To the editors:
Your article on the listeners' forum held by the Friends of WFMT at Roosevelt University (Hot Type, February 15) paints Al Antlitz as the main force behind the station's dangerous liaisons with canned commercials and a classical Muzak mentality. In reality, Antlitz is one of the station's longtime staffers, but he seems to have been willing to take on a realpolitik management style at the urging of the CETA directors. To my knowledge, they were turned against the WFMT staff as a result of some maneuvering by the then editor of Chicago magazine. As a result, the magazine was sold, and CETA pocketed most of the profits.
I grew up with WFMT, and returned to Chicago in 1967, partly because I could listen to the station. I'm hopeful about what you call the "uneasy truce" between the station and CETA. It's already resulted in the departure of Peter Dominowski, what I hear will be the departure of Jay Andres, and what I hope will be the permanent reinstatement of Norm Pellegrini as program director.
Two good suggestions came out of the forum. A former advertiser said he'd return to the station if WFMT returned to its original format, and Studs Terkel proposed that both the radio board and the WTTW board should have more representation from Chicago's arts community. In addition, many of us who value the station as a cultural resource would be happy to make annual contributions. Antlitz and Tom Voegeli, who comes from Minnesota Public Radio and says he hates commercials, seemed willing to listen, and I think both they and the Friends deserve lots of encouragement for a constructive beginning.
Professor of English