Saturday, July 5, 2014

Random notes: July 2014

July 5, 2014-You may have heard the announcement of a Sunday morning shuffle that adds an hour to "High Praize", follows that with a 60-minute "special,"  and, at last, moves "Through the Opera Glass" to a reasonable time slot: Noon to 3 PM. 


The original announcement of this deckchair rearrangement suggested that it was triggered by "Beyond the Pale"  opting out of the schedule. That is true, but why did one of the station's good shows no longer wish to be aired? I bet its producers were reacting to amateur Reimers' banishing the show to a mid-night limbo. That's what made Sheldon Walden exit in a huff a few days ago, so such shifts are not always detrimental to WBAI. 


Apropos WBAI's ludicrous schedule, here is a parody from Sydney Smith's blog. He does not name the show in question, but were the sand in Reimers' head gold dust, I would not hesitate to bet it on "Where We Live," a single-minded seance conducted by Sally O'Brien.

That show, which is heard 3 times a month, does justice a disservice as it wraps itself in a rather transparent veil of Goebelbabble. That's my word for the kind of racist fact twisting that is currently prevalent throughout the station's shifty-cum-shifting schedule, starting with Haskins' morning amateur show. It is imperative to point out and cover the corruption that is tearing down what is so na├»vely dubbed “the American Dream” and pushed as “democracy,” but Pacifica also has a mandate to tell the truth, to be honest with its listeners, and to not become a soap box for personal political agendas. Deceit and race-baiting only serves to put the protesters on the same side of the fence as those against whom the outraged is directed. I heard a rather disgusting exemplar of that today as "On the Count" had someone named Robin McGinty celebrate the Fourth with fizzling fireworks.

With so many current wrongs needing to be brought above the fold and scrutinized, spending hours and hours of air time rehashing (and embellishing) the grim, distant past may fuel anger, but it is a wasted opportunity.


Some of what McGinty, Sally O’Brien, and the other wrongheaded ideologues say on WBAI’s air has a basis in fact, but even when the truth is sufficiently outrageous to demand change, they find it necessary to lace it with lies and redirect it with omissions. Such calculated dishonesty is what propaganda is made of and it would not have been very effective in Pacifica's early years, but it riles up a dumbed-down listenership created by decades of unconscionable programming. It is why intelligent people no longer tune in, it is slanted information that ultimately does the cause of justice a disservice. This approach has defanged and all but killed WBAI, so one might ask why we should worry about a group of opportunists preaching to themselves? I think the real cause for concern lies not so much in what these people spew, because hardly anyone listens, as it does in their theft of New York's only true voice in the media wilderness. They earn our condemnation for rigging what Nat Hentoff once called "the only game in town."

Even the most savory peach loses its flavor when served in a sauce of compost.

More to come, but don't wait for me—I want this to be a singalong, so add your voices.

41 comments:

  1. Sure. I'll sing along. I think some Monty Python is very apropos...

    Anything goes in.
    Anything goes out!
    Fish, bananas, old bananas,
    Mutton! Beef! and Trout!
    Anything goes in.
    Anything goes out.

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    1. As in most such situations, profit or nonprofit, the actual shortcomings are at the board level – everything else, really, is derivative of that fact. All other considerations are, with respect, in a very real sense moot.

      At this point in time WBAI/Pacifica’s board has long been locked in a self-reinforcing death spiral – this is generally and widely acknowledged.

      Personally, I can’t imagine any way out of that spiral, barring black swan angelic intervention – though there’s still a small chance that WBAI will be sold off to some worthy purpose.

      I ain’t givin’ odds on that one, though.

      ~ ‘indigopirate’

      ps: Why is it that this situation reminds me of the Roman punishment for parricide?

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    2. It's a bit complicated, Indigo. What we have here is a small selfie "community" that has gone from cide to cide and now stumbles headlong towards the ultimate sui. Somehow, going down with the ship is not so noble when you had a hand in steering it into the berg.

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  2. Jeez, Chris. To be fair, I went to the archives and listened to On The Count. Now, this crap is supposed to be about the criminal justice system? I must have missed something (besides everyone in jail being innocent). All I heard was a pack of bitching morons who perfectly fit the professional victim stereotype doing what they do best - rationalizing their sitting on their asses and freebooting by claiming to be victims, in this case of slavery, which they are MANY generations seperated from.

    This is just the kind of garbage that attracts barely any listeners and even fewer pledges from the type of crowd that it attracts, since, after all, they are victims and should get everything for free.

    Was even one of these imbeciles a lawyer? I know McGinty mentioned something about a thesis she is writing. About what? Being a useless waste of electric on a troubled radio station? See. This is where a program director needs to walk in and just tell these people they are fired. You'd make more money replaying Democracy Now for people who may have missed it during the week than this tripe.

    This is truly the haggis of the airwaves - a dish of all the scraps even the poor threw away.

    SDL

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    1. I wasn't exaggerating, was I, SDL? McGinty did introduce me to a new word, however. Ever trying to increase my English vocabulary, I can now add: "positionality." Well, as soon as I can figure out how to use it :)

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    2. No, you weren't. I remember when the former owner of the infamous Plato's Retreat was being interviewed once and was discussing the famous people who went there with the word "notarality" instead of notoriety. Hell, the other day I made up "destructophany," which is when you hear loud sounds of something being destroyed, like a building being torn down.

      SDL

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    3. Given the nature of Plato's Retreat, Levinson shouldn't have made the sometimes missionary positionality of his customers known, nor any part of their notarality public—no pun intended, but it isn't good PR.

      BTW, the Ansonia is where Enrico Caruso used to hang his Fedora when visiting New York—I guess its thick walls kept out the destructophany of the city.

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  3. Well, isn't Daulton Anderson the asshole and a half? Did you hear his hyper defensive tirade? The man is obviously suffering from some form of paranoia that makes the rest of the loons on WBAI seem like amateurs. He has no ability to have a dialogue with anyone who doesn't high praise the ground he walks on.

    The way he was asking for money (like a televangelist) is telling me there is more here than meets the eye. I am guessing he promised to bring in money and now has to put his money where his big ass mouth is. Good luck. He's going to need it with that attitude.

    Oh, yes. That was me calling in and being respectful only to be subject to his form of psychosis.

    SDL

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    1. To use his own word, "Amazing," but no grace :) I love the way he simply muted callers who didn't share his fantasies. This hasn't yet appeared in the archive, but I'm going to grab it as soon as it does. Why? To share it....isn't that what that books tells us to do? Come to think of it, doesn't it also advocate tolerance?

      I confess that I never read the book, but I recall picking up Bible Comic for a dime from that little candy store Mr. and Mrs. Mensch had on Austin Street, in Forest Hills. I couldn't read English at the time, but I did later see the movie and give it a thumbs down.

      Seriously, if this isn't airing religion, I don't know what is. Reimers is a colossal idiot.

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    2. I actually supported Pastor Paranoia and said what I said here about gospel music having a history on WBAI, but I wouldn't be OK with preaching. Well, I know what his button is, don't I? I guess this Toto found the truth.

      Btw, I live in Forest Hills. Funny you mention it.

      Anyway, as I like to say: :You can't buy your way into Heaven without the right salesman."

      SDL

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  4. I heard Mimi Rosenberg praise the late Amiri Baraka, the same Amiri Baraka who said the Israelis warned the Israelis working in the WTC not to go to work on 9-11-01.

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    1. I remember after Harry Chapin died, Baraka, who had a show at the time, claimed to have received a letter (anonimously, I think) that was a government hit list of people to be liquidated. Besides Baraka (of course) was Harry Chapin. Since Chapin had just died, this list must have veracity. Pete Seeger must have been a hard target to find...

      I'm really thinking about abandoning WBAI once and for all. Time to go back to shortwave, I think.

      SDL

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    2. I was thinking more of a crystal set. I went to school in Canterbury for a year in 1946 and bought a crystal set at Woolworth's on the High Street—I think it cost me half of my 5 Shilling pocket money for that month. Every boy in my class had one and we rigged up a common antenna that turned out to be our Headmaster's private phone. Nobody got the cane, but we all had a few smacks of the less dreaded slipper!

      I met Leroi Jones at a Sunday afternoon cocktail party and we became friends, but I saw less of him after the name change and the bonus body guards. He came to WBAI and read some of his poetry, but I didn't know that he had a show of his own. You're not thinking of Julius Lester, are you? He was a piece of work!

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    3. Hmmm... I can swear Baraka had a show that started at the midnight comencing slot. I could be wrong and he was a guest on someone's show, though. It's been a long time. Also, the early 1980s is when I started fading away from WBAI, as people I liked went off the air one by one.

      However, I know the letter and story are correct. That I remember clearly because a caller mentioned he knew Chapin and he was a lousy driver..

      Anyway, I am not going to go online to look it up in the posted Folios as it isn't worth the time.

      SDL

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  5. I'm not a conspiracy theorist. But I wonder: Did the producers of "Beyond the Pale" really decide, on their own, to stop airing their show on WBAI? And, is their departure somehow related to bringing Daulton Anderson aboard?

    Just wonderin'.

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    1. My theory is that the Reimers shuffle pushed BtP out of the way. We know that's what happened in the case of Sheldon Walden, whose decision to leave came after the initial announcement and necessitated its revision.

      Personally, I see the BtP departure as a loss and Walden's exit as a gain, but it all adds up to further evidence of Berthold Reimers' ineptitude. So, I think both departures were sparked by a shuffle that came about when the first attempt to push Anderson into the mix was foiled by reasoned thinking. Reimers' idiocy boomeranged.

      From what I heard Daulton Anderson do yesterday morning, that boomerang is still airborne. I will post extracts later today.

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  6. Beyond The Pale was garbage. They said they were promoting progressive Jewish thought but all they were promoting was leftist, anti-white and anti-American thought. Yimach shmam vezichram. Shem Reshaim Yirkav. I'll see them in gehenom.
    I was always suspicious as to why Shelton Walden spend so much time on Save The Foreskin programming. Is he a mohel?

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    1. If you believe not buying into the Netanyahu government's propaganda and condoning its terrorist acts is "garbage," I think you might find a better place in the choir Rush and his right wingers preach to. Beyond the Pale was not anti-Jewish, on the contrary, it served Israel well by recognizing its government's acts of inhumanity—acts that fertilize hypocrisy and foster anti-Semitism.

      I have noted (and ignored) your frequent attempts to carry your obsession into this blog. This is not the infamous blueboard and you will not succeed in your attempts to make it so. Should you submit intelligent comments in the future, I will post them, but—as you may have noticed—I am neither adverse to opposing opinions nor fond of single-minded trolls who try to cast their tacks in the path of discussion.

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  7. Someone actually awoke from a slumber and updated the WBAI schedule.
    I don't think we're in Kansas anymore...

    SDL

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    1. They still don't have it right—with all the fuss over the Sunday shuffle, it has not been touched. Walden is till in his Pond and the Thursday midnight listing makes no mention of the fact that Knight's earthwatch now comes froma closed urn, or six feet under—one can't watch too much from those spots. I see they still have rotating music Thursdays at 10 AM, but didn't that show go from clockwise to counter clock wise? Well, I suppose standing on one's head might..... never mind!

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    2. Something is wrong in The Twilight Zone. I went to wbai.org and clicked on schedule and am getting an updated one with:

      No mention of Walden on Sunday
      Earthwatch Revisited Broadcasts
      Forlano's show finally listed

      S(tumped)DL

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    3. Very strange—now I get the schedule you describe. I guess those "Special Programming" slots ought to be TBAs. Though it is now a literal description of that program, I would love to hear how they justify rerunning old, dated material that originally was downloaded from someone else's Youtube post. It;s amazing how many of these "shows" are worthless nonsense.

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    4. Oh, I think they should just have an Equal Time For Atheism type show on directly before or after Pastor Paranoia. Granted, it may cause him to speak in tongues and go into cardiac arrest...

      SDL

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    5. Good idea. They could sell conspiracy DVDs documenting how Madalyn Murray O'Hair was murdered by a homeless angel.

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  8. Something that listeners of WBAI may not really grok is just HOW time consuming it is to put on a good one-hour weekly program. It's a part-time job. Having interacted with the BTP producers in the past year, my opinion is that they are professional or professional-aspirational journalists who were feeling overwhelmed putting together a good show without any compensation for their time. To be honest I think doing a professional-level show without pay is tantamount to scab labor, as well as a demonstration of a bizarrely deflated ego. Do these producers think their shows are literally worthless? If not, they should be paid.

    The thing is, many of the shows *are* worthless. The free-form whatever-whatever shows have absolutely zero market value. Nobody is interested enough to pay for that stuff, even if it is mildly entertaining at times. Many of the other soapbox shows are similarly worthless. It makes perfect sense for those producers to "selflessly" volunteer to producer worthless content in order to satisfy their own egos. But for the minority of producers at BAI who are producing valuable content, it's a question of how much they value their 20 hours of intensive work a week. The post-Marilyn/Esther Beyond the Pale producers clearly decided that that calculation no longer worked for them, and G-d bless em.

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  9. Some producers see the air time as sufficient compensation. That said, when they volunteer so many hours of their time and create excellent programs, they deserve to be treated right by management—shoving their program into an unfavorable hour shows a lack of respect and appreciation.This is compounded when the reason for the change is to squeeze a really bad and unsuitable program into the schedule. "High Praize" is a terrible, often unlistenable mixture dominated by borderline "religious" pop. It is clear that Reimers grabbed the show from WHCR purely for what he considered to be its prospective fundraising value. As I see it, this move further dilutes WBAI's significance as a serious station. I'm sure that the producers of "Beyond the Pale" agree, and the camel's back was broken. In Walden's case, I think it is pure ego—Reimers bruised it, so he quit.

    The very nature of Pacifica stations is to rely on volunteer producers who need the experience and outlet to develop their craft and express themselves, That system worked very well in the past, producing some extraordinary programs and shaping extraordinary professionals. It only fails when it attracts people who are driven by self-serving motives. A distinction must be drawn between altruistic dedication and egotistic opportunism. The BtP producers clearly belong to the former category.

    Had you known WBAI back in the day, I don't think you would apply such a term as "scab" to its producers and hosts. They were not there for life—WBAI was a stepping stone and, BTW, all staff members were on the payroll.

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    1. I always thought it was funny how people at WBAI take an elitist attitude towards WNYC. However, where is it that they go after WBAI? Yup, WNYC or other NPR stations.

      SDL

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    2. If those stations will have them. Most WBAI people have nowhere to go, so they will resort to anything in order to stay. Can you imagine Michael Haskins on WNYC? This morning he was regurgitating his father's unhealthy food preferences and some people's "uncomfibility" with the sugar sphinx display.

      Has the time come to compile a WBAI dictionary?

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    3. Well, in the '70s and '80s, I guess, when some people actually did radio on WBAI, rather than bitching, whining, moaning and complaining.

      These days, the talent level is below a 100 watt college station. I really wonder what any interns will learn there.

      Anyway, I switched on Hay-tie yesterday morning for a couple of minutes to hear him ramble about shaving body hair. Maybe he can do a sequel about wiping oneself...

      I'm at the point where I turn on the radio, check WBAI, then switch to WNYC. In fact, I'm listening to WBAI alumnus Lenny Lopate as I type. I don't think we'll see any future people of this quality coming out of WBAI again.

      Wouldn't it be a "diktionary?"

      SDL

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    4. Apropos alumni and WNYC, a few years back when I was a guest on "Fresh Air" I did my part of the interview at NPR's studio on 42nd Street, I was pleasantly surprised when Margot Adler came out to say hello. I consider her to be one of the talented alumni. Which reminds me of Yoko Ono (artistically, not my cup of tea), who was a hard working volunteer in our music department decades ago. I heard that she recently contributed $10,000 to WBAI—had you heard that? It appears to have been thrown into Raimers' satchel of secrets.... hmmmm

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  10. Beyond the Pale told me when I was PD last September that they wanted to retire the program. So far as I know there was no conspiracy. They just retired.

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    1. Thank you, Andrew. That makes sense, but one has to wonder about the timing—perhaps something hastened a decision already made. In any event, I consider their departure a loss to the station. Good to hear from you.

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    2. Beyond the Pale is not a loss to the station - the show was tired and useless. The show following it was a very good show - wonder why it is gone!

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    3. I sense agenda-driven trolling in your posts, which won't get you very far here. Now, instead of making generalizations, why don't you tell us why you thing "Beyond the Pale" was "tired and useless." Then give us the name of the show that followed it, and tell us why, in your opinion, it was "very good."

      I hope that's not too much to ask.

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  11. Hey Chris. I haven't seen you or any action here for a few days and was hoping you're OK.

    SDL

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    1. Hi SDL,
      I appreciate your concern and beg your pardon for pulling a BAI'er and not posting an explanation.

      It is/was a software problem that rendered one of my hard disks almost useless and has necessitated much uninstalling and re-installing—including my OS. I'm almost there now and you will know as soon as that happens. Isn't it a shame that we become so dependent on a brain that is inferior to our own?

      BTW, what can you tell me about Utrice Reis? A poster sent an audio clip of her making commentary on DN!, but she has all her facts wrong and, it seemed to me, tangled in a web of personal animosity and racism.

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  12. This is a problem of you being away from the station for many years - you still don't know anything! Her name is Utrice Leid!!! You seem to spew much personal animosity towards producers @ the station - shame on you!!

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    1. There is a huge difference between making critical observations and "spewing personal animosity." Utrice Leid is not someone whose work at WBAI is known to me first-hand, but what I heard in the audio clip that someone (you?) submitted here was both inaccurate and racist—it confirmed some of the things I have been told about Utrice Leid, but—knowing that there is more to this woman than I can be gleaned from one audio clip, I asked for enlightenment.

      I can see that I won't be getting that from you.

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    2. I would just say that Leid led a faction of bigots against another faction of bigots. Ever see two people you hate fighting and want to just see them destroy each other? Yeah, that's it.

      There are so many opinions on that time. Essentially, she blew into WBAI like Atilla The Hun and fired people, intimidated others, etc. She seemed to have many personal hatreds towards other people, even if those others were also idiots. I think she's a little psycho, really. I guess she left a legacy of increasing the overall hatred vibe at WBAI that exists.

      Anyway, I'm not an expert on that period. I just know the bits and pieces I picked up listening here and there and reading a bit on it.

      To be fair, I chose some articles at random. Filter through them and try and make sense of the senslesness of it all.

      http://www.villagevoice.com/2001-09-11/news/wbai-anti-free-speech-radio/full/

      http://fair.org/take-action/action-alerts/lockout-at-wbai/

      http://www.truedemocracy.net/td2_1/04-Leid.html

      Finally, I guess you didn't get this message I sent a few days ago. So here it is again.

      Anyway, I had a brainstorm (or brainfart?) as to how WBAI could become huge. Reality TV shows are the vogue these days. Well, you tell me of a more ridiculous reality show than WBAI? I think WBAI has more retards and material for a nationwide audience to laugh at than Jersey Shore or Honey Boo Boo combined.

      Imagine in the second episode where a new program director comes in to fix the station: Chef Gordon Ramsay... "Hey, Haskins! What the *bleepin'* hell do you *bleepin'* call that?! You couldn't *bleepin'* announce a *bleepin'* tuna sandwich!"

      SDL

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    3. Thanks, SDL it would appear that Leid did more damage to WBAI than Sandy. Where do they find these people? Why do they hire them? Her blather on the submitted audio clip is totally in keeping with the info you posted. She is indeed consumed by hatred and I don't think your suggestion that she might be "psycho" is at all far-fetched.

      As for the reality show, it would certainly demonstrate how truth can be stranger than fiction. I like the Gordon Ramsey scenario—he was always quick to find the vermin and do something about it. I can also see Judge Judy in there, somewhere.

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    4. They probably find them where they always did - people who volunteer and have the currently correct attitude, friends, etc. Ideals are more important to getting a show than talent, after all. I suspect Leid's mindset was known to Pacifica, so they used her to do their dirty work without her even being able to figure out she was a patsy. Well, it blew up in their faces.

      On another note. I got a copy of the Steve Post book for a few dollars the other day and read it in one night. It just came off as pieces and not a real autobiography or linear history of WBAI. Since I wasn't born until 1966, I didn't get to hear WBAI in those early days and don't have much knowledge of the programming. I've heard some tapes and audio, but not a lot (see below). I can see his biases, though. Yeah, he has it in for you, while sniffing Fass' underpants. I'm all ears to hearing your side of anything you care to comment on.

      The only thing I really liked was the Charles Pitts little chapter. I guess it is pretty honest as other people have said the same about him.

      Speaking of... While looking about the internet for old time audio of WBAI, I ran across Pitts interview with a street hustler. I do have to say I was impressed by his interview abilities. There was no nonsense to it. He knew just when to interject a question, not to talk over the guest, etc. Unlike the clowns now, it was real and honest, without having to resort to talk of slavery to rationalize your hateful actions. No, you won't hear quality like this again. You'll get Pastor Paranoia and Julliana "Will someone please call me" Forlano.

      Sydney Smith said the next pledge drive starts in a week or two (didn't catch the date). It should be interesting to see what money comes in for whom. Very interesting...

      SDL

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