Former Pacifica counsel Dan Siegel, now on the KPFA (Berkeley) Local Station Board, has called for WBAI to be temporarily shut down, moved to Queens or New Jersey, and sold to some high roller.
In response to the alert I sent out about his proposal to sell WBAI, Siegel wrote: "I have never suggested that Pacifica sell WBAI."
Siegel, the lawyer, is playing word-games. Here are his words, verbatim, from the July 7, 2012 KPFA Local Board meeting. Keep in mind, please, that this was the second recent meeting at which Siegel advocated the selling of WBAI.
"I don’t know if it’s true or not anymore, but a few years ago at least it was possible there were actual people who would buy WBAI for enormous amounts of money, and that part of the deal in exchange is that WBAI would get a new spot on the dial – admittedly, a less attractive one in the eyes of the person who wanted to buy it. Now we’ve always been extremely resistant about even thinking about ideas like that but given 1) the urgency of the situation, and 2) the fact that BAI really has a tiny number of committed listeners, making that change doesn’t seem as radical as it might be anymore."
Siegel is using the words "exchange for money" (and spot on the dial) instead of the word "sell". Nice one!
For those who might be snookered and think this to be a reasonable-sounding proposal, please be forewarned that one is not able to "trade" (for money, or for anything else) the current 50,000 effective watt antenna we're now licensed to use for one of similar power. Any "exchange" or "sale" would entail losing our call numbers and, more importantly, our strong signal. Additionally, there is no guarantee that the FCC would approve a new spot-on-the-dial for the former WBAI. What would ensue from Siegel's proposal would be tragic. We would likely lose WBAI forever.
I would hope that all WBAI listeners and staff would stand united -- all factions together -- and oppose any sale of the station. While we all know that Pacifica is in trouble economically (as is WBAI), Siegel's slash-and-burn proposal is precisely the wrong way to go about making the improvements needed.
Chair, WBAI Local Station Board*
*For ID only. These are my own comments and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Local Station Board.