Wednesday, February 24, 2016
And now, a word from our sponsor...
If its under-the-fence entrants grant themselves this financial solution, WBAI's uniqueness will lie in its distant past and its slide to the limits of low listenership and high ineptitude. Pacifica only has to shake off a few worthy programs before it will have come full circle.
In New York, the decline has been slow but deliberate, compounded by a flag-raising shift to a new targeted audience and the lowering of program content to street level. As might have been predicted, this about face has reduced the listenership to its smallest number in WBAI's 55-year history.
Proof of decay and managerial abandonment lies in the hearing: tuning in to 99.5 at any time is likely to produce an assault on one's intelligence and sense of æsthetics, not to mention a one or two-hour product promotion. Fund raising has become WBAI's raison d'être, or so it seems, but it still boasts of being commercial-free, often citing WNYC's regular "underwriting" spots as a feature that would severely restrict program content.
There has, nevertheless, been talk of Pacifica resorting to underwriting, but such proposals are inevitably opposed. Now, however, the situation has grown so dire that some see this dreaded form of advertising as a necessity. This became evident at the February 23, 2016 meeting of the PNB Finance Committee, an uncharacteristically civil discussion that, as so often is the case, found 'indigo pirate' as a fly on the wall. His lead-in is a quote from that meeting:
The situation at WBAI/Pacifica appears, from what information is publicly available, to continue to spiral inward and downward.
I’ve distilled the archived audio of the Pacifica National Board Finance Committee Meeting of 23 February 2016 down from 1:33:17 to 28:33, focusing particularly on WBAI and Pacifica’s overall financial situation.
I’ve indicated gaps with a bit of click track, and I’ve tried to be as fair as possible in letting the information speak for itself.
Which it does, perhaps all too clearly.
The full audio may be found here.