Monday, April 20, 2009

Activists continue to challenge public radio station for violating federal law

TAKE BACK YPR, 325 East 25th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218 Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski at




Contact: Max Obuszewski [410] 366-1637 or mobuszewski at





WHO: Members of TAKE BACK YPR were incensed when WYPR management took off the air The Marc Steiner Show without any input from the community.  So a campaign was initiated in February 2008 to challenge management.


WHAT:  Concerned radio listeners then read the Corporation for Public Broadcasting requirements and realized that WYPR was in violation of at least three requirements. Thus complaints were made to the CPB, but its inspector general was unwilling to move forward on the complaints.  The activists then contacted Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin and Rep. Elijah Cummings for help.


One of the activists, Max Obuszewski, attended the last YPR board meeting and discovered the CPB did audit the station in response to the numerous complaints. When he asked station management for a copy of the audit, he was told to go to the CPB web site in April.  Take Back YPR then downloaded the CPB report # 903, dated March 20, 2009. 


The conclusion written by Kenneth Konz, inspector general, is as follows: “Based on our limited review, we found that WYPR was not in full compliance with all the requirements of the Act, 47 U.S.C. S396 for: CAB meetings; Other public meetings; Open financial records; and EEO compliance.”


In response, Take Back YPR has sent a letter to Patricia de Stacy Harrison, CPB’s president, requesting a meeting as the dissidents were not interviewed during the audit.  And an initial reading of the report suggests YPR management did not provide accurate information to the auditors.  Finally, it seems that some of the specific complaints raised by Take Back YPR were not addressed by the audit.  The letter was also sent to the offices of Cardin, Cummings and Mikulski. To highlight the fact that WYPR management violated federal law, the activists will hold a demonstration.


WHEN:  Tuesday, April 21, 2009 starting at 12:30 PM


WHERE:  outside WYPR, 2216 N. Charles Street  


WHY:  April 21st is the start of WYPR’s online auction, and members of Take Back YPR want the station to release the results of the CPB audit to all of its members, including corporate board officials.  At the last board meeting, Obuszewski heard Tony Brandon, station manager, claim the audit went well.  Anyone who has read the report knows that is not true.  For years, station management has been receiving CPB funding, while being in non-compliance with the requirements.


The activists, while demonstrating outside the station, will inform the general public that station management for years thumbed their noses at federal law.  This attitude led to the termination of The Marc Steiner Show.




Take Back YPR, 325 East 25th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218


April 19, 2009


Patricia de Stacy Harrison

Corporation for Public Broadcasting

401 Ninth Street, NW

Washington, D.C. 20004-2129


Dear Ms. Harrison:


We want to thank the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) Inspector General’s office for its insightful report on violations of the Federal Communications Act at Maryland’s WYPR, Report # 903, dated March 20, 2009.


The report found that Maryland’s WYPR received CPB grants regularly since 2002, despite being in violation of financial reporting guidelines, open meetings requirements, and a functioning community advisory board. In addition, it was revealed that WYPR repeatedly certified compliance in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grant money each year, though the station was consistently out of compliance.


As the citizens and taxpayers who sparked this investigation, we have several concerns: 1] CPB officials have always refused to meet with us; 2] the auditors failed to meet with any representatives of our group; 3] WYPR was the only entity allowed to respond to the report; and 4] the report is incomplete.


We contend the recommendations in this report do not present the full picture.  We believe we can provide further evidence relevant to the audit, including a breakdown of the inaccuracies in WYPR’s reported responses, as well inaccuracies in the exhibits submitted by WYPR which appear at the end of the report.


Because this report does not present the full picture of non-compliance at WYPR from 2002 to today, the CPB cannot take proper enforcement action.  We will help fill in that knowledge gap.


We want the CPB to enforce the laws and regulations through the Federal Communications Act.  However, to do that the corporation, through the office of the inspector general, must continue its audit of WYPR.  Thus we recommend the following: 1] Representatives of the CPB should meet with us; 2] The inspector general should accept our formal response to this report, which we will provide by May 15, 2009; and 3] A more complete audit must be done to cover other alleged violations of CPB requirements and to further study WYPR's misuse of taxpayer funds for its failure to comply with the law.


Your response to the issues raised in this letter is welcome.  Please let us know when we can meet with CPB officials to further discuss WYPR's failure to comply with the law. 




Max Obuszewski


mobuszewski at


Gregg Mosson

2923 St. Paul Street

Baltimore, MD 21218


CC: Kenneth A. Konz

       Senator Benjamin Cardin

       Senator Barbara Mikulski

       Representative Elijah Cummings


Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


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