Wednesday, December 18, 2013

WLRN's John Labonia: The Grinch Who Stole Christmas [UPDATED 1x]

John Labonia, WLRN's
General Manager.

Here's something to consider the next time you tune in to WLRN and they're asking you to pledge your hard-earned money to "keep the station on the air."

From Miami New Times:
Miami-Dade County Public Schools and WLRN are both making serious cuts to part-time employee hours, supposedly because of Obamacare.

The cutback will affect "several hundred" school employees, including substitute teachers, custodians, and security guards, according to an MDCPS spokesman. Also seeing their hours slashed are part-time WLRN employees, some of whom are paid by the school district.
Under Obamacare (officially called the Affordable Care Act, or ACA), large employers must provide health insurance to employees who work 30 hours or more.
Put another way, WLRN and the Miami-Dade County School Board have cut the hours and pay of employees who can least afford it. And just in time for Christmas.

Employees interviewed by New Times "say their hours are being cut from 30 to 25 per week."

A WLRN staffer told New Times, "No one seems to have seriously considered the alternative: that the school district pony up and pay for health insurance for all employees working at least 30 hours.

"I'm sure it would be expensive to cover us," she says. "On the other hand, Starbucks continues to offer its employees health insurance. What's wrong with this picture? What's wrong with this country? Why is nobody talking about this?

"This is a lot of money and a lot of people we're talking about. It looks like they are going to make money on our suffering."

But not everyone at WLRN is suffering.

WLRN's general manager John Labonia is doing just fine, thank you very much.

Labonia has been with WLRN since 2000, and according to one staffer, his tenure has been one of "bullying, harassment and downright evil behavior."

Labonia, at times, runs the station like some 1860s Mississippi plantation owner, thinking up subtle ways to demean and belittle station staffers, and "keep them in their place."

Here's an email Labonia sent out last year to Peter J. Maerz, the station's programming and operations manager:
From: Labonia, John D. 
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 9:24 AM 
To: Maerz, Peter J. 
Cc: Reilly, Eileen A.; Siy, Bernadette Y.; Barrios, Mario A.; Adam, Margarette

Subject: Routine Cleaning of Radio Studios and Edit Suites


Beginning July, 1st all radio personnel will be required to perform routine dusting and light cleaning during their shifts. Bernie is going to speak with Alfred about getting some Swifter dusters and some other light cleaning materials.

Thank you,


Meanwhile, one station staffer told New Times that she makes so little "that she hasn't been to a sit-down restaurant in two years."

And Labonia?

Like I said, he's doing just fine.

While his staffers struggle to provide for their families this Christmas, Labonia pulls down a hefty salary - paid for, in part, by Miami-Dade County taxpayers - and lives in a half-million dollar home that sits on a pleasant cul-de-sac in Weston.

Merry Christmas, John!

WLRN General Manager John Labonia lives in a
very nice house in Weston.


UPDATE: Just a few hours after the New Times article appeared online, WLRN's programming and operations manager, Peter J. Maerz, sent the following email to the station's staffers:

From: Maerz, Peter J. 
Sent: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 5:16 PM  
To: [Recipients]

Subject: Thank you

Dear All,

Before I leave for my holiday/furlough period, I want to thank you all for all that you do. I know my thanks will not help to ease the hardships caused by altered work schedules and other difficult conditions here, but I do want to offer them just the same. You guys are the core, the heart of this enterprise. WLRN Radio would cease to exist without you. So thank you for always being there, always doing what’s asked of you and then some, day after day, week after week. You’ve made us what we are and will help to make us what we hope to be.

I hope your holidays are peaceful and fulfilling.

All best,



  1. I've despised Labonia since he canned Phil Latzman this summer. Letting true talents like Latzman and Dan Grech go tells me all I need to know about this p.o.s. I look forward to the day when he gets his own pink slip. 'twill be an immediate improvement for WLRN and its fans.

  2. WLRN's revenues for the current year are projected to reach $10 million:

  3. John Labonia is a self centred ruthless individual, who does not give a hoot about anybody but himself. He does not care who he shafts as long as he gets away and ahead with it. He will use you until he looses you. He has absolutely no compassion for the working people unless it is his kind of people. I am too awaiting the day when he gets his pink slip, so he gets a dose of his own medicine. But usually people like him always fall upwards to the next better paying job where they even can cause more mayhem. I will post a story on him from the inside of WLRN soon, possible over the Christmas time, when I can get all my facts together. It will really show you what kind of a**h**e he really is and how he gets away with murder running WLRN like a lawless tyrant, backed by Friends of WLRN and their connections through their board members who own large legal firms.

    1. Can't wait to see it. Feel free to email with any info you may have.

  4. I sent you the email to your gmail address...

  5. It’s a crying shame that this radio station funded by the school board cannot see fit keep their part-time employees at 30 hours a week. Has John LaBonia taken a pay cut? From the looks of it, he is too self-centered - and totally unfit - to be manager of a station that’s supposed to operate in the public interest. WLRN boasts of quality programming especially when they do their pledge drives. What does he and the school board think will happen as they make working there a burden and a liability to their employees? Who keeps the programs on the air? It’s absolutely reprehensible that the board and the station management are so short sighted and mean spirited that they would cut hours for people who work hard for WLRN to keep its reputation for quality. I doubt that LaBonia and the board members give a rat’s posterior about the people from whom they demand the good job performance that keeps WLRN running. The excuse of using the Affordable Care Act is nothing but shameful. Really, how much of WLRN’s $10 Million budget would suffer if they offered health insurance and a fair amount of hours per week to the people they depend on?

  6. Wow. The "Friends" of WLRN radio station have been taking and mismanaging donations for years, while the people working in the TV and radio station suffer, get pay cuts or laid off:


Feel free to comment on anything you read here.

All comments must first be approved. Spam and spam links will not be tolerated or approved.