The board of directors of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters has dismissed NFCB President Maxie Jackson as of March 4. He had led the organization since January 2010.
Neither Jackson nor Sue Matters, chair of the NFCB Board, would discuss the reasons for Jackson’s dismissal, due to terms of a severance agreement. NFCB Board Treasurer Janis Lane-Ewart is acting as interim president of the organization. The board plans to start a nationwide search for a new leader.
“The board intends to continue with all the work that’s currently in motion,” said Matters, station manager of KWSO in Warm Springs, Ore. “Nothing is going to change with that.”
The dismissal “was a huge mistake,” said Ginny Berson, NFCB v.p. Berson credited Jackson with stabilizing the organization’s finances and with developing its 5x5 Model, a training program to help community radio stations improve in the areas of engagement, programming, development, governance and compliance. The model has been “fabulous” and engaged many stations, Berson said.
Board members had praised the 5x5 Model as recently as January, during a planning meeting, Berson said. She has heard that board members said their vision for NFCB differed from Jackson’s, but “that’s incredible to me, because I’ve never heard the board articulate a vision.”
The board had also cited “style issues” with Jackson, she said, but “you don’t fire a visionary leader over style issues, in my opinion.”
The timing of the board’s decision was especially bad, Berson said. NFCB’s conference will be held in San Francisco May 29–June 1. In addition, three North Carolina stations that serve African-American audiences are meeting this week to discuss a collaborative programming and development project that Jackson had been shepherding.
Jackson is now working as a consultant and hopes to find another job in public broadcasting.