Tuesday, September 15, 2015

But this time it's The Guardian...

It has been remiss of me not to post this earlier, but it is an important article, more for who published it than for what it contains. So, in case various postings somehow eluded you, here it is again.

Anyone who is familiar with the alternative approach to radio broadcasting that a California Quaker named Lewis Hill initiated in 1949 probably knows how radical a departure from the norm it represented. Mr. Hill's pacifism landed him in prison as a conscientious objector during WWII and sowed the seed for a very different kind of radio communication, one that addressed the listener on a higher, more useful level. An informed nation was far less likely to generate armed conflict, he reasoned. His would be a station built around an accessible microphone through which free dialogue would flow and inspire free thought. The arts would be served, as well, by giving creativity free rein, unencumbered by corporate interests, and it would all be funded by the listeners themselves—a commercial-free environment offered by a broadcasting outlet that took no sides and served as diverse a populace as America represented, never underestimating its desire for knowledge or its capacity to absorb it.

It was not always smooth sailing, but who could successfully argue against honest dissemination and discussion of the world around us? Who could deny the wisdom of telling it like it is and projecting how it well might be in the future?

Lew Hill was not against commercial broadcasting, per se, but much of what he heard over post-war airwaves was light entertainment and small talk with news that often followed government or Wall Street dictates. KPFA would not tell its audience which path to take, but it would offer all sides of an issue equipping listeners to make their own, informed decisions; programming decisions were not popularity-based in the Pacifica of Lew Hill's day—nor over a decade later, when I came to WBAI, and no listener was expected to like everything aired. In fact, the opposite was desired—preaching to the chorus promotes stagnation, which is what characterizes today's so-labeled "community" radio.  

I was going to comment on the linked article, point by point, but I think regular readers of this blog have a good idea of where I stand, so I urge, instead, you to read it and share your thoughts as to its content and significance.

The Guardian article by Rory Carroll.


  1. Today, Serge Argueta said we are is a "Juan Crow" society. LMAO.
    Didn't Jimmy Durante say, "Everybody wants ta get inta da act! Inka dinka doo, a dinka dee".


  2. Today, Serge Argueta said we are in a "Juan Crow" society. LMAO.

    Didn't Jimmy Durante say, "Everybody wants ta get inta da act! Inka dinka doo, a dinka dee".

    1. Yep, that's what Jimmy said.

      The WBAI occupation farce will say anything. :)

  3. For Ian Masters to say what he said, you know Pacifica and BAI aren't long for this world.

    What is it about movements begun by pacifists (whether actual or self-proclaimed) that breeds so much infighting within them? The most conflict-ridden organization I've ever been involved with was a peace organiization.

  4. I saw this thread on the NY Radio Message Board and thought it fit here. While not about WBAI, it is connected in that you put the transmitter there. I just thought it had a slight fit into this blog's theme. If you feel like sharing the particulars of why you made the decision, did Pacifica have to approve, etc. I'm all ears... err... eyes...

    50th Anniversary of Master FM Antenna at the Empire State Building



  5. One comment following the article is particularly telling: "if they weren't fighting, they weren't happy."