Eight members of the managerial staff of Washington's newest radio station, WYCB-AM, have resigned in a dispute with the station's board of directors over the finances and direction of the station.
WYCB went on the air Aug. 15, after a 12-year struggle by its owners, Washington Community Broadcasting, to obtain a frequency from the FCC. Though a majority of its stockholders are white, a majority of the stock is owned by the black stockholders, and WYCB is regarded as on of only 50 black-owned stations in the country.
According to Catherine Liggins, the vice president and general manager who resigned this week, the board "assured us they had enough operating capital to operate for two years." But the board did not meet between July and October 9, and station staffers were forced to "borrow favors" to equip the station.
Then the board "complained the station hadn't generated enough profit," said Liggins, even though the station has only been operating two months and hasn't yet been tested in a ratings race that could help sell advertising. According to Liggins, the station also lacks commercial production facilities.
Liggins says she feels "profit was not the No. 1 priority" when the station was born, that it was to be a community-oriented station that would give blacks a voice in local broadcasting. She says board members are now discussing selling the station.
She is also opposed to the board's decision to sell blocks of time to ministers. This practice takes editorial control away from station management, she claims, and could lead to problems like those that caused the FCC to remove WOOK from the same frequency in 1975.
Three members of the board declined comment yesterday. Others could not be reaced. Howard Sanders has been appointed to replace Liggins.