Most members of WTMD board have resigned, says former chair

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Maryland’s Towson University is reconstituting the board of directors of its public radio station after a majority resigned following the dismissal of longtime g.m. Stephen Yasko.

According to former board chair Steven Reeves, all but one of the board’s 11 independent directors, including Reeves, have resigned in recent months. The members sat on the board of Towson University Public Media Inc., a nonprofit that the university created in April 2014 to handle fundraising for the station. The other board members are Towson staffers.

Board Vice President Dan Reck also confirmed his resignation. Other independent directors did not return requests for comment.

Reeves, c.f.o. for an alternative energy company in Bethesda, Md., said he resigned over governance changes that came with the university’s creation of the TUPM nonprofit. After Towson formed TUPM, he said, it made Yasko an employee of the university rather than the board.

“Towson University has set up a governance structure that is about as opposite from good governance as can be,” Reeves said. “It allows the university to meddle at will with the station, and they have taken advantage of that.”

The structure also discounted the board’s collective experience and led to significant micromanaging of the station, he said.

“It just was not a tenable situation for an independent station,” Reeves said. “In many ways, it was a squandered opportunity, but they do own the license, so they can do what they want.”

Josianne Pennington, who oversees WTMD as Towson’s director of university marketing and communication, declined to disclose how many board members resigned. The school is “fully behind” WTMD and is working with the staff to fill out the board over the next few weeks, she said.

“We are completely aligned and very excited about WTMD, its future, its vision and its goals,” said Pennington, who also is on the station’s board. “We are in a very good place.”

According to WMTD’s website, the board was last scheduled to meet Aug. 4 in closed session for an emergency personnel matter. Yasko was dismissed July 28. The station’s website advertises no further meetings, and its page listing board members has been blank since September.