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When A Closed-Door Meeting Remains Open 

Conflict of interest causes stir

In March, I wrote about new Rhinoceros Times publisher Larry Gauvreau, who also happens to be a CMS school board member, and the potential conflicts in terms of his new job and his elected position. Just eight weeks later, the closed-door meeting has hit not just the fan but also the Rhino Times and the Charlotte Observer, after Gauvreau disclosed details of a closed-door meeting about hiring a new superintendent and outgoing head James Pughsley's retirement package.

Other board members are less than happy and say it may jeopardize the national search for a new CMS leader; Gauvreau says these details should be made public. Either way, it's a gray area journalistically, ethically and probably legally.

North Carolina's open meetings law allows for public bodies to hold closed-door meetings when discussing personnel matters and the like. That keeps the press and the public out of the room, but it doesn't keep someone from inside that closed meeting from spilling the beans either as an off-the-record "source" or right out in the open, as Gauvreau has done in his newspaper.

The closed-door meeting has hit not just the fan but also the Rhino Times.

There's probably no legal recourse if other school members want to take action, but expect this to become another ring in the circus we call the CMS school board. Better TV than Fear Factor!

WFAE-FM is ramping up its technology with an HD test that it hopes will improve the quality of what listeners hear. It's the first radio station in Charlotte to use what's called "HD Technology," and it's a digital transmission of audio and data that's sent out right along with our familiar old analog signals.If it works out, the digital signals can be split into several bands, and special home audio receivers could display news, weather, stock quotes and even song titles.

Radio Waves: The "Conversation Station" is closing shop just a few months after it began. Kris and Kevin Geddings, who started a talk format on their station, WXNC-AM, have sold it to Atlanta's Norsan Group, which also owns Spanish station WGSP-AM here in town. The new owner will be switching the format back to Spanish.The Geddings also come away with a sweet deal. The couple bought WXNC for under $450,000 two years ago and is now selling it for over a million.

Finally, despite the rah-rah PR the Carolina Panthers are putting out, we still puzzle over the hiring of Mick Mixon as their radio play-by-play announcer. After the PR disaster the Panthers created by firing the popular Bill Rosinski, you'd think they'd go after a bigger name with solid NFL experience in the booth. Instead, we get someone who has none of that. Nothing personal against Mixon, but the Panthers should have traded up.Stay tuned...

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