An unvarnished blog that dips into the past and comments
on the present of WBAI-FM, a once significant, intelligent New York
radio station that has chronically suffered abuse from within and now
nears extinction. Your comments are welcomed and will not be censored.
Here is another WBAI Folio from 1964. You will notice that we, on most nights, signed off around midnight. Exceptions were Saturday night, when I kept am audio melange going until the wee hours—or whenever I felt like calling it a night. Another exception during the period covered by this Folio was "The Big Tune-out," our live satyrical coverage of the National Conventions. This program—co-produced by Richard C. Neuweiler—featured members of the Second City, headed by Severn Darden, and included truly clever input from Elaine May, Barbara Harris, Taylor Meade, Burns and Schreiber, and—in a memorable role as Ladybird Johnson—David Amram. A renaissance man of impressive accomplishments, David, is still a WBAI habitué, most often heard on the perennial Bob Fass show.
Apropos accomplished people, note the photo of our Music Director, John Corigliano, whose Sonata for Violin and Piano won him that year's Spoleto Chamber Music Competition and started him off on the road to numerous awards, including the Oscar and Pulitzer Prize. John composed and recorded marvelous fund-raising jingles for WBAI and "updated" Bizet's famous opera to "The Naked Carmen" with Melba Moore adding some Harlem soul to the cigar factory.
The promo single came in a cigar box.
Getting back to the early sign-offs, we did not end on a prayer (although there was always plenty to pray for), but my predecessor, Joe Binns, had us going out on the Star Spangled Banner. It was something all stations did back then, so I thought it was required by one of out odd laws. I found out, however, that there was no such requirement, so I decided to add a little twist when I became the manager—I wrote to the U.N. and asked if they could get us recordings of all the national anthems for membership nations. We received the tapes and began ending each broadcast day with a different anthem.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the national anthem of Rwanda......" Most people loved it, but there are always those who find something wrong, and, of course, some thought we were being unpatriotic.
On to the Folio (the drawings of Igor Stravinsky are by Barbara Mercer). Don't forget that a click on the image enlarges it.