Monday, December 21, 2015

Exiles newsletter: December 20, 2015

As Berthold Reimers turns WBAI toward Haiti for the Xmas holidays, his dysfunctional Hollywood counterpart, Leslie Rampart continues her destruction of KPFK. As we continue our efforts to keep you a jour on Pacifica's internally generated plight, here is the latest newsletter issued by Pacifica Radio in Exile. 


Zulu Sex Therapy

Berkeley-Notes left on a conference room white board overnight at KPFK-FM in Los Angeles outlined GM Leslie Radford's plans to replace the station's longstanding and popular Roy of Hollywood overnight program Something's Happening with programs on sex, therapy, and poetry labeled "Zulu" and "Friday Night Fights". The contents of the white board can be seen here (picture below). While it isn't clear why Radford would leave the information exposed except to create a hostile work environment, the proposed changes target the most lucrative of the station's evening programs. The proposed change would reduce revenues, delaying if not finishing off entirely the station's broken promise to SAG-AFTRA union staff that they would be returned to normal work schedules. 

Something's Happening has raked in $11,927 (competitive with the station's daytime programs) since the KPFK winter fund drive began on December 8th. The ten programs that precede Something's Happening in the 9pm to 11:59pm weekday slots are broadcast in the Spanish language, and brought in $1,345 total between December 8th and 14th, before being yanked by PD Alan Minsky for the duration of the fund drive.

The audience described as  "outreach targets" for the new overnight programming were "clubbers", although that constituency would probably be better served on weekends than the Monday to Thursday overnight hours.


The post-midnight hours seem to be proposed for allocation to graduates of Radford's "People's School of Broadcasting" with some time reserved for DJ'ing by Radford's roommate Adam Rice.  Some lessons from the People's School of Broadcasting were left on the wall of the classroom space. They indicated students are being taught political advocacy techniques by the radio station. Radio broadcasting and production was not the subject of the lessons. The breakdown of the relationship between the LA City Council, the mayor, the LAPD, developers and landlords didn't seem directed towards generating 15+ hours of new programming on sex, therapy and poetry to fill the overnight hours. 
The LA station's infrastructural breakdowns have continued to worsen, with the archives uploader broken since December 6th, preventing on-demand listening for all but a handful of the station's programs. The website promoted the November 17th and 18th Pacifica Archives broadcast - on December 18th - a month after the broadcast. The station's winter fund drive sits at about $235K of the $500K goal and has been extended until December 23rd.

Despite failing to approve several divisional budgets months after Pacifica's 2016 fiscal year began on October 1st, Pacifica's national finance committee voted 4-2-2 to give itself a month long vacation between December 15th and January 19th, acknowledging the entire 1st quarter and some of the 2nd quarter will go by without any organizational budget. The board's abdication of financial responsibilities gives a free hand to board chair Lydia Brazon to allocate scarce resources with little to no supervision by the board of directors. 

The committee also confirmed the network's broken promise to KPFK SAG-AFTRA union staffers, who were told involuntary cuts to half-time status would expire at the end of 2015. The national finance committee passed a motion saying "The NFC recommends approval of the KPFK budget, with the following proviso: That the restoration of staff hours be contingent upon, and proportional to, the achievement of fundraising goals in the budget". 

The fundraising goals in the budget have already proven to be smoke and mirrors, with Radford relying on 90+ days of "silent fund drive" to bring in half a million dollars annually via a broken website and actively enaging in program changes to demonstrably decrease revenues.  The LA station has already said it intends to default on past-due premium gifts for subscribers unless compelled by "legal action". Radford described the unpaid bills as totalling $70,000, which loosely represents about half a million dollars in pledges from 3,000 people. Radford's statement verges on a declaration of intent to commit fraud.

New York station WBAI has already seen revenues collapse by close to a million dollars in 2015  due to 4,000 premiums not being sent to subscribers who ordered them. Pacifica's national board and rotating cast of executive directors (Wilkinson, Proffitt, Brazon) have done nothing to prevent the network from ripping off subscribers and do not seem willing to explain to managers they will destroy Pacifica's stations if they engage in widespread fraud. 

The effort by the Siegel/Brazon faction that took power in 2014 to push the network into bankruptcy proceedings that will throw tens of millions of dollars of broadcasting infrastructure up for grabs is outlined in this LA Progressive article. 

A preliminary financial statement issued last week by the Pacifica national office showed a massive loss of listener support dollars (i.e fund drive pledges) of $1.6 million from fiscal 2014 to fiscal 2015. The drop from $10.54 million in 2014 to $8.93 million in 2015 is nine times larger than any loss of listener support in the preceeding 4 years. Listener support was at $10.39 million in 2011.

Alternative health host Gary Null, a WBAI veteran of some 30 years, may introduce some significant litigation against the Pacifica National Board in the next few weeks. Null, who has held off filing due to the national board's requests for more time, has said he is in possession of evidence that may trigger large-scale fines and regulatory heat for the organization, which has already been under CA Attorney General investigation for a year. Null's suit will not ask for monetary damages, but may risk opening a Pandora's box of other troubles if it goes forward.

In Berkeley, a last-minute decision to up the Winter Fund Drive goal by $75,000 backfired with the station missing the entirety of the raised goal amount and finishing $77K short.  The Berkeley station had already announced a dangerously low bank account balance at $6,500 on December 12th, only 9 months after receiving a $565,000 legacy gift and spending lavishly to refurbish carpets and elevators as well as kiting another $400k bequest left to the Pacifica Foundation. 

The station's Siegel/Brazon faction (Save KPFA) called on listeners in NY, LA and TX to preserve their majority on the national board by voting for the faction's candidates in the still-underway elections (GCRC in LA, Justice and Unity in NY and and the Weisgal/Casenave group in TX). "The outcome of those elections will largely determine whether or not SaveKPFA will be able to stay in a majority coalition on the Pacifica National Board". Disingenously, the mailer states the Siegel/Brazon faction has only existed for a mere year and a half disregarding the faction's long-term alliance from the 2003 onset of democratization and the history of destabilization for most of the past decade.

The selection of two national board affiliate members for 2016 from the 200-station network of Pacifica programming affiliates went terribly wrong as the board majority failed to announce to affiliate members that nominations were open for the seats. The board majority then appointed the only applicant who applied (apparently by private invite as no one else knew the application period was open).

The new board member who was then appointed does not meet the bylaws requirements, as the nominating station Uhuru Radio (an Internet-only station), is operated by Burning Spear Publications LLC. Pacifica's bylaws say nominating affiliate stations must be non-profit non-commercial broadcasters.  The vaguely related African People's Education and Defense Fund received a construction permit for a low power FM station called Black Power Radio 96, but has not yet gotten the station on the air nor signed a Pacifica affiliates agreement in order to be eligible to nominate an affiliate director for the Pacifica national board. 



Pacifica in Exile readers may write to the board at pnb@pacifica.org.

36 comments:

  1. Laughable how Pacifica wants more Spanish programming, yet Spanish programming generally makes no money of notice. I recommend some Zulu or Xhosa language programs…

    She’s wrong about Null, of course. It seems Reimer’s family made such a nice impression on Null that he now likes Reimers, well, for today. I can’t keep up with Null’s mood swings. He’s even moodier than I am.

    I guess with all the money KPFA wasted on renovations, they didn’t get an exterminator to get rid of all the human rats.

    The Foundationalists really picked a great one in Radford. She works quickly to destroy a radio station. None of this Reimers slow stuff to be found with her. She gets in there and goes on the attack. You have to love her past-due premiums attitude. Even Reimers doesn’t have balls like that. Of course, if you’re owed a premium…

    “They indicated students are being taught political advocacy techniques by the radio station. Radio broadcasting and production was not the subject of the lessons.” Since when is radio about production?

    Just too damn funny! These people think it’s still 1974 and the SLA has Patty Hearst -oops, Tanya! – and are sending Pacifica recordings. Is this how old lefties escape the modern world? By playing pretend and reverting to a previous era? Cute.

    KPFK and WBAI are done for.

    I’m having a bit of a quandary now. Should Three Dog Night’s The Show Must Go On remain the Pacifica theme song, or should I change it to Blue Oyster Cult’s Don’t Fear the Reaper? They seem so close to death that the show doesn’t look to be going on for very much longer. It’s just a jump to the left, and then a step into bankruptcy…

    SDL

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    1. There is a parallel to be drawn between KPFK lowering its coverage and income with Spanish and WBAI switching to Ebonics and Mumble to achieve the same effect.

      Yes, Pacifica is well done, the books are overcooked and the dried-up carcass has long since been ready to have those forked tongues stuck in it.

      Delete
  2. Fire Gary Null NOW.
    FIRE GARY NULL TODAY
    WBAI: Don't let this Appalachin Asshole blackmail you.
    You know what he has? Stu Gotz.
    Call this asshole's bluff. TODAY.
    Send him back to Parkersburg, WV with a banjo on his knee.

    KGT

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  3. What the hell is going on in California? KPFA had aroung $900,000 in bequest money. Did they
    really spend it all so quickly? What about KPFK? Their target demographic is clubbers who
    Ha Ha..are going to listen Ha Ha Ha to Ha Ha...

    For God's sake, get off your high horse and take underwriting money already if you can find
    some group willing to fund this craziness. BTW the new affiliate guy is with Uhuru Radio
    led by the African People's Socialist Party fighting for one strong African state out of
    St. Petersburg, Florida. OK I'm rambling now. Any word on the elections? WBAI needs about 814 votes to make quorum.

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    1. If they took corporate underwriting, would it jeopardize their non-profit status?

      KGT

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    2. No, but it could be inhibiting. When Lou Schweitzer owned WBAI as a commercial station, he was very particular when it came to advertisers. He did not worry about political incompatibility, but he wanted the station to maintain good taste in commercials as well as program content, so he would accept sponsors like Steinway and Simon & Schuster, but not Flint bug spray or Howard Clothes.

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    3. Latest I heard about the elections is that the response is pitiful and the deadline has been extended. When you consider who won past elections and who now occupies the various boards, it becomes difficult to to take any Pacifica election seriously, or even care.

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  4. I think the only people voting in the WBAI elections will be those strongly allied to one faction or another, primarily. Most members are just members because they buy premiums, which they may or may not receive. They don't care, as long as they may get their Stuff, Zeitgeist and spirits. However, as we know, the number of silent members is shrinking year by year. I guess people get a little annoyed when they don't get their premiums.

    An interesting aside. I am listening to the Afropop show on WNYE FM, with the topic being African influenced music in Lisbon and Portugal. Among historical claims made during the program, one stuck out to me. The host said that Portugal was the biggest trafficker in African slaves during the era. Interesting, if true.

    I already knew that Portugal had brought a large numbers of Africans to Portugal as slaves, far more than any other European nation.

    Think Hay-tie or his ilk want to now ask Portugal for some dough?

    SDL

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    1. Hay-tie the Hask doesn't want that kind of historical information, just like he didn't want to hear that WBAI failed to mention a recent case of a black cop killing a white kid. He became quite defensive this morning when a caller pointed that out. The idiot who told us of something that happened in the year 1170 BC says he doesn't know something that was in the local papers very recently!

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  5. Did you hear Null today? I normally tune out, but today he was on such a ramble that he would have made babbling Bob proud. Most of all, seems Null is pissed at Pacifica and WBAI again. Jeez, Gary, make up your mind already!

    SDL

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    1. Wasn't listening, but now I will. Ill get back with my impression.

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    2. I heard through the grapevine Null is upset because they're making copies of his
      premiums without his consent. Is that true or is there more to it than that?

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    3. That could be true—these people are without morals and I wouldn't put anything past them.

      His rage on today's program seemed mostly to be directed at KPFA and K for censoring him in connection with his questionable AIDS "cure," but he also pointed an accusing finger at WBAI and the other stations. No mention of any of them having copied his premiums—were that the case, I hardly think Null would keep quiet about it.

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  6. The part about pulling the Spanish language programs bothered me. I understand programmers are expected to help raise money but the bottom line is they're already doing their bit by producing a show in the first place. They're volunteers trying to reach out to a new audience. That should be encouraged. Sonali K. at KPFK said she just wants to be a journalist. She doesn't want to lead the revolution. As a programmer, your focus needs to be on your show. If a programmer is treated like a sales rep with a quota, he might decide to just broadcast somewhere else and then the station is out one program and so many listeners/donors. As a listener supporter, you want to help out but you also want to hear your favorite programs without interruption every five seconds and without searching archives which at least in the case of KPFK may not be working. All of this leads back to the basic question of how to evaluate and promote programming which seems not to be addressed in a serious manner.

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    1. @Anonymous: You're wrong. A show, on a listener supported station, has to raise money to show it has, at least, some support. If the show has no support, it has no reason to be on the air. There are other people who could put the airtime to better use and be more informative to more listeners.

      Producers at commercial free stations get to produce programming with the understanding that "their bit" is to raise funds when the time comes to ask for money. "Their bit" isn't simply to walk in and do a show and garner the glory and attention then leave it to others to do the crap work of trying to obtain funds, unless, of course, you are a GM or PD that knows your friends can't earn money and put extendomercials on in their places during fund drives.

      Anyone who doesn't like trying to raise money and prove their show has listeners should leave their station and take their show elsewhere. Know what? They don't, because no one wants their crap ass show. If a show does, in fact, go elsewhere, maybe it is a place that is more suited to that show, to begin with.

      In fact, here's a case in point of a show that should have been on WBAI instead of WWRL. Michael Aulito, the self-hating white owner of paddles, had a whining "I hate being white" show, on Friday nights, for a short time. Well, it sounded like WBAI crap and probably had fewer listeners, if his inability to give away a few sets of prizes every week to his four callers who called every week is any indication. Well, Mikey's show ended with the format change at WWRL. Mikey's show couldn't even get his own BDSM club crowd to listen to it!

      "As a programmer, your focus needs to be on your show" Yes, very true. That means content AND raising money. If you can't do your part, leave or be fired. Once again, if a show can't raise money, that demonstrates a lack of support. Nothing else matters. You're wasting an electric bill by not having supporting listeners.

      Anyway. There are plenty of Spanish radio stations, go tell them to put some of the Spanish Pacifica crap on their stations. However, maybe they know better?

      SDL

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    2. I understand what you're saying but my concern is there is no way to evaluate programming objectively since there is no ratings system that works for Pacifica.Sonali clearly has an audience for her show in LA and yet her hours were cut. Of course they need to raise money but at what point does it become counterproductive?

      If a news show has to give up half their broadcast to fundraising on almost every show, that doesn't help anyone. If a show like Sonali's Uprising is preempted for a infomercial type show because the other show raises more money, that winds up hurting the network more than it helps. I don't know if the Spanish language shows on KPFK are any good or not or if they're even trying to raise money but I do know its a potential audience that can't be ignored.

      Delete
    3. Well, many would say even the rating system in place doesn't do a precise job when it comes to commercial radio. I think the best way is still to judge a show on a non-commercial station by a certain minimum financial support. I don't mean that it has to pull in a lot of money, just a minimum to pay the electric and any other costs of the show. This minimum can be added to the feedback the show receives to try and come up with a certain average.

      Remember that there is a lot of internal politics and personal agendas at Pacifica stations. Sonali, no doubt, was caught in the middle of that. No matter how much or how little support a show has, when it comes to the infamous Pacifica politics, you can be sacrificed, as so many have been.

      "Of course they need to raise money but at what point does it become counterproductive?" Very good question. I think you're safe with two one month long fund raising marathons per year. I think more than that and you get the "Oh, jeez... Are they asking for money again?" response. Now, when you get into nearly monthly marathons, as seems to be WBAI's case, you drive people away, especially when you play the same infomercials again and again.

      I think often preempting any show hurts it. People tune in a couple of times, don't hear it and think it has been cancelled.

      As for Spanish programming. I don't think Spanish will help Pacifica as I don't think there is enough of a like minded political audience in a Spanish language market to attract. If Pacifica wants to do some non-English programming, I would suggest a language not easily found on local radio but representative of a sizable local minority. For the NY market, I would sooner go with a left leaning Arabic or Hebrew political program than the Spanish rock show they have. I know all the Hebrew programs in the NY market are radical Zionist and religious. Maybe an alternative view could work? I don't know, but give it three months and see if it sinks or swims.

      SDL

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  7. Unofficial word is that KPFK and KPFT have made quorum but WBAI has not and may not make quorum. There are issues with the membership list and he GM being the only point of contact to verify members.

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  8. Did I miss something? Did Dancy get canned? What's this Haitian ghetto boom box crap that's on? it's even worse than she was.

    SDL

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    1. It sure IS worse than Dancy. I don't know if she is gone for good, she also has a show on another station. Perhaps, since "black and brown" isn't making it, Reimers is reaching back to his home island. The host/announcer, however, sounds like a fugitive from yesteryear's commercial American pap radio.

      This is awful—very "new Pacifica".

      Delete
    2. It's not only horrid, it goes against the political coverage of Haiti that the Pacifica goofs like. Seriously? A boombox music show whose sole gimmick is American DJs of Haitian extraction? That's all they have left up their sleeves at WBAI? They'd have been better with a voodoo priest doing spells for callers. Hey, that's not a bad idea, actually. Get some guy to do a Geoffrey Holder/Baron Samedi gimmick. The hocus pocus premium buyers will eat it up.

      SDL

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    3. This is another show dragged over to WBAI from another station. They are getting calls from friends and I bet none of them has a clue as to why WBAI/Pacifica came into existence.

      Yes, this is not the Haiti Haskins and Daniels want to promote. Such conflict is becoming increasingly common as everybody scrambles to do their own thing and nothing but their own thing.

      Now the Haitian show is over and we are enjoying dead air.

      Reggie just popped in... he doesn't seem to know what the hell he is supposed to run. All we need now is Haskins father...

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    4. The Haitians probably don't even know what WBAI is. It's just a radio station to air the show.

      I think someone should slip on the 1977 ESB shutdown tape one night.

      You have to wonder if they even bother to leave a note for Reggie what to do next. If I were Reggie, I'd just go play some show. Oh, wait. He did that once and got in big trouble, didn't he? Yeah, a lesson that must have stuck on him.

      SDL

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    5. I think Reggie may be doing that again... random radio. Very unadventurous, pedestrian music has been playing for close to 4 minutes and there have not been any station breaks.

      Reggie just popped in again to tell us that this is his Soundboard show. Now he's rambling on and on with some nonsense... he has not identified what he aired for the last 40 minutes, nor has he given a station break. This is so unprofessional and boring... good thing that intelligent people aren't listening.

      It's an hour into the program and he is now telling us what it will be about: Michael White, the violinist. Clearly, Reggie hasn't done his homework his knowledge of jazz violinists appears not to go further back that Jean-Luc Ponty.

      I hope he eventually discovers Stuff Smith, Ray Nance, Svend Asmussen, Eddie South, Stéphane Grappelli, and Joe Venuti, to mention some prominent jazz violinists.

      That said, Reggie did play substantive music when he finally got started.

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    6. Dancy was removed by Reimers - was an ugly throw down, according to sources. Reimers wanted his Haitian buddies on the air. The fact is, WBAI is not important anymore. Social media and the internet have killed BAI. The station is a place for the dregs or Dreds, if you will of black life.

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    7. Again. no surprise. Reimers need not do more to convince us of his incompetence... that has ben clear almost since he was selected by an equally incompetent committee.

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    8. If true about Dancy's removal, I hope she'll tell her side of the story somewhere. This new Haitian show is going to be Reimer's biggest(or is that smallest) disaster yet. For all the junk shows Reimers has put on the air in the past couple of years, this is the worst of them all, so far. I wonder how he'll out do himself next. Yes, I have faith in Reimer's ability to always sink lower.

      SDL

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    9. I was recently asked what Reimers had ever done FOR the station. I thought hard but could not come up with a single thing.

      Yes, the Haitian show is silly pap and, as I think you once pointed out, it is the antithesis of all that crap Haskins and "the professor" (Ron Daniels) are dishing out.

      BTW, I wonder why this Jamaican guy, Ian, is allowed to do his show from the island. It takes up air time that ought to be filled with something the NYC area can relate to.What Ian Smith (?) does is parochial. It is, of course, black, which seems to be the criterium nowadays. Smith (do I have the correct surname?) also produces Habte Selassis' show.

      Delete
    10. What has Reimers done for WBAI? Well, he... (desert wind blowing sound effect...)Yeah...

      That Haitian crap was something that may - may - get put on the tiniest college station if the PD can't fill the time with enough programming. All that Reimers succeeded in doing is losing Dancy's few listeners by putting these bozos on.

      Ian Forrest, you mean? Jeez, I can't even take one minute of his crap. It's what I call an "unnoticeable show." You tune by it and you don't even realize there is a show there, as nothing grabs you. You just keep on tuning.

      By the way, Ian Smith was the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia through the 1970s. For some reason I find it funny you called Forrest by that name.

      SDL

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    11. No sooner had I posted my reply than Forrest came to me (the name, that is). I wouldn't quite liken him to Ian Smith, but I would be curious to hear valid justification for his conducting a show about his family and friends from another country (Jamaica), where they are located.

      That said, his is definitely in the radio unnoticeable category, but more for its blandness that anything else—"community" radio, indeed. I do like Habte Selassie, an amiable observer of what's happening whose physical presence in NYC lends its own relevance to that time slot.

      The truth, however, is that were someone to decontaminate WBAI's schedule, removing shows for lack of relevance, questionable quest, or just plain bad radio, there would be little left that Hill would have considered right. WBAI is the once-so-important satellite that has disintegrated into a thousand plunging metaphors and memories.

      Look, up in the sky.......

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    12. My guess is Forrest is someone's friend. I can't see any other reason that he is on the air. He's just a nothing of a bore. I can't even dislike him because he's so dull.

      As I said a while ago, Habte has a great nighttime vibe. Some people have that certain something that works well with the overnight, and Habte is such a person, knowing how to mix music, talk and calls. He's also well spoken and not a repetitive idiot, as so many at WBAI are. Even when I disagree with his opinions, I still respect him. I think they should give him a midnight to 3AM slot like he had years back.

      SDL

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    13. Habte is audiogenic—his voice has the intimacy of someone speaking directly to you. He also comes off as colorblind, which is a rarity on today's WBAI. Giving him Fass' 3 hours would make sense.

      Kathy Davis is an ongoing embarrassment, she urgently needs to be put out to graze along with the many others who fill airtime with their waste.

      Delete
  9. wow ... bai was blacker than usual today . Starting off with sista mimi acting as spokeswoman for the black race again, then amy jumped on the bandwagon, prescott . well what can i say, now hester (i can't say ing on the end of any word ) bailey carrying on the blackness . Incredible !

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    1. I see these programs as self-inflicted fatal wounds.

      WBAI is operated by dummies for dummies.

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  10. "Whaa... Whaaa..."

    "Little girl, why are you crying? It's almost Christmas."

    "Whaa... My family forces me to listen to WBAI and drink Green Stuff..."

    "I'm calling child services to save you! This is child abuse!"

    SDL, who is so tired of that damn promo!

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  11. yeah that sounds like a complete avoid . Like most of the shows on bai now .
    Not to say their are still some good shows on , but few and far between .

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