Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jack Who? Or the gang who couldn't shoot straight

Note: This topic is a work in progress. Due to the nature of its significance to the Boston-area folk community and the length of time it has been simmering, it is posted before all supporting information has been gathered. More background facts will be added, but for now the story of how WUMB has shown great callousness and disrespect for one of our most highly regarded folk artists just had to be published.

On Thursday, October 24 I had an interesting phone conversation with Pat Monteith, WUMB's general manager. I ended up speaking with her because the call intake volunteer could not answer my question about a web calendar event error. The November 1 concert, submitted on October 6 as "The Folk Brothers (Jack Hardy and David Massengill)" had been posted as "The Folk Brothers (featuring David Massengill)".

Our conversation boiled down to three points:

1. Jack Hardy, a founding member of Fast Folk and creative force behind at least 16 folk albums, who had been on the WUMB playlist, had been removed from the play list! The de-listing apparently occurred some time after September 25, the last time he was played

Music Log For WUMB Boston Thursday, September 25, 2008 .... 13:29:51, Jack Williams. He Will Break Your Heart ... 14:29:52, Jack Hardy. I Ought To Know ... www.wumb.org/playlists/2008-09-25.html - 94k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

(thanks to Dan Tappan for doing the research)

2. Music director John Laurenti does not make the playlist decisions, it is done by a "committee of four" (she was not specific who sits on the committee, but some members are on-air personalities).

3. An intern uses the playlist when reviewing calendar submissions and edits accordingly (deletes names or changes to "and more").

There are two issues at play:

1. The play list committee. If a founding member of Fast Folk can be de-listed, what guideline is WUMB management giving the committee? This speaks ill of WUMB having any semblance of honoring its folk station roots as it sinks into the world of AAA.

2. The management (and too often mis-management) of the dual "on air" and "community" calendars.

This is certainly not the first time WUMB has sabotaged one of my concert listings. I remember last December WUMB changed "Pat Wictor and Jud Caswell" to "Jud Caswell and more".

Posting these stories of disrespect out to NorthEastFolknRoots and HouseConcert has resulted in personal and public messages of support, and disgust with Ms. Montheith's policy.

If anyone wishes to take any action, here are five options:

1. Call WUMB - (617) 287-6900. Determine when the next "ask the manager" will air. Share the date/time here. Call in.

2. Call Pat Monteith at the number above or send email to pat.monteith@umb.edu

3. Call or email Kathleen Teehan, Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management

It's ironic that its mission statement still emphasizes serving the folk and roots community, I thought that had been scrubbed:

Serving radio listeners, particularly the folk and roots music audience, through WUMB-FM, the university's public radio station; and promoting WUMB-FM and its relationship to UMass Boston.

4. Contact/copy Chancellor J. Keith Motley, Ph.D.

Chancellor's Office
Quinn Administration, 03, 0054A
100 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston, MA 02125-3393
p. 617-287-6800

5. And since WUMB is operating outside the community interest, file a complaint with the FCC!

FCC.gov > CGB > Filing a Complaint > Form 2000

Please be sure to remember Jack's de-listing when the time comes to renew your WUMB membership.

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