Whole Wheat Radio and its mission of providing a grassroots, all-volunteer, donation supported website and webcast that competently and without mainstream advertising supports independent musicians and their craft is currently offline.
Having just checked this morning, the Whole Wheat Radio webcast and wiki are offline, with a message from its founder Jim Kloss. For those not familiar with the site this post might not make much sense, if I had more time I'd delve into what WWR is all about, for now consider this an "in" thing.
So here’s what happened, I think
I've largely avoided Facebook for the last year or so because to me the site represents all that is wrong with my generation (The Zuck) and it depresses me, but I logged into it again this morning to find out what was going on.
I'm not entirely sure how all this went down, but as I understand from his explanation on the site, some listeners of the station formed a seperate Facebook group for wheatheads to converse that was outside the channel Jim had set up for the site. As a result, conversations and collaboration were occuring outside the official site which, as a collaborative wiki, has a dramatic effect on the effectiveness of the platform. Whole Wheat Radio only works if there are people collaborating and helping out on the site itself, and; to be blunt; a seperate group leeches off this.
From a personal perspective, I had no idea about this new group but, as Jim so rightly observes, I was added to it automatically. Having visited it, I noticed a link to "Leave the group" despite never agreeing to join it. If this is an issue with Facebook, there are grave ramifications. (UPDATE: Apparently it is, and I missed it. What I get for not being in the loop with the tech media for the last month).
Thinking out loud
I've always so deeply appreciated all the work and effort Jim has put into maintaining such an open, advertisement free and honest site over the years when many others in his position would have long ago sold out. It takes conviction and a well placed moral compass to do this.
As a result, I felt it was my obligation… no scratch that, it implies I was forced to… I felt compelled to help out. Sometimes I didn't agree with Jim's approach to the site, for example I was nervous when he deeply integrated Facebook and essentially began hosting discussions with them instead of on the local wiki; but I figured he had solid reasons for doing so, and I respected all the work he put into it that I had no problem whatsoever accomodating.
If you're reading this Jim, I deeply hope that whatever has happened and wherever your life is taking you right now, I hope you figure things out and are comfortable again soon. Above all else, I respect your position and admire your convictions. A lesser person would have let this (and other issues over the years) slide, taking the integrity and honesty of the site down with them.
That reminds me!
I was going to delete my current Facebook account and start fresh. All my previous records would still be there forever, but at least with a new account with a fake name (I'm think Ruben GrilledCheeseSandwich or something) then my contributions to their hive mind would be less valuable from now on. Plus, I'll only be adding friends like Jim to it instead of everyone I've ever met. More on that later.