History of WPVM
On August 25, 2004 a license to broadcast was granted by the FCC to Mountain Area Information Network aka (MAIN). Owned by MAIN, the station was allowed to operate independently and for most of it’s history was broadcast as MAIN fm 103.5. It was one of the first low power fm stations meant to return local radio to the airwaves. The station was received very well by the community and in the beginning was very successful. However, it is impossible to tell the story of the rebirth of WPVM 103.7 without some background history of a troubled past.
In 2011 WPVM went silent due to losing the White Fawn tower space. WPVM did not return permanently to the air until October of 2014 . The station limped along due to loss of tower space; and broadcast intermittently. The programming was mostly automated national talk and call in shows from Pacifica, with just a couple of local programs to reflect the community. Under the leadership of the 2012-2014 Board of Directors with Pat Battle acting as President, it is impossible to understand what actions the Board of MAIN voted upon during this time period as minutes and treasurer reports were not kept as required under laws governing non profits. Evidence of a decline of business is shown on the official 990 reports at this link. (990……..from Guidestar.
In early 2014 a new President of MAIN Board (Dr.Patricia Furnish) and a new Interim Director for MAIN (Dr. Mark West) assumed responsible and conscientious fiscal leadership. A majority of the MAIN Board of Directors came to a decision that the radio station must be divested from MAIN. In August of 2014 a majority of the MAIN Board of Directors voted to convey ownership of the station, the FCC license, and broadcast equipment to a group who had expressed an interest in paying off all the secured debts, and managing the station in accordance with sound fiscal management and in accordance with all applicable FCC laws, rules, and regulations. The only individuals to come forward to MAIN to discuss acquiring the license were Davyne Dial and Dr. Herbert Johnson. A letter of intent to was signed in December 2014, this made it possible for MAIN to divest of the station assets. The loan was guaranteed by Dr. Herbert Johnson.
In September 2014 the MAIN Board issued a list of necessary steps that would be needed for a non-profit to be worthy of the trust necessary to transfer the license.
Those steps were;
1. Establish a non-profit Corporation in North Carolina
2. Establish and vote upon a set of bylaws.
3. Conduct an organizational meeting to vote in a formal set of Directors to the newly established corporation.
4. Reach a financial agreement that was acceptable to MAIN and to the FCC.
In November a financial agreement was finalized and a contract was signed between Dr. Johnson and MAIN Board President Patricia Furnish and MAIN Interim Director Dr. Mark West. The letter of intent covered purchase of all equipment used in the station, and the loan to purchased to secure the equipment was in the name of Dr. Herbert Johnson.
January 2015 the a majority of the MAIN Board gave final approval to sale of the equipment and the transfer of the license, in spite of the unrelenting opposition.
In April Secretary Jacquie Hammond was voted off the Board of Friends of WPVM for violating her fiduciary responsibilities to Friends of WPVM, by conspiring with the dissenting MAIN Director Patryk Battle who opposed the license transfer. A very clear conflict of interest violation. Her defamation included many false statements on social media and establishing a rogue FaceBook page pretending to represent the official non-profit Friends of WPVM using the call letters of the station. A defamation lawsuit was filed against Jacquelyn Hammond in December of 2015 ( see final results of suit below).
On 5.05.15 the FCC granted the transfer of the FCC license to the Friends of WPVM.
In September 2015 WPVM moved from 75 Haywood Road to new offices at 34 Wall St. Suite 407.
Had 2014 MAIN Board’s new leadership not voted to transfer the license and had they not resisted interference and sabotage attempts by dissenters, the station would no longer exist. Years of mis-management and lax or inept Board governance contributed to a business in total free fall, as evidence by the Guidestar 990 reports.
In conclusion, in has been a challenging journey for WPVM to be revived from dormancy. Media coverage instigated by dissenters of the transfer during the transition (when things would naturally be a bit confusing) portrayed the new management in a negative light, without out ever contacting Friends of WPVM to hear our side of controversies. That is incredibly disappointing in that serious journalism requires at least attempts to hear all sides. Ordinarily a new non profit has several years to develop their Board and establish trust. However Friends of WPVM did not have the luxury of time. Had we not acted quickly to take over payments of overhead and put an interim Board together WPVM would now be closed. In spite of hostile attempts to sabotage the transfer and destroy the station, WPVM has survived and flourished. Outstanding producers regularly appear to join the WPVM family. Our finances are in order, our governance is diverse and experienced in media and is in compliance with best practices governing non-profits. Our new location is warm and inviting. Tune in to WPVM 103.7 and you’ll be both entertained and enlightened. Our goal is to be the very best community radio station in Asheville, NC.
UPDATE Feb. 2017. A precedent setting lawsuit against Jacquelyn Hammond was settled. This was a first in the region to deal with gross character assassination and defamation on social media. Lawsuit Court Documents
It is clear that the station had been mis-managed and /or in chaos from 2009 into 2014, and it is absolutely astounding that such un-necessry drama swirled around the responsible decision to divest and move the station forward.