Exclusive interview: Alabama Public Television COO Grantham resigns

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Charles Grantham, chief operating officer of Alabama Public Television, has resigned, effective Aug. 31.

Grantham told Current that the “additional stress and frustrations” at the station in the wake of the controversial terminations in June of Executive Director Allan Pizzato and his deputy, Pauline Howland, have taken a toll on him.

Since the firings by the Alabama Educational Television Commission, Grantham had been publicly voicing his concerns about the future of the station. “I’m glad I’ve been able to be a spokesman and make some of the staff feelings known to the commission and others during all this turmoil,” he said. He also sent a letter July 19 to Gov. Robert Bentley saying that the commissioners “have their own agendas, which may or may not have been in the best interest of APT.”

Commission meeting minutes show that Pizzato was under pressure from members to run programs from religious activist historian David Barton. The commission also overhauled the station’s longtime mission statement, removing all references to the state network’s commitment to diversity.

On July 26, Grantham accepted 114,000 signatures at the station from Faithful America asking APT to ban Barton’s programming. Grantham brought the petitions to a commission meeting Tuesday, but declined to speak with a reporter. “I have been advised by Commission Chair Ferris Stephens that I cannot utilize my First Amendment Rights and speak to the media,” he said.

Grantham started working at the station in 1974 as a television technician. He progressed to director of engineering, then c.o.o.

“It’s been a long and — until the past few weeks — for the most part a very pleasant and rewarding work experience,” he said. “This staff is more of a family to me. It’s with a lot of sadness that I make this decision at this time.”

Grantham said he’ll finish up several projects before departing.

WBHM-FM in Birmingham has posted a copy of Grantham’s resignation letter.

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