Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Null steps forward as the Summerthon plunges...

When a now occasional WBAI listener recently asked if Berthold Reimers, the station's appointed GM, is in the Witness Protection Program, few were surprised by his question. Never before in WBAI's 54-year history has a person holding that position been so tenebrous—yes,the station has often been rudderless, but there was always somebody in the front office who boldly (though sometimes, unwisely) showed a face.

It is probably not by accident that Reimers is named last and almost as an afterthought in Gary Null's executive roll call, which was a part of this morning's utterances from the station's rarely used confessional.

I need not tell you more, the aircheck really says it all. but I look forward to reading your comments on it. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Another vital Pacifica voice is stilled...

The Hour of the Wolf encompassed much that helped to shape WBAI, but the Pacifica era of responsible reporting and intelligent imagination is long gone. So, now, is Margot. We who knew her will miss the very fact that she was among us, even at a distance.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Grasping for dollars....again

Yesterday, they kicked off the so-called Summerthon, having barely finished its Spring precursor. That one was extended, but it nevertheless failed to meet its goal. This one will be tougher for several reasons: Summer is traditionally the worst time for fundraising; there are even fewer listeners; the backlog of "premiums" was never eliminated; people are onto the game or just plain tired of it; the rent bills that were to be paid with money from the previous marathon have still not been satisfied (but the money was spent on other things); trust in the station and the future Reimers and his cronies see through their rose-colored glasses has largely dissipated.

So what miracle are these people expecting to see this time? Here is the two-week marathon program schedule that went into effect yesterday (Monday, June 20). You will see that it attempts to maintain normalcy, but there are quite a number of "specials." I may be wrong, but the usual fare is hardly going to raise enough money to put a dent in the immediate debt, so I expect that Reimers has rounded up the usual suspects for a veritable deja vu orgy of scams and shameful solicitations.

Already last night, Geoff Brady was interviewing a fellow nutcase and selling his book as a premium. Again, the amazing thing about this show is not so much that the guest is bonkers, as it is that Brady—who has been underestimating normal intelligence for many years on WBAI—continues to be in awe of utter nonsense. Here's an example from which, for the sake of brevity and purely humane concerns, I have removed the direct sales pitches:

Total in pledges, so far $90,325 (Buddy count = 11)
Click on below images to see daily details

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pulling out of the station

As I have commented previously, I think the slow deterioration of WBAI began back in the late Sixties when Larry Josephson and Steve Post (pictured above, to the right) took advantage of a limp station manager and introduced personality shows starring themselves. It was an alarming trend that turned out to have legs and eventually altered the character of WBAI, pushing aside some of Lew Hill's most significant principles.

Today, several decades later, this assimilation of lightweight radio has all but eliminated the line that once so impressively distinguished WBAI from the rest. It has become a station that advances personal agendas, whether it be through political indoctrination, entrepreneurial endeavors, or narcissistic needs. Post mostly satisfied  his craving for the latter—he was not a dummy, he just played one on radio.

Michael G. Haskins (seen above to the left) is among the dregs left in Post's wake. He never knew WBAI as anything other than a dysfunctional remnant of the past, and he clearly still does not grasp its intended raison d'ĂȘtre. He is among those who wish to see the station go black—which it almost has—but he places that goal above any desire to reach an intellectual level, as if the two properties were mutually exclusive. Inarticulate and of shallow thought, Haskins lives in a fantasy world where WBAI is the people's station, a "family" waiting to be rediscovered by the "community". His blinders are firmly in place.

Some of us here in Pacifica's Eastern outpost have wondered how WBAI has been allowed to stay on a dead end course with clods of Reimers' ilk at the helm. Well developed Pacifica paranoia ascribes it to a power struggle liberally sprinkled with greed—a vague plan that exploits the dumbest of the dumb and perceives an advantage in failure. Of course, failure is not something that requires an effort to obtain when you have a radio station that replaces substance with selfies. The less paranoid simply attribute the steady deterioration of WBAI to amateurism, rationalizing that these people really are as dense as they appear to be. They are, but nefariously so.

Having been short-changed both intellectually and materially, most people no longer care what happens to the station. Collectively known as the lost listenership, they would probably agree with Michael Haskins' standard selling point: "Where else can you hear what WBAI has to offer?" The answer in most cases is, "nowhere," which speaks well for the much maligned New York FM stations and is an inducement to abandon 99.5.

The following audio clip of Haskins' "open phone" segment is from this morning's show. It contains several elements that illustrate why the audience is all but gone.

As for the unraveling PNB coup, stay tuned.