When I mentioned the strange possibility that the CIA might be behind a willful attempt to smear WBAI's image, my friend, Nat Hentoff, wrote in the Village Voice that I knew a lot about jazz, but that I was "apolitical" and should know that the CIA did not get involved in domestic matters. He was, of course, wrong on that point, but I had only thrown it out there as one possibility. The fact was that Chris Koch was deliberately blemishing WBAI's image, and it just didn't make sense. It still doesn't, nor does the seemingly impulsive hiring, by Hallock Hoffman, of a totally inexperienced out-of-towner, Frank Millspaugh. At Hallock's request, I had set up a screening procedure that yielded three highly qualified candidates to replace me. Delighted, and impressed by their backgrounds (one came with glowing recommendation from his previous boss, Norman Cousins), Hallock asked me to set up appointments for him to conduct the final interviews. Imagine my puzzlement when he arrived and told me to cancel the appointments, because the position had already been filled! I spent a month trying to teach Frank the ropes, but he seemed disinterested. I later found out that he had been recommended to Hallock by Chris Koch (who purportedly was now persona non grata at Pacifica); that he and Chris had been co-delegates in Helsinki, and that he was a fairly heavy mescaline user. The plot thickened...but wait! There was one other thing that didn't make sense: Dale Minor introduced censorship to WBAI and the Board refused to hear complaints from the affected producers (including Barbara Dane).
I am still not afflicted with paranoia, but I sure wish someone could dig up these old WBAI mysteries, and solve them.
All may not be lost, as it turns out. Enter, from stage right, the uncrowned king of WBAI, Saint Gary Null. As you may have heard, he is back on the station's air, very chummy with Berthold Reimers, and more intolerable than ever. On Thursday last, he told his listener(s) that he is an "investigative reporter" (move over bobby K) and that he highly suspects government intervention at Pacifica/WBAI. He acknowledged that WBAI's listenership is at an all-time low, but the blame was not the programming (although he has suggested that it suffers when he is not on the air), but the government! He seems convinced that the Feds see WBAI as a major threat, because it is the only voice of truth on the radio band. That has led Mr. Null to conclude that there are rats sneaking around at CCNY and the house on Atlantic Avenue—they are there to extinguish this beacon of all that is good and just. Null went further and swore that he and his investigators will get to the bottom of this—it's a promise. What the stuff maker-cum-political-analyst did not explain is why the government—or any other entity, for that matter—would wish to silence a radio station few people have ever heard of, a station so abandoned that it ranks at the very bottom of listenership in a major market like New York.
Well, here it is in his own words. Both segments are from the same show, but you will notice an abrupt change in audio quality. Haskins was operating the console.