Tuesday, April 1, 2014

An inopportune fade and interesting retrieval...

It's a very brief moment from today's Gary Null show, but this time its about what he didn't say. It was at the very end of his show, where he says goodbye, turns to the phone and has an assistant, Louann Panessia (?), reads him questions posed by his followers. This time, as you will hear, the question was a rather awkward one concerning possible illegality at Pacifica. Given his shaky relationship with the station and Pacifica, it would have been interesting to have heard Null's answer, but that was not to be, because Ms. Panessia's call was faded down and out just as he was about to give his response. The fade was presumably done by Michael Haskins, who is on duty at WBAI at that time, but whoever pulled the lever back obviously did not want the listeners to hear Null's response. The fade is followed by 8 seconds of dead air, broken by a recorded Dinkins event announcement (which I faded out).

Who was being spared—WBAI or Null?


We have Gary Null's answer, unexpurgated as it appears on his own website. This is what Michael Haskins, champion of free speech and all the good stuff that is the embodiment of WBAI did not want us to hear. Thanks to a comment left by an anonymous visitor, I found Mr. Null's answer intact by going to his archive. I was unable to capture the audio, so I did the next best thing—I transcribed it.

Now you can either go to the end of Gary Null's Monday, March 31 program in his own archive (not WBAI's), or read the verbatim transcript:

"The person I had a conversation with was James Irsay, who does a program on Fridays. I'm very transparent, I don't have to hide anything. That was not quite the discussion we had. We were discussing some of the changes that occurred at WBAI, including the taking off on a Sunday a long-time, beautiful radio program on symphonies and on opera and putting a show in its place that would possibly in time attract a different audience or a larger audience—and we both felt that was ill-advised.

There was also the issue of pirating, there is currently a question, and it's a very important question, and this is where he and I agreed. I believe that any radio station, including WBAI should be held accountable to whatever law all of us would be held accountable to if we were not in that environment. The reason many issues go without the public being aware of them is because the Pacifica Foundation has groomed an image of itself that it wants to keep in people's mind, but does not meet the reality of what its become over the years. For example, I challenged the Executive Director, Summer Reeves and, before he, Arlen Engelhardt and said 'Why don't you tell the public, why don't you tell your listeners that the number two expense in Pacifica's budget is paying for sexual harassments, litigation and settlements by its staff?

This is a major expense and I felt that I could not in good conscience raise money, knowing that people who had engaged in or perpetuated in some form of sexual harassment from the management of different radio stations, and, at one time, all five stations should be supported, financially. That was never brought up, it's as if it was a secret. Also, allegations of pirating. Now pirating means that you take someone's CD or DVD and instead of giving them a royalty or buying it from them, instead you make copies, therefore you have a zero of expenses and whatever money you got from it is all profit. It will make the station look better or it could be embezzled by someone if they were so inclined to do so by submitting a false invoice which is not uncommon in this world and in people submitting false invoices and being paid, So, if pirating indeed has been uncovered, and there are those who believe it has, then that should be turned over to the Attorney General and allow those people responsible to be held accountable. 

Otherwise, let's just say, hypothetically, that it's true, then think of all the people who believe in the mission of Pacifica, or the station they're on who have donated their time and energy, who have contributed their premiums, and now they're being ripped off. Will they continue with Pacifica that station or the people involved? Continue to have a good reputation, be supported by their community if it was known that they has engaged in this gross illegal activity? So, until such time that people are brought under oath and an official criminal investigation is done, we will never know the truth.

Also, there is a federal law that if you ask for a premium you have to give it or you're in violation of Federal law, this would bankrupt the Foundation. Nothing is done about it. That was the conversation we had, we both agreed that it's time that you have responsible management, professional management, professional overseeing of fiduciary responsibilities that what you're engaged in is good programming, good fundraising, good social and civic input. That's what the station should be, but right now there is an identity crisis as BAI and none of the stations know what they want to be—there is no real image there, there is only this illusion of what we once were, and that's somehow what we're supposed to be in the future. We first have a knowledge and an insight of what are we? Are we a radio station? What do we want to be and who should run it? Should they have the freedom once elected and selected that they can actually make decisions? Because right now anyone who is selected for any position at Pacifica, cleric up to an Executive Director, the moment they make a decision that goes against a little tiny groups that control so much of Pacifica there is chanting, there is demonstration, there is threats against them and hence, there's a fear. If we were to do it over right now, probably 90% of all the programming should be scrapped for better programming, but, then again, for who? who are you programming for? They don't even know who they want their audience to be, and the audience they thought, well that audience was 1968, and it's long dead or gone, today you are competing with thousands of other media outlets that are doing good programming without the politics, without the internecine conflicts and without having to engage in any real or perceived illegalities. There should only be one rule of law which we are all held accountable for and one professional standard to which we are all held accountable.

We should all act like adults and grownups and be there to serve something other than our own ego or interest. Hope that answers your question."


  1. You can hear the rest on Null's internet station

    Null mentioned he was talking with James Irsay.
    He also mentioned Pacifica's second largest expense is paying for sexual harassment settlements for harassment committed by station management.

    I can see why Haskins did the fade...

    Now that JUC has taken over the board I expect Reimers and Haskins to start using their tongues to please Bernard and crew. Perhaps this is behind the new gospel show. If Reese is kicked out look for Bernard's doctor to get his show back (Not sure if Bernard would become PD again, he might be aiming for Pacifica ED).

    BTW, Chris, how come you're not on the "blue board" anymore? Were you blocked or did you decide not to participate?

    1. Thanks for that, JAL. As you can see, I followed your lead and came up with the whole thing. As you say, Haskins' reason for pulling that lever down is clear,

      The answer to your blue board question is that I was blocked by the little dictator. Like others on his banished list, I don't know of any valid reason, but if it makes his little mind happy.... it was no loss to me. I take a look at it from time to time...it seems to be dying.

      BTW, I hope I reconstructed well. :)

  2. This is why Pacifica should never have gotten rid of its dirty laundry rule. Internal legal issues should not be discussed on the air. It hurts the Pacifica brand. There are indeed many scammers at WBAI, particularly if programmers are making money off of their premiums. At KPFT, the station buys the premiums, not the programmer. No one scams money from their radio shows. Please note: we also would never allow a con man like Gary Null on KPFT precious airwaves.

    Kevin White
    KPFT Houston

    1. Kevin, sometimes airing this sort of thing is the only way to get something done about it.

      If we are to compare sins, I think Haskins' censorship is far more detrimental to the station than anything Null said on the air. Remember, we have station management that ignores e-mails and phone calls, and that management is purportedly governed by a national board that is dominated by brawlers.

      When I was the manager of WBAI, I encouraged and, indeed, participated in self-criticism. You either have an open forum, or you don't. The best and only right way to curb the airing of dirty laundry is to keep it clean.

  3. That was an interesting commentary by Gary Null. It's not just sexual harassment litigation; you also have election-related litigation and arbitration. Lawyers are taking all the money. There is always a way to stop sexual harassment at an organization - implement zero tolerance - i.e. prosecute criminally and fire anyone found guilty of sexual harassment. To put a few well known Pacifica personalities into criminal justice system as a branded sexual offender would have sent the message loud and clear.

    But that would have taken a professional and resolute management, something that Pacifica National Board doesn't have now, and probably never had, since the board never could control their own stations. For that matter, it is beyond my understanding, why Pacifica never hired professionals to run itself. Not wannabe business types and activists, but not for profit foundation execs and Masters of Public Administration and non-profit management.

    With regards to Attorney General everyone pins their hopes on, there are all kinds of reason that professional law enforcement would try not to get involved in the internal politics of dysfunctional media outlet, unless there was a clear and severe violation of law such as a threat to public safety, at which point they would be compelled to act. They just might exercise their prosecutorial discretion not to intervene.

    As it is, I worked around the house today and I switched between NPR and BAI. It was Fresh Air with Terry Gross (highly recommend it), then it was BAI with Letters in Politics, FSRN evening news, and the Grassroots, an awesome show!, then it was Out FM, it wasn't bad, but I switched over to This American Life. Don't know about you, but I enjoy it. BTW, whom should I credit with this descent line up at BAI today?

    1. Descent line, eh? An interesting slip, but I know what you mean. I heard some of the programs you mention, and they were good. I must make it a point to listen to "This American Life," a show I never caught but hear good things about. I don't know who deserves credit for the decent succession of programming you caught today—the passing parade of PDs makes that difficult to determine.

      This evening, I went to Youtube in search of Daulton Anderson and his WHCR gospel program, the one Berthold Reimers wants to pollute WBAI's Sunday mornings with. I love good gospel music, from the Carter Family to Sister Rosetta and that which Thomas A. Dorsey lifted the curtain on. There are great choirs, quartets, and soloists among current exponents, but what I heard on Anderson's show was the worst of the genre, and his disc jockey presentation was tasteless and cringe-inducing. If Reimers listened to this guy before giving him two hours of WBAI airtime, he is an even bigger idiot than I thought, Even one hour or half an hour of such crap as I heard him do on Youtube is a slap in the face and insult to the intelligence of the station's listeners.

      This is not at all the program delusional optimists like Mitchel Cohen think Reimers has scraped up for Sunday breakfast.

    2. When you scan the BAI schedule board, it's astonishing how many afro-centric programs there are so it's no surprise that another one will be added. Some of these programs attempt to sound like old KISS or WBLS programming with lame dj-style patter (and these programs are 2-3 hours long - no cutbacks there). Are the hosts of these programs auditioning for commercial radio jobs?

      Then there are the really intellectual programs like "No Questions Asked" where this morning I heard -- when I was scanning the dial -- one of the hosts related this bit of wisdom: She said an african 'elder' once told her that when a man inseminates a woman, the semen becomes part of the woman's DNA for seven years. She was very specific that the figure is seven (mystical voodoo number?) and that the DNA of the woman is altered. What happens after the 7 years was not broached :) Then, directly after this program we heard the soothing snake-oil voice intone "Hi everyone...I'm Gary Null."


    3. Even what you hear between programs is more often than not afro-centric. And to make it worse, much of it is simple-minded, so your WBLS analogy is appropriate.

      The hosts of these programs clearly would like to be commercial—when WBAI finally succumbs to their ineptitude, they will probably have to find another field to dabble in. The new Reimers recruit, Daulton Anderson is about as talentless as they come—but, the same can be said of Reimers.

      As for DNAs having expiry dates, that's a good one, sort of in the line of Geoff Brady's claims that reptilians are among us, and they are stealing our auras. It's amazing what ignorance can conjure up—the bible is a good example, i.m.o.

      Is that DNA revelation in any way related to the so-called seven year itch? Hmmmm

    4. Since you mention Daulton Anderson I did a Youtube search of him -- wow, how bad can you get? Also, his videos -- the few I saw -- are DISTORTED on YouTube -- the volume is so high -- the compression so strong that it's
      unlistenable. This could not be the way he actually broadcasts those programs -- it has to be due to the incompetence of whoever put it on YouTube, right? And for this, they're destroying the "Through The Opera Glass".


    5. I'm glad you saw it for yourself, rj, it truly has no redeeming value for any station, much less WBAI. Reimers is a disaster—one has to wonder what he has on Pacifica that enables him to withstand a firing and keep on making stupid decisions.

  4. And he could have gotten all this in in 8 seconds - or a minute and 8 seconds if you count the Dinkins cart?

    1. No, the dead air was simply another case of sloppy engineering by Haskins. The Dinkins commercial and those that followed were fillers. Having cut the program short, Censor Haskins ran his fillers. If the phone call segment of Null's show was not meant to be aired as a part of his feed to WBAI, Haskins should have cut away before it started.

      Sorry, there is no valid excuse for what happened, and this is not the first time Haskins has done this sort of thing.

  5. I am not sure of Reimers runs the BAI as the General manager, or if it's a team of people that we should refer to as BAI establishment, but what I think they are trying to do, is discover the next big thing, the way BAI attracted talent in the sixties. Gary Null was probably correct, when he said that they think the listener audience is still 1968.

    This can also be seen in the TYPE of Afrocentrism, that BAI chooses. Keep in mind that there already IS multi-cultural programming, starting with the BBC and with NPR, where local broadcast journalists from all over the globe are regularly featured. So, if you have journalists from Uganda, South Africa, and Kenya discussing local news, does that make the broadcast Afrocentric? Apparently not., if you measure it against the BAI. You take recent immigrants from Africa (again,. which community? you can't lump them all together) and have former engineers and other intellectuals turned cab drivers talk about current affairs and life in New York, would that be Afrocentric? Apparently not, since the only broadcasting that BAI does aimed at these immigrants has to do with labor organizing and some good attention is paid to Haitian issues.
    Again, this is not the BAI brand of Afrocentrism.

    BAI's brand of Afrocentrism is uniquely American. I deal extensively with people from all over the world as part of my work. Based on my experience, people from Africa I come across, are less like they are portrayed on BAI and more like the French, the Brits, the Afrikaaners and the (Brazilian) Portuguese, who formerly colonized them. BAI Afrocentrism is a reaction to American racism and has little to do with Africa as it exists today. Africans who grow up in Germany, become German and that's it, while Africans who come to live in America are under pressure to become an American Blacks as opposed to simply Americans, as a consequence of racism, among other things, and some choose to resist this by sticking to their original culture that they came from.

    The so-called progressive and Afriocentric BAI and Pacifica staff should understand this better than anybody else and be able to reach the Black America, but as of right now, NPR understands their diverse audience better than Pacifica and provides multicultural programming that reaches the diverse audience of the US and Canada today. Pacifica, on the other hand, has lost grant money, because they can't connect with Latino listeners, just as they are unable to connect with the mainstream American black audience, which they lose to NPR. Afrocentrism as it is expressed on BAI is of the self-gratifying variety, indulging the black power cherished values and tropes of the JUC members youth.

    1. Yes\, I agree BB. WBAI's Afrocentrism is as stunted and frozen in time as the program I am now listening to: The Personal Computer Show. I can almost see their MS-DOS teeshirts, just as I picture Orlon dashikis through much of occupied BAI's day. :)

  6. Although I appreciate much that appears on this site I must very strongly take exception to the remarks about the Personal Computer Show. First of all I think that the comment about MS-DOS tee shirts is totally unfounded and unsupported by anything that I have heard on this show. Secondly I have to say that this is one of the better shows on BAI and one of the few (increasingly few) reasons that anybody could have to support it. Some other reasons to support the station are, of course, "Through the Opera Glass" and "Here of a Sunday Morning", which the station "management" in its infinite lack of wisdom has seen fit to abuse!

    1. Macintosh is also a "personal computer" and its operating system is quite popular throughout the world. The hosts of this show sound like they had been frozen in time...a time (late '70s-early '80s) when I used to attend avery computer club meeting I could fine. These guys could have been plucked right out of one of them. Of course I know that they have moved on from MS-DOS and even CP/M (which formed the basis for Microsoft), but they are amazingly myopic.

      This evening, a caller's question pertained to Apple's latest OS enhancement. His was a basic question, but the two Microsoft mummies had no answer—that came from one of the younger hosts and was far too general.

      They should either get some fresh hosts with universal knowledge or initiate another program. Of course, the PC program is mostly about problems... that would to a far lesser degree apply to the Mac. I have used Apple computers since 1980. When IBM finally came along, I bought a PC,,, I soon gave it away...not, I admit, without some guilt. :).

      The guys who own Tek-Serve started out at WBAI, but I think they are among the disenchanted.

    2. Tekserve was founded by David Lerner and Dick Demenus. They had met at WBAI, where they had also worked with Mike Edl. I believe they, Edl, and Larry Josephson (who held a first phone) designed and oversaw the construction of the studios at The Church.

      Edl was a first phone and chief engineer, and also the fellow who, with a few others in tow, went to the transmitter room at the ESB and kept the signal on the air for several hours after the board had ordered the station shut down 11 February 1977.

      In the late 1970s Lerner, Demenus, and Edl founded Current Designs, which designed and manufactured rugged listening stations for the NYPL at Lincoln Center and early rugged audio guided-tour devices for use in museums.

      They bought one of the first Macs in 1984 and fell in love with it as much for its internal design and engineering elegance as for its famed interface.

      They have enormous support in New York’s creative communities. As one of many examples if you watch Hal Hartley’s ‘The Book of Life’, sure enough we get a glimpse of Tekserve.

      They have always been and are still extremely socially conscious, and Tekserve supports all sorts of worthy activities, by donations, by promotion, and by use of their facilities – but, no, not WBAI or Pacifica.

      ~ ‘indigopirate’


    3. Thanks for the details, Indigo. They are also great guys, I used to see tham at Mac shows, where they had a booth. Their shop was seen to great advantage in one of the episodes of "Sex in the City." I remember taking my original little Mac to their old shop and seeing people of all stripes seated in a row with their desk Macs on their lap—it reminded me of the waiting room at the Animal Medical Center. Mac owners tend to love their machines and it was especially so in the earlier years.

      WBAI's bozos have alienated a lot of good people.

      BTW, has anybody heard anything about the iPods, mini tablet and Apple lap top that WBAI's hucksters dangled in order to entice "buddy" sales? Did they ever buy these premiums, were there any drawings held? Did they give listeners back their money? My guess that it was just wham, bam, scam you ma'am...as usual.

  7. I'm providing a link to Tekserve's Social Responsibility page. As you can see, it's impressive, and their commitment has run long and true and deep.

    It's nice to see that some WBAI alums have continued to do great things and to continue to support worthy causes.

    WNYC is one of many worthy causes they've supported over the years.

    ~ 'indigo'


    1. Thanks again, Indigo. I guess they were useless to the WBAI people because their minds worked well and they did not have larceny in their hearts :) Seriously, when the station took its turn, many decent people hopped off. Several years back, it would not have been difficult to assemble a celebrated bunch of people for a benefit concert, nor would it have been difficult to obtain from them items for auction. I think I told on one of the board about an afternoon when Oleg Cassini walked into my office a gave us a dress of his own unique design. There were also unsolicited gifts from people like Elaine de Kooning, James Mason, Vidal Sassoon, Vonnegut and many others... now all we have is recorded promos by people who—I bet—think the station they are helping to promote is the one they knew many years ago.

      Truly pathetic..... and destined for the final crash. The mourners will be few.