Feb 16, 2010

Boston Mag portrays rifts within WGBH over radio expansion

In a lengthy feature on WGBH's ambitions to compete against WBUR for NPR News audiences, Boston Magazine goes behind the scenes to describe rifts between WGBH management and rank and file. By its account, WGBH staff were demoralized by months of budget cuts and downsizing when station leaders opted to spend $14 million on all-classical WCRB. Author Paul Kix portrays the scene during a staff meeting at which WGBH veep Marita Rivero announced the decision: "one woman sobbed and, according to numerous accounts, screamed something at Rivero to the effect of 'Jesus, you've got a lot of nerve! I can't believe this has happened.'"

"This wasn't just fury over the company's financial state. It was also the creeping clash between the old culture of WGBH and the new, between the way things had been and the way things would need to be."

"Part of the problem with 'GBH is there's a culture of mollycoddling where everyone's treated the same, and everybody's patted on the back," Emily Rooney, WGBH's top news talent, tells Kix. Rooney, a veteran of commercial TV news, adds that, had the "sobbing, shouting woman" been her employee, she would have been fired.

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