Friday, August 16, 2013
A second look at Andrew Phillips
While I haven't completely given up hope that Andrew Phillips can perform a u-turn from his new driver's seat, I have to say that the prospect for recovery dims each time I hear him speak on the air. Wednesday morning, he was on with Ifé, who actually performed quite well. I have always regarded her as having a talent for broadcasting, I just don't think her strictly commercial hip hop trips ought to be taken at 99.5, and her Jet-cum-Reader's Digest "inspirational" quotes are decidedly for the simple minded.
Apropos undemanding listeners, I was startled and dismayed to hear Phillips defend WBAI's numerology program this morning. A listener called with four valid programming complaints. which the interim PD should have welcomed, but didn't. In fact, he immediately went into a defensive mode, especially when the caller likened Z. Starman to a ball-gazing fortune teller and said the best thing about his show is that it's on when hardly anybody is listening. Now I know why Starman said he had a feeling that only his time slot would change—Phillips seemed to suggest that the popularity of astrology was sufficient reason to schedule such a program. I wonder if he knows that the host tales his scam beyond the studio by inviting private "consultation."
That same caller also pointed out that many WBAI programs drift off the intended subject, citing "Equal Time for Freethought" as an example. It was meant to give voice to the Atheist/agnostic point of view, but has become a rudderless trek into whatever comes to the host's mind. Knight was guilty of that with his "Earthwatch," which became focused on whatever ambulance he chased that week, usually online. I think Phillips demonstrated how blurred his vision of a healed WBAI really is. I used to think the housecleaning that last week rid the station of Armah, Knight, Davis and Hamilton was not entirely a money-saving move, but I am now afraid that I overestimated Andrew Phillips' good judgement. I now see that some of his "reasoned" changes were, in fact, done by default.
I should have known better. I should have seen that gigantic red flag he and Summer Reese hoisted when Berthold Reimers was allowed to keep a job that he has so thoroughly botched for the past three years. More flags went up this morning when he allowed Michael Haskins to take over the hour and inject his racist notion of "community."
WBAI needs management with brain and spine intact. I don't think it has found that in Andrew Phillips, but I would love to be proven wrong.