Back in ’93, the general manager of college radio station WJHU, Dennis Kita, turned to theatrically minded and politically outspoken Baltimorean Marc Steiner for advice on how to start a public interest radio show. Steiner’s recommendation: “Let me give it a shot.” If you live in Baltimore, you know he got that chance and made a career from it. The rest is history, though that sounds too simple — Steiner’s local fame is certainly not controversy-free.
Still on the airwaves, Steiner’s eponymous “The Marc Steiner Show” made him a local celeb nearly overnight; he helped found WYPR (88.1) and served as exec vice president of the station from 2002 to 2006, and meanwhile founded his own non-profit company, the Center for Emerging Media (CEM).
Then in February of 2008, Steiner was fired unexpectedly. In a similar flash, supporters launched a petition and several websites, collecting over 1,000 signatures demanding he be reinstated. Listeners picketed the station’s advisory board meeting. They vowed not to renew their WYPR memberships. Through it all, General Manager Tony Brandon stuck to his firing guns.