Wednesday, June 1, 2016

WBAI's ever so slow descent: another spark goes out...

Nanette Rainone died May 23, at the age of 73. A champion of feminism on radio, she is credited by some for taking the original whack at Pacifica's foundation (I think she had predecessors, however).

Others—mainly proponents of a politicized WBAI—saw her in a very different light. Both views may be well focused, so, if you remember  Ms. Rainone's work at WBAI, it would be interesting to hear your opinion, even though Pacifica has long been brain dead.


  1. I wouldn’t argue that Rainone took the first ‘whack’ but I think her tenure marked a significant evolution along the line to WBAI coming to see its purpose as one of political advocacy above all else.

    Her ‘consciousness raising’ was so far as I know the first program to screen callers in advance, and, of course, it excluded any male callers. Some thought this was fine, others thought it problematic.

    As program director she advocated in-house for what those who disagreed with her politicization of programming criteria termed ‘Balkanization’ along leftist/progressive lines.

    Most staff were leftist/progressive. That wasn’t the divide. The divide was as to whether or not political positions ought to be the principal criterion for programming.

    The side represented by Rainone, in part by virtue of her authority and influence as program director, won that little war, and folks, the majority of whom shared leftist/progressive views, but who were less doctrinaire were increasingly marginalized.

    That path led in time to ‘The Crisis’ of 1976-1977, which seems in retrospect to have proven a point-of-no-return.

    How it looks to me, anyway, for what little that’s worth.

    To my mind Rainone wasn’t the question. She didn’t put herself in the position she held. She was given that position, if memory serves by Ed Goodman, a profile of whom may be seen here

    ~ ‘indigopirate’

  2. From what I've read about her, she just sounds like a child of her times, the post "60s" early to mid 70s divisive Left radicalism. Flower power was buried by MLK, RFK, Manson and replaced with division and doctrinaire Leftism of every self-identified group out for themselves.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but the difference between Rainone and Marxman seems to be one of aim. Rainone seems to be, like her compatriots of the time, all over the place, while Marxman had that singular aim of a world Communist revolution. It was a matter of focus, I guess.


    1. The miracle of WBAI/Pacifica was that for a fairly brief span, perhaps from its beginnings, on through [nods at Chris] Albertson’s tenure and guidance, then spinning, wobbling, caroming, sparking, and finally fading into the crisis of the late 1970s, the place worked.

      It was of its time and to an extent shaped its time in turn. The NYT description of the place as ‘an anarchists’ circus’ was probably as fitting a description as any.

      This was a very long time ago, and the past is a different country, never truly imagined or recaptured.

      ~ ‘indigopirate’

  3. I note that an excellent entry for Nanette Rainone has now been created in Wikipedia.

    ~ 'indigopirate'