Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Politico article on the WBAI crisis...

Amid rumors of Hennelly's firing (possibly just someone's wishful thinking) comes a somewhat shallow Politico article. It is a not so focused look through the WBAI keyhole, but it adds a couple of pieces to the puzzle.


  1. According to a link at the bottom of that article, Hennelly was fired.The people in charge of the station really doesn't seem to know what they are doing.

  2. Nobody can turn around a sinking station in a month, or raise half a million with practically no listeners. When Pacifica wants is to get a Program Director, who would deliver all the money to them AND will let them do what they want. Essentially, they are looking for a useful idiot with half a million to fund their existence. Won't happen, folks!

    This does not speak well for Summer Reese. Much as I disliked Hennelly's smarminess and commercialism, he was trying to build a new BAI brand - he took in new producers, trained them, or monitored them. He was doing something. Of course, developing BAI local programming will fly in the face of Pacifica, if it wants to use the five stations as drones for the syndication of the Berkley station content. Andrew Phillips strategy of using quality public affairs programing to build up serious audience sounds logical, and I have to agree, the Berkley programming WAS quality, but why did Phillips throw in the towel as the interim program director at BAI? OK, Reese had a better idea of using NULL to raise more money quickly. Then it reverted to the BAI-on-a-stick culture schtick. There had to be more going on between Reese and Phillips.

    Finally, the clouds part and reveal the Sunshine - the programming in the premium concept was born of necessity - Pacifica could no longer deliver the Null premiums because the station could not pay for it! That makes a liar of Null, who gave a different explanation. The question that begs itself is, why wouldn't Amy Goodman and Gary Null to a bit of charity work and underwrite the beloved BAI radio station whose listeners made them millions?

    The bigger problem is that Pacifica brand of "Community Radio" is actually driving the African American listeners away with its abrasive and dysfunctional elements in its African American programming, that may work for the older generation, but no the current one. I contrast, NPR cultural programming draws the younger "Community" listeners away, with its inclusive, positive, and accepting cultural programming. Whoever been sitting at Pacifica National Board trying to get a larger share of listening audience, does not get it.

    Let's see who gets hired next!

    1. I think we are seeing interim interims. :)

  3. Is there any serious doubt that Reese is in serious discussion with Auricle/Ken Freedman at this point?

    Note that the quarrelsome children at the recent PNB gathering-cum-mudfest in DC passed a resolution precluding *negotiations* for sixty days. As children playing grownup it seems never to have occurred to them that they had failed to include the word ‘discussion(s)’ or any sufficiently broad language.

    Reese, I assure you, has all the maneuvering room she needs in this respect.

    More importantly, the recent imploding attempt at raising funds has sharply demonstrated once again that WBAI, even with reduced budget, cannot survive let alone find the maneuvering room to attempt to rebuild and recreate itself.

    All this as PFW is on the evidence in comparable immediately dire straits, the other three stations are only a bit stronger, and Pacifica itself is at the edge of staring into death and the abyss.

    With profoundly dysfunctional governance structures and profoundly dysfunctional directors et al, it’s now very close to the literally-no-choice-or-decision-to-be-made point.

    No one – absolutely no one – of any competence will be willing to attempt to take on the fore-doomed challenge of program director or other management function at WBAI.

    No one.

    The stink and the sight of a bitter, quarrelsome, and an ugly death are everywhere.

    Who on beneath the heavens’ reach would want to work with these people?

    For what?

    The privilege of leading the final collapse and enjoying the accompanying reputation?

    For my part, I’ll be delighted to see something worth listening to on 99.5 and its accompanying web feeds and presence.

    Let life rise from the squalid ruin of lingering death.

    ~ ‘indigo’