Emergency Manager selling public radio station equipment on eBay
Posted: Feb 10, 2012 10:34 PM EST | Updated: Nov 5, 2014 5:38 PM EST
BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - An eBay posting is reigniting an argument in Benton Harbor .
Joe Harris, the city’s emergency manager, put the city public radio station’s equipment up for auction. Harris turned the lights off on the station to cut costs in January.
It’s a well known trek into the basement of Benton Harbor’s City Hall for Commissioner Dennis Knowles. Knowles had a regular talk show down there on WBHC. “Here is where we would be on air,” said Knowles, trying to open the door. “And now the door is locked.”
When it all ended he had his beef with the whole ordeal. “I think it’s important to let people know what we delegate and what we legislate,” he said.
Knowles and a handful of other commissioners had programs on the low-power station. “We talked about everything,” said Commissioner Juanita Henry, who had a regular program at the station for three years.
Henry said before it closed down it wasn’t just politics talked about. She said events, announcements and music without commercials were a service to the community. “We want that communication line to stay open,” she said.
Now that an eBay auction is selling the old, outdated equipment Knowles and Henry said adds insult to injury. “That is an insult to hear that it would go on eBay to be auctioned off,” he said. “What’s going on?”
Starting at $5000 dollars all the equipment and the low-power license could have gone to the highest bidder but when the auction ended Thursday night, there were exactly zero bids.
The post said ‘the item is no longer available’ but ABC 57 called the city and someone met us within 10 minutes. When we showed up the employee wouldn’t let us take our cameras inside. He told us that there are too many opinions and he didn’t want a news story.
Henry isn’t surprised it hasn’t sold yet. “I called several people outside the community to ask if anyone would buy it,” she said “So far no one would (be able to) come up with $5000.”
“I hope it doesn’t get sold,” Henry said. She said there are plans to pass around a petition to convince Harris to open back up the airwaves.
ABC 57 emailed several questions about the radio station to Harris. Harris replied, “The radio equipment and license are being auctioned on eBay.”