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WCAS

By Nancy F. Bauer

WCAS-AM, "the Cambridge alternative" radio station, stopped broad-casting this weekend despite attempts by community members and the WCAS staff to keep the debt-ridden station on the air.

During two five-hour seessions--one on Friday and one on Saturday--owners of the folk-and-acoustic station met with staff members in attempts to reach a compromise over the fate of WCAS.

Terri Taylor, WCAS news and public affairs director, said yesterday that owners and staff disagree on two points.

First, she said, it is unclear whether the owners can cover the station's operating expenses and indebtedness--even if the staff takes care of its own salaries. A Committee to Save CAS raised more than $5000 last week in efforts to cover the $1800-a-week CAS payroll.

Second, Taylor said, owners and staff disagree over whether the owners should play any role in the disbursement of payroll. One of the two owners--who could not be reached for comment yesterday--wants to be on the community board that has helped raised the payroll funds, Taylor said.

Despite the disagreements, which were not resolved at the weekend meeting, Taylor said she believes the station will broadcast before new owners take it over--a development that could occur as early as April 1. when the Federal Communications Commission may approve an already filed bill.

"I think we could have an agreement tomorrow and could be back on the air Tuesday," Taylor said. She added that, contrary to reports in yesterday's Boston Globe, "the staff is not taking a lay-down-and-die attitude."

WCAS has been threatened by financial difficulties since January 23, when the Internal Revenue Service drained the station's bank accounts and the CAS owners gave termination notices to all staff members.

But Taylor said she and other staff members are convinced that the low-watt, daytime station can become solvent again. "I think we're going to go back on before April 1st," she said, adding, "We're not giving up."

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