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.
Bob Hennelly, Interim Program Director held a meeting at WBAI’s Brooklyn Headquarters. He spoke about how WBAI is in a crisis mode. He said the challenge is to fix WBAI’s business model, to bring programming back to a dynamism of the past.
Radio he said is to provide company, sanctuary, to support and engage and challenge with conversation that is relevant to the lives of those listening. Hennelly is opening the lines during morning drive time. He intends to con- tinue to co-host the morning show and build the drive time audience for at least 30 days.
Hennelly said he will cut out California imports during the 3pm weekly time-slot. This drew applause from the room. Instead the Interim PD said he will look for those who can engage on a variety of local and international issues and who can deal with open lines for that 3 pm slot. It would then deliver a greater animated listenership to Hartman’s show.
Regarding news, Hennelly said he wants to coordinate programs which already feature some headline news, but develop a series of daily reports which include basic coordinates like traffic and weather.
Regarding the current programming staff, Hennelly said it is impossible to keep track of some programs broadcast every two weeks or monthly and he will attempt to regularize those shows. “Every other week programming is not the way to program the radio.” He said he wants the voices on now to build a larger audience.
The February marathon will be one where the pitch is the show and the station. Premiums are thank you gifts, not the object of the fundraising and a list of available thank you gifts was provided to each producer. It is available here: http://www.wbai.org/articles.php?article=1720 Mondays are to be reserved for pitching for listeners to become a WBAI Buddy.
Berthold Reimers, WBAI’s Station Manager, entering the meeting said WBAI needs to raise $400 to $500,000 during the Feb. thon. This includes $55,000 a month for the transmitter. (station owes Jan. and then Feb.) Berthold says that if we raise the funds needed the talk of RFP’s, the Request for Proposals, will go away.
If you have the rights to any material you want to give listeners as thank yous for pledging they need to be registered with Andrea Katz, BAI’s Development Director asap. Email her: Andrea at wbai.org. She is able to arrange downloads from the website with proper notice.
Also discussed was pitching partners. Hennelly said management would be available to pitch with programmers during the February thon. They will complement their efforts and program. “There has to be another voice in the room, someone unrelated to the program. Someone validating and respecting your work.” He said WBAI is show business. “Show business with a conscience.”
Here's Bob Hennelly's phone number: 973 714 0923 Email: pd at wbai.org