WUMB-FM in Boston assures listeners that there are no plans to change its folk music format
Last week I had heard that changes were afoot in the management at WUMB-FM radio. Having heard that Patricia Monteith, longtime general manager of the UMass-Boston radio station, had left or would be leaving as general manager, I put out some calls to get more details. Today, UMass spokesman DeWayne Lehman said “Pat Monteith remains aboard at WUMB. Beyond that we don’t discuss personnel matters. ” Calls to Monteith have gone unreturned.
Lehman added that there are no changes in format planned at the folk music radio station. The WUMB Friends Advisory Council, a group of listeners “assisting and advising the radio station’s general manager with fundraising, outreach and community service,” among other things, issued a statement today clarifying what is happening at WUMB:
In light of recent news of management changes ahead for WUMB and concerns voiced by members of the folk community about the stability of the current music format at the radio station, the WUMB Friends Advisory Council wanted to offer an update.
The Council asked to meet with Kathy Teehan, Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management, to whom WUMB’s General Manager reports. Without hesitation, Kathy generously agreed to a meeting and the six Council members met with her for nearly two hours on Tuesday evening this week at the University.
Kathy confirmed that Pat Monteith is retiring in August and has some vacation time owed to her in the meantime. The Council expressed their adamant stance that there be no change in the radio station’s format and that a proper search be conducted to find a highly qualified replacement General Manager who would support the current format.
She assured the Council it is her intention that the content and the integrity of the current format will be maintained. This, of course, includes continuing the approach of adding new artists and new music to keep the format fresh in the hopes that new audience members and contributors may be added to strengthen the station’s position.
She also stated that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting consultant who works with the station will be asked for a recommendation regarding a search for a new General Manager who will be both knowledgeable about CPB standards and who will also support the station’s current format. The CPB consultant will also be advising Kathy on appointing an interim General Manager. The Friends Council expects to speak with the consultant to offer input on selection criteria.
This was a positive and productive meeting and everyone came out saying that now, more than ever, is the time to support the station with volunteer time and financial contributions. The Friends Council will remain active and involved to do whatever it can to be sure WUMB remains our primary local source for providing the music we love and for introducing us to new artists that we will grow to love in the years ahead.
A call to Teehan was returned by Lehman.
WUMB is one of the best places in the country to hear folk music today. The station features up-and-coming singer songwriters who are either touring the region or have new material, and anyone who is anyone in folk music today has sought coverage there. The station’s emphasis on folk music of all ilks has provided a stepping stone for acts who otherwise might have struggled to get their music heard.
Monteith, from Randolph, Mass., helped to found the Boston Folk Festival in 1998. Recently, perhaps with the ebbs and flows of the folk music scene, the festival began to decline over the years, dropping from two days to one. The festival had been recently renamed the WUMB Boston Music Festival, was cancelled for 2012. That’s too bad. The festival had featured stalwart folk performers like Richie Havens and Roger McGuinn, along with folk circuit regulars David Mallett, Greg Greenway, Vance Gilbert, and up-and-coming acts.
Steve Ide writes regularly at http://folkbluegrass.com.