Saturday, May 17, 2014

The way we were...

Here's a Village Voice article that gives a good impression of the way we were almost a half century ago, before the  opportunists found us and wiggled their way in.


  1. Well, there you have it. You had a different BAI, different Village Voice, and a very different audience in the 1965. The artists and performers who helped out the BAI fund raiser in 1965 are now helping out at NPR. Alec Baldwin has his own show, called here is the thing, and most of the cultural programming on NPR features the in-depth interviewing of the journalists and authors I read, and watch on the screen. NPR blew my socks off, when having read several books by Ahmed Rashid, who wrote the best English-language coverage of the Taliban and the civil wars in the post-soviet Afghanistan, long before they grabbed the world's headlines, anyway, I tune in NPR once, and who do I hear being interviewed, but Ahmed Rashid! Why is it that I never had a similar moment with BAI and Pacifica?

    But what do you expect, in 1965 BAI was described as serving the disaffected middle class, largely educated and intellectual, and today, BAI features a bunch of self-described revolutionaries and activists purporting to serve a phantom audience of the proletariat that Arbitron can not see, and hence the CPB grants can't find?

    Part of the problem was that in 1965 some BAI staffers thought that it was a cultural desert out there, hence anything they broadcast will be good by default. Since then, just as the educated and anybody who could, have emigrated form the war torn Afghanistan, the talented and the capable of the Pacifica have left for the NPR, and the world has moved on, and we live in a post modern cultural jungle, except for the few BAI fanatics, who still think themselves in a desert of the prophets and church fathers, and who still pitch premiums under the impression that anything they offer has to be excellent and ground-breaking by default.

    1. When it comes to WBAI, I think a major difference between how things were in 1965 and what they have become in 2014 is the station's attitude. In 1965, most of us felt good about our job—we were there to show the other, often hidden side of the coin. We did not have to constantly claim that something we aired could not be heard anywhere else, because that was obvious to anyone who traversed the dial. Had we made such statements back then, they would have been true—they are far from true when today's WBAI opportunists weave them into their running lies.

      Sure, it was a different WBAI, Village Voice, and audience in 1965, but that's a given—we all evolve with time, as do our habits and mindsets, but some things, like the fundamental principles of post WWII Pacifica, remain the same. Distorting facts is now second nature to WBAI's management and many of its on-air people. As we see, the majority of the listenership don't like that menu, so they have gone elsewhere.

    2. Another factor in the station's decline may have been the simple fact that there came to be other, roughly comparable opportunities, which hadn't existed in anything like the same numbers in the network's and the station's earlier years.

      ~ 'indigopirate'