chance to improve diversity and have less-heard and unheard voices on radio in Cincinnati. WAIF truly is “what radio is meant to be.”

Things have not always been so bad at WAIF. As this CityBeat story and others show, the station has realized much of its potential in the past. But now it is at a crossroads.

I am very excited about the prospect this membership drives holds for the future of community radio in Cincinnati and I hope you will want to be involved. I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at the membership meeting in September. We’ll then work to candidates who can take the station in a new direction.

P.S. Between the membership deadline and the annual meeting, I’ll host a get-together to talk more about WAIF’s new future. More information to come…

2 Replies to “WAIF-FM is in trouble”

  1. I hadn’t seen the CityBeat article. Margo’s tone seems a little unprofessional but it seems like inexcusable behavior from WAIF officials. Good luck with the fight to get the station back on track.

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