Saturday, May 2, 2015

A glimpse of the past...

Today, I found this on the floor of my junk closet—a letter to Hallock Hoffmanforgotten for nearly fifty years. Parts of it make me cringe while reminding me that, even then, Pacifica was not perfect. 

34 comments:

  1. Getting a page not found error on the link.

    SDL

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    1. I also got that, but then it popped up, so try again and give it a little time.

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    2. Try again, I think I fixed it.

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  2. Yeah, worked. I don't know the people or background, but I get the vibe. However, no AG or huge debts then, I guess.
    The picture in my mind of a woman in a bikini calling in a pledge from the beach is rather amusing...

    SDL

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  3. I was looking at recent New York market radio ratings and see that WNCY FM has overtaken both WABC AM and WOR AM, both of whom keep sliding down lower and lower. I guess people are getting tired of howling right wing propagandists.
    Well, it made me think of yesteryear and how a good number of people from WBAI went over to NPR and helped mold it. It also made me think of how it has been years since anyone from WBAI went onto bigger and better things. These no-talents they have today would never be able to get themselves hired by NPR. I guess the one exception is Pablo Guzman, being an abject failure and causing the staff to revolt, he ends up a steadily employed TV news reporter. Go figure.

    It shows the difference between people who used WBAI to learn radio and those who use it to bitch like spoiled brats.

    I tuned in a few times in the past couple of days for a few minutes at a time before tuning out. I notice constant audio drop outs every few seconds to minute. Doesn't matter, as everyone should know the Natalie/Gwen script by heart at this point.

    SDL

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    1. I remember when Pablo was with WRVR (Riverside Church), a jazz station that went country. He and Felipe Luciano (who was also with that station) were trying to make it non-white.

      When WBAI was on course and following what Pacifica was created to do, it attracted a very different caliber of volunteers. It also put more thought into the hiring process—and there were no damn dabbling board people.

      I don't know what causes these regular dropouts (they sometimes occur as the pledge number is being aired), but I have not heard any apologies and sense no effort to get rid of them. I have noticed that there are no dropouts when a live mic is used.

      The Natalie/Gwen infomercial cries out for a dropout lasting about an hour.

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    2. Jeez, Chris. WRVR is really pulling one out from the local radio historical memory vault. I remember the ruckus at the time (1980?) when the format change was going into effect. In fact, there was some spillover onto WBAI night time talk shows, particularly Tom Leykis' show about the change. It was a hot topic.

      I did some looking and see Guzman, Luciano and Geraldo Rivera were Young Lords. Interesting that the local media seemed to have chosen this clique for newsmen. Wonder why. Did they make a loud enough noise? Or were they willing to mollify their beliefs for money?

      Well, in the old days, WBAI had the phone answering volunteers to choose from for future producers. The volunteers were a diverse lot, so diversity was just sitting there. Using calling centers has been one of the greatest mistakes WBAI has made, as it brings in no fresh or new ideas and people.

      Natalie & Gwen cry out for a decade long dropout. However, I guess the crap must sell well enough to keep it going for so damn long and so often.

      SDL

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    3. Yes, it is odd that network locals hired Young Lords. Wasn't it around the time when they were scrambling to get some color on camera? Being there at the right time got many a misfit into the light. Remember Ellis Hairlip's "Soul" program on 13? They were the ones that called me at WBAI and said they needed to "borrow one of your Negros."!!! I "loaned" them Charlie Hobson, who went on to become a producer on "Black Journal" and later started a PBS series called "Jump Street." He came to WBAI from the carpet dept. at Kleins.

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    4. Ellis Hairlip? No, don't remember that name. Maybe before my time. Klein's, Korvette's, anyone ever come in from Macy's or Caldor? But you are proving a point as to how people came to WBAI from different places. Now they come via friends with power at the station.

      SDL

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    5. Hobson actually wrote me a letter proposing a program on black gospel quartettes. I had him come in and do an audition show, which he passed. The program was called "Negro Music," his title. His rationale was that most non-black people were unaware of the genre, which actually produced some fine music and played the groundwork for black r&b vocal groups. The program did well in terms of audience reaction... we didn't measure programs in terms of contributions... we were WBAI and that's all we sold. :)

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  4. Mike Sargent is on and he says the current studio is horrible - worse than "make shift, it is just "shift"!

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    1. I'm trying to get someone to post photos. I want to see the card table and the rugs on the wall, etc.

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    2. Reading what KGT said, I had to tune in. Drop out radio - WBAI! I'm totally serious when I say the local FM pirates stations have better audio. WBAI really couldn't get a real engineer to throw together a better closet for them? Do they even have a toilet there? Or do they hand people a bucket?

      SDL

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    3. The old PP... Pacifica Potty They may be sweeping the drop outs under the rug.

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  5. How stupid is WBAI? They let Mike Sargent and Nightshit air, even though it barely makes any money, instead of airing three one hour extendomercials, which would make lots more money. And you wonder why they can't even make enough money. Fucknuts...

    SDL

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  6. As a feminist, I am appalled that WBAI, which purports to be a friend of the cause, airs infomercials with the likes of Gwen and Natalie, and programs with Julianna Forlano, Margaret Prescod and Kathy Davis. In this city and country, there are women with all sorts of talents, experiences and education, and who simply sound better than any of them. It seems that for every minute of Prairie Miller and Joyce Jones (who, as I understand, was "discovered" in the volunteer room), it seems that we get an hour of Mimi Rosenberg or some such.

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    1. Yes, Justine, as I so often say, hypocrisy knows no bounds at WBAI. As I enter this, the delusioned duo of Haskins and Pam Brown is airing a veritable chorus of such people as they hammed it up for the recent Reparation Follies. Jesse Jackson, father of the year, is doing his schstick now. It is painful to listen to, especially when you know what an opportunistic fraud Jackson is. The audience, of course, is sprinkled with lemmings of the sort who call WBAI's racist shows these days.

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  7. I think we need some bai cleansing . W hiney B lacks A ren't I nteresting !
    Jesse Jackson doing what he does best now . Stirring the pot !

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    1. A very thorough cleansing, indeed, but it will only happen when low life's like Reimers and Haskins get that overdue kick.

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  8. haskins was right on point just now when he said ". Where here and we ain't going nowhere"
    Exactly right , they ain't going nowhere !. Remember , you will only hear this stuff on bai,
    Yeah because nobody else wants to commit radio suicide !

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    1. Haskins is not mentally equipped to go anywhere, he can't get off that small-minded racist treadmill. Pathetic.

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  9. Maybe we can give Hay-tie a one way ticket to Haiti? How much is one? I'll pay for it IF he signs a contract to retire permanently effective immediately from WBAI.

    The Blos sounds like she's using a tin can for a mic while the Null audio is so low in comparrison. What a thrown together ad hoc extendomercial. You think they would go back and remix it.

    SDL

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    1. The audio quality is horrendous. Not only is the volume all over the place, other shows are sometimes heard in bursts. Perhaps Tony Ryan should just go too town with his sledgehammer. They have had months to prepare for this, so what were they doing? Why were there no on-air appeals for help? The Report to the Listener programs always served us well, but this "management" is clueless beyond belief.

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    2. The Bunker Bozos are good cultists and petrified of letting anyone from outside in, no matter how much they may help them out.

      SDL

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    3. I have just heard a lengthy, shallow monologue by Bozo Dred, who is unable to play his music in the sledgehammer studio. It occurs to me that these fools have turned a very serious and important national problem into a farce, and thus weakened what should/could have been an example of the strength that once fueled WBAI and made even the detractors perk up their ears. Now it is the stuff ignorance is made of.

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    4. It just shows you how out of touch with reality these people are. They are now facing the reality and price of Reimers and Co. thinking they were going to stay at CCNY as long as they wanted, and not preparing a proper studio at 388 all this time. It all really shows you their true nature as deadbeats. It's just the type of people they are. That's why WBAI has no credibility to anyone who even knows they still exist.

      Watch them stiff the plumber when the toilet overflows...

      SDL

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    5. I found this paragraph interesting. It is from Steve Brown's response to a Jim Dingeman RadioWave post about Reimers' mysterious marathon negotiation with the Empire State Building.

      "My reasons why Pacifica could have prevailed against ESB in court were sent to Berthold in writing. But he wanted to be his own cheif lawyer and negotiator -- without having credentials or experience as either. By not having immediately decamped to 4 Times Square when ESB rejected and returned his 2-month rent check, he forfeited his right to claim that this was tantamount to an eviction, and that then had both the right and the responsibility to seek immediate alternate quarters for his antenna, in order to insure that the station would not be off the air, and at risk of losing its license. This was a very good legal case, and it should have been vetted by our tenant lawyer. Instead, Berthold told him to get lost --- even though he was pro bono and one of the most prominent tenant lawyers in NY – because he, Berthold, the Clarence Darrow of Pacifica, had the hubris to think he was up to dealing with the ESB’s shrewd and savvy legal team by himself. Heaven help us."

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  10. I'm not an attorney, don’t play one on stage, screen, over the air, or on the page. Anyone with more particular and expert knowledge may feel free to correct me. That said, a few thoughts, for what little they’re worth.

    The fact that Steve Brown is impressed with himself for having sent Reimers his reasons as to why he feels Pacifica could have prevailed against the ESB in court, is itself a tell as to his judgement or lack thereof.

    So far as I know none of us in publicland are privy to the actual contract(s). Anyone seen a copy lately? Nor, so far as I know, have any of us in publicland been privy to what we have been told are ‘negotiations’ – their character, their terms, their degree of evolution or lack thereof, and as to whether or not there’s a meaningful paper trail as to this claimed and presumed process.

    I believe the legal term for this is Don’t Know Shit – but I’m open to correction on that.

    So, hypothesizing on the basis of Not Knowing Shit, we are told that a tenant lawyer of some sort, of, we are told, formidable reputation in the area of tenant law, could have been consulted, and could have dazzled the world in court.

    Right. Care to buy a bridge?

    Think WBAI/Pacifica is in any position, even with pro bono tenant law expertise, to carry this through to a court fight? Or that it could credibly present such a threat as a negotiating tactic?

    Right. Care to buy another bridge?

    Think tenant law is in any way helpful with this sort of contract?

    Please. There’s that damn bridge again. Just waiting to be bought. A bargain, I’m telling you. A 99-year lease, and the right to charge tolls.

    Brown uses typically naive ‘progressive’ logic, saying that, since the ESB returned checks, that it was ‘tantamount to an eviction’ and that therefore Reimers/WBAI had ‘the right and the responsibility’ to seek an alternate location for the transmitter.

    Well, here’s a thought or two along that line: WBAI/Pacifica is free to seek an alternate location any time it wishes to do so. That’s fine. That’s swell. They don’t need ‘tantamount to an eviction’ to do that. The problem is that unless there’s the strangest clause or clauses in the history of Anglo-American jurisprudence in that contract or contracts that that doesn’t let WBAI/Pacifica out of any obligations and or penalties in the contract(s).

    This falls, I believe, under the Duh Principle of Contracts.

    Or: What you want or think you deserve doesn’t mean that’s a valid and enforceable aspect of a contract just because you think you want it and it’s what you think is fair and right and just and swell and fair and what you deserve in a user-friendly universe.

    A contract is a contract, and I’d guess this one is probably pretty solid, and that it bears little resemblance to tenant law of the sort that Mr Brown seems to have in mind.

    Berthold is a simpleton, of course. That doesn’t mean it would have made sense to involve a pro bono tenant lawyer.

    I’m sure Berthold has found his own way to make a mess of things, it appears to be a real talent, his other principal talent apparently being having had the dumb luck to be working for the fools at Pacifica, who hired him, kept him on, and keep paying him – but that’s a very old song at this point.

    The one noteworthy aspect of this particular megillah is that WBAI/Pacifica seem still to be subject to the existing contract(s), and that they’re piling up those monies which it seems the ESB has chosen to forebear – for now. If that, which has been mentioned, is the case, those bills just keep piling up, and at one point or another I’d guess the ESB will look to collect them – even if only in bankruptcy.

    Forebearance, after all, isn’t forgiveness.

    We also don’t know if WBAI/Pacifica was in any position to simply ‘decamp’ to 4TS. Was 4TS actually willing to sign a contract with an outfit in such clear financial distress and with such a dubious financial future?

    ‘Decamping’ ain’t always all that simple.

    Amateurs, the lot of them, and children in the most ugly, most pejorative sense.

    Not news.

    ~ ‘indigo’

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  11. All sounds simple to me. If WBAI can't get out of its lease with the ESB, it's probably because the ESB can't get somoene else, more reliable, to take the room for the same price. If the ESB re-negotiates the rent, it will be because they can't get the same rent from someone else. In other words, WBAI will be paying top dollar if they stay there. The question becomes is it worth it? How many supporters do they really save being at the ESB? Is it a matter of honor being able to boast of transmitting from the ESB?

    If they could spend a few thousand a month, they could rent 24/7 shortwave transmitter time from Radio Miami International or WBCQ (I bet Allan Weiner would orgasm having WBAI on, since he shares their views). I bet it would bring in more listeners than their website, considering that Democracy Now is getting a bit of a buzz since reappearing on shortwave recently, via Radio Miami International. Don't laugh so quickly. Smaller portable SW radio from Tecsun, Sangean, CCrane, etc. are selling well because people are looking for international news these days. If ever the time were ripe for a station like WBAI to broadcast internationally, it's now.

    SDL

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    1. Being atop the ESB and having to pay that much rent is a waste of money when only a few hundred people want to hear what you are broadcasting.

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    2. @SDL I agree with your core point as to the ESB’s considerations. My guess – only a guess – is that it’s best for them not to renegotiate an extension or a fresh lease at a lower rate for the effect that might have on other existing and prospective lessees. It may well be best from their perspective to forbear the stated monies, maintining the right to collect in future at a time and under circumstances of their choosing.

      @Chris I think we may all well agree that at this point and for the foreseeable future WBAI exists for the sole purpose of providing income and a bit of ego gratification to its ‘management’, ‘staff’, and ‘producers’. Given that fact monies spent on luxuries like functioning broadcast facilities of any sort at any price are a waste – other than to maintain the thinnest of charades.

      ~ 'indigo'

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    3. Let's remember one thing about the WBAI/ESB situation - we have only heard one side of the issue, in all its speculatory nuances. To my knowledge, the ESB hasn't made any official comment of any sort about their dealings with the station. For all we know, Reimers "negotiations" could be him pleading for the ESB not to evict them WBAI.

      All in all, WBAI needs a much cheaper place to transmit from. However, there is another problem that has been stated by some people. The transmitter dates from the 1960s and is in no condition to be moved anywhere. If true, a new one will need to be purchased.

      Chris, three questions, if you don't mind:
      You purchased this transmitter, right? How much was it?
      How much was the rent at the ESB when you signed the lease?
      What was the company of manufacture?

      By the way, what is this Reverend Billy crap, anyway. Talk about gluttonous self-indulgence! I'll even take Fass over this garbage any day. Fass is funny in a piñata kind of way, this is utter nothingness. The chirping bird sound they played said it all...

      SDL

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    4. I hope this download link works, and clarifies:

      http://www.divshare.com/direct/26927114-80d.jpg

      Looks like it was about $20,000.00
      Unless they replaced the RCA transmitter I bought, they will certainly need a new one.
      I don't recall the original rent figure, but neither do I recall it being a problem.

      Heard more of that Billy crap than I wished to, so I turned it off. He is in Europe so the show was done by Jeannie "let's do a boat dansant" Hopper and Reggie Harris. It was slightly better when he was there, last week, but that choir is a gimmick that soon wears thin.

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    5. Yes, worked. Thanks.

      Turned on to hear The Blos rambling the "You won't hear this anywhere else" bit about the American Empire DVD. Well, sorry, Blos, but you'll hear all about the Federal Reserve, Monsanto, etc. on Alex Jones' show, TruNews and other radio shows every day. In fact, you sound exactly like you're reading from their scripts, Blos! I don't think The Blos realizes that she is actually spewing decades old ultra-right wing conspiracies. Is she an unrealized or secret ultra-right winger? I just find it interesting. As I say, there is a point where the far left and far right go around like a circle and meet.

      SDL

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