By Michael Glab
They’re fighting for democracy in any number of hot spots on the globe, but we’ve got it right here in Bloomington. The volunteer membership of WFHB will vote on new Board of Directors members Saturday, June 7, at the station’s annual meeting.
“Electing our board leadership is the most important thing you can do if you really care about this station,” former General Manager Chad Carrothers advised the membership prior to last year’s meeting. “You earn a vote with your volunteer hours, so use it!”
The WFHB family passes in and out of the cramped Firehouse Radio studios on 4th Street throughout the year but many of us rarely get the chance to see each other
The annual meeting is a chance for more than 200 WFHB volunteers to rub shoulders with board members, staffers and station supporters. It’s the biggest radio party of the year.
This year’s meeting begins with the traditional potluck lunch before Board president Joe Estivill bangs the gavel. Current General Manager Cleveland Dietz II notes that the candidates will participate in a pre-meeting panel discussion this year rather than the traditional informal meet-and-greet. “It would be hard to give each candidate time for a short speech followed by questions and answers and have the meeting move along in a timely manner,” Dietz says. “Having a panel discussion beforehand, with questions provided by the membership, will help the official meeting move at a more manageable pace while not sacrificing the opportunity to ask candidates questions.”
Dietz says, “It’s a bit of an unusual election this year with a number of petition candidates.” Board members Matt Pierce, Carolyn VandeWiele, and Richard Fish are not running for re-election so three spots will be open. The panel discussion, moderated by News Director Alycin Bektesh, will begin at 11am.
Last year, Maria McKinley and Kevin Jones were elected to the Board. [Jones has since left the Board.] The terms of the nine Board members are staggered to prevent upheaval.
Estivill says the 2013 annual meeting drew some 60 voting volunteers.
Get to the Monroe County History Center early this year so you won’t miss out on the good food and important politicking. This is the second year the annual meeting is being held at the MCHC at Washington and 6th Streets. For years WFHB’s annual meetings had been held in the Waldron Arts Center Rose Firebay, the largest performance space in the station’s home building. But, as Dietz explains Ivy Tech would prefer to reserve the Rose Firebay for revenue-generating events.
Attending members get to hear all the station’s business and news in the past year. The General Manager not only gives a report on his activities but Dietz will present a report on WFHB’s finances over the previous 12 months in addition to a forecast of the station’s money situation for the next year. Music and News directors Jim Manion and Alycin Bektesh will present their reports.
Then the real fun begins. As always, station staffers will present awards, including “Programmer of the Year,” the News Department’s “MacGyver Award” honoring excellence through innovation, “Rookie of the Year,” “Board Member of the Year,” and “Volunteer of the Year” to deserving recipients.
Following tradition, Music Director Jim Manion will distribute swag including CDs, T-shirts and other mementos to the crowd.
After the winning Board candidates have been announced the floor is opened for general discussion. Volunteers are welcome to make observations or ask questions about anything to do with Firehouse Radio. It’s your time to speak your mind.
Board President Joe Estivill again reminds volunteers and the interested public that the minutes of the annual meeting as well as all other Board parleys throughout the year are published promptly on the WFHB website.