Thursday, October 30, 2014

As your station continues to be vandalized...

I think it's pretty clear to all but the comatose that the  overwhelming majority of people who manage or work at WBAI are clueless when it comes to the original concept as envisioned by Lew Hill and the co-founders of Pacifica. In fact, the current "majority" serving on the national board appear to be equally ignorant, perhaps by design. 

The next time you hear someone incorporate into a money pitch the principles upon which Lew Hill founded Pacifica and claim that the station adheres to them, think about it. Listen to high-priced phony "cures" being foisted upon people whose senses have been impaired by their failing health; listen to Geoff Brady present demented fantasies as truth; listen to the inane pop music and insignificant chatter that takes up much of WBAI's weekend schedule; listen to the twisted propaganda with which WBAI has been painted street black; listen as the station's dysfunctional "family" turns a once proud, intellectually stimulating radio station into a shameful platform for themselves and their petty businesses. They want you to give them your money and in return, they give you the finger.

To help you think about it, here is a downloadable PDF file of The Theory of Listener-Sponsored Radio, written by Mr. Hill in 1951.


  1. Read the piece. A few thoughts:

    All organisms, all institutions are corrupted by time and its effects, its consequences. A renaissance or two may serve to offset this tendency – but a renaissance comes rarely, and as a rule involves a price – very often a very high price.

    When Pacifica evolved to become an institution defining itself not as an instrument of ‘free speech’, ie, a *medium*, but came instead to define itself as an instrument of its notions of ‘truth’, a *message*, it became in effect no different from commercial media – it’s *selling* something, viz its ‘truth’, its political perspective, its political message – and just as commercial media most often sell their product with misleading, dishonest, and/or hypocritical labels, so does Pacifica – in the case of Pacifica it evolved to peddle its political ‘truth’ under the false flag of ‘free speech’, which became simply an empty carryover from its foundings long ago. Is it so surprising, then, that an organization devoted to selling something, in Pacifica’s case a political viewpoint, found no difficulty in selling more overtly commercial products?

    An organ, an organization of this sort, is incapable of transforming itself internally. That simply doesn’t happen. It can be transformed and reborn only with a cataclysmic external intervention. Given the evolution of contemporary communication there’s no motive for anyone capable of such an intervention to intervene. Why would they?

    So it dies, with flip flops, and internal wars, and finger-pointing – it has, in fact, no existence other than these flip-flops, internal wars, and finger-pointing. That’s literally all it is at this point.

    The frustration some feel for the fact that it was meant to be more than that, and that that something more is a worthy ideal, is the only reason, so far as I can tell, that we have these discussions. But we all know, and, I think, all agree, that that, too, means nothing.

    Barring angelic intervention, the death throes continue, most of the death throes taking the form of ‘plans’ to save the situation.

    For my part, I don’t place my bet on the possibility of angelic intervention.

    Pacifica has a history. It has no present. It has no future.

    ~ ‘indigopirate’

    1. "Pacifica has a history. It has no present. It has no future."

      Indigo, I think that sums it up.

  2. When Hill wrote this, broadcasting lived in a VERY different world.

    What it all comes down to is program quality being a subjective matter. We all have our likes and dislikes, and whom we think has the quality to be on the air.

    I’ve always seen WBAI as a diverse left wing voice. However, since Samori came in as PD in 1980, that diversity gave way to political affiliation requirements and, later, cronyism. Choosing programming to fill the diverse needs and interests of the left was now secondary to choices based on the political affiliations of producers, first and foremost. Time went on and whom you knew was now another factor in the mix. We can now see that the ideology and cronyism based system doesn’t work, as listeners have left WBAI and the remainders can’t sustain the station financially. The current political programming is simply very narrow and aimed at one segment of society. Most of what was called the left has been abandoned, and they, in turn, abandoned WBAI.

    Ideological cronyism based governance of programming choices fulfills a very narrow listenership, as we can see from a total lack of ratings and financial support. The egoists who put ideology and friends before what is good for the station have caused this mess at WBAI. They have even set themselves up to protect themselves from being fired. How can someone even do anything to change this should they want to? If they try to change anything, some board or committee will reverse their decisions.

    Anyway, listeners will financially support what they like and not support what they don’t. If they see nothing warranting their support, let alone listening, they will go elsewhere. I don’t listen much to WBAI anymore. I normally pop it on and turn it off within a couple of minutes of hearing the utter crap being broadcast. I can get disco music, racial hatred, hip hop, crazy health claims, etc. elsewhere for free.

    A radio station needs to be run as a radio station, not a corrupt political party.

    Free speech is subjective. Few people truly believe in it. What people believe in is their own free speech and the censorship of those they claim censor them.


    1. SDL, in my estimation, your observations are all valid. Corruption never earns any laurels, whether set at three locations in Washington, D.C. or three in NYC.

      Do I hear the fat lady sing?

    2. Yes, Chris. You indeed did...

      I just want to add that being a WBAI buddy is $10/month (minimum) for one lousy station, asking for more money half the time, or more.

      Live365 is $7.95/month for thousands of stations, some very good, or at least interesting. FYI: Most Live365 stations are free, but some are "V.I.P." only. Hence my paying.

      Sirius/XM All Access is $18.95 (I believe)/month for about 175 stations.

      Hmmm... I like the uncensored Live365, which I have, best. Hell, Dakara on Black Conscious Radio does a superior job of white bashing (and some Asian bashing, too) than anyone on WBAI.