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."