Friday, July 7, 2017

The Null Game?

I remember as far back as 1977 the sense that each and every person felt strongly that they owned their air and access to air. Even then listeners were kept in the dark as to what was going on and, frankly, it troubled me. It’s understandable that you can’t keep listeners completely in the loop as to details, but it might be nice to show enough decency and responsibility to provide them with some sense of what’s happening other than to say ‘send money’.

I’m no political philosopher, but it’s my understanding that, in political terms, ‘anarchy’ has at least two principal meanings. One is that people need to be encouraged to cooperate with one another voluntarily and are capable of doing so, particularly if encouraged. The second is the more common pejorative sense of chaos and people at one another’s throats.

WBAI was once, in the early 1970s, referred to by the NYT as an ‘anarchists’ circus’. It became clear in time that it was in the second sense, and that that meant crashing to ground (however slowly, given the intrinsic value of the frequencies inherited).

They’re an ugly nasty little bunch, but hardly a threat to the world, only to themselves. So it goes…
                                                                         'indigo pirate'


  1. What do you expect from a pack of losers whose lives are wrapped up in having a radio show r, at least, some power?


    1. The operative question, I think, though it’s long academic at this point, is how that came to be the case – how, over time, they came to be such a collection of people, overwhelmingly bitter and talentless, consumed principally with hate, self-loathing, and various forms of madness.

      It wasn’t, after all, always the case, by any means.

      All human enterprise is of course flawed, even deeply flawed, yet the original foundational ideals and mangement, however human and imperfect, proved valuable and at times invaluable for some years.

      Then, by degrees, it went to shit and then, in time, ultimately, to this particular wretchedness.

      Failure and decay are interesting phenomena. One may hope to learn from them, at least in theory.

      Perhaps it’s the study of accidents in both principal senses of that word ;)

      ~ ‘indigopirate’

    2. Simple. A few seeds like Bernard White were there when Samori Marxman became PD. it was he who opened the floodgates for these people to bring in their friends. After that, a snowball effect occurred. Older people would leave or be fired, while the new people brought in were the current scum type of idiots.

      I still say Samori was the big change in what was to what is.


    3. I agree - I am glad people are realizing what a destructive force Samori was - he was an evil force, according to Andrew Phillips.

    4. The seed was planted by Steve Post, Larry Josephson and Frank Milspaugh back in the very late Sixties. Post and Josephson allowed their egos and mescaline-head Millspaugh's to distance them from the Pacifica principles, laying the groundwork for a variety of paths that led to Marksman, and beyond. So gradual was this shift that few people noticed, but listeners started dropping out. Every step in the wrong direction gave the previous one a good-old-days veneer, but it was a steady one way road to the wasteland FCC Commissioner Newt Minow saw decades earlier when he described commercial broadcasting.

      Marksman was, I believe, responsible for the move that narrowed multi-cultural community radio to a narrow-casting WBAI that all but ignored 99% of the New York area audience—he made some effort to at least maintain quality, but he left in his wake a stream of misguided opportunists who placed personal benefits above WBAI;s growth and welfare.

      So, I agree that Samori Marksman probably had an enormous negative influence on WBAI's current path and decline, but the torch he grabbed had been in the wrong hands since the late Sixties-early Seventies.

    5. Post, etc. may have diverted WBAI from its original purpose. I wasn't listening then as I was just a few years old. Samori, however, was the person who installed the ideological focus that has existed since the 1980s, and wrecked WBAI.

      I think we also need to ask what Pacifica was doing in the 1980s that they let WBAI get away with this gear shift.


  2. Its not that difficult to understand. You can go through the process of getting a FCC license and organizing a station or you can go to an existing radio network with five licenses. Its about gaining and keeping control. KPFA wants to secede because its 'their' station. Why should they support these other stations? KPFK will have programming in Spanish on weeknights whether or not it raises money and has listeners.
    WBAI signs a bad contract, unilaterally breaks it and is shocked when they're sued.
    Its politics. The main difference here is that no one will compromise at all. Why should they compromise? 'They' are right and if you disagree, you're racist, sexist elitist corrupt.

  3. Once I called KPFK when they had a "listener call in forum", and complained about Ian Masters constantly trashing Pacifica on-air. The GM and PD both laughed at me. It was kind of like the pain in the ass racist uncle that everyone hates who keeps showing up at family dinners and won't shut up. Oh, well you know how HE is. And so on.