Detroit Public Schools’ plan to lease management of the radio station it has owned and operated since 1948 has protesters mobilized to meet school honcho Kenneth Burnley and other administrators outside after school (so to speak).
Last Friday, protesters gathered at the former WDTR-FM — now renamed WRCJ-FM (90.9) and slated to be leased to a commercial outfit to operate with a jazz and classical format.
Malik Yakini, who was axed from his Sunday night commentary program in the transition, is one of the organizers opposing the changes.
He is concerned that the station’s community slant will get lost in transition.
“We want to put the station and DPS on notice that we are examining the situation,” says Yakini. “We sent in teams to look at the public file. We’re also looking into legal action and a license challenge.”
Meanwhile DPS officials plan to terminate most of the station’s staff by month’s end and put a new management company in place by October.
DPS spokeswoman Mattie Majors says the discomfort is unfortunate but unavoidable.
“They’ve got to cut the budget,” Majors says, referring to the financially-strapped district’s desire to save the near $1 million it costs to run the station annually.
She says until a new operator is chosen for the station, it’s unclear whether any of the current community volunteers — who create programming ranging from world music to political commentary — will remain. News Hits figures the protest will last that long — or longer.Contact News Hits at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com