Monday, February 25, 2013

Don't blame Sandy...

The 18 months came and went. Did WBAI's listenership increase significantly? No, it all but disappeared. Did Bumbling Berthold, the Botcher of BAI stabilize the station's finances? No, he knocked it further down with his ineptitude and delusions. Another 14 months have now passed, WBAI has sought refuge at a college station, its offices relocated to the opposite end of Manhattan, its transmitter location atop of the Empire State Building faces a serious threat of eviction for back rent. The stagnant program schedule that discouraged listenership and reduced it beyond measure not only persists, it has been made more unlistenable. 

Why does Pacifica keep Berthold Reimers on? 

I am not the only one seeking an answer to the above question. The following was posted on the Blue Board today by an unidentified WBAI listener (possibly a worker) who had just listened to Berthold Reimers' report to the PNB last week.  I suspect that many people wonder why such incompetent management is allowed to stay on, and what it would take to get rid of it. 

Listening to Reimers talk I feel he told us much about himself. His tiny dig in “I’m from the Carribean were we buy not rent” meaning as in those stupid NYers who don’t. Well, let’s be honest not all Caribbeans buy, only those who come from wealth or have a good income. Obviously his family is not from the working poor, so how could he begin to understand the working poor in the US. Let’s be honest most people who come from other countries to the US come from wealth or very good incomes. It sounded to me like. He just seems to me justifying why he should keep his job, exaggerating a few positive points, like positive feedback from other networks. 

What I find very troubling though is what I heard from some of the listeners. One woman standing up and saying when she looked at all the premiums she had subscribed to and saw that she had received very few. When Janet Coleman stood up and said she was
representing the staff, and asked a fair question that Reimers never answered, I wondered who was representing the listeners, and was there anyone listening who was troubled by what the subscriber said, that she almost never gets her premium. To pitch a premium, COLLECT MONEY and not send it is fraud. What part of the word FRAUD do Reimer, Davis not understand. 

Then Gary Null today, Tuesday Feb. 26th, was asked why he was not pitching. He said that when WBAI sends out the premiums from 5 months ago that he pitched and collected money on, then he would pitch again. Gary is right. Gary also said, that WBAI continues to insist on paying people they cannot afford to pay but does not send out the premiums on time to people who have paid for their product. Reimers’ priorities are messed up. There are 8 million people who would do a radio show for free. You can find producers to do radio for free. Why are you continuing to pay people to do it? But people who were promised a product and paid for it, need to be given that product. Otherwise trust is broken and it is DISHONEST. And there is an issue of lack of trust of this network from the outside. 

But the big question is: Is anyone really in charge of the network or do they all just collect salaries and have meetings? If you are running an organization that is financially strapped, you don’t stab your customers in the back. You scale down to the bare necessities, antenna, operations, premiums, a station mgr. and engineers, a roof over one's head. But if Reimers does come from a substantial economic background in the Caribbean, he may not understand what it means to budget when you’re poor, and that's why he keeps making the wrong and crazy decisions. Don't get me wrong, I am not against immigrants or those who come here to better their lives, but I think it's time to hire people who understand the environment they are working in and to demand INTEGRITY from those who work for them and oneself. —Anon


  1. Because he meets the three indispensable requirements for WBAI managerial positions:

    1. He's black.
    2. He has an accent.
    3. He's incompetent.


    1. Color of skin, awkward articulation, and competence are not mutually exclusive. Reimers, however, fits all three descriptions, the one that disqualifies him is No. 3. The competence of the board or committee that recommended him for the GM position should be questioned and looked into.

  2. What Mismanagement?

    Which news item is most likely to be the lead story on WBAI‘s News?
    1. Uruguay successfully tests an atomic bomb.
    2. Cataluña and País Vasco secede from Spain.
    3. Honduran transvestite is roughed up and insulted by police.

    Which of the following three candidates would most likely get the job as GM at WBAI?
    1. Ellen Jacobs: Founder, manager, and program director of a small, independent, community- oriented radio station outside of Westport, Connecticut.
    2. Abe Gonzalez: Professional musician, teacher in elementary schools and community college, producer of radio programs and television programs, and over 20 years experience working at WBAI.
    3. Rufus Jackson Toussaint: Member of the Haitian Simbionese Liberation Army, cleaned latrines at NPR station in Port de Prince, “community organizer”. Studied ESL at Tampa Community College.

    It’s nighttime. You scan the FM dial as you cruise down a deserted FDR. You listen to four radio stations. Which is most likely to be WBAI?
    1. One station is playing Bunny Berigan’s “I Can’t Get Started”.
    2. Another station is rebroadcasting an interview by Terry Gross about the dangers of factory farming.
    3. Someone with an unintelligible Indian accent is offering his latest book on herbal remedies for constipation as a premium at the bargain price of $250.00 for supporting the radio station.
    4. A woman from Portugal is playing the music of Ana Moura and explaining the characteristics of Fado.

    How many WBAI engineers (excluding Max and Sidney) does it take to turn off a light bulb?

    Two: One to hold a gun on the passengers. The other to crash the plane into the light bulb.

    The Pacifica Maven

  3. Hello Chris,

    Black female from NJ,

    I renewed by membership with WNYC. I know the station can be repetitive and dry, but it offers thoughtful, reasonable discussion and professional broadcasting. WBAI station makes you respond in a negative, visceral manner. P Maven, you're right. There's not much to listen to up and down the radio dial. I live in Central NJ, I cannot get classical station WQXR.

    I must say, years ago when I had a devoted interest in European classical music, I was amazed that WBAI could devote 24 hours to playing Richard Wagner's Ring. No radio station could do that. Eventually the producer of that program mentioned that management decided to discontinue the yearly event.

    Chris, WBAI will never offer programs the way WNYC does. NO MONEY.

    Thanks for offering your space for responses

    1. Thank you, BF from NJ.
      Lack of funds can play a role in what is or is not broadcast, but the present group did not dilute the content and scope of its schedule for lack of money. They did so for lack of insight and a preponderance of personal, shallow, agendas. WBAI is going down intellectually as well as financially, because one factor affects the other.

      It is amazing how even a shoe-string budget can produce great, memorable radio programs if the creativity and intellect is there.

    2. Hi BF from NJ.

      Do you live anywhere near Roselle?

      WKCR plays wonderful music from 10:00 A.M. to noon--works you hear nowhere else.

      The Met will be doing the Ring this spring--I have tickets for Siegfried.

      There's an interesting movie about the current Ring. It's called "Wagner's Dream".
      I recommend it.


    3. Hello again,

      BF from NJ,

      P.Maven, I live in the Middletown area of NJ. My apartment is all electric (very costly) and I get structural interference. It doesn't manner if I put the radio near the window, the station's frequency is too weak. If I invest in costly upgrades to my apartment, there is no guarantee they will work.

      I miss the WQXR station when the New York Times owned it. It was a nice oasis at the end of the work day for me. Let's face it, even the NY Times was aware of the financial realities it faced. No awareness exists at WBAI.

      P Maven, I hope you enjoy the Siegfried performance. When I get a chance I'll check out the movie you mentioned.

    4. BF
      There are many good stations that you can listen to through your computer. A good pair of headphones or a good radio which can be hooked up to your computer (Like the Bose Wave Radio) enhances the sound.

      WKCR does live stream broadcasts. It's a terrific station:

      Gary Null is pompous, egocentric, and opportunistic, but his PRN is also worth a listen because of the excellent talk shows.

      Perhaps I've mentioned all this before. At 68, I haven't aged as well as Chris and am forgetful at times.

      Union County is better than Monmouth County for receiving NYC stations, and I don't get electrical interference; however, WFUV and WFMU don't have strong signals and I have trouble with reception during different times of the day.

      Anyway, thanks for your response. And I echo your thanks to Chris for providing this forum.