As we reported in our editorial of December 18, 2017, on December 6, 2017 WNYC Radio suspended two longtime hosts, Leonard Lopate and Jonathan Schwartz, for inappropriate behavior. No further details were given at that time. Management had conducted all business about the suspensions behind closed doors. On December 21, 2017 the two were fired. WNYC issued this statement: “New York Public Radio has terminated the employment of Leonard Lopate and Jonathan Schwartz following two separate investigations overseen by outside counsel. These investigations found that each individual had violated our standards for providing an inclusive, appropriate, and respectful work environment.” You can read the full story on WNYC’s site here. Be sure to read the comments below the story.
Those comments on the WNYC page lean heavily toward the condemnation of the station’s management, especially CEO Laura Walker. You can read The New York Times story, “WNYC Chief Pushed Growth at the Cost of Station’s Culture” here. Read the comments that accompany this story. They, too, are — for the most part — not in support of Walker and the management of WNYC, the firings of Lopate and Schwartz, and the direction the station has taken in its development.
From our point of view, the issue remains the propagation of the Great American Songbook in a world of diminishing outlets. The loss of The Jonathan Channel on air remains problematic. If a major public radio station declines to be an outlet for this irreplaceable segment of music and essential part of the cultural fabric, then how can we expect the genre to survive? Faulty thinking and ill-considered decision-making must be addressed. Continue to watch for further commentary from NiteLife Exchange on these firings, WNYC and what happens next.