I signed off for the last time at WEAA as host and executive producer of First Edition, while I was on air September 22.

However, if I’m real about it, I actually “dropped the mic” emphatically, yet, literally with love with MFSB’s “Love is the Message (the Larry Levan edit)” in the background and my friends and colleagues, Stephen Janis and Taya Graham (The Mod Squad) in the studio with me.

I severed my ties with the station because I profoundly disagree with the new direction of WEAA (which we outlined in the AFRO’s article by Deborah Bailey, Sept. 7). However, DeWayne Wickham, the dean of the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Morgan State University argues I left for a different reason.

Sean Yoes (Courtesy Photo)

“Wickham characterized Yoes leaving as the result of a disagreement over the editing of audio clips aired on his show this week. The clips involved the use of the n-word in audio related to a Ta-Nehisi Coates’ article from the Atlantic magazine…Wickham said the station management wanted to have a conversation about the matter with Yoes, but instead the show host resigned on Friday. ’The general manager sent an email to him, but he did not come in to talk about it,’” Baltimore Sun’s media critic David Zurawik wrote quoting Wickham on Sept. 23. To say I left WEAA because of a disagreement with management over the inadvertent airing of the word “nigger,” is a flat out lie. Further, to suggest I hastily resigned because I was somehow fearful to sit down for a meeting with Mireille Grangenois, the station’s interim general manager is silly.

Perhaps Wickham was mislead somehow to believe I left in a tizzy over the word nigger; I guess it’s possible. However, the truth is I have said the word nigger on air many times, quoting other individuals or to accentuate a point. And I’ve facilitated on-air conversations about use of the word on more than one occasion. The use of the word is not a big deal to me.

However, Wickham is correct, Grangenois did request a meeting about the show in question. Below is her email to me:

Sean

I’m scheduling a meeting with you at 3 pm Monday, September 25 in my office to discuss last evening’s broadcast.

I will see you then.

Mireill

The email was sent to me Sept. 22 at 9:20 a.m., which clearly indicates Wickham’s assertion, “The general manager sent an email to him, but he did not come in to talk about it,” is dubious; the meeting wasn’t scheduled until the following Monday (Sept. 25). Of course I didn’t “come in to talk about it.”

Further, if I had somehow been spontaneously spooked into quitting WEAA Sept. 22, because I received a frightening email from Grangenois that morning, how could I have announced my intention to launch our podcast, “AFRO First Edition w/ Sean Yoes,” Oct. 9 on the same day? I stated my intention clearly on Sept. 22 and the Sun’s Zurawik reported it in his story where Wickham is quoted.

The truth is, I made my decision to leave WEAA on Sept. 5, the day Grangenois informed me of the catastrophic changes at the station that were to take effect Oct. 2, which included cutting First Edition from two hours to one, and eliminating 10 shows and 10 hosts, many of whom have served this community for decades for little or no money.

It is true, management has to reconcile a fiscal mess at WEAA; the station has lost a lot of money over the years. However, it seems curious to eliminate 10 positions where hosts were paid almost no money.

The changes at WEAA mean that 10 talented people, who have inspired me and countless others through their expertise and the love of their craft over the years, have been cast aside like so much refuse. From what I was told, WEAA didn’t have the decency to inform most of the hosts in person, their shows were being eliminated before the announcement was made.

WEAA has eschewed a scalpel for a meat cleaver and is cutting out the heart of the so-called “Voice of the Community.” The people on the street, many who support the station financially aren’t happy.

Sean Yoes is the AFRO’s Baltimore Editor. Join him Oct. 9 when “The AFRO First Edition w/Sean Yoes,” podcast launches.

Sean Yoes

AFRO Baltimore Editor