'Democracy Now!' petition: No progress made

A small group of locals have been working since May to bring the news program “Democracy Now!” back on the air of WHUS, the University of Connecticut’s student-run radio station. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

A small group of locals have been working since May to bring the news program “Democracy Now!” back on the air of WHUS, the University of Connecticut’s student-run radio station.

Despite the acquisition of over 1,000 signatures on a petition to bring the program back, the station has been unable to find volunteers to ensure that the program will be aired at noon each day and monitored for the duration of the broadcast.

“There’s got to be some sense of obligation, especially when there are this many people who are frustrated,” Bill Potvin, a longtime listener of the program who owns a soda company in Willimantic, said.

Even though “Democracy Now!” is available online, Potvin said he misses being able to tune into the radio every day at noon and listen to the broadcast.

“I’ve always like to be able to work during lunch at my computer and listen to Democracy Now. I could work and learn about the world, that’s gone now,” Potvin said.

Potvin is one of the men who was been maintaining contact with the station, and even helped to print out flyers seeking volunteers to run the program, which he put up in the Student Union.

“[WHUS] is not making any effort, we’re the ones putting up the flyers, we’re reaching out to the media,” Potvin said.

Potvin said that he feels that the station has tried to put the responsibility of finding volunteers onto those who are fighting to get the program back into WHUS’s daily lineup.

“They’re passing the buck onto us,” Potvin said, “We feel we need to find someone on campus, i.e. students.”

Potvin said that part of the problem is that many volunteers who are not students have been pushed out of their roles at the station.

“A lot of people who weren’t students have been squeezed out,” Potvin said.

Potvin said that while he is discontented with WHUS’s lack of initiative to draw volunteers in, those trying to get “Democracy Now!” back on the air have maintained civil relations with the station.

“There no adversarial nature, we’ve been doing it right,” Potvin said, “Hollering and saying the wrong thing is not going to accomplish anything.”

Potvin said that he believes that it is a valuable program that students and the larger community should have radio access to.

“Goodman [the host of Democracy Now] is a hero, she went out to Dakota to Standing Rock and she got arrested” Potvin said.

Goodman travelled to North Dakota last month to cover the controversial construction of a pipeline, an issue that was the topic of a Daily Campus column.  

“This is so important for students and education,” Potvin said.

Potvin said that the station told him that it was unlikely that the program would return before next semester, but he is hopeful that the program will eventually return.

“I personally don’t feel like I want to let it die,” Potvin said, “It can be resolved and we hope it will be.”


Anna Zarra Aldrich is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at anna.aldrich@uconn.edu. She tweets @ZarraAnna.