Tuesday, June 28, 2011

WBAI Folio for June 8-21, 1964

Widely distributed sticker of the day.
Here is another WBAI Folio from 1964. You will notice that we, on most nights, signed off around midnight. Exceptions were Saturday night, when I kept am audio melange going until the wee hours—or whenever I felt like calling it a night. Another exception during the period covered by this Folio was "The Big Tune-out," our live satyrical coverage of the National Conventions. This program—co-produced by Richard C. Neuweiler—featured  members of the Second City, headed by Severn Darden, and included truly clever input from Elaine May, Barbara Harris, Taylor Meade, Burns and Schreiber, and—in a memorable role as Ladybird Johnson—David Amram. A renaissance man of impressive accomplishments, David, is still a WBAI habituĂ©, most often heard on the perennial Bob Fass show.

Apropos accomplished people, note the photo of our Music Director, John Corigliano, whose Sonata for Violin and Piano won him that year's Spoleto Chamber Music Competition and started him off on the road to numerous awards, including the Oscar and Pulitzer Prize. John composed and recorded marvelous fund-raising jingles for WBAI and "updated" Bizet's famous opera to "The Naked Carmen" with Melba Moore adding some Harlem soul to the cigar factory. 
The promo single came in a cigar box.

Getting back to the early sign-offs, we did not end on a prayer (although there was always plenty to pray for), but my predecessor, Joe Binns, had us going out on the Star Spangled Banner. It was something all stations did back then, so I thought it was required by one of out odd laws. I found out, however, that there was no such requirement, so I decided to add a little twist when I became the manager—I wrote to the U.N. and asked if they could get us recordings of all the national anthems for membership nations.  We received the tapes and began ending each broadcast day with a different anthem.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the national anthem of Rwanda......" Most people loved it, but there are always those who find something wrong, and, of course, some thought we were being unpatriotic.

On to the Folio (the drawings of Igor Stravinsky are by Barbara Mercer). Don't forget that a click on the image enlarges it.

I wonder if this lady saw WBAI's future? :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Another jazz moment from the 1965 WBAI marathon

Here is another snippet from our first marathon. We served New York's artistic community well, and it responded overwhelmingly. These musicians came straight to our little studio from a club date—it was six o'clock in the morning and pianist Walter Bishop, Jr. had just finished playing a set for us. I will post some of that here, too. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Mr. Jordan and his group—their music offered WBAI listeners a far more satisfying and relevant "premium" than all the gloom and doom DVDs and phony cancer cures that are on the fund-raising menu these days. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

WBAI Folio for November 23, 1964

This issue of the WBAI Folio covers two week and introduces our documentary series, This Little Light, which Chris Koch produced from tapes he and Dale Minor recorded in Mississippi during the tumultuous summer of '64. Dale had been there before, when he produced the extraordinary series, Freedom Now, so he knew how dangerous an assignment this was. What WBAI produces today pales by comparison. Neither Chris nor Dale referred to themselves as "investigative reporters"—they didn't have to, their work made that evident.

And WBAI offers as premiums the works of shameless scammers? It does not make any sense.

Please click on pages to enlarge them.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Davis dumb-down...

On the WBAI Listeners Forum, I have often posted my alarm at hearing how WBAI's programming has been dumbed down. The station that once was the brainy spot on New York's FM dial is... well, listen to this excerpt from Public Affairs Director Kathy Davis' Heart of Mind  program and tell me that this isn't the kind of gobbledygook that belongs on SNL. Ms. Davis probably means well, but I am told that she is responsible for bringing to WBAI much of its shallow, pseudo spiritual fare. She has, I think, listened to too many shallow wannabe Swamis and read too many comic book level subway handouts. This except from today's program is typical and I would be interested in your comments. Mind you, this is not an attack on Kathy Davis, I just think she is among the decision makers who—either deliberately or inadvertently—are shortening the life of WBAI as a vital station.

Excerpt from Heart of Mind as broadcast on WBAI June 13, 2011. (Note: I shortened the injected "music from the earth" interlude but made no cuts in Ms. Davis' words)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Another Folio

This Folio introduced Pacifica's new logo and contains many interesting programs, such as a new series, Freaking-out at Peace Eye, that explores the then burgeoning artistic community of New York's Lower East Side (the creative population has since been replaced by mundane people of means), and Saturday afternoon jazz shows are hosted by singer Al Hibbler, as well as musicians Bobby Timmons, Ted Curson, and Quentin Jackson. From The New School, anthropologist Ashley Montagu continued his talks on the social and biological concepts of race, and existential psychologist Rollo May continued his series on Existential Psychology. Dave Lambert of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross and Ayn Rand of Atlas Shrugged did their weekly WBAI programs, and Bob Fass' odometer was still relatively low.

We had also recently increased WBAI's power and installed a new transmitter atop the Empire State Building,
giving us almost twice the old coverage, so we knew that the number of subscriber would also increase. It did.

Always finding new ways to cut cost, we now issued the Folio every four weeks, which saved us mailing costs, and we purchased a Varitype machine that allowed us to eliminate typesetting expenses. The latter move gave us more control of the Folio, allowed us to make last-minute changes, and looked just good as the high-priced stuff—even to Mr. Bandes, our loyal printer.

Finally, check out the next to last classified ad and wonder what the Plainfield, NJ Active Neighborhood Association was thinking when the limited their desires to two ethnic groups. One might also wonder why we didn't we catch that.

One click on image enlarges it, another click zooms farther in.

Monday, June 6, 2011