January 12, 2006

PRP president expected to resign

Public Radio Partnership President Gerry Weston is expected to resign later this week pending his agreement to terms created by the PRP Board of Directors for his departure.

Since PRP was created in 1994, Weston has led the organization, which operates three FM public radio stations — WFPL, WFPK and WUOL. He also has been an employee of public radio in Louisville for more than 25 years and has been an on-air personality, hosting WFPK’s “Gerry’s Jazz” program that airs on Sunday.

Weston has been on leave since before Christmas, according to David Handmaker, chairman of the PRP board. Weston did not respond to an e-mail message and several phone calls seeking comment.

Handmaker would not elaborate on the change, saying only, “It would be unfair to discuss his status at this time. It’s between Gerry and the board.”

Weston has had a tumultuous year at PRP since reports that the board was considering replacing him were leaked to media in January 2005. At that time, some board members voiced concern over Weston’s ability to lead the organization to its full potential, citing mismanagement of internal communications and poor conflict resolution. In news reports at the time, PRP senior management rallied behind Weston and challenged the board’s authority to replace him.

During the first part of 2005, the board retained an outside ombudsman to manage an employee grievance process and conduct a survey of all employees to identify chronic problems. The board also established a five-member committee to review Weston’s performance on an ongoing basis.

Most recently, several PRP sources have reported that Weston was implicated in secret tapings of PRP board meeting, which allegedly began around July 2005. Weston allegedly used information obtained from those tapings to respond to board questions concerning his management style and leadership capabilities. Handmaker would not confirm or deny the allegations.

PRP sources have said that after Weston’s expected resignation, the board will name an interim CEO with crisis management experience and begin the search for a permanent replacement.

Handmaker would not confirm either action but said, “I believe the PRP is headed in the right direction.”

—Tom Peterson
Contact the writer at tp-pride@win.net