Wednesday, November 07, 2007

This is community radio?

Just for the record (for those concerned about the performance of WBCR-LP's new board of directors):
1. John Breasted has yet to receive answers to his valid and reasonable questions (see below).
2. Minutes of the Directors Meetings of September and October have yet to be updated on the WBCR Web site's Directors' page. The last update shows minutes from the August 15th meeting.

Why this failure to communicate with the membership?

John Breasted wrote:
Dear BCRA members and board:
It would still be useful to me and other members to see the answers to these questions, either on this e-mail list or on the BCRA web-site. The only one that is moot is the question about the dates of the fund drive. I was disappointed that there was no answer from anyone even to that very specific and --I hope -- non controversial question.
--John Breasted
-----Forwarded Message-----
From: John Breasted
Sent: Oct 15, 2007 2:40 PM
To: BCRA members on e-mail list , BCRA board
Subject: Fw: [bcra] Follow-up to responses to my Oct. 9 questions
Dear members BCRA and of the BCRA board:
Thanks to Jenna Foley, Tom Sirois, and Christy Collins for suggesting that the focus of responses to my October 9 questions be on the questions, not on peripheral annoyances.
Perhaps in the glut of e-mail messages that so many of you probably receive, my follow-up questions to board membrer Don McGrory's response to my Oct. 9 questions escaped the attention of those who could answer them, because the questions did not appear high enough in the message. So here they are, re-packaged to be more prominent.
Again I want to thank Don McGrory for his initial response. For those members (including one of the two new board members) who do not know me, I am someone who has done a lot of work for WBCR, including as a member of the fundraising committee (until early this year) who helped design the fund-drives that have been our major source of income, and have put in a lot of time both in and out of committee and board meetings. I am not an e-mail "flamer" who has never actually attended a meeting or done work for the station.
As I wrote two days ago, I think it is reasonable to ask for more detail, on behalf of members like me who could not attend the Sept. 16 annual meeting, and who can no longer regularly attend board meetings.
Here are the kind of details I mean, in relation to the quoted excerpts from Don's response:
"Chris Meyer as his final duty gave a detailed financial report." What are the details of that report, or at least the most important details? What is meant by Chris's "final duty"? Has he resigned as chairman of the finance committee, or as a member of the board? If the former, who is now chairing the finance committee?
"Nick Ring gave a detailed report on the Board's efforts to bring the station to full power status." What are some of those details, in at least a summary of the most important points? For example, at the June board meeting, it sounded as though it would not be legally possible for WBCR to go to full-power status under the terms of our FCC license, and I understood that a full-power frequency for our area could only be obtained by a completely separate group, legally and practically. So it would be very helpful to be able to read here some of the details in answer to this question.
"Ananda laid down the law to programmers as the voice of WBCR and volunteers." What does this mean, i.e. what does "laid down the law" mean, and does "the voice of WBCR and volunteers" refer to Ananda or the programmers?
"Ben gave a detailed presentation on the new studio renovations, which by the way are in full swing." Again, what is at least a summary of the details, e.g., what are the current cost estimates, timetables, needs for volunteers, for the renovation project? Are we now paying two rents, for the current studio space and for the new location, and if so, how long can we afford to do that?
"Andy Potter had to resign as head of fundraising and publicity for personal family reasons and had not been replaced as of the meeting." Has a chairman for the fundraising committee been appointed since the annual meeting? When is the fundraising committee next scheduled to meet? Does the fact that there have been no minutes posted since the June 5 meeting mean that the committee has not met since then?
Where are the minutes for the June 20 board meeting? (Which I hope will include the text of a written inquiry and statement by a member/ programmer, read aloud by chairman Jan Seward to the board that evening, about questions related to remediation of chemical fumes from flooring in the new studio space at the Granary building.)
Is the next fund-drive still scheduled for October 22-28?
I'd be grateful to read answers to any or all of these questions from any one (or ones) who can answer them.
Here are my October 9 questions followed by Don McGrory's response, both in full:
Can someone on the BCRA board (or not on it) answer these questions:
1) What's happening with the fundraising committee? Who is chairing it now? No next meeting date is listed on the website, which states "The Fundraising Committee meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at Zenn New Media at 7:00." I drove by Zenn New Media this evening but saw no cars there and no lights on -- no evidence to suggest a meeting.
2) Can someone post a summary of actions, discussion, and announcements from the annual meeting on September 16, for members who could not attend it?
3) What is the status of plans to renovate the basement of the Granary building for the new studio's relocation?
4) Why is there apparently no communication on the general discussion list for BCRA? Did Glenn Heller's postings to the list succeed in scaring us off from communicating with each other and sharing news with members thru the list?
5) Is the next fund drive still scheduled for October 22 -28, as noted in the April 17 minutes of the fundraising committee?
Best wishes,
John Breasted
Copy of Don McGrory's Oct. 11 message:
Well now, it seems like a few are paying attention out there.
First of all, we had a fine and orderly annual meeting. Presentations were given by all committee chairs. Chris Meyer as his final duty gave a detailed financial report. Todd Lewis was inspirational in his pitch for volunteerism among programmers. Nick Ring gave a detailed report on the Board's efforts to bring the station to full power status. Ananda laid down the law to programmers as the voice of WBCR and volunteers. I gave a brief presentation on membership. What else could it be? Ben gave a detailed presentation on the new studio renovations, which by the way are in full swing. Any volunteers? Didn't think so. Andy Potter had to resign as head of fundraising and publicity for personal family reasons and had not been replaced as of the meeting. Jan Seward moderated the meeting in an upbeat and positive manner. Frank and Judy were elected to serve on the Board replacing Asa and Chris P, and Paul was re-elected to his seat. Since they ran un opposed the vote count is irrelevant. A delicious PotLuck supper followed, Good food, good conversation all around. We cleaned up and went home. You pay your petty $20 a year to be a member of this station. What do you get? You get inspirational, spirited, unique, and I might add controversial programming. You don't get the the right to bitch and moan and be a destructionist pain in the ass. If you are a member of this station for your own interests, and want to use these lists or airwaves for your own agendas, I might suggest you take your $20 or $10,000 for that matter elsewhere. Support WBCR for what it is and what it will be. If you want to be part of that process, get involved. I personally thank all of you who are and who make this thing go. Otherwise, enjoy the radio shows. I know I sure do. Thank you for your time.
Donald McGrory
Board member, non programmer

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Elderly/Handicap Accessible Studio Space -- What is WBCR's board of directors waiting for?

WBCR-LP is supposed to be community radio. Yet, there are people in Great Barrington who are unable to become active participants in this empowering low-power FM experiment because these folks simply cannot physically navigate the obtacle course that the studio presents at its current locale.

Problems abound: There is no ramp to overcome WBCR's entrance step, no ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible parking, no accessible bathroom (let alone ADA-compliant - the toilet sits throne-like atop a high stoop). Try navigating with a cane, walker or wheelchair the uneven gravel walkway that steeply descends before ending in a hairpin turn at WBCR's rear entrance (just beyond which is an embankment that drops precipitously to the Housatonic River below -- think about this next time you sure-footed types bound into the studio after a snow).

Last year, when presented with this litany, the WBCR board wisely created a search committee tasked with the problem of locating new studio space that would meet the physical needs of everyone. In the course of its diligent work, the committee found usable and available space around town. One especially promising set of rooms on Main Street was being used by Berkshire Community College's local extension. That deal apparently fell through because WBCR's board failed to act fast enough to obtain the lease. The station lost out to a competing tenant who was ready, willing, and able to sign on the dotted line.

Fast forward to today. Real estate in Berkshire County (like most other places around the country) is in the depths of a buyer's market, and sellers and agents will do just about anything to move land, commercial buildings, rentals - you name it (especially during this early Spring lull before the start of the tourist season).

If WBCR's board of directors is serious about dealing with this real problem of non-ADA-compliant, inaccessible studio space, then now is the time to act.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

TAX CHEAT! How Alan Chartock conspired with WAMC to avoid paying IRS.

Failure to report CEO's taxable 'perks' could leave trustees liable.

Read the article:

Post your comments here or at:

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Proposed location for an ADA-compliant access ramp to the WBCR-LP studio(s).

The following three photos (taken 02/06/06) show a proposed location for an ADA-compliant (Americans with Disabilities Act) access ramp leading directly to the WBCR-LP studio(s).

What you are looking at in these three photos is the 'opposite' (northerly) side of the building that houses WBCR's studio at 195 Main Street in Great Barrington, MA. You can see the remains of an old cement walkway which looks to me as if it was always a part of the property and served in the old days to service the rear of the structure. If an ADA-compliant access ramp were to be constructed upon this route, it would afford more direct access to WBCR and the rear of the building than the currently-used gravel walkway with its hairpin turn and access gate to the Housatonic RiverWalk.

Also, this side of the building appears to offer a gentler slope than the graveled side with its array of steps. An ADA installation in this location (instead of on the gravelled side of the building) would provide a cost-effective alternative for installing a ramp, or ramp and lift combination. Please note, that if a ramp and its landing were designed imaginatively, it might be possible to get away with not having to install an expensive lift at all.

Let me repeat that since I have not accessed any of the deeds, I am uncertain whether or not the old walkway sits upon land that is legally part of the 195 Main Street property. The fact is that the walkway immediately abuts the building, leads only to the rear of the premises, and sure as heck looks as though it has always been a part of the property. To the left (as you walk down the walkway from Main Street), there is a small retaining wall that abuts the parking area that forms part of the property of the building next door. I will post updates as I learn of them into the 'Comments' section immediately following. --- Blog Editor

Looking down (easterly) from Main Street towards
the Housatonic River. The low retaining
wall abutting the neighboring property
can be seen to the left.

The walkway where it approaches a drop-off leading
down to the river's edge. For perspective, note the
location of the storm drain just beneath the black hose
coming off the drain spout.

A right turn (southerly) leads directly to WBCR-LP's
door. For perspective, note the tail-end
of the black drain hose and immediately
to the right sits the storm drain.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

WBCR-LP's new Program Calendar

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

"Please keep your community radio alive" - - - The BCRA Fund-raising Committee

From: "BCRA Fund-raising Committee"
Subject: Please keep your community radio alive
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 09:56:01 -0500

We've realized the first stage of our dream! After struggling for months with some complicated issues with our antenna and signal, WBCR-LP, 97.7 FM is broadcasting recorded music and some locally produced programs at full power. We are pleased and surprised by the quality and range of the signal, and know we are reaching from the Connecticut border all the way up to parts of Lee, West Stockbridge, the Egremonts, Housatonic, and parts of Otis, Monterey, New Marlborough, Mill River, Alford, and Stockbridge.

Our technical team has given many unpaid hours to dealing with the problems that took our signal off the air several times in the last six weeks. And while we may well encounter additional problems, we are getting much better at fixing them. Others - too many to name here - have also donated hundreds of hours building our studios, installing and testing the new equipment, developing guidelines for programming, and gathering programs.

We have used your money wisely in finding and renting a studio in downtown Great Barrington, buying the equipment necessary to produce programming and get it on the air. We will post a complete income/expense accounting on the website so you can see exactly what your money has bought. But now we need your financial support to get us over another hump.

We need $5,000 by April 15 to pay current obligations: one large outstanding debt - $2300 for a state of the art security system so that everything we've done so far is protected – and $2700 for the next six weeks’ operating expenses, engineering costs, and some additional equipment for the studio. So we're asking each of you to go to our website <> and donate $50 right from the front page. If each one of us does this, we will pay our debts and get on with the critical task of providing 100 watts of dynamic radio 24 hours a day to the community.

Many thanks in advance,
John Breasted
Abigail Childs
Ann Condon
Kathryn Jenen
Rob Jenen
Mickey Friedman
Asa Hardcastle
Penny Powell Hardcastle
Scott Marks
Chris Meyer
Chris Pizzichemi
Nick Ring
Ben Shalles
(The BCRA Fund-raising Committee)
WBCR-LP 97.7 FM Great Barrington
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
Berkshire Community Radio Alliance
P.O. Box 152 :: Great Barrington, MA 01230
(413) 644-9797 ::

(Blog Editor's Note: The above email was received today in the editor's mailbox.)

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Topic: News and Information.

What types of programs would you like to hear?
When in the program schedule would you like hearing these shows aired?
Your Feedback:

Topic: Music..............................

What particular kinds of music do you enjoy most?
Which artists and/or composers?
When would you like to hear this music scheduled?
Your Feedback:

Topic: Programming.

What would you like to hear?
What do you want to hear more of? Less of?
Your Feedback:

Topic: Scheduling.

What program would you like to hear scheduled for a different time, or repeated at a different time?
Your Feedback:

Topic: Membership and On-Air Fundraising.

What do you think should be the donation for a basic membership?
How often should on-air fundraisers be held?
What length of broadcast time should be devoted to this endeavor?
Your Feedback:

Topic: Station-related events.

Please post events here:

Topic: Underwriting.

Your Feedback:

Topic: Volunteers.

Your Feedback:

Public Announcements.

Please post announcements here:

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Topic: Miscellaneous -- Pot Luck.

Your Feedback:

Suggest a Topic You'd Like To See Listed

Your Feedback:

Welcome to WBCR-LP 97.7 FM - a Blog.

WBCR-LP 97.7 FM, located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, is Berkshire County's newest low-power FM community radio broadcaster. This all-volunteer effort has been established through the hard work, long hours, and resources of Berkshire Community Radio Alliance.

This blog site is intended to give fans of WBCR-LP an on-line forum for ideas, commentary, open discussion, and notices.

Please feel free to post your views, insights, and opinions on any matter of interest (subject only to general boundaries of good taste).

Thank you for your feedback.

G.M. Heller
Blog Editor

(Note: G.M. Heller is a contributing member to WBCR-LP, but otherwise is not affiliated with the management of the radio station.)