Benton Harbor, Emergency Managers, Joe Harris — January 6, 2012 at 9:39 am

Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joe Harris shuts down city radio station


Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joe Harris shuttered the city’s only radio station this week, citing “efficient use of the city’s resources”.

Two Benton Harbor city commissioners threatened the city’s emergency manager with a lawsuit Wednesday after he shuttered the city’s radio station.

The low-power FM radio station WBHC-LP 96.5, which is broadcast out of City Hall, shut down Jan. 1. […]

[Commissioner Juanita Henry] Henry said Wednesday night the radio station, which played music and had programs hosted by Commissioners Muhammad, Henry and Dennis Knowles, was not a burden on the city’s budget, but had its own funding.

The radio station gave the Benton Harbor residents what they always ask for – a communication link between citizens and city officials, Henry said. The commissioners used the station to voice their opposition to the emergency manager’s charter changes, which were on the last election’s budget and failed to pass by a wide margin.But Harris said shutting down the radio station was not related to the station’s content.

“My motives are not political,” Harris said. Instead, he said he is motivated by the need to use the city’s resources efficiently.

The radio station does cost the city money, Harris said, and though it isn’t a large amount, the city doesn’t need to spend money on a radio station.

Harris said he did not have exact budget figures, but said, “It’s not an arm and a leg, it’s $10,000, $20,000, maybe less.” […]

“The city doesn’t need a radio station,” he said. “Who else has a radio station?”

Yeah, I suppose when residents don’t have local democracy, having access to more information is probably not necessary either, eh, Mr. Harris?