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Thursday, September 23, 2004
RHODE ISLAND RED. The
Providence Journal's David McPherson has a terrific
story today on the finances
of WRNI Radio (AM 1290), which Boston University's WBUR Radio (90.9
FM) purchased six years ago and is now trying to sell. (For the story
that Ian Donnis and I wrote for the Phoenix this week,
It turns out that WRNI is operated
by a foundation separate from WBUR, and is thus subject to reporting
requirements considerably more strict than those that govern WBUR -
which, since it's part of Boston University, really doesn't have to
report much of anything. Among the Journal's
- WRNI ran more than $9 million in
deficits during its first five years of WBUR management. Yet WBUR
spokesman Will Keyser continues to insist - as he did to Donnis and
me - that money has nothing to do with 'BUR's decision to
- Tom Ashbrook, the host of WBUR's
On Point, drew his $135,000 salary from WRNI during fiscal
year 2002. The reason: the show started at WRNI, then moved and
morphed into its current form after 9/11. But how much in Rhode
Island donations migrated to Boston, unbeknownst to the contributors?
(Of course, there's no reason to think that Ashbrook knew about this arrangement, either.)
Keyser told McPherson, "The plan
all along from WBUR's perspective was that this was not a long-term
strategy to run and operate a public radio station in Rhode Island.
The long-term strategy was in essence a five- to six-year plan to
build from zero to viability, with the community, a public radio
But if that's the case, why wasn't
'BUR and its general manager, Jane Christo, up front about that right from the start? Why did the
station announce layoffs a month ago, with no indication that it was
looking to sell until last Friday? And why had no one ever even
heard of this we'll get it up and running and then turn it
over to the community plan until last week?
is the GuideStar.org page for the WRNI Foundation.
posted at 2:26 PM |
Nice job, Dan. These people are slugs.
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Dan Kennedy is senior writer and media critic for the Boston Phoenix.