Monday, June 30, 2014

Pauses that refresh...

This morning, during the time usually wasted by Michael Haskins, we were treated to fifty minutes of a barely perceptible hiss. No explanation was was offered, no station break given, but just as one was adjusting to this program improvement, in came Tony "Sledgehammer" Ryan with the usual babble.  

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Cyber tumbleweed

This note by Uncle Happy (aka WBAI host/, Sydney Smith) blew in with tangled tumbleweed from the dying blue ghost forum...

Click on the note to enlarge it

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Choppy sound and that bass next door...

In case you were listening last night and this morning, I first thought Ryan was swinging the old sledgehammer, but here's an explanation by good old Max, who had additional problems from down the hall. I added a sample from Reggie Harris' Soundboard—that's Jimmie Scott under Verizon/WBAI attack ...

Monday, June 23, 2014

Do you smell something burning?

Read the iED Report to PNB June 19, 2014 and check out the following:

June 23, 2014: Two interesting updates are found here and here.

Here is the application's attachment, with photos, map, and minute details.

The following post was made to the Pacifica Radiowaves list by Mitchel Cohen. It indicated escalated panic among the Atlantic Avenue Saviors, and kicked off the discussion you see here. It also raised the question: Did Berthold Reimers deliberately keep this ESB eviction development a secret, just as he did the stunning arrears?

Mitchel Cohen wrote: WBAI paid in full its rent on the antenna to the Empire State Building thru June 2014. Nevertheless, the ESB -- whose attorney specializes in squeezing non-profit corporations -- has just returned the last two rent checks, and has sent WBAI a notice to clear out. (Note: There is a ridiculous clause in the contract between Pacifica and ESB -- signed on behalf of Pacifica by the late Ambrose Lane -- that seemingly allows them to forego the normal process for "curing" late payments.) This is the first time the ESB has done this with Pacifica in all the decades, far as I can tell, and it is very serious.

For more than a decade -- possibly longer -- the Empire State Building has allowed WBAI's rent to accumulate for several months, to be paid out of the income generated in the next fund drive. This has been the process, the precedent. The Empire State Building has accepted this for, as I've said, at least a decade (albeit charging WBAI late fees). Suddenly it changes now! Why?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

How to kill fleas...

Let me first explain the title of this post. It's an old phrase I grew up with in Iceland and it simply means "Now I am truly surprised," which, indeed, I was around 5:30 this Sunday morning.

If you have followed this blog, you probably know how I feel about the recent addition of a "gospel" program. In fact, I have come down hard on its host, Daulton Anderson, for what I saw as a waste of air time that could have been spent on some great black church music. It brought to mind the disappointment I felt many years ago when I went to San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel to hear the original Supremes at the peak of their popularity. I loved the Supremes and their amazing repertoire, but what came from the stage that evening was something less than wonderful. No "Baby Love" for this mid-Sixties white crowd— someone had decided—give them  "Rockabye My Baby." 

Getting back to Daulton Anderson's High Praize program, it is still largely a bland mishmash of de-souled religious music, and I haven't changed my views on that. I have, however, done a 380 when it comes to my opinion of Mr. Anderson. You could hear those Nordic fleas drop all around me, and you will probably understand why when you listen to the following excerpt from this morning's High Praize. While you're dong that, I have some recently deceased Pulex irritans to despose of.

As I await your comments, let me say that I find it odd that Berthold Reimers did not announce these significant changes during Thursday morning's Report. The decision to bring Through the Opera Glass into the living room and kick Walden's Pond into the bottom of the night was, I think a good one. I will miss Beyond the Pale, however.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Bob Fass winds down—anybody have the key?

As mentioned in a previous post, WBAI's horrendous sound hit the nadir of audio incompetence with the June 13 show. It was even worse on June 20, so bad that one would not be surprised to hear grumbling from the FCC. To make that a distinct possibility, Bob Fass ran a video clip acquired from Youtube that almost makes George Carlin sound like the old lady who lived in a shoe. It was an irresponsible thing for Bob to do, even in the middle of the night, and there was no bleeping nor warning.

WBAI is falling apart, and so—it would seem—is Bob. Here is the opening of the June 20 show; you can almost hear Chief Operations Manager Tony Ryan's infamous sledgehammer at work and although Bob needs to be wound up, one can't help but feel sorry for him as he rambles and the station hums.

The hum continues throughout, at one point obliterating program content for 25 minutes. This segment is also a good example of how rude Bob can be as he contributes to the eradication of a listening audience. 

Bob was broadcasting from his house via Skype and the WHCR control room was manned by Bill Propp and Arnold. As I understand it, Arnold is an engineer from the upstate station that carries some of Radio Unnameable each week. He volunteered to help set up the studio in Bob's Staten Island house and is apparently appalled by the state of WBAI's equipment. Here we hear him break in as Bob stalls in utter frustration. Arnold explains what the problem is and takes the opportunity to register his disgust with WBAI's inept management.

By the way, the profane audio Bob aired appears to have been removed from the station's archive of the show. The vultures who profess to run Pacifica should have deleted the entire program, handed Reimers and the sledge pink slips, and scheduled a real, truthful Report to the Listeners (all 26 of them).

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Everything's coming up roses...

This took place Thursday morning from 10 to noon, but it was not so much a report to the listener as it was abother session of cronies patting each others' back. Berthold Reimers insisted that this be called a report with the listeners, but there were none in the studio, just members of the so-called JUC faction, the people who want WBAI to become a black station. Their metaphor for that is "community," and they seem to think that the intellectual level for a "community" station has to match their own, which is rather low.

In the opening audio clip, you will hear Berthold Reimers, delusions intact, claim that the seemingly endless fund drive met its goals, which it really didn't, even with extensions, and that the rent is now paid. There's a problem with that, as we learned Friday.

It turns out that two rent checks were refused and returned, which cannot have come as a surprise to Reimers, because companies like the ESB give their customers advance notice and make sure that you understand their rules. They obviously would not accept the two $50,000 cheques, because at this point they constitute partial payment. So there is every reason to believe that Reimers once again withheld the truth in order to make himself look less of a fool. This worked for a while, but his credibility is shot, Why he is still there, and receiving $100,000.00 a year is a mystery.

Here we hear his opening and everybody pitches in—yes, they really pitch in as if the fund drive were still on. The sad truth is, of course, that Reimers' optimism is utter BS.

Next, Reimers is at a loss for words as he asks Michael Haskins to speak and that, needless to say, is never a good idea. Haskins  blathers and announces a break, playing some music and the usual, tired promos. This is supposed to be a a report to the listeners, people who have just suffered through six weeks of boring, repetitive infomercials while opportunists picked their pockets. Well, it's WBAI, isn't it? Here is a mercifully shortened 6-minute sample of what I have just described:

As they prepare to take the first call, Andrea Katz steps in to correct something Haskins said and uses the opportunity to pitch for more money.... put us in your will, give us your grandmother's jewels, etc. And they wonder where the audience went?

More calls—this one from a lady who is outraged by what she has heard regarding Amy Goodman's association with WBAI. Reimers attempts an answer and Bob Lederer chimes in with a more articulate one. Another listener wants to see community gatherings, which prompts Reimers to bring up the so-called "gospel" show and his plan to make a pile of money from churches. When he suggests that WBAI has been "anti church," Haskins' ears go up. One listener calls for a de-emphasis on religion.

Here's an unwelcomed caller. Reimers attempts in vain to cut him short and soon gets help from Haskins. Not exactly in the old Pacifica spirit.

Here's a 23-minute segment with a typical assortment of current WBAI callers. Notice towards the end that Lederer is all for distributing the online weekly schedule so that people can see what wonderful programs WBAI offers. The problem is that this schedule not only is outdated and inaccurate, it is also singularly uninformative. They should never have discontinued the Folio.
Here are six more calls, one from a 40-year listener who wants to know what is going on with the rumored sale or frequency swap. I think you will find the answers given by Reimers and Lederer interesting, if not comforting. By this time, Haskins has taken full charge of the program.

And so we come to the parting words, garnished with a Reimers mumble. As you can see, this program never got down to the real programs. Reimers does mention, as an asidem that sime current programs will go and something new is coming in, but that's about it. He made no mention of a regular Youtube program wherein a not-so-funny attempts satire. From what I have seen, she is embarrassing, so it figures that Berthold Reimers wants her aboard. He doesn't seem to understand that WBAI needs original programs—we had enough of those download when Knight was getting paid for them, They never worked, but they served his own need for fillers. The excuse is that WBAI does not have the money to produce programs, but that's nonsense—its amazing what can be done with creative ideas and determination, and it is amazing how big a difference it would make to the character and quality of WBAI if opportunists were not allowed to squat year after year, and stagnate. New York is a treasure trove of young talent, eager to show what it can do.

As WBAI prepares to "transition"....

Thursday, June 19
This morning at midnight, I heard a very sick rerun of Robert Knight's "Earthwatch." I say sick, because this was the program he did upon his return to WBAI following a two-month medical ordeal that almost took his life. The fact that the final curtain came down not long thereafter, makes it almost cruel to air a program in which he celebrates being alive. He points out that he is on "live" and makes several references to having "come back." He thanks a list of people who visited him in the hospital, and the medical crew that he says, performed a miracle. Then he describes in detail what he went through as he experienced death. When he opens the phone for calls, he gets them from listeners who have had a similar experience, and a lady who tells him that he was "called back" because he is needed and that this translates into a long and important life ahead. Is it just me or is this rebroadcast in the poorest of taste?

Kathy Davis introduces the program, claims that it is being aired in answer to requests from Knight's family and friends, and that the station will continue the rebroadcasts on a weekly basis. Yep—never mind that Knight had become a disgrace to the profession he associated himself with or that these programs are hopelessly outdated—that's what this certifiable pseudo-spiritual numbskull said. I find certain irony in the fact that she is the scammer who tried to push homeless angels and cure-all miracle water on us.

I won't participate in this bad joke by posting an audio clip, but check out the archive and listen to the first five minutes (following that mundane Stevie Wonder song). Whether you agree or disagree with me, I hope you will post a comment.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Here lie...

These days, even casual listening to WBAI is a learning experience. The problem is that much of what they want you to believe has more in common with supermarket tabloid headlines than with the real world. Yet, to some of the people who assault your ears and routinely make light of your intelligence with this stuff, homeless guardian angels actually do traipse into The Stonewall and escort customers to their next destination—no, these are not pick-ups, their's is a mission more in line with that of the Sliwa group, only more heavenly (like Null's shampoo). 'Twas the former Cathy Davis ("Catherine" is now her preferred monicker) who outed these straight-but-compatico out-of-work harpists on BAI's air. She is better known for her cosmic vibrations and that tiny bottle of amazing tap water with a cure in every drop, although I don't think that's what landed her a show on Gary Null's internet stream.

Catherine the Grate is a favorite of the Lord of the Lies, Berthold Reimers (whose own whoppers tend to be in the income column), but she has plenty of company, including Blosdale, Haskins, Brady, Null, Fulani, Goodman, and that dreadful it-doesn't-get-better-than-this woman with Gwen Scott Velcro'ed© to her knee. I recall Geoff Brady talking about reptilians roaming our streets, cleverly disguised as humans, and people having their auras stolen. They all make some rather astounding claims in the course of their pitch, so, when I saw the following post by Tank Hankerous on the fast-dying BlueBoard, I thought it might be interesting to solicit more.  I hope you will share what you have heard lately... 

Hello, hello.... hello, can you hear me?

With Bob Fass marooned in a makeshift home studio on Staten Island, Radio Unnameable is no longer unlistenable solely because it has long since run out of steam. Now the show has also become a technical nightmare, one that even Tony Ryan's sledgehammer cannot fix.

One would think that Bob, whose name is synonymous with this half-century old WBAI offering took some pride in it, but that is apparently no longer the case—he treats it as callously as he does its listeners, who now may not number more than one could comfortably fit into Groucho's dressing room. Friday morning's show had six or seven callers, all regulars (including fearsome frackin' Fred from upstream), which was bad enough, but the show was a disaster in every other way, as well. Why Bob keeps this up is still a mystery to me—I used to attribute it to an enlarged ego, but his sloppy approach belies that.

Well, listen to this compilation of excerpts from yesterday morning and you will hear what I am talking about—the hums, drastic drops in volume, dead air, skips and distortions are becoming common at 99.5, but this really takes all that to the extreme. There were moments when the talk made sense, but most of it was rambling and  muttery (new word, patent pending), and while somebody unfamiliar to me spoke glibly from the WHCR studio, Bob seemed to be doing a simulcast along a different path. Bill Propp called in to announce Friday evening's tribute to Ibrahim Gonzales, but the details got lost when the signal took on a poor shortwave reception. It actually became a bit surreal at times. Here 'tis... 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Final Spring 2014 Drive Total

AS OF JUNE 15: $450,528.85 (and 154 Sustaining)

Here are links to daily figures and graph.

In the past, when I referred to Bob Fass' show as "Radio Unbearable," it was half in jest, but on June 6 it was truly unlistenable. No, it wasn't anything Bob said—in fact, he was in better form than usual these days—it was the audio. 

As someone pointed out elsewhere, Operations Chief Tony Ryan seems to be more at home with his sledgehammer. You may know that Bob now does his show from his home in Staten Island. It's technically awkward, but they finally got it to work, as it did at the top of this morning, but then it deteriorated and Bob faded, losing a battle to a nasty hum. We've heard a less obtrusive version of that hum throughout other programs, but this one was a ...dinger.

We already know that hardly anyone is listening to these programs, but one would think that someone (the board operator, perhaps?) was monitoring the outgoing signal. Bob himself appeared to be unaware of the problem, so he continued the program to the very end, but I very much doubt if anyone was listening. The next program was—you guessed it—an "encore presentation" (translation: scam) and it came through loud and clear. WBAI is a mess.