Wednesday, October 22, 2008

WSTB Update - 10/22

As we mentioned in an earlier item, you might not see as much of us here through the end of the month, as Life Intervenes.

We did want to put up the latest about Streetsboro schools-owned WSTB/88.9, the beleaguered Portage County station that's been off the air after certain photos were found on station computers a week ago Monday.

The story is not going away any time soon.

Those associated with the station are holding an informal meeting/gathering tonight at the Streetsboro location of CiCi's Pizza. Details, including an offer for free drinks (umm, of the soft drink variety, of course, something that needs to be mentioned considering this situation), are up on the WSTB website, as well as at the Sunday Oldies Jukebox site.

Also up there is a plea to WSTB supporters to attend a school board meeting scheduled for Thursday evening at Defer Intermediate School. The WSTB group is urging a peaceful show of support, and the wearing of station related items if possible.

Apparently, among the "personnel matters" set to be discussed at the meeting will be the board's acceptance of the now-officially-submitted resignation of long-time station manager Bob Long - who will remain as a member of the teaching staff even with a resignation of his station manager post.

Those updating the WSTB site have included this in bold print:

"A WSTB - 88.9FM without BOB LONG is NOT acceptable, and we ask that you demand the same."

Meanwhile, at least a couple of the most recent newspaper updates include some indication by school administrators that they plan to return WSTB to the airwaves, though no target date has been announced.

A Cleveland Plain Dealer item today quotes superintendent Linda Keller, who tells the PD the controversial photos are "no longer being investigated":

Keller said the radio channel will be back on the air after the school puts the station's computer system back together and integrates it into the school's computer system.

"We're proud of our radio station, which has been on the air for more than 30 years," she said.

And from the latest Kent-Ravenna Record-Courier article:

"We are moving ahead to get the station up and running," Keller said in her statement Tuesday. "Along with the high school principal, this morning I met with our students who are connected with the radio station. I am very impressed with their commitment to the station, their studies and to Streetsboro High School. These are exceptional students."

One person who isn't meeting with school officials - since he's apparently still banned from the building - is WSTB information technology director Dan Kuznicki.

The 24 year-old Kuznicki is pictured in the controversial photos that involve apparent drinking at an out-of-town New Year's Eve party in the presence of an 18 year-old former student, a student Kuznicki and others associated with the station say was not drinking - and couldn't, because he was taking medications after an accident - and say had his parents' permission to be there.

Though Ms. Keller is indeed now saying the station will return soon, it's an open question when, and in what form.

The quickest way to do so would be to return both Mr. Long and Mr. Kuznicki to their former posts. That obviously is not happening, given Long's resignation and the fact Kuznicki is banned from the facilities, at least for now. Both men have the "institutional knowledge" that would be needed to return the station to its prior state, even with potential obstacles regarding the computer setup.

It would seem possible that the station could resume limited hours using CDs instead of computer automation, but as of yet, there is no publicized specific plan to do so. (One assumes that the district would have to name an interim general manager first, assuming Long's resignation is accepted Thursday.)

There's also no word if the adult volunteers of "Sunday Oldies Jukebox" would be quickly welcomed back into the building.

And the clock continues to tick, as at least in the FCC's online database, we can't find any required notification to the FCC that the station is silent.

Much could happen between now and Friday, or things may not happen. We'll try to get word of any major developments up here, and if not, we're sure the various sites and news sources we link here will be updated...

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