Monday, April 28, 2014

Radio Unlistenable... it's not just the content ...


It has been said that today's WBAI has the worst sound on New York's FM dial. That not only holds true, the sound is getting worse! The following two sound bites were taken yesterday and today, but they are not rare examples. I have used cuts and crossfading to abbreviate them somewhat, but only because this is mostly to illustrate the abominable technical quality of WBAI. Of course, in the case of Michael Haskins, content is also a major issue.


He likes to very selectively cite events that occurred on "this date in history," and today he focused on decades-old protests against nuclear facilities. Not the kind of "news" that can stand alone and endure, but I wanted you to hear how Chief Announcer Haskins butchers the name and location of the Gundremmingen nuclear plant in Bavaria, and how Chief Engineer Haskins is equally adept at botching up the audio. The music that follows sounds like it might be emanating from a Muzak speaker way down the hall—goes on for quite a while until Haskins returns to the microphone at a reasonable but now not so pleasant level to tell us that "Holocaust Remembrance Day started yesterday." When, one is tempted to ask, does that day end?

If you keep the audio going, you will hear Haskins intro Queen Nasira. Unfortunately, they seem to be speaking in sign language. The ineptitude then continues with more music from down the hall before Haskins returns at high volume, having finally found his next guest, Joyce Williams, who informs him of the disappearance of the Queen. Haskins is sorry to hear that, but assures Ms. Williams that although she somehow didn't hear Queen, we and "the rest of the listeners" did. Really?


I still don't know why nobody monitors output. Haskins appeared to be unaware of the dead air and skewed dynamics on his own show and if he knew that the first ten minutes of "Democracy Now!" was more dead air, he didn't share that knowledge with the listeners. In fact, not at any time did he explain or apologize for this stellar example of ineptitude and warped priorities. Of course, Berthold Reimers, the dunce who is supposed to be managing the station, doesn't tune in to it.

Yesterday's "The Next Hour" fared no better—it had Janet Coleman talking into a dead microphone for 20 minutes!

24 comments:

  1. Impressive.

    ~ 'indigopirate'

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  2. *The Parable of the Street Corner Progressive*

    It’s literal, not figurative.

    There was once a street corner in Manhattan, on Broadway, specifically the south-east corner of Broadway and 109th.

    It was a shabbier time on the Upper West Side, nary a banker in sight, Robin Williams had seized the day, crossing, time and again, from that same corner to the south-west corner, with period-appropriate automobiles parading past, slowly, on cue, time and again.

    There was gunfire every night, and Christopher Reeve had shot hoops for a location shoot in the school playground nearby – occupying armies of production crews making the shoot safe from the dealers and other realities that were the life of the film, but not the life of the shoot.

    The Progressive would arrive early every Saturday morning, Volvo parked at the curb, bullhorn in hand, and would begin his progressive spiel, waking the working-class folks, mostly minority, who lived in the old building on the north-east corner.

    On he droned, secure in his permit, his license to broadcast leftist enlightenment to the working classes.

    A day off from teaching at some fifth-rate college in Staten Island.

    Passersby ignored him.

    The working-class folks who were awakened by the blare of his amplified enlightenment early every Saturday morning from their chance to sleep a bit on their day off, threw eggs.

    Early, every Saturday morning, every Saturday morning.

    Still, valiant, he droned on, with no audience save the egg throwers, for years.

    Early, every Saturday morning, every Saturday morning.

    Convinced, eternally, that the preaching made a difference.

    There seems to be a parallel, a parable here, wonder what it might be….

    ~ ‘indigopirate’

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  3. This is ineptitude on a cosmic scale. Reimers, Haskins & Ryan -- can you imagine any legitimate *business* actually having any of these charlatans on staff? And, why is this dead airtime not an issue for the FCC?

    Oh boy, it's now time for another month of fundraising!

    rj

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    1. Yes, the the failure of the FCC and FTC to do anything about WBAI's ongoing infringement of the rules amaze me, too.

      Now, to be quite honest, a bit of dead air can be blessed relief from awful programming, not to mention infomercials.

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  4. In the now-infinitely-distant past dead air was considered a cardinal sin, a form of what was jokingly referred to as 'Wasting the Lord's Precious Air Time' as well as a sign of intolerable and unforgivable incompetence.

    It's very nearly all dead air now, sometimes with accompanying random noise.

    In time, presumably, truly, literally, dead.

    It's taking a while, though.

    ~ 'indigopirate'

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  5. Forgot to mention: Amusing as Haskins attempt at 'Gundremmingen' (It not only reflected the fact that that one's a bit tricky for an English speaker, but the fact that he hadn't bothered to look at the word carefully in advance in order to make at least a decent attempt – too lazy, sloppy, and unprofessional, I suppose), his attempt at 'Bavaria' was even more amusing. 'Bra-vah-ree-uh'? Most English speakers can, of course, handle 'Bavaria', but it seems to exceed Mr Haskins knowledge and skill levels. It's very common for (frequently pretentious/affected) Americans to mispronounce Porsche, of course, dropping the final schwa sound, rendering it as 'Porsh'. I suspect, though, that even that mangling would be beyond Haskins, and he'd likely say something like 'He was driving a Perch'.

    Fish, rotting from the head as institutions so often do, might be within his range of comprehension and expression.

    ~ 'indigopirate'

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    1. Why did Haskins ever get off that bus?

      Apropos Bravariuh, yesterday I heard Judy Garland shrine keeper, Dave Kenney ("Everything Old is...") twice mention modren music.

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  6. Modren? Mod-Wren? Wren-a-la-mode? Pret-a-Manger Wren?

    [sorry, couldn't resist]

    ~ 'indigo'

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  7. The BAI Trio are placeholders even as the Pacifica is torn apart by the external economic pressure and internal socio-cultural forces, Hill and Schweitzer (both of them) utterly forgotten.

    I wouldn't expect Haskins to pronounce German place names like a native, but "Bravaria" (Must be the land of the Brave!) was just too much. Funny and sad at the same time.

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  8. In terms of horrendous radio, they are playing a disgusting segment about Sandy Hook being a fraud. The children were not gunned down - they are all alive and the parents are actors or liars. Disgraceful. I couldn't listen for long, it literally turned my stomach.
    As an aside, the audio quality was also terrible.

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    1. I was also listening and I agree with you. Geoff Brady, the host thrives on conspiracy theories and I have yet to hear him question even the most outlandish fantasies these nuts bring him. Recently he said that he had friends whose aura had been stolen. The culprits—and they are everywhere, but most of us don't realize it—are reptilians from other planets who very cleverly take on human earthling form.

      Brady has no place on radio, least of all a Pacifica station. This is the sort of thing the WBAI bozos are talking about when they use the "only on WBAI will you hear" angle in their fundraising pitches. Of course, the reason they are right is that no other station is run by such imbeciles as one finds clustered at 99.5.

      And they wonder why intelligent listeners have fled en masse?

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    2. That is *truly* obscene.

      'Only on WBAI [and Pacifica]' indeed.

      ~ 'indigopirate'

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    3. I was reading something and fell asleep on my couch. I woke up to that segment about the Sandy Hook "actors".

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  9. I knew as soon as I heard it I had to post it here. It was so unbelievably grotesque. I did look up Geoff Brady's website - truly frightening. He also mentions collective human energy being harvested at the superbowl and at concerts. I don't understand how this is progressive radio? And you are absolutely right, this is only radio that no one else would broadcast. What you have been saying all along is so true, and it is proven by the disgusting programs they air. I've never had the misfortune of hearing Geoff Brady's show - I hope no one actually believes what he's saying. So irresponsible!!

    Keep up the good work - and shame on WBAI.

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    1. Thank you. A couple of years ago, I mentioned it in an e-mail to Reimers. He of course ignored it—the LSB is just as guilty,,, those people will rumble a bit from time to time, but only when things go beyond outrage and legality (Double Helix water, for ex.), and only for a moment. That's why I have always said that only a thorough cleanup will do—the place is too infested with these disgusting and (you said it) irresponsible people.

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  10. What you are seeing with Geoff Brady is the transformation of the Pacififca culture from progressivism to fringe, in an attempt to increase the appeal and broaden the audience for marketing. In keeping with this ideological shift, Gary Null did not so much defend Cliven Bundy, but portrayed him as a victim of the BLM, a rogue government agency. Whether you like it or not, the Save KPFA faction is mostly NPRish public affairs broadcasting - Ian Masters, Letters In Politics, Sojourner Truth, while Summer Reese faction used Gary Null, has Blosdale, and keeps using Reimers to raise revenue. Reese essentially asked Pacifica content producers to read about the evils of water fluoridation and a book by some 9/11 "Truther".

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  11. Does any of this struggle actually matter in any meaningful sense?

    ~ 'indigopirate'

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  12. I think it's Queen Nasira... but since Michael Haskins doesn't pronounce the "N", it's hard to guess. It was really embarrassing when he talked over Joyce Williams to stop her just as she was getting started.

    J.

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    1. You're right—thank you for the correct spelling of her name. As for Haskins' interrupting Ms. Williams, when it comes to bungling, he is nothing if not thorough.

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  13. As for "Sandy Hook" 'Bai atrocity stories I have a gem. I was engineering that weird race program "Where we Live". You know the one that sez all the black people in prison for violent crimes are political prisoners. Anyway one of the last episodes I had to manage had one of the deranged comrades say the,

    "...we shouldn't care about the so-called victims of that Sandy place."
    "These were the children of the enemy, and no concern to us."

    That's pretty much word for word. I might be off a little maybe, but ya get the point. After the program I protested to the host, and the insane guest. The guest said I was just another "Negro", and would be "dealt with" when the times comes. I told the host...one of Sally's pals..."I think your guest just threatened my life."

    Such was, and is 'Bai.

    Anyway after that Sally arranged for someone else to engineer the show.

    So I guess she saved my life. Certainly she got rid of any rational presence in the studio that could disrupt the message to the community.

    As for our air it sucks technically, and content-wise. Both would be very easy to fix...but won't be.

    Sidney

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    1. I wish I could doubt the veracity of your story, Sidney, but I I'm afraid I can't. Hope you are doing well,

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    2. That is such a disturbing story. I've heard that show a few times and they have had some outrageous guests on. They are not so different from the radical far right crazies. It's sad because they corrupt and pollute the message they are trying to send. And it seems these people are allowed to say anything, whether kooky conspiracy theories or hateful slander and no one stops them. The worst is they seem to have gotten rid of anyone who had an interesting and intelligent show and just left the rabble rousing insanity!!!

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  14. Impotence breeds rage. Sad, that such people exist in the legacy of the successful civil rights struggle and claim to be standing side by side with those courageous individuals who laid their lives on the line and accomplished it.

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    1. Yes, we see a lot of that around Pacifica.

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