Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Michigan Public Radio Payola?

The Detroit Free Press reports that the current criminal probe of Michigan Radio's WOUM - an NPR turnkey operation since the late '90s - is examining "incentives" for station staffers, like a pool table, Persian rugs, and comp'ed meals provided by local merchants in exchange for on-air promotion. Also called into question are station staff activities at a local golf course and alleged inappropriate spending at a convention. Earlier this month Donovan Reynolds, the Karl Rove of Michigan Radio, left the station.

Since the coup that deposed its classical-music format, the nearly all-talk WOUM has raked in the contributor dough hand over fist - nearly a million bucks last year - and has become the favorite son of the public radio family for this success. We at Deaddrifts have previously lamented the lack of programming at WUOM produced by or for the local community.

WOUM starts its Spring Beg-a-thon at the end of March. Perhaps they'll use the barter system this year: a freezer full of steaks, new carpeting for the rec room, etc.?

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