Wednesday, April 25, 2018

NYC Radio: Harassment at WNYC Found To Not Be ‘Systemic’

An investigation into the workplace culture of New York Public Radio and its flagship station WNYC  820 AM / 93.3 FM found that incidents of bullying and harassment were not reported to senior managers, in part because of fear of reprisals, a lack of confidence in how reports would be handled, and the perception that the station’s stars were “untouchable.”

But the investigation did not find “systemic discrimination” that was known to, and tolerated by, senior management. The investigation also largely absolved Laura Walker, the president and chief executive of New York Public Radio, who acknowledged last year that she had “prioritized growth, and content and programming, over investment in some of the processes and people.”

Laura Walker
Instead, the investigation focuses on the station’s “understaffed” human resources department and recommends steps familiar to many workplaces grappling with the #MeToo movement, such as adding training for managers, creating an anti-bullying policy and clearly explaining its anti-harassment and discrimination policies to employees.

According to The NY Times, many employees who attended Tuesday’s meeting found the report sorely lacking, according to several people who were at the meeting and spoke anonymously to avoid reprisal. Many seemed stunned, even dismayed, that no one was apparently being held accountable.

Accusations of harassment and discrimination at WNYC exploded into the open last year when the writer Suki Kim described her experiences, and those of other women, in an investigation for New York magazine, writing that John Hockenberry, the former host of “The Takeaway,” had harassed her after her appearance as a guest. A subsequent probe conducted by the WNYC newsroom revealed additional cases, as well as management’s awareness of myriad problems with “The Takeaway.”

Then, in December, the station fired longtime hosts Leonard Lopate and Jonathan Schwartz after an investigation found they had violated standards of workplace conduct.

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