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One Unique Station Rises, One Rolls in the Mud

By Gregory Flannery · September 27th, 2006 · Porkopolis
  Congressman Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) receives another visit from peace supporters this week.
Congressman Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) receives another visit from peace supporters this week.

WOXY, the Cincinnati-based online radio station specializing in the best of cutting edge "Modern Rock," is about to go back into business for the third time. Thanks to some anonymous donors, it enjoyed a second life after the owners sold the on-air station in 2004. On the Web at woxy.com, the station seemed to draw even more attention from international Modern Rock fans, but funds dwindled, despite a shift to a pay-to-listen system. The station shut down Sept. 15.

But Bill Nguyen of California -- founder of lala.com, an online site that allows music fans to swap old CDs -- recently met with station supporters at the Hofbrauhaus in Newport to tell them the good news: WOXY is back in business. On a fan message board at woxy.com, Nguyen said the station will be affiliated with lala.com. He appears to have huge ambitions for his new venture, writing, "What was started in Ohio may change music forever and define its future."

A lawsuit will likely follow this year's turbulent annual membership meeting for WAIF (88.3 FM) community radio station. The Sept. 17 meeting was marked by a near-fistfight in the parking lot and at least one person kicked out after alleging mismanagement and cronyism on the board of trustees.

Estimates pegged attendance at more than 200 people. The large turnout was due, in part, to people upset that the board has recently expelled several members who disagreed with its management style, including how station finances were handled and whether WAIF has complied with FCC regulations. When some people in the crowd interrupted Board Chair Donald Shabazz to make various motions and ask questions, he repeatedly said they'd be addressed in the portion of the meeting set aside to discuss "new business."

But after Shabazz took a nearly 50-minute break so people could eat a buffet dinner and listen to smooth Jazz, time ran out for using the rented conference room. As a result, WAIF's membership never voted on proposed new bylaws that would give the board more power, and the portions of the meeting designated for new business never occurred. While the votes for a new board were counted, members were made to wait in the parking lot. For more than an hour, people waited as dusk fell and the counting continued. Once tallied, the votes had to be recounted because of a tie between two candidates. When the second count was completed, the tie still remained.

The top vote-getter was Howard Riley, station manager. He was followed, in order, by Vinay Satyal and Shabazz, all incumbents who were re-elected. In fourth place was Cynthia Dye Wimmers, a non-incumbent who was kicked out of the meeting earlier by Shabazz for allegedly being disruptive. Tied for fifth place were incumbent Victoria Straughn and challenger Vince Morton. A week later, it's still unclear how the tie will be broken.

Meanwhile, a group of expelled members, led by writer Joe Wessels, weren't allowed into the meeting. Although WAIF's bylaws clearly state that anyone expelled has the right to appeal the ruling "at the next meeting of the membership," Shabazz disagreed. He said an appeals committee would be formed later to hear their complaints.

"(WAIF) sent me a membership card, the newsletter and a reminder card (in the mail)," Wessels said. "The bylaws state I have a right to be there for an appeal." Wessels has consulted an attorney, who is preparing a lawsuit that will be filed within the next six weeks, he said.

Describing the meeting later, political activist and WAIF member Brian Garry said, "It was very ugly and horrible. It was the worst meeting I've been to in my life."

Civil Disobedience and Other Family Values
A 78-year-old nun, a filmmaker, a 15-year-old high school student, a minister and a newspaper editor are among the people planning a sit-in at U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot's office Wednesday to protest the war in Iraq. The group wants Chabot to sign the Congressional Declaration of Peace, which calls for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, the payment of damages for the destruction caused by U.S. forces and the rejection of "pre-emptive war" against Iran or any other nation. A group of peace activists Monday delivered petitions to Chabot's office, calling on him to support the Declaration of Peace. The sit-in Wednesday is intended to help him decide.

Two Cincinnati companies, Procter & Gamble and TriHealth, won spots on the 21st annual 100 Best Companies compiled by Working Mother magazine. The winners earned the designation by offering employees such benefits as flextime plans, telecommuting, health-care insurance for part-time workers, a fitness-center subsidy, job-sharing, designated lactation areas and domestic-partner benefits.

The city is paying overtime to Mayor Mark Mallory's bodyguard, who recently protected him during a trip to Pittsburgh to watch the Bengals play. All the details are available at CityBeat's Porkopolis blog at citybeat.wordpress.com.

Porkopolis TIP LINES: 513-665-4700 (ext. 138) or pork(at)citybeat.com


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