Friday, September 23, 2011

WBLS Has Its Own Woes

WBLS at September 2010 gospel singing event.

The radio station at the heart of a controversy over an Aug. 1, 2010 Town Meeting has its own troubles, as creditors are seeking money owed by its parent company, Inner City Broadcasting.

The link above documents the history of the company that owns WBLS, a frequent presence at city events in recent years and now in the spotlight over a $20,000 payment that is the subject of an investigation by Plainfield's governing body. The radio station also received two $2,500 payments for taking part in the city's July 4th celebration last year, with one payment drawn from a general improvement bond, normally a funding source for long-term projects such as road repair, and another for "outside consulting services." The fees covered radio and internet announcements as well as an appearance by the WBLS "Street Team" and a "prize wheel."

The radio station also took part in an event meant to gather 10,000 people to sing gospel music. It was booted from county-owned Cedar Brook Park after city officials declined to meet with county Parks staff on the arrangements. At the last minute the location was changed to Watchung Avenue, in front of City Hall. WBLS set up banners and speakers and conducted the event as the city's $100-an-hour videographer recorded it for posterity. The turnout was nowhere near 10,000.

Plaintalker mentioned the event here and here. I leave it to the readers to decide whether the fits and starts resemble a modus operandi like our mayor's M.O. in handling other events. In retrospect, maybe an OPRA request is in order for that event at this point.


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