WYPR faulted by CPB Inspector General

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After a special review of WYPR-FM in Baltimore, CPB’s Inspector General reported March 20 that the station violated the terms of its annual CPB grant and several policies required by Communications Act of 1934. The station, which angered local listeners with the January 2008 firing of longtime host Mark Steiner, did not maintain a functioning community advisory board, nor did it comply with open records requirements for financial records or EEO statistics, the IG’s auditors concluded. They also found that WYPR didn’t properly document how it spent its CPB grant. The report was lauded by station critics who mounted the campaign to “Bring Back Mark Steiner,” but WYPR President Anthony Brandon challenged the IG’s assertion that it didn’t have a functioning CAB. “[W]here we have come short, as the audit has discovered, is primarily in our record keeping.” The station has taken steps to comply with the auditors’ conclusions, but the IG recommends that CPB monitor whether WYPR follows through. Meanwhile, the Save WYPR blog is demanding to know who signed WYPR’s “false compliance records” certifying that the station was following CPB grant rules. A blogger for the Baltimore City Paper assesses the damage done by the special review: “The I.G. report might sting, but looks to me more like a jab than a knockout punch.”

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