Thursday, December 31, 2015
As 2015 slips into memory...
It is but a faint shadow of all that. Coups and corruption have scarred WBAI, attracting an element so far removed from its noble aims and early accomplishments as to be unrecognizable, except for brief, scattered moments of intellectual stimulation.
These moments, dwindling even further, kept WBAI on the ground level of good radio for a remarkably long time, but the jaws of ineptitude kept chomping away, clearing a path for opportunists on every level. A new low was hit with the hiring of Berthold Reimers, a self-proclaimed savior who has failed the station spectacularly.
The WBAI that enters 2016 at midnight is a morally bankrupt radio station that bears little resemblance to the real thing. Rudderless, its bastardized hull floats aimlessly in a septic tank of deceit and imagined self-importance. It has no studio, no respect (self- or otherwise), no piggybank, no audience.
The audience remained faithful far beyond reasonable expectations, but it eventually departed and radio stations, once considered bland, gained comparative significance.
When it finally dawns on WBAI's misguided producers and hosts that they are preaching their propaganda and selling their bogus "gifts" to their own, they will come to the realization that this is indeed the end of the road.
A few former faithful listeners, staffers and volunteers still tune in, but no longer to reach out. Now it is the incredulity of longevity that maintains their interest.
One former faithful who lost all hope after somehow enduring three or four years of WBAI's systematic decay, heard the exit of 2015 this way.
It will undoubtedly end in the new year—with a blend of whimper, legal action, disgrace and unfounded outrage—but there is not much left to lose, so sorrow will be reserved for the handful of stalwarts. Let us wish them well and hope that they find a station that recognizes their worth.