WWUH RADIO HISTORY
1999 Year In Review
This section is under construction and should be considered in draft form.  Your input is invited.  If you want to add material, make suggestions, correct the record, etc, please email us at wwuh@hartford.edu.  And if you have photos to share of your time at WWUH please let us know that as well.

 

          1999 The following individuals made up the station’s ECOM in 1999: John Ramsey - General Manager and Chief Engineer, Bonnie Hast (Ward, '03)- Operations Manager: Susan Mullis-Development Director, Nicole Godburn (Hartt '00)-Program Director, Mary Dowst-Business Manager, Mike DeRosa-Community Affairs Director.

          Kevin Shiveley-Classics Director, Chris Larsen-Webmaster, JO Spaak-Jazz Director, Ed McKeon-Folk Director, Matt Slywka-Urban Music Directors, Scott Baron-Asst. Chief Engineer, Brian Grosjean-World Music Director-Peter Rost Blues Director, Colin Tipton asst PD/MD, Andy Taylor, MD.

          STAFF:

 

The following students were part of the Work Study:  Brad Danho; Kaye Gentle; Carrie Hopkins; Ryan Loucks; Brendan McNichol; Colin Tipton and Greg Singer.

          The following work study students returned to WWUH:  Bonnie Hast, Jeannette Lazo and Heather Mason.

          The April 2, 1999 issue of the Hartford Advocate featured "College Radio Kicks Ass" as the cover story and our own Joan Holiday, host of Wednesday Synthesis, was featured on the cover!

In June, WWUH was accepted into a select group of radio stations allowed to submit weekly jazz playlists to the Gavin Report, an industry trade publication that tracked airplay around the country. The station’s record service increased greatly as a result, which meant that UH listeners had greater access than ever before to new jazz recordings.

Volunteers Stuart Feldman and Chuck Obuchowski represented WWUH at last October’s annual Jazz Times convention, held in New York City. The result was greater exposure for WWUH’s jazz programming and another windfall of promotional recordings..

Program Director Nicole Godburn wrote the following for the April, 1999 issue of the Program Guide:

“Finding heaven is a challenge, but once it’s found you never let it go. I can honestly say I have found heaven and it is located here in Hartford. WWUH is a vital part of the Hartford area, providing outstanding programming, community service, and sanity to a sometimes-crazy world. Besides the excellent programming there is one more vital part to WWUH that many listeners may not be aware of, our DJ’s.

           I have been Program Director of WWUH since September 1998. In this short time I have found the reason WWUH is a piece of heaven: the voices that speak to you from the air. Without our DJ’s the station could not function, not give listeners that connection to our frequency.

           When I first walked into the studio I had no idea that this would come to be heaven. Honestly, I was terrified! To be in this studio with tons of blinking buttons, phones ringing and no idea what I could give to an already perfect institution frightened me. The fear lasted for about three seconds and the positive force that covers this station took hold. I soon found what makes the frequency of 91.3 FM move through the air and it is in the staff of the station.

           As Program Director I am pleased to work with the most amazing staff in the world. I can say this honestly. I do have one of the more stressful positions at the station, but the position is never a hassle. Many times fill-ins will be needed, shows will change hands and support is asked for and, I have never heard the word no from anyone. The staff is committed to keeping the heart of WWUH radio pumping.

    John Ramsey, the General Manager, asked me to type up a letter discussing my experience with WWUH to this point. John, my experiences have been excellent and I owe it all to the staff. So instead of discussing my time here so far, I wanted to turn this letter into a "Thank You." Thank you to the entire staff for their help and support in making my time outstanding. Thank you for providing the best programming in the area and making WWUH Radio what it is, heaven.

Vijay Dixit, the host of Geetanjali, left WWUH to pursue other interests after more than fifteen years on the staff.  Vijay’s program brought the Indian community closer together and turned thousands of WWUH listeners on to the incredibly beautiful music and culture of India.  Geetanjali was the longest running program in the United States featuring the news, music and culture of India.

Program Director Nicole Godburn commented:

 “I personally found an entire new culture and much information on India that only Geetanjali could bring. Vijay’s dedication and excellence at WWUH will be missed. Please do not go far Vijay, we will miss you.”

          During the year, the Pacifica Foundation experienced significant problems at one of their California stations.   Labor relations became a huge issue as allegations were made by staffers that union busting tactics were being used by management and announcers allegedly had their jobs terminated for talking about the controversy on the air. The topic is too complex to go into here, but it lasted well over a year and had repercussions throughout the non-commercial media. At WWUH, there was a controversy as to whether or not we should continue to carry the Pacifica National News during the problems.  Several PNN staffers had left the program for in one way or another and there was a boycott Pacifica campaign formed around some of the disgruntled former PNN employees.  The ECOM examined the issue a number of times during the year, but each time chose to keep PNN on the air since the ECOM felt that it was still providing alternative news and viewpoints our listeners would not have been able to hear elsewhere on the dial.

          Volunteer Keith Brown, long time host of Gay Spirit and Opera Matinee, produced a new show by the name of “Your Radio Slilpstream” devoted entirely to cycling.  The program received mention (w/photo) in the July, 1999 issue of the national bicycling magazine “Ride”. It became an irregular feature on WWUH.

On April 29, WWUH celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Duke Ellington's Birth with a day-long Salute to the artist entitled "Blutopia”  Chuck Obuchowski described the special day:

          ”You don’t have to be a jazz aficionado to appreciate the significance of Duke Ellington’s contributions to 20th century music. His remarkable compositions, the poly-ethnic blending of styles, his pioneering techniques as bandleader and orchestrator, his charming demeanor—these are but a few of the innovations employed by the Duke which impacted musicians in all genres, around the globe. We’re all familiar with "It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got that Swing) and "Sophisticated Lady", but these standards only hint at his overall importance to contemporary music.

          WWUH has decided to pay homage to this musical genius by devoting our entire broadcast day on Thursday, April 29,1999—the centennial of his birth--to the memory of Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington. We’ve chosen to call our tribute Blutopia, after a 1944 Ellington suite for jazz orchestra. To demonstrate the scope of his influence, and the diversity of our programming, we will maintain our regular format, albeit with ample tips of the musical hat to the maestro. For instance, Steve Petke’s Evening Classics program is sure to include works written in a Western European "classical" style by Mr. Ellington. Tom Bowman’s "Mostly Bluegrass" will undoubtedly feature a rousing flat-picked rendition of "Take the A Train" and other classics. We also hope to feature archive interviews with our honoree as well as alumni of his ensembles.”   

The station participated in the campus Jazz Festival and Earth Day Celebration on April 21. Colin Tipton produced the event, which was broadcast live from 11:30 - 1:30 pm.

The ECOM made the decision in early spring not to broadcast Monday night jazz.  The major reason was the lack of an engineering staff during the summer.

The broadcasts of the Ladies Hawks benefited greatly from the new phone equipment that the Athletics Department had bought for us.

The library committee, chaired by Dean Hildebrandt, completed an inventory of station recordings.  The inventory revealed that there were approximately 40,000 LPS and  35,000 CDs in the station’s collection!

          CDs received by Genre during the one year period 5/1/97 - 4/30/98:  Rock-1400, Jazz-792, Folk/BG-784, Classical-741, Urban-278, Ambient-252, World/Reggae-195, Blues-178, Soundtracks-108, for a total of 4750.

The WWUH/Celtic Airs concert series continued with performances by Cherish The Ladies, Dervish, Lunasa , Sean Keane, Danu, Old Blind Dogs, Tannahill Weavers, Cheryl Wheeler (a benefit with Aids Project Hartford), Maire Ni Chathasaign and Chris Newman, Kila, Ealu, Solas,  Lunasa,  Sharon Shannon band, Dougie Maclean, Christy O’Leary Band, Tabache, Anam and The Cathy Ryan Trio.

          It is interesting to note that he March 11 Dervish show in Millard sold out in only 2-weeks despite the fact that it was only promoted on WWUH!  We added a 2nd show in Wilde and that show sold out in 5 days!  In all, 800 tickets were sold at $20 each!

          Susan Mullis presented another Ambience In The Wilde concert with Vidna Obmana who performed in front of an audience of115 people in Wilde on Nov. 10.

The ambience concert with performer Steve Roach concert sold out.  People came from as far away as California, Chicago, NY, PA and NH to see the show.

The Battlefield Band appeared in Wilde.

          WWUH presented Steve Roach Concert and Hartt Symphonia in Konover.

Steve Theaker wrote the following for the Program Guide:

If you missed Folk Next Door 8 on Saturday, May 8, whilst suffering from a “round tuit syndrome”, you should hasten to find a cure! Those in attendance were treated to a musical smorgasbord that tantalized and pleased the musical palate. And as a bonus, the concert even had a surprise musical visit from Chris Thompson of Chris and Meredith Thompson.
    It was a wonderfully successful event that benefited WWUH and that hosted signer-songwriters of national acclaim as well as rising stars such as Lucy Chapin who hails from Farmington.
    The line-up included: Zydeco Hogs, Margo Hennebach & Mark Saunders, Michael Hsu, Lucy Chapin, Joe Flood, Sonya Hunter, Einstein's Little Homunculus, Freddie White, Maggie Carchrie, Mark Erelli, Cheryl Hoenemeyer, Michael Veitch, Amy Gallatin and Stillwaters and with Chris Thompson’s unexpected appearance after intermission.
    Being behind the scenes afforded the opportunity to meet the performers on a more personal level. The seasoned veterans had a nonchalant, practiced approach to getting ready while others showed nervous anticipation (often accompanied by a nervous munching on the grub) or the relentless honing of theirs skills in hallways and alcoves. But what was most evident to this observer was the gentleness of spirit in Michael Hsu, the freshness of Lucy Chapin and the affable nature of Sonya Hunter, which underscored the fact that these talented musicians are just some folk next door!
    Thanks goes to the Toast staff and many, many others for putting together another great show. Our sincere appreciation also goes to Larry Bilansky for seizing the photo opps and to Photographic of Hartford for film and processing and The Speediest Printer in Town of Simsbury for printing the program.

 

LIVE BROADCASTS

          25th Annual Bluegrass Fiddle Festival in Bushnell Park.

         

MARATHON      

          Marathon ’99, held in March, was an outstanding success, with close to $74,000 raised from 1900 listeners, in only one week!  That’s more than 10% over the goal of $65,000!  The station received pledges from people listening to the webcast for the first time!

The staff was reminded to keep it positive on the air and to focus on the station, not the premiums! Don’t badmouth other non-coms, even CPR.

The T-shirt was blue with a rocket on the front.

          This fund raising event was our best ever.  We say this not only because of the amount pledged, but also by the number of listeners who called to say that they actually enjoyed listening to the event on the air!  This is a tribute to everyone on the air who seemed to go out of his or her way to make the fund raiser interesting and humorous. 

Fall Fund Raiser Success:  $29540 pledged from 843 listeners with $24,510 paid.  The premium was a travel mug.

 

ENGINEERING

WWUH passed the inspection performed in April under the Connecticut Broadcaster’s Association’s Alternative Inspection Program!  The inspection was undertaken at our request through the CT Broadcaster’s Association’s Alternative Inspection Program .  The inspection, conducted by a retired FCC agent, covered FCC compliance areas including technical, programming and administrative. Passing this inspection meant that the station would be exempt from routine FCC inspections for a period of 3-years (the FCC could still inspect to follow up on a complaint, or when instructed to do so by the Commission’s D.C. office).  Chuck Obuchowski and Andy Taylor who were a great help as they were on duty when the inspection took place!.

IT Director Chris Larson reported in May that over 15,000 people have visited our web site in the last twelve months!

          The number of simultaneous streams that the WWUH Realaudio server can accommodate was increased from five to sixty!      

Expansion of recording studio was accomplished by volunteers Chris Larsen and Bonnie Hast:  The upgrade included new furniture, monitors and racks.

          A large neon sign was donated by listener Larry Giglio, who had donated a small one a few years prior.   The large sign was put in the outside window.

The first CD recorder in was installed at the station during the summer.   In addition to being useful for station projects, the ECOM hoped that the existence of the recorder in the Production Stuido would cut down on the theft of CDs.

At our request, the Athletic Department spent $6000 on new remote equipment to make the Hawks broadcasts on WWUH sound better.

          There was a significant budget surplus this year and some of the extra funds were used for facility upgrades including new carpet for the Air and Production studios, the library and the office; the installation of additional sliding shelving in the library; new speakers for the air studio; a new STL system; new CD recorder among other things.

          The station started preparations for “Y2K” in 1998 by checking software and upgrading it as necessary.  The University hired a technology consultant to oversee Y2K compliance efforts on a campus-wide scale.  It took a while for our engineers to convince him that we had already done our due diligence and that our transmitter didn’t require any changes since, much to this surprise, it did not contain any microprocessors.  As soon as he realized that we knew more about radio equipment compliance issues than he did, he confirmed that we were prepared.  Of course, only history will tell if any of the the possible Y2K scenarios were real and society as a whole made the appropriate changes to account for it, or if was just one of the largest hoaxes of the technological era.

John Ramsey gave the following report on Connecticut Public Radio’s new station on 91.3.

          After a three year delay caused by problems with the local zoning board,  Connecticut Public Radio has finally turned  on their new station in Long Island on our frequency!  That’s right, CPR has yet another repeater station, this one broadcasting from Southampton, NY on 91.3!   We have already heard from several listeners who are having trouble hearing WWUH due to this new station, WRLI, and there are probably many more listeners South of Meriden and along the Connecticut shore who will no longer be able to hear our signal.  There is almost nothing we can do about it.  Our engineering department has closely monitored their application and proposed coverage, and what they are doing appears to be completely legal!

          If you get calls about interference from WRLI, feel free to have them contact me so that I can give them some ideas on how to improve their reception.  Also, leave me a note listing the town they are calling from so I can keep track of the area of interference.

          If we can determine what areas are suffering, we can look into installing one or more translators, which are low power stations that can boost our signal in those areas.  Translators are extremely expensive to build ($10,000 - $20,000), and frequencies are scarce in the Southern CT area.

          The station had a chance to purchase an old remote vehicle from another radio station. This was a large airport-type shuttle bus that had been converted into a radio studio.  The ECOM discussed the purchase, but decided against it for several reaons. First, the truck was old and needed major mechanical work.  Second, the truck was so large special training would be required to drive it and it would therefore only be able to be used by a few staffers. Third, the simply were not enough audio enginieers on the staff to allow us to make the purchase worthwhile.

          Dave Nagel conducted Digital Work Station training starting on the MTU system in the News Studio.

Web site address changed to “wwuh.org” (from Hartford.edu/wwuh).

WWUH was in the news quite often during the year.

Wayne Jones, host of The Rock and Roll Memory Machine, was quoted in several articles about rock legend and Connecticut native Gene Pitney. The articles appeared in The Des Moines Register, The Chattanooga Free Press and on the Associated Press wire service.  All of the articles identified him as a DJ on WWUH.

          CPTV’S “Connecticut Journal” ran a segment about WWUH in April that featured The Happy Club show.

          Keith Brown’s new show, “Your Radio Slipstream” devoted entirely to cycling, received a mention (w/photo) in the July, 1999 issue of the national bicycling magazine “Ride”.

 

NATIONAL/INDUSTRY

          1999 saw several significant FCC actions:

A station in Arizona received a Notice of Apparent Liability from the F.C.C. for alleged indecent broadcasting on one day last summer.  The incident involved “morning drive” programming that mentioned an 8 year old child and sex.

          A non-commerical Texas radio station was fined for an underwriting violation.  The FCC found that the words “all you can eat” in a restaurant underwriting credit announcement went over the line and not “value neutral”.

One of Connecticut’s major pirate broadcasters was finally silenced by court order earlier this year.  “Prayze FM”, an illegal station operating with a Gospel format out of Bloomfield on 105.3 was ordered off the air by the First US District Court.   This station had become developed quite a following but it caused severe interference to another licensed station and was taking money out of the pocket of legitimate broadcasters.

Several other pirate stations remained on the air in Hartford after the Court’s decision about Prayze FM, including a Spanish language Gospel station on 97.9 MHz and another Gospel station on 87.7 MHz.

          According to industry sources, over three million Internet users have downloaded the Realaudio Player from the company’s Web site, and Microsoft, Apple and Netscape are currently distributing it with their Web browsers.

Hartford radio news this year included:

          “Shock Jock” Sebastian was fired from WZMX (93.7) in May; Jeremy Savage, afternoon DJ on WKSS (95.7) is leaving the station sometime this summer to work for Sirrus Satellite Radio in NYC.  WTIC Radio moved out of downtown Hartford after 50+ years in the city.  New studios were built at the CBS Radio facility in Farmington that also housed WZMX and WRCH (100.5). Several WWUH engineers, including Chris Larsen, Chuck Dube and John Ramsey, were involved with the construction of WTIC’s new facility.

 

MISC

          Folk Next Door 7 was released in March.  Over two hundred promo copies were sent out to radio stations and reviewers throughout the country.

A PC was installed in the station office for staff use.

The WWUH Listener Line continued to be popular with listeners with 828 calls logged in a 45 day period!

The ECOM decided that WWUH should join the Connecticut Broadcaster’s Association.

PSA video presented at the General Meeting.

Several staff members went to the CBA Meeting, Oct 21

The ECOM became aware in the spring that someone had been hitting up WWUH Patrons in an effort to fraudently collect funds in the name of the station.  He had also been seen on campus soliciting funds for WWUH as well!  The ECOM, and filed an official complaint with the Hartford Police Department. It turned out that they were already aware of this guy’s criminal actions.  The Ecom sent out a letter to our Patrons warning them of this con artist’s activities and assuring them that WWUH did not solicit funds door to door.

          Chuck Obuchowski described a very special on-air event:

          ”You don’t have to be a jazz aficionado to appreciate the significance of Duke Ellington’s contributions to 20th century music. His remarkable compositions, the poly-ethnic blending of styles, his pioneering techniques as bandleader and orchestrator, his charming demeanor—these are but a few of the innovations employed by the Duke which impacted musicians in all genres, around the globe. We’re all familiar with "It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got that Swing) and "Sophisticated Lady", but these standards only hint at his overall importance to contemporary music.

 WWUH has decided to pay homage to this musical genius by devoting our entire broadcast day on Thursday, April 29,1999—the centennial of his birth--to the memory of Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington. We’ve chosen to call our tribute Blutopia, after a 1944 Ellington suite for jazz orchestra. To demonstrate the scope of his influence, and the diversity of our programming, we will maintain our regular format, albeit with ample tips of the musical hat to the maestro. For instance, Steve Petke’s Evening Classics program is sure to include works written in a Western European "classical" style by Mr. Ellington. Tom Bowman’s "Mostly Bluegrass" will undoubtedly feature a rousing flat-picked rendition of "Take the A Train" and other classics. We also hope to feature archive interviews with our honoree as well as alumni of his ensembles.”

Chuck Obuchowski observed in January, 1999.

WWUH continued to play a major role in the region’s jazz scene in 1998, even extending its reach to the global music community thanks to a newfound presence on the World Wide Web. Jazz has been an integral part of the 91.3 FM programming mix since the station’s inception in 1968.
    One of UH’s 30th anniversary celebrations took place in Hartford’s Bushnell Park on July 27 where The Mingus Big Band offered one of the summer’s most exciting jazz performances; special thanks to Monday Night Jazz Series director Paul Brown for his cooperation. Not only did the station broadcast the event live, as is tradition on Mondays in July and August, but several UH jazz announcers also emceed the concert and gave away a bundle of 30th anniversary T-shirts to grateful fans of the station.

The line up for the Bushnell Park broadcasts included Buster Williams Ensemble, featuring Mulgrew Miller & Lenny White opening: Gerry Eastman & Co.; Fred Smith’s Harlem Renaissance Jazz Legends opening: Dave Santoro Quintet, with Bruce Barth;  Carlos Garnett Quartet, Eddie; Marshall Quintet, with Teodross Avery opening: Billy Arnold & Vishnu Wood; Micky Bass Ensemble
opening: Phil Bowler & Pocket JunglE; Warren Chiasson Quintet, with Don Friedman opening: Lance James Project;  Eddie Allen Quintet opening: Lisle Atkinson Neo-Bass Choir; Clark Terry Band  opening: Pete LaRoca Sims Group; George Coleman Group opening: Kitty Katherine & Harold Lewis

On a sad note, the jazz world lost a number of wonderful musicians last year who had enlivened the Bushnell Park stage on many a sultry summer’s night: Walter Bishop, Jr., Thomas Chapin, Ted Dunbar and C.I. Williams. We also said good-bye to Betty Carter, Denis Charles, Dorothy Donegan, Tal Farlow, Kenny Kirkland, Frank Sinatra and Attila Zoller in ’98; WWUH offered musical obituaries for each of these marvelous artists

 In addition to the Bushnell broadcasts, WWUH maintained a booth at the third annual Litchfield Jazz Festival August 8 and acted as a media sponsor of the inaugural Liberty Bank Jazz Festival in Norwich on September 20. UH staff members also helped to document on audio and audio tape--and in photographs--In Harmony: A Vision Shared, the Thomas Chapin benefit concert held February 1 at Manchester’s Cheney Hall.
          The WWUH jazz staff wrapped up the year with a benefit concert for 91.3 featuring The Jim Cifelli New York Nonet. The event took place Friday, December 4th at Wilde Auditorium.
          UH Jazz announcers in 1998 carried on a time-honored practice of including musician interviews during their programs. Ron Carter, Chick Corea and Doc Severinsen were among the artists who shared their thoughts on the WWUH airwaves last year. Connecticut musicians also got their due, through airplay of recordings, in-studio interviews and concert announcements. The WWUH Jazzline remained one of the most comprehensive concert listings available by telephone in the Northeast. As regular listeners are aware, ticket and CD giveaways are a regular part of the station’s jazz broadcasts.        

There have been several recent improvements to our presence on the web:

          Chris Larson, our web master, reported that over 15,000 people have visited our web site in the last year!       

          The number of simultaneous streams that our Realaudio server can accommodate has been increased from five to sixty!  This means that up to sixty people at a time can listen to us via the internet.

          According to industry sources, over three million Internet users have downloaded the Realaudio Player from the company’s Web site, and Microsoft, Apple and Netscape are currently distributing it with their Web browsers.

          We are in the process of installing a PC in the station office that will give greater flexibility to our presence on the web.

In March we released our seventh Fold Next Door CD, recorded the previous May.

          Community affairs director Mike DeRosa wrote the following report for the staff newsletter:

The Return of Nuclear Power to Connecticut and What You Can Do About It,          Recently I had the opportunity to interview Millstone whistleblower Don DelCore. Don was fired by Northeast Utilities years ago because he believed that safety was the first priority at a nuclear plant. He had raised one too many objections to things going on at the Millstone complex and was sent packing. Don is also one of the many people who took Northeast Utilities to court and he is one of many who won a modicum of respect for whistleblowers. He continues to raise issues related to safety at these atomic plants.
    Nuclear power stations are extremely complicated machines that are probably the most dangerous energy plants on earth. The Chernobyl accident and the Three Mile Island accident are ancient history to people today, but like the Exxon Valdez disaster they can happen any day of the year. Atomic technology is not forgiving. Ask the people who lived around the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island plants if you want the truth about nuclear power.
    In a very short time Millstone II in Waterford CT. will be reopened by the politically and morally bankrupt Nuclear Regulatory Commission and its totally corrupted chairperson Shirley Jackson. Is Millstone II ready to be opened? Atomic whistleblower Don DelCore does not think so.
    Don DelCore and others are stubborn people. It is their experience that makes them stubborn. Don has worked near many atomic reactors and inside a lot of nuclear plants and he knows what goes on inside them.
    Take for example the issue of misaligned valves("configuration control"). Nuclear power plants have automatic safeguard systems that have prearranged valve systems that are part of the plant's design and license. These automatic systems need to be aligned properly if they are to do their important job. Don says that after Millstone II comes up from its inactive mode "and they begin to use the systems, they need to line up the valves properly and as we are finding out with Millstone II they are NOT lining up the valves and the systems in accordance with their own procedures. If this involves a significant safety system they are endangering the public and the employees at the plant". Don points to misaligned valves in the fuel waste pool at Millstone III "in May 1997 that caused a 10 degree rise in the fuel pool temperature without anybody knowing about it. This was a direct result of operators at the plant not having a handle on the proper positioning of the valves in the cooling system". Don says that misaligned safety valves have recently been also found in the spent fuel pool at Millstone II after its recent refueling. DelCore says "if they misaligned valves in 1997 and in 1999 how do we know if they have more significant safety systems properly aligned?" Don also points to the fact that a N.U. independent review, by its quality assurance department, showed "83 other occurrences of valve misalignment from 1995 to May 1997. That’s a whole lot of misalignment. That’s a whole lot of mistakes." Don feels that the most recent examples of misaligned valves in the spent fuel pool raise significant concerns that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not taking seriously.
    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is supposed to regulate utilities like Northeast Utilities. Some critics feel that they operate more like lap dogs rather guard dogs. Recent disclosures that members of the NRC met privately with Northeast Utilities’ representatives without any written or taped record of these conversations raises the specter of violation of "sunshine laws" (F.O.I.) on the part of the NRC. Such private contacts without a written record of the details of such meetings are usually considered illegal and avoided by most regulators. These are especially troubling when it is discovered that about 27 contacts took place between the NRC and Northeast without any taped or written record of these "conversations" during this time. The NRC allowed individual commissioners and chairperson Shirley Jackson to meet individually with N.U. officials." Don DelCore says "we the public were not privy to the communications that took place between individual commissioners and N.U." Many of these contacts took place a critical juncture when Northeast Utilities was trying to reopen Millstone III and having serious financial problems. This was also during the same time when the leadership of both parties of the CT. General Assembly and Gov. Rowland’s office were pushing through an electric "restructuring" that will ultimately give N.U. billions of dollars in corporate welfare though fees on consumers’ electric bills. Delcore says that "because of the way the NRC conducted those meetings we are unable today to know the content and the discussions that took place in those meetings." Don and others have filed complaints with the Federal Inspector Generals Office about these meetings. Even more ominous is a proposed national rule change by the NRC that would make such secret contacts standard operating procedure.
    Don Delcore is also incensed by the secrecy around the refueling of Millstone III. Don says "they waited until the fueling was three quarters done before they announced it was taking place." He says this was in violation of assurances made by the NRC at previous public hearings committing the agency to full public disclosure and public scrutiny of the refueling and reopening of Millstone II.
    Lastly are the small issues of a fire hazard at the Millstone complex and the Y2K computer problem. A fire is one of the worst accidents that can happen at a nuclear power plant. It can destroy wiring and other parts of the safety systems in the plant very quickly. A fire and the resulting smoke can drive operators out of the operating room and cause a major disaster as the reactor goes out of control.
    N.U. has harassed and fired many whistleblowers over the years. Recently, a demoted and fired whistleblower, tried to get the NRC and N.U. to look at "fire resistant" foam that is found throughout the Millstone complex. The one and three hour fire barriers give the operators of the plant time to shut the reactor down in case of a major fire at an atomic facility. The whistleblower (who over the years has lost his job, his spouse, and his house) alleged that the fire resistant foam, used to fill in gaps where pipes go through thick concrete walls in the plants, was improperly mixed, improperly cured, and improperly applied and secured. He said that the shelf life of foam had expired and recently the actual fire retardant nature of the material has been called into question by an outside laboratory. The NRC and N.U. try to discredit this individual’s concerns and denied the credibility of his allegations that he has raised since the late 1980’s. In Jan. 1999 the NRC came out with a report confirming ever one of the ex- worker’s allegations about the fire retardant foam as true!
    N.U. says in a recent insert in customer’s bills that it is 60% Y2K compliant. Since problems with the Y2K problem may begin as early as 9/9/99 one wonders whether it might be in the best interest of the environment to close down these troubled plants as soon as possible for this reason alone.
    Don says that in the future the NRC will regulate atomic plants even less. Delcore says "we need more public participation, more activity, because the NRC, NU and even the US Congress will respond to public participation and pressure. Public participation is the answer."
    If all of this makes you nervous, you are not the only one. Clearly it is time for public participation and involvement on this issue. Already a fishing organization, Fish Unlimited, has challenged the opening of the Millstone 2 nuclear power plant in state court because the plant kills young fish by sucking them into the cooling inlet pipes at the plant. The enormous heat generated by the plant also caused problems with marine life by increasing the temperatures of the water around the plant. Lastly, the emissions of dangerous chemicals by the Millstone plants has been discussed and discovered during this recent trial.“

Labor problems continued atthe Pacifica Nation News in late August, The following article, written by Bruce Elving, is from “FMedia!, a newsletter of fact and opinion about FM radio and related technologies,” and  is reprinted here with permission of the author. It should  help shed some lig

Fht on the recent situation at Pacifica’s Berkley station, KPFA.

          “Security is tight as the administration of KPFA, Berkeley CA tried to enforce a policy of tighter control over programming in the wake of staffers’ resistance.  KPFA is the oldest community/public FM station in the nation, having started in 1949. 

          Call it growing pains, resistance to change, or just plain orneriness on the part of employees and volunteers--the result is likely to be that KPFA, and by extension, the rest of the Pacifica Network, may be irretrievably crippled.

          The ultra left-leaning flagship station is wallowing in the very type of conformity it has railed against in the business community.  Directives from management to tighten programming have met intense resistance.

          Picket line protests have erupted in Berkeley over staff firings and new programming edits.  Phone lines have been jammed with enquiries from the public and the media.  I have been unable to talk with Lynn Chadwick, KPFA’s director, nor has their office faxed a press release on the situation as requested.

          Early in the protest, KPFA broadcast the sounds of silence following the on-air yanking of Robbie Osman, a disc jockey who hosts “:Across the Great Divide,” a mid-day folk show.  Other staff members protested his firing by refusing to take his shift, and hundreds of people demonstrated outside to express their anger at Chadwick and others in control.

          For nearly seven years workers and the station’s board have been at odds over the way it should be programmed.  KPFA supporters say the board wants to turn the station into another National Public Radio affiliate so it can attract corporate donor contributions.  Others fear that, since KPFA holds a license in the commercial part of the FM band, it might be sold for millions of dollars.

          Over 400 protesters have shown up in front of the station headquarters on Martin Luther King, Jr. Way.  Some have camped overnight for a 24-hour “sleep in” for over two weeks,  and nearly 100  people were arrested, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

          “I’ve been listening for years and I feel the station has been ruined in the last six months,” lamented Mark Mason.  He was referring to the firing of Osman and two other employees-reporter Larry Bensky and station general manager Nicole Sawaya, who had spoken out against the changes.

          Osman had criticized management on the air.  He later said, “I am at peace with what I did.  There comes a moment in your life that if you act with courage and with faith you

I seize the day.”

          Later the station imposed strict security measures as to who could enter its building, and live programming has ceased, with tapes of previous programs being aired.

          Criticism became rampant a few months ago when Pacifica unveiled a plan which called for more national programming and removal of local advisory board members from its central governing board.  Swaya was fired March 31, two weeks before the station’s 50th anniversary celebration.

          Pacifica had warned announcers not to discuss the firing on the air, but they did anyway.  When its veteran national news reporter Larry Bensky objected to the dismissal of the general manager, he too was fired.  Chadwick earlier told the New York Times  that the protests were the result of a small group of people who didn’t allow KPFA to grow.  She said Pacifica wanted to

7 broaden it’s appeal and reach more than 200,000 of the six million potential listeners in the area served by it’s 59,000 watt signal.  She said she had to impose tighter security measures after she was cornered in her office by 30 protesters who refused to leave.  And the day after Ms. Sawaya was let go, gunshots were fired into Pacifica’s headquarters building next door to KPFA.  Ms. Chadwick said she had received death threats.

          “The level of heat is not good,” she understands.  “It is not good for any of us.  After all, we’re all on the same side--we want a good community radio station.”

          In other communities served by Pacifica stations, it’s relatively quiet.  WPFW Washington, DC has voluntary cut short some programs.  It cut out nine minutes of one night’s Pacifica Network News, playing jazz.  Parts of the programs Counterspin  and Democracy Now  (which originates at WBAI) were replaced by jazz.  Pacifica station grabs national headlines, but recently the Ôcivil war’ at the network “has gained  Pacifica unprecedented interest from the mainstream press,” says Washington City Paper.   WPFW offered no on-air explanation for the program deletions.  One insider said the civil war is “between those who want bland, genteel, noncontroversial programming versus those who want to continue the hard-hitting, creative, energetic reporting that has been part of the Pacifica tradition.”  Longtime community activist and WPFW member Acey Byrd says he’s puzzled about why local management has been muzzling Pacifica content.  “The methods that the management has used are unethical, arbitrary, and inconsistent with the norms of Democratic

Rjournalism,” said Byrd.

          The Chronicle  mentioned that the Berkeley City Council was to have voted on a toughly worded measure that criticizes the KPFA board, and calls for reopening the “shuttered” station.”  “It’s a forceful resolution. We're not mincing words here,” crowed Mayor Shirley Dean.  The protests and ensuing protests have been a drain on the city’s budget, costing over $150,000 in police overtime so far. 

          Several organizations normally supportive of Pacifica’s aims have gone on record criticizing the handling of the dispute by KPFA and calling for Pacifica  officials to resign.  Those groups include the 5,000 member National Writers Union, Working Assets (a telephone/credit card firm) and the central labor councils of San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties.  Working Assets announced that it is pulling Pacifica from

 the list of 50 nonprofit organizations it planned to support this year.  KPFA and Pacifica have finally entered mediation, with talks continuing.

News stories making the headlines in 1999 included: Russian president Boris Yeltsin survives impeachment hearings (May), reshuffles his cabinet twice (May, Aug.); war erupts in Kosovo after Yugoslavia's president Slobodan Milosevic clamps down on the province, massacring and deporting ethnic Albanians. NATO begins Operation Allied Force on March 24, 1999, launching air strikes against Belgrade for 78 consecutive days until Milosevic relents. Background: Timeline: The Splintering of Kosovo and Timeline: NATO in Kosovo; the world awaits the consequences of the Y2K bug, with more drastic millennial theorists warning of Armageddon; two students storm Columbine High School in Littleton , CO, killing twelve other students and a teacher, then themselves (April 20). Background: A Timeline of School Shootings and 1999 in Review; John F. Kennedy Jr., wife and her sister are lost at sea when a plane he was piloting disappears near Martha's Vineyard.

 

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