Monday, November 6, 2017
We are gathered here...
Those hare-brained dabblers whose incompetence and nano-vision continued the misguided work of people like Samori Marksman and Bernard White have now all but succeeded in their efforts to metaphorically turn WBAI dark. No, they didn't flip the light switch, but they filled the air with one-sided racist rhetoric, bland chatter, pedestrian pseudo spirituality and more infomercials than Ron Pompeil created in a lifetime. As its program content grew worse, more dishonest and distant from Pacifica's principles, the likes of Tony Bates, Kathy Davis and Geoff Brady led the way to where WBAI now stands—teetering precariously on the precipice of oblivion.
Though cowardly out of sight and reach, Berthold Reimers underscored how unfit he is for the $110,000.00 job by sanctioning the staff's huge strides towards the obtainment of personal goals.
This "family", as the hopelessly insincere Michael Haskins calls them, entered deeper into the realm of scam holding hands but they pursue different ends. The more narcissistic ones seek to keep what they regard as their proprietary air time, others have business interests to maintain, and a few more hype self-serving, passé political agendas.
It all adds up to a WBAI that is narrow in scope and intellectually handicapped to a point where the overwhelming percentage of its loyal supporters have tuned out and reduced the listenership to the lowest in its 57-year history as a Pacifica station.
A pronounced atmosphere of mistrust exists on both sides of the microphone, nourished by Reimers who rarely is seen outside of his small inner circle of favorites du jour. Only he knows the actual figures that make up the station's income and how that money is disbursed.
Despite repeated claims of WBAI being the voice of truth, a courageous Government target and "victim" of the Empire State Building, which is owed about 3 million dollars in rent arrears, there is little or no sympathy for the station. It has neither credibility nor a discernible moral stand. Until recently, the feuding factions were clearly defined, but as the end draws near and not so well-hatched plots to take command fall by the wayside, it is beginning to look like a backstabbing fest.
They have aired a couple of live discussions for the stated purpose of giving listeners an inside look and an opportunity to voice their opinion, make suggestions, etc. We used to have a two-way Report to the Listener every week—it was in keeping with the station being in a partnership with its listening sponsors and it proved to be very helpful to us, as well. Many excellent ideas came to our producers from hearing criticism as well as praise. Callers were not screened and, unlike today, neither were they cut off for expressing negative feelings. It's all about communicating and that can only be accomplished if everybody listens as well as speaks.
As we so sadly see when viewing WBAI's present situation, lies only breed more lies and lead to secrecy. There is an abundance of all that at the present WBAI and it is a sure sign of mismanagement and underhanded behavior.
We may never get to the bottom of it, but the expiry date is probably on the current calendar.
Most of what I state here is redundant and for that I apologize. It was my hope that this blog would help inspire a desire for recovery, but that was obviously naïve thinking on my part. It is true that WBAI does not carry commercials or receive financial corporate support, but individual producers have their own hustles going on the air and one could say that the many months of thinly disguised fundraising is equivalent to running infomercials—in fact, arguably worse, for the products ("premiums") are usually junk, always overpriced, and many times downright fraudulent.
At this stage, WBAI will be missed by remarkably few; we are talking about a radio station that for the past few years has not been allowed to breathe freely, a station that could have remained significant and blossomed further were it not for the gross incompetence of those who abused it.
Here is a letter that was posted today by one of WBAI's staff representatives on the Local Station Board. It is written under the pretext of seeking information regarding a meeting that is scheduled to take place three days later. The practical approach would have been for the writer, Mr. Riley, to simply give Mr. Young a call, but this letter is typical of the faction strain that has come to characterize the LSB and PNB meetings. It's a game played with inherent clumsiness. —Chris
November 5, 2017
To: Robert Young, WBAI Local Station Board Chair
Cc: Entire LSB
Dear Bob, At this time of extreme crisis and some irrevocable decisions about WBAI being contemplated by the Pacifica National Board (PNB), I'm writing to ask what plans you have for this Wednesday's LSB agenda to make sure that the board has sufficient information to take a position regarding the debt to the Empire State Building and the fate of WBAI.
A swirling set of issues are being discussed by the PNB - - from a signal-swap to bankruptcy to loans. And it's critical that we, the governing board of WBAI, engage in due diligence to regarding the legalities, rules, practices, and pros/cons of all options. That requires bringing in experts. The interests of WBAI's listeners and staff may not be in alignment with those currently making decisions.
A signal-swap would permanently affect WBAI's reach and listenership. We likely would be stuck with a signal that that has far fewer listeners which would make it harder to generate sufficient resources for ongoing support of our station. I agreed with your suggestion that the LSB hold an emergency board meeting BEFORE this week to deal with this situation, and I sent you several possible dates. You said you were still working on it, but never got back to me. On Thursday I left a message asking if you'd support inviting experts on these issues to this Wednesday's meeting but you never replied.
I intend to introduce 2 resolutions on Wednesday: one opposing a signal swap, the other calling an emergency LSB meeting to dig deeper into the options with experts on either Wed., Nov. 15 at 7 PM or Sat., Nov, 18 during the day.
Please include these items on the agenda, and let us all know if you will support including at least 45 minutes on this Wednesday's agenda to hear from and ask questions of at least one expert on some of these issues (if available). Of course I am willing to help locate such a speaker.
Staff representative, WBAI Local Station Board