Miami school board rejects challenge to selection process for manager of WLRN

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The school district licensee of Miami’s WLRN has denied a petition filed by a station friends group that challenged the district’s handling of bids to manage the station.

Friends of WLRN filed a petition Dec. 12 challenging the process that led to a recommendation of South Florida PBS to operate WLRN. A five-person committee had considered bids from the friends group and South Florida PBS and recommended the public TV station, which operates WXEL in Palm Beach County and WPBT2 in Miami.

In its petition, Friends of WLRN challenged the committee’s evaluation of its bid. It also accused South Florida PBS of violating a “cone of silence” law prohibiting public discussion of requests for proposals and argued that the station has a “poor financial history.” 

The school board had scheduled a December vote on the recommendation of South Florida PBS but postponed it. It has yet to schedule further consideration of WLRN’s management.

Dwight Hill, board chair of Friends of WLRN, confirmed to Current that his group’s petition was denied. Friends of WLRN has since requested an administrative hearing regarding the matter. A Miami-Dade County Public Schools spokesperson declined comment, citing pending litigation.

Hill said that after the petition was denied, Friends of WLRN had conversations with South Florida PBS “on how we could work together” but that the station broke off discussions.

In a statement, a South Florida PBS spokesperson told Current that Friends of WLRN rejected an offer to continue fundraising services support for WLRN “while South Florida PBS manages the stations consistent with the District’s RFP process and bid award recommendation.” South Florida PBS is “prepared to support” the Miami school district in the administrative hearing process, the station said.

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