Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Pacifica/WBAI crisis then and now


Here is the entire program that Gary Null did live on his online network this evening. It is an hour in length and even deeper in content. The order of guests is: Summer Reese, Utrice Leid, Tracy Rosenberg, the three ladies paint an interesting picture of the station's and Pacifica's internal affairs. Gary Null's strokes are also bold and revealing. That Foundation and Station still exist is simply amazing.


When I hear Null speak of the vandalized morning program, I have to wonder how he can be so chummy with Haskins, but I guess it's all in the game.

That said, Mr. Null is owed our gratitude for bringing to the forefront details of this tale from the crypt.

Mr. Null's Progressive Radio Network can be streamed live from prn.fm, which also has an archive.

27 comments:

  1. 'Indigopirate'Wednesday, September 30, 2015

    I would once again argue that Reese’ analysis and perspective are far and away the most comprehensive and more importantly the most incisive. Null is understandably particularly focused on the premium fraud and copyright infringement issues, but much of his take has the ring of truth to it, and there’s no denying the accuracy of his predictions as to the fact that these folks will not be around in anything resembling their present form much longer, as well as his clear observation that terrestrial radio won’t matter much longer, that that model is outmoded. Utrice Leid presents a wonderful carcicature of a racist partisan, and presents her resentments for our consideration. Rosenberg tends to obsess about trivia like questionable spending on carpets and the like, but her take, too, is worth a thought.

    In a sense, nothing new as the great unraveling proceeds, but I did find Null’s thoughts worth a thought or two, and Reese, particularly if one is mindful of her interview last week, is the best of the bunch.

    In my judgement it’s actually Reese’s broad perspective that’s the most comprehensively damning as to these folks, but Null is most explicit as to his straightforward predictions of doom, dismemberment (pun intended) and dissoution.

    Some solid stuff.

    These folks don’t require the apocalypse. Sooner or later a slight breeze will finish them.

    I’m sorry… what was Pacifica again?

    The walking dead don’t get to keep walking forever.

    ~ ‘indigopirate’

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  2. I listened to both Null presentations. I agree that Summer Reese was most cogent of the bunch. But Null's incredible allegations - and I mean "incredible" in the true sense, his exaggerations and inflated numbers - diminished his presentation. He simply pulls numbers out of the air to buttress his case. For instance he says that WBAI far out-performed NPR back in the day which is very far from truth and that Pacifica National News was a great and respected news service which it certainly was not. I volunteered at WBAI in those days and I know. We were dismayed at Pacifica's lack luster news offering. And the bashing of the unnamed Amy Goodman - and the DemNow debacle was not accurate. Imagine if DemNow had stayed with Pacifica - it would never have succeeded the way it has. The only thing Pacifica offers DemNow today is access to Pacifica's satellite managed out of KPFA - the only station with the tech chops to do such. "From Pacifica" is only accurate in that the program comes over the Pacifica satellite. Utrice Leid was a bully and though a good broadcaster was certainly not a savvy manager. It was under her management that the infamous Bernard White flourished. But the deal struck between Pacifica and DemNow was ridiculous but note that DemNow has not, so far, called in the $2 million Pacifica owes.

    I am no fan of Dan Siegel's faction but I believe they are more capable than Rosenberg's faction. There is plenty of dirt one can throw at both sides but Siegel/Wilkenson seem to me, far more able to manage Pacifica - yes, do the dirty work necessary to keep the enterprise afloat, than Rosenberg's faction. It's a shit-fight at Pacifica and one has to get in the dirt to play - unfortunately. But Wilkenson's imposition of Leslie Radford as manager at KPFK was stupid and may mean the end of that once important outlet. But there's plenty of blame to share and it goes back decades. There are no good-guys here. The fact that Reimers has been permitted to pull his inflated salary while WBAI sinks, while Reimers prevaricates and stalls on the accounting necessary to show the real financial debacle at WBAI, is beyond outrageous. But he is not the only one. Only Houston's KPFT seems capable of coming up with accurate accounting and of course, the ongoing failed audits and subsequent lack of CPB funding reveals how inept Pacifica management is at all levels.

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  3. Very interesting listening. Were Null to do this sort of show all the time, he'd actually have some value.

    My question... absolute criminality is described here. Why didn't someone call the cops?

    Firing shots at someone's home, intimidation, and criminal stalking demanded investigation by the authorities.

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  4. Everything Gary Null criticizes about WBAI pertains to him more than to anyone else.
    Gary: When you point a finger, three fingers point back to you.

    KGT

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  5. Null is all about himself. What comes out of his mouth is what's known as a "worked shoot," Some truth with lots of fiction to make it all seem true because a few facts are true. Null is simply the most irrelevant person in this entire drama. He has nothing to say worth a moment of time to listen to.

    Frankly, the particulars of why WBAI and Pacifica are dying aren't really important anymore. We know it is close to death. That's all that matters now. If there is any relevance in anyone's opinions, it is for purely academic study for a history of broadcasting course. I'd be better served in life studying Swahili than listening to this crapfest for an hour.

    No matter what anyone says, not one person, besides me, is coming up with any ideas that could be implemented tomorrow morning and pay off in the next few weeks, which is what's needed. Anything else is pure mind games and a waste of everyone's' time.

    SDL

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    1. I agree with you re Gary Null's approach (which is the same one used by Mitch Cohen and other defenders of the indefensible. Null, however, deserves a thank you for providing an alternative microphone. He was routinely given credit for bringing in enough money to keep WBAI on the air, but, foul as that air has become, the value of his CPR is questionable.

      It is now just a matter of how WBAI will take its last breath and if the perps will get their just punishment (besides the inevitable mangled egos).

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    2. Chris, Utrice Leid is the cause of the mess at WBAI. To bring her in for anything about WBAI is a total insult to us all. Can you say Christmas Coup and LSB? Null knows this, but he wants to be China with his little North Korea to use when and if needed. He brings her on then whines about what she caused? Are you fucking kidding me? All his credibility is out the window just for that alone. To me, Null is slime.

      Summer Reese, Utrice Leid and Tracy Rosenberg, are not on any boards or committees, as far as I know.. They are three irrelevant people with NO power to do anything. I would sooner listen to Brown or Dingman or some such nitwit who actually have a vote in things. At least they have the power to make changes, if they so choose.

      SDL

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    3. Chris, Utrice Leid is the cause of the mess at WBAI. To bring her in for anything about WBAI is a total insult to us all. Can you say Christmas Coup and LSB? Null knows this, but he wants to be China with his little North Korea to use when and if needed. He brings her on then whines about what she caused? All his credibility is out the window just for that alone. To me, Null is slime.

      Summer Reese, Utrice Leid and Tracy Rosenberg, are not on any boards or committees, as far as I know.. They are three irrelevant people with NO power to do anything. I would sooner listen to Brown or Dingeman or some such nitwit who actually have a vote in things. At least they have the power to make changes, if they so choose.

      Forgot to mention that TPCS show said last week that they got an email from Reimers saying there would be a Report to the Listener September 30, 2015 from 6AM-8AM. I checked the archives and just got the usual morning slop.


      SDL

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    4. I have heard horror stories about Utrice Leid's activities at WBAI and I have heard her spout Haskins-like race crap (albeit with better articulation) on Null's stream. As for his credibility, I never really sensed that he had much of that, and his taking Katie Davis aboard erased any lingering doubt. That said—motivation aside—I do appreciate his occasional verbal assaults on BAI and Pacifica (taking the obligatory legal threats with a lump of salt the size of Ron Daniels' ego).

      I don't agree that Tracy and Summer are irrelevant. They have, after all been more than bit players in this ongoing drama and—unlike Leid—have an intelligent following.

      Not surprised that the announced "Report to the Listener" did not take place, that sort of thing is par for the course and, apropos credibility, Reimers' is even less in evidence than his presence ever was since he bamboozled Frank Lefever, et al with his fictional resumé.

      As any follower of this drama knows, it requires reading between the lines (lies?).

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    5. Chris, let me try and explain my feelings. People like Reese and Rosenberg were at one time or another part of the Pacifica machine and were, therefore, part of creating the current problem. It's like choosing among dictatorial factions of a dictatorial political party. All are guilty in the end. Don't get fooled into thinking someone is genuine because they say something you agree with. They are all out for themselves in the end. They only cry and whine because they are out of power. Dictators don't turn over nice new leaves. They are still the same inside.

      Null. OK, why do I call him a slime and have no use for him? He claims he has evidence of felonies and doesn't go to the police, remains doing a show on such a station where he claims said felonies take place and continues to make money for the station and himself. That is totally immoral in my book. I don't think Null has any real evidence of anything and is simply trying to get his listeners to support him in installing a management to his liking. Null's crap sounds like Nazis blabbing about the Protocols of Zion as evidence.

      All these people are talking about recover when the person who just got hit by the car needs first aid and to get to a hospital right now. Recovery talk is for later.

      Reimers is the smartest man in the room, without any question. He's "The Teflon Don," but will he end up like John Gotti? Not if Pacifica has anything to do with it. Watch, he'll be made ED yet. Well, we can hope.

      SDL

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    6. I agree with you, basically, Null is a study in self-contradictions and, like Mitchel, he throws just enough real facts into his untruths to create for himself the benefit of a doubt. As I've said previously, adding to his cast the blather of Kathy Davis is further evidence of his hypocrisy.

      I would not put it past the Pacifica bozos to install Reimers as a puppet ED, but the expiry date on that sort of thing has already been exceeded.

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  6. Forgot to mention that TPCS show said this past week that they got an email from Reimers saying there would be a Report to the Listener this morning, September 30, 2015, from 6AM-8AM. I checked the archives and just got the usual morning slop.

    SDL

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  7. Gary Null has a dog in this race: His Internet Radio Network. However, what Reese, Leid and Rosenberg said about the internal Pacifica politics is truly revealing. When I first started listening to the BAI in the early 1990's and I got the wind of the conflict, I thought that it was the case of the Black and Hispanic left wingers attacking and forcing out the old White hippies, who ran the BAI station since the 1960's, judging by the shows that were being removed. Later on, my impressions of Leid and Reese was that both enjoyed their power, and were hatchet women. A couple of old Haitians I used to drink rum with told me of the conflict that the banned Amy Goodman was good and that Utrice Leid was a bad opportunist. Listeners can be manipulated and the impressions can be deceiving, and in my estimation, everyone mentioned holds the same low ethical ground as ne Norman Siegel and Lydia Brazon, who apparently sued their way into power in Pacifica. This does not invalidate anyone's arguments, however.

    Some questions linger on, however. Did they really deal drugs out of the BAI studios? Gary Null recounts how a thousand dollar tape recorded that he purchased for the studio was sold off for a lousy $75.00 dollars. At first I thought, what a stupid goddamn thief ! Break his fingers and make him carry that thing, but then a second thought occurred to me - what if this was not theft - but an act resentment at Null and his money? Did they really deal drugs out of the BAI studios? If that is true, is it any wonder that premiums are put on the back burner? Long time ago someone mentioned that in the 1960's rich white people used to donate money to the BAI, but did not take the station seriously enough to listed to it. If that is true, then these same kind of donors did not really care if they got the premiums either.

    Notice how Null described Larry Josephson as having his finger on the pulse of the hip set, but that Chris Albertson panned him as an egotist, one of the early ones, who started ruining the station.

    The real bombshell is the allegation that Juan Gonzalez of the Democracy Now! brought in $100,000 Dollars to help Amy Goodman secede. Is there any truth to this? If so, what is the source of that money? Notice how both Reese and Leid paint Amy Goodman as an opportunist. Another interesting question is, who brought Samori Marksman on board? Was he the malevolent eminence or was there someone behind him? Another fascinating tidbit, is that if Summer Reese is to be believed, financial pilferage and embezzlement are institutionalized at Pacifica National Board. Of course, she was also likely using the financial audit to hack her way into power, remember how during her reign, she used to administer a psychological paper and pencil test to get rid of her political opponents. Which leads us to the elephant in the room.

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  8. In promoting his Progressive Radio Network, Gary Null is wrong to assert that over that air broadcast radio is passé. On the contrary. Look at all the behind the scenes fighting to govern the Pacifica, look at the scheming and the outside influence to take off the most viable of Programming that Pacifica had to offer - the Democracy Now! show and the news program that became the FSRN News. You had the Pacifica Foundation sitting on what was perceived to be a gold mine, and aggressive outside entrepreneurial interests raiding its assets, with the listener audience being wielded like a club and the Pacifica Foundation not being able to respond in kind. Which leads us to the present. BAI and Pacifica are doing badly. NPR is struggling, but the Clear Channel Communications is NOT!!! I think that Null is bound by necessity to Internet broadcasting, but at one time, everyone else was enamored with Clear Channel type dollar signs as they clawed their way to the top. Now it all degenerated into board members allegedly trying to profit off the sale of the broadcasting licenses. It would be nice if Null would also interview Margy Wilkerson, Siegel-Brazon, and Brian Edwards-Tiekert, who was purged by Summer Reese, to see what they have to day, if anything.

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  9. Utrice sounded pretty healthy to me. Maybe Gary's multicolored glop is better than I thought. Maybe the point of that broadcast was to show off his latest "cure".

    KGT

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    1. Any evidence Leid was sick to begin with? Her doctors said she was? Maybe they are incompetent and did a misdiagnosis? It all smells like rotten fish to me.

      SDL

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    2. I am convinced that the healing Leids story had all the veracity of a Reimers claim.

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    3. Utrice Leid WAS sick. Her doctors diagnosed her. All the "doctors" that Gary Null sent her to, the ones that suck off of Gary Null also- the ones who can be heard on the weekends and during the week at 3 a.m. on WABC and WOR like "Dr." Eric Braverman who hooks your brain up to a computer to give you "total health".

      KGT

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  10. This is a comment on Null's show this afternoon. Today's show contradicted a previous show. The day before he called for people to come to a church to view his new movie and get a book and all the proceeds would go to BAI. Why bother if the station is doomed? Anyway, my comment here is on the push to the internet which he seems thinks is the answer. First of all many hosts who made it elsewhere made it because of the publicity granted them by their programs popularity over the airwaves of WBAI. They already made a name for themselves so seeing an offline radio station as out of date is really not fair. The test of this will be who buys the antenna and what they do with it. Michio Kaku is another person that benefited from BAI at the starting line--both got out of the gate pretty early with a large following. There is a problem, however, with the internet generally, in terms of attracting new audiences for alternatives to mainstream products be it movies, blogs, books etc--these are questions around search engines, how people use them and linking.

    The type of interactions also have been called into question in terms of their actual social worth, face book friendships and so on.

    The first example is this very blog. I discovered it because I knew about Pacific and was familiar with Mr. Albertson's comments in two Pacifica forums. I can key in search terms like BAI, Pacifica or even alternative radio if I'm interested to begin with. If I have no clue to their existence, I wouldn't know. If I do a general search on alternative radio that presumes someone seeking an alternative. How many will seek alternatives to the mainstream? How many will seek out what they already don't believe in or agree with. This is a fundamental problem. Null suggested people can find Pacifica type programming moved online. He forgets he's a known quantity. Glimpsed even on PBS stations. I think he speaks without much knowledge of the difficulties faced by unknowns trying to market products online. He doesn't remember the advantages BAI has brought him. He should also not be dumping oldies while he is himself old in the eyes of others. His desire to change programming to appeal to the young is problematical since the young ought to maintain some worthy traditions for the sake of those traditions. I didn't just tune the dial of the internet and by chance discovered WBAI Now and Then. This is a significant difference between discovering a rich variety of content by accidentally tuning into a radio station broadcasting a signal over a major city, free for anyone to tune into. The internet fundamentally works in favor of known quantities rather than unknowns. People are empowered to search for what they want. That makes it much harder for people to search for things that will challenge their world view or politics or indifference to politics. We must wait for them. The big companies have an advantage there. They have the power and brand name not to wait on customers finding them. For they too have histories before the internet. Yes powerful newspapers have folded or moved online. But it is a mistake to think that simply having access to the internet will mean people will want or will be able to find alternatives. And if the net neutrality issue ever favors fast lanes for some and slow ones for others "not so popular or rich" it will further complicate the problems for alternatives online. The problem on the net as in cable is that people are talking to themselves or their little group of fans or groupies. The paranoids have Alex Jones--the UFO spiritual crowd has Strieber's Dreamland. The debunkers have Skeptics magazine online, the Libertarians have Reason, the Nerds Wired and so on. And Yahoo will take the hindmost, the Yahoos, with ads disguised as news articles.

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    1. There is no future for radio of the old model – none. There are, as in all transitions, pluses and minuses in that, but it’s the reality.

      It cannot be avoided.

      The net is the present as well as the future.

      Adapt or die.

      ~ ‘indigopirate’

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    2. They will die (figuratively) as they continue to see themselves as oppressed victims, despised for their vision.

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    3. Internet broadcasting is a failure already. The problem was that thousands upon thousands of stations have popped up, most being one person operations. After a few hours of programming, most of these people enjoyed the novelty, their dream and got bored, abandoning their stations into nothing but looping the handful of hours of recording they did. More serious stations have mostly been simulcasts of the AM/FM signal, but still fail to achieve any real listenership, unless known for other reasons, like internationally known WFMU, which could probably shut their transmitter and lose only 30% of their listeners. However, that would probably piss off enough people to affect their annual record convention negatively.

      These days, even well known broadcasters who went internet with great publicity have proven to only have a fraction of their audience follow them from radio, like Tom Leykis, Art Bell, etc.

      WBAI and/or Pacifica would be good going internet because of the expenses it would save. However, it will also lose them a lot of listeners and supporters as many don't have computers or internet, especially the elderly ones. the question is will the savings be worth it compared to the losses. I think so, at this point.

      The future, if any, isn't even broadcasting or shows but bypassing traditional broadcasting models altogether to downloading the music itself. Ask the kids and see how many listen to any sort of show. They don't want any host or DJ interrupting their listening. In sum, what the kids want is the future, and that is the content, not personalities.

      So you know, I held up my own show, which was going to be an internet station, because after studying internet broadcasting I realized it was near impossible to get listeners on there. Now I am looking at buying leased time on shortwave and medium indie stations around the world, like WBCQ (USA), Radio 700 (Germany), IRRS (ITALY), and transmitter sites in Romania, Bulgaria, etc. Even free relays by my pirate radio friends in Europe is better than the internet. In other words, the internet isn't worth a minute of my time.

      The internet is indeed the present and future, but not for broadcasting. Remember another thing, cable and satellite TV haven't killed broadcast TV. Also, there will always be poor people and people like me that can't/won't pay for our TV and radio.

      As an aside. Shortwave radio which is supposed to be dead is seeing the highest sales in history of shortwave radios. Go figure.

      In sum, broadcasting as we know it, isn't going anywhere for decades, beyond getting worse all the time.

      SDL

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  11. The internet functions on appeals to mobs rather than attempts to make appeals to form a general consensus. Instead of news readers telling the facts they pit partisans against each other and then claim fairness. The audience will generally side with the person they agree with or judge to be sound based on appearances or demeanor.

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  12. how much money is null making from his wbai activities? this is what we all need to know? its millions! wbai and pacifica stations broaden the null brand. if the stations go dark he loses everything. what kind of a progressive is he? his mansion in florida used to be owned by frank sinatra and is worth 50 million! his overpriced food supplements are sold to poor people who pay 20 dollars for a tube of toothpaste while he flies first class.shame!

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  13. I could be wrong Indigopirate, but I'm skeptical about the internet. I have a feeling it is like a fad. A craze.

    Change in programming may do it, Chris--a new vision available live, in real time and not or never on the internet. The liveliness of it may sell better than the prerecorded. Exclusivity must be a selling point. Of course it could be pirated and put online but then that would be free publicity. Hopefully people will want to tune in live.

    SDL, your experience and observations are on point here. But I wonder if the internet is really not in some respects overrated. In this sense that it is a market that is glutted. Flooded with materials and resources. Everyone is stifled. The idea then of products that are available exclusively offline may be one way to go. Offline publicity may help you start that online radio show.

    That's one possible solution to problems you describe SDL. It is a distribution problem, too. In that sense Franks Lefever's complaint that not enough know about BAI needs to be tested in the offline domain. Maybe not enough know or many need to be reminded about how it once was and could be so again if they have tuned out over the years.

    What you've said tells me the loss of BAI will be a great blow to the city and to culture generally. It is such a profound advantage for BAI to be on live air rather than move online totally. With a live real time radio antenna plus the internet it has greater range and scope. Perhaps what BAI also needs is a building that can act as a community and arts center as well as a radio station and studios. I think the new programs should be art programs, musical and radio shows mostly. Poetry and fiction. To stimulate critical thinking without browbeating people with raw politics and advocacy, though the arts can have plays and shows won't be mainstream escapist entertainment. Much of what audiences face is supra-abundance. There is just too much information.

    And if you can talk with a friend or loved one, why use up that time listening to strangers over the radio? The cell phone played a role in the death of talk radio. People talk to each perhaps more than they ever did before. Since we had to wait to get home to really talk to friends and family or we'd meet somewhere to talk we could do something else. Listen to someone else talk. Now people are talking before they meet in person. A subculture might emerge that gives up the internet and cellphones. We'll see.

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  14. I had nothing better to do today, so I actually listened to this. All I will say is that these four nuts are full of more bullshit and contradictions than almost anything I ever heard people say about Pacifica and WBAI. I'm not even going to waste my time breaking it down.

    Now I know for sure Pacifica is finished. With crackpots like this as the opposition, I know there is truly no hope. I'd sooner trust in Reimers than these people.

    All hail Samori Marxman and drug buster Null. (eyeroll)

    SDL

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  15. I had nothing better to do today, so I actually listened to this. All I will say is that these four nuts are full of more bullshit and contradictions than almost anything I ever heard people say about Pacifica and WBAI. I'm not even going to waste my time breaking it down.

    Now I know for sure Pacifica is finished. With crackpots like this as the opposition, I know there is truly no hope. I'd sooner trust in Reimers than these people.

    All hail Samori Marxman and drug buster Null. (eyeroll)

    SDL

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