What’ll ya give me for it?
Back in January, I wrote about Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joe Harris closing down the radio station that was run from the City Hall basement. He figured it would save the city $10,000-20,000 a year.
This week, Harris put the equipment up for sale on eBay:
Low Power radio station and equipment
Mackie 16 channel board
2 CD players
antenna – negligible on removal [negligible? negotiable?]
The sale has some locals worried. One person wrote to me:
Yes, [the radio station] was low tech and “unprofessional” – but the real folk listened in. In 2008, I was on the show with Scott Elliott. The first time I talked about the environmental issues – very straightforward – explaining how Whirlpool wasn’t solely to blame for the mess – The second time I went on, I went through the facts once again – reading from commission resolutions and other official documents – we found out later that the station engineer cut off the broadcast – all people heard when they tuned in was music. Only 6% of Benton Harbor residents – and I think that includes the whole zip code – subscribe to the paper of record. The other radio stations are controlled by Cornerstone or Clear Channel. The “grass roots” newspaper has been thoroughly co-opted, running fawning pieces about Harbor Shores and Black golfers – Guess we’ll have to go back to broadsheets and smoke signals.
While this is probably not illegal, the optics of it are horrendous. In a town where the local dictator has essentially ended local democracy, this looks way too much like restricting the freedom of speech to many locals. Hard to see how that’s worth it, in the end. But, well, that’s how Joe Harris rolls…
UPDATE: It’s over. See how many bids it got HERE.