Of course, the very idea of religion being pushed on WBAI met with opposition from those who still valued the original Pacifica concept, but principles are readily discarded when they stand in the way of money. Even a Marxist like Mitch Cohen encouraged the proposed show, and many thought it would be lovely to hear those choirs. Well, host Daulton Anderson's wakeup call wasn't quite what they all expected. His first two or three shows included a near-operatic singer, some familiar pop artists doing familiar borderline church songs, and loudmouthed standup comics doing bible jokes. All this was meshed into a ball of noise that could wake the dead. As a matter of fact, at least two of the WBAI station breaks thrown into the mix were delivered by performers who apparently can't stop listening to the station although they died a few years ago.
It soon became clear that this was not a show focused on "inspirational music," as we now were told, the church remotes having fallen by the wayside, but a dreadful mishmash praising the Lord, Jehovah, Jesus, God, or whatever the tag du jour is. It grew worse and worse, and this morning it was downright awful.
Fundraising wasn't going too well, either, so Anderson had a friend of his join him in the studio for a couple of Sundays. His name is Marc Reddick and he owns a recording studio in Brooklyn which was to be used to compile a gospel CD premium of original music. Church people listening to "High Praize" were urged to contact Mr. Reddick at his office if they had songs or performances to contribute.
Anderson seemed quite excited at the prospect of this special premium, so he brought it up last week and the week before, when Reddick was present, but where was Mr. Reddick this morning? This is, after all, fundraising time, so the projected "thank you gift" would have fit right in. There was no mention of it or, for that matter, Mr. Reddick. But then the clock on the wall read 6:50, a very special moment Anderson has designated as call-in time. The idea is for church people to call in and give their reverend a plug as they themselves receive some kind of blessing.
The first time he tried this, a man identified himself as an atheist and a woman obviously said something that displeased Anderson, so he hit the mute button and admonished both callers.
This morning, a caller likened what he was hearing to excrement and suggested that Anderson play music. The man may have said more, but he was silenced by this holy host. You won't hear the very beginning of this call-in segment, but the dead air is there, and so is a call from the disappeared Marc Reddick. He identifies himself, but Anderson—possibly addled by the previous call—treats his friends as if he were a total stranger, even asking where he is from. It's the entire call-in segment, bizarre and brief--check it out.
I apologize for the bad sound, but all I could find was a rather abused Vinyl LP. I have the tapes, but my deck needs a new belt.