Suspects at WAIF

I would like to applaud CityBeat for the excellent story Watching at WAIF (issue of Feb. 22-28) and the details contained therein. WAIF-FM is a great organization; its programmers are all reasonable

Mar 1, 2006 at 2:06 pm

I would like to applaud CityBeat for the excellent story Watching at WAIF (issue of Feb. 22-28) and the details contained therein. WAIF-FM is a great organization; its programmers are all reasonable and responsible individuals who want to share with the world their views and opinions. But the installation of cameras creates an environment of discomfort and uneasiness. In many ways the cameras take away from a programmers´ creativity.

The article is a microcosm of the many, many issues at WAIF. The organization hasn´t had an audit in over 10 years, nor does the board have it on their agenda.

The organization has many faulty policies. The most recent failure to institute a policy for the cameras calls into question the organization´s intent. If there´s no way to govern the cameras, we all should be suspects.

— A Concerned WAIF Programmer

Nothing to Resolve
I´ve been a programmer at WAIF-FM for over eight years now (Watching at WAIF, issue of Feb. 22-28).

I edited the WAIF Alert newsletter for over two years, and I presently program a segment of the Hometown HiFi show. I´m writing to express my personal opinion, and it should in no way be construed that I speak in any official capacity as far as the station is concerned.

As an all-volunteer entity, the WAIF organization is subject to much uproar over what would seem to many outside the organization as a tempest in a teapot. From my point of view, that´s exactly what this in-studio camera issue is. These small squabbles are characteristic of this type of organization and in my opinion amount to nothing but a lot of unnecessary noise at board of trustees meetings.

The misconduct of certain registered programmers has indeed been cause to terminate a show from WAIF´s lineup, as was the case with Hemprock. Would these cameras have saved Lynn Wilson´s show? In my opinion, no.

In reality, the programming committee or director doesn´t need a reason to terminate a show. They can simply decide to move the station in a different direction, but that hasn´t happened at WAIF. Pro-gramming is governed fairly and openly. But I digress.

Will the in-studio cameras stop a thief? Probably not. Will they keep someone from partaking of illegal substances in the station? Not if they really want to. They might, however, record in-studio activity should a crime be committed against a programmer and provide a valuable tool to law enforcement.

Is there potential for misuse? Let´s get real. This is a not-for-profit all-volunteer station. It´s tough enough to get day-to-day business done, let alone establish a Big Brother watchpost. Unless a violent crime has been committed, I can say with certainty that no one´s going to review those tapes.

I don´t feel safer by the use of these cameras, but I don´t feel threatened either. It´s a non-issue as far as I´m concerned. I am, however, concerned that CityBeat has chosen to inflate this in-house squabble into a feature story. Must be a slow news week.

Your report will do nothing to resolve this issue. All you´ve really managed to do is allow Wilson to pimp her silly show on your pages.

— Ron Liggett - WAIF Programmer

Watching Ps and Qs
I´m also a programmer for WAIF-FM, and it´s really sad that this particular episode has come to light (Watching at WAIF, issue of Feb. 22-28). If you look into the station you´ll see there is no real diversity in the programming — it´s mostly Jazz and Jesus.

I love WAIF and am very thankful that I have a show, but programmers have such fear in losing their show that we´re afraid to speak out. Is that any way to run a community-based station? We make a big deal about pledging, because if you pledge you own a piece of WAIF — but I find that this isn´t really the case. I have found it best to fly under the radar and watch my Ps and Qs.

WAIF has more potential than anyone in charge realizes, from grassroots to Internet-based radio, but nothing gets done because the same people have been in charge for over two decades. Ken Neagel was in charge of the programming committee for a short time and was actually getting things done, and they kicked him out. That´s when I knew WAIF was never going to change. He wanted things run like a real station, and the board of trustees wouldn´t stand for it. With him it was about the quality of programming and not just throwing people on the air.

It´s a really dark time for this station, and I have a feeling nothing will change any time soon.

— A WAIF Programmer

Father Knows Best at WAIF
Succumbing to the vouyeristic so-called reality TV-based lower instincts for entertainment is tempting, I´ll admit, and many have yielded, but truthfully I expected more of CityBeat. I´m referring to the article about the in-studio cameras installed at WAIF-FM (Watching at WAIF, issue of Feb. 22-28). Can you not find something of more value and substance to write about? It´s not news. It´s not important. It´s not even interesting.

It´s comparable to writing about a small-town family that´s very active in the community, does charitable work, is active in local politics, supports the arts, and you, as the hometown paper, decide to do an article about the discipline practices of the parents based on the grumblings of a few of the unhappy children. Paternalistic metaphors aside, to go into and support or refute the exact details of the article would give it too much power and respect.

Suffice it to say that, as a WAIF programmer and show host, I´m relieved that the board of WAIF finally allowed functional natural consequences to ensue for the disruptive, disrespectful and acting out behavior of some of the members of the family. As a member of the true democratic organization that WAIF is, and sometimes serves as a family, I´m embarrassed for the others who decided to bring this out, but I´m more embarrassed for, and disappointed in, CityBeat.

Now that you´ve found your way into our personal business and seem so concerned with it, are you going to continue to give us some publicity, writing about the innovative and eclectic programs WAIF and its programmers continually do? I hope so, for to do otherwise would be hypocritical. I have 100 suggestions for stories about WAIF. Give me a call.

— Bernadene Zennie - Chair of WAIF Promotions and Publicity

Editor Responds: I´m afraid it´s my turn to be embarrassed for you, as I´d expect that WAIF´s promotions and publicity chair would know that CityBeat has written dozens of articles, columns and critics´ picks on WAIF-related programming, on-air personalities and events over the years. Go to and do a site search for WAIF — I turned up 285 items. That doesn´t count the years CityBeat had a business relationship with WAIF by carrying the WAIF Alert newsletter as an insert and running underwriting spots on the station or the years we´ve had WAIF programmers serve as judges or presenters for the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. I´d be interested to know if all the other media in Greater Cincinnati combined have supported WAIF that extensively. If you find out, give me a call.