Monday, July 23, 2012

Just as we thought the on-air fund-raising had gone legit, here come the in-house scammers, crawling out of crevices in the moral fibre of Lew Hill's marvelously non-conformist wall, long since cracked by predecessors in pursuit of personal agendas. Where was Mr. Hatzis, the newly installed Program Director, the savior summoned to correct the destruction left behind by another "savior," Tony Bates?  Did Berthold Reimers, WBAI's inert General Manager, come out of hibernation, roused by  the desperate whines of tenured opportunists? Did frantic five o'clock fossils aim their tongues at yet another PD? Whatever lies behind the stagnation, it does not bode well for the promise of WBAI as a returning champion of unvarnished truth in broadcasting. The soapbox Lew Hill hammered together in the post WWII years began to come apart in the late 1960s, when Larry Josephson and Steve Post took it over, but there was still room for the occasional voice in the wilderness. Then, this year, as WBAI came too close for comfort to the edge of extinction, along came an Aussie. Was that a hammer in his hand? Did we see a box of nails? Was the soapbox about to be reassembled and open to fresh voices? Some of us thought so, and it may still come to pass, but if there was a bright light up yonder, the summer "fun" drive cast an ominous shadow to dim it. I hope I am being overly pessimistic. —Chris

So they drank the double helix water and generated more disdain for
WBAI than money. What now? Oh, let's give 'em a heavier dose of
conspiracy—get me Mother Mud, have Bobbie do his psycho act on
Psy War—no, it's not an act? Oh, well... and let's have Kathy do her

Quant number, the one with the extra deep vibes. Make sure that
Michael G. is wound up and that the phone ringer fx gizmo is turned
up to the max. That ought to do it.
What's that Berthold? No refund on them empty little bottles? Damn!

Please also read the comments (below) 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

We knew it was coming, but the new firings at WBAI make little sense and do nothing to improve the programming. This has become a radio station that cries out for ethical cleansing, functional management, and fresh voices.

Why, one has to wonder, did they (we still don't know who is calling the shots, but it appears to be Pacifica) fire Indra Hardart, the station's Business Manager, without notice? From what I understand, this is a hard working staffer who spent many years keeping things as stable as possible while GMs passed through and listeners were driven away by bad programming. A part-time receptionist was also summarily dismissed in what some insiders see as the start of a troubling trend. Why, some have asked, were obvious expendables not the first to go? The list of desired candidates is not limited to dross on the payroll, for only a thorough sweep can make the needed difference. Who do you think should be shown the door?

Please also read the comments (below):

Friday, July 13, 2012

Station for sale?

I just picked this up from Nalini's Pacifica Radiowaves list. It's dèjá vu all over again (going back as far as the mid-Sixties) but, given the present financial situation, it can't be laughed off. I agree with Mitchel that it must be nipped in the bud, and I think it should serve as an extra incentive to clean house at WBAI and get the station back into gear. What do you think?


Former Pacifica counsel Dan Siegel, now on the KPFA (Berkeley) Local Station Board, has called for WBAI to be temporarily shut down, moved to Queens or New Jersey, and sold to some high roller.

In response to the alert I sent out about his proposal to sell WBAI, Siegel wrote: "I have never suggested that Pacifica sell WBAI."

Siegel, the lawyer, is playing word-games. Here are his words, verbatim, from the July 7, 2012 KPFA Local Board meeting. Keep in mind, please, that this was the second recent meeting at which Siegel advocated the selling of WBAI.
"I don’t know if it’s true or not anymore, but a few years ago at least it was possible there were actual people who would buy WBAI for enormous amounts of money, and that part of the deal in exchange is that WBAI would get a new spot on the dial – admittedly, a less attractive one in the eyes of the person who wanted to buy it. Now we’ve always been extremely resistant about even thinking about ideas like that but given 1) the urgency of the situation, and 2) the fact that BAI really has a tiny number of committed listeners, making that change doesn’t seem as radical as it might be anymore."

Siegel is using the words "exchange for money" (and spot on the dial) instead of the word "sell". Nice one!

For those who might be snookered and think this to be a reasonable-sounding proposal, please be forewarned that one is not able to "trade" (for money, or for anything else) the current 50,000 effective watt antenna we're now licensed to use for one of similar power. Any "exchange" or "sale" would entail losing our call numbers and, more importantly, our strong signal. Additionally, there is no guarantee that the FCC would approve a new spot-on-the-dial for the former WBAI. What would ensue from Siegel's proposal would be tragic. We would likely lose WBAI forever.

I would hope that all WBAI listeners and staff would stand united -- all factions together -- and oppose any sale of the station. While we all know that Pacifica is in trouble economically (as is WBAI), Siegel's slash-and-burn proposal is precisely the wrong way to go about making the improvements needed.

Mitchel Cohen
Chair, WBAI Local Station Board*

*For ID only. These are my own comments and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Local Station Board.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

PD's Report to the LSB

WBAI LSB - July 11, 2012

First of all my apologies for not attending this meeting. I am knee-deep in Fund Drive, being at the station from 6 am everyday, helping on-air and off-air, answering phones and performing general duties that are required in all departments during this busy time. I am also meeting with Bob Fass as we speak. I have tried to organize a meeting with Bob for weeks and I did not want to postpone him anymore. And I am exhausted. Again, my apologies.

It’s been a little over a month since I arrived at WBAI. It is still way too early for me to provide any kind of comprehensive report on programming. I have spent all of my time so far talking to every producer and program maker across the grid. Talking to producers about their concerns about their shows, their feelings, anxieties, problems, self-criticisms and scope for improvements. This is taking a very long time. Most meetings scheduled take over an hour and I still haven’t met everyone. I have also spent time coming in on weekends to meet producers that don’t usually get to the office during the weekday hours, which has been appreciated. My weekday hours begin at 9 am and I rarely leave before 7 pm at night. My presence in the office at 9 am is a huge shock to a lot of people; my impression is that it hasn’t happened in a while.

The biggest complaint I have heard so far from the producers is that there hasn’t been a dialogue with them for so long. Program Directors need to be present physically in the office as much as possible, even if it’s for an informal chat of 5 mins before or after one’s show. This makes a huge difference to producers and I have noticed that so far they appreciate it. The News Department is also appreciative of contact and dialogue; in fact, every department has had a sense of purpose that hasn’t been evident for a long time. One of the many shocks when I first arrived at WBAI was the lack of collegiality among departments; the lack of community, lack of teamwork and communication, lack of regular meetings to simply address the day-to-day and week-to-week goings on.

As PD, my short term initiatives are to deal with programs that are the spine of the station, such as Wake Up Call, Hugh Hamilton, Robert Knight etc. I have set up regular meetings with Esther Armah, including general meetings with all her producers and interns. I have even arrived at the station at 6 am to physically see the show in action. We have implemented a few changes already, such as setting up a 7 am segment where Esther and Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman forward-promote what’s coming up on Democracy Now that day. This is an example of the collegiality and cross-pollination of programs and producers that I wish to implement across the station grid. The whole Wake Up Call daily and weekly schedule is being assessed and critiqued, and we are trying to improve segments, specials and interviews across the board to ensure a much wider audience for our premier drive program. Esther is very keen to help and be directed.

The same is being done with Hugh Hamilton’s program. Extensive talks and criticisms with Hugh have already begun and, again, he is very keen to improve the program. Hugh has many ideas he would like to implement, not just on his own show but to organize some “town hall’ type thematic live broadcasts of his program in all five boroughs and parts of New Jersey. They would possibly involve a theme for each show and location, moderated discussion between pre-eminent guests with a Q & A session from the audience. It is definitely something we are keen to pursue.

Discussions are happening with all programs, both formally and informally. Again, this is taking up most of my time.

A major initiative for me has been better and more regular communications with the Operations Department. They have been dealing with perennial problems at all levels of broadcasting at WBAI; everything from pure technical issues to production problems of individual programs. All the daily frontline happenings of what the station is involved in go through them and they are best placed to ascertain station problems at a programmatic level, individually and overall. They are not without criticism; they are also keenly aware that they themselves need revamping and better communications with all departments. It’s an ongoing process.

Another major issue is the traffic situation at WBAI. I believe a proper traffic system is essential for any station and my impression is that there have been several attempts at setting one up from previous directors, all to no avail. I am in discussions with the Operations team as to how best to implement this, it is so long overdue. It’s not an issue of difficulty; it is one of wherewithal and follow through. It needs to be devised and designed properly, implemented and then maintained by all producers and managers at a consistent, professional level.

The News Department is another area that has welcomed regular meetings and communication. We are working together to perhaps implement better and more frequent news content across the station. This is especially difficult given their lack of resources and staff, but they are very encouraged and enthusiastic with this new approach and dialogue. Jose Santiago even has a spring in his step lately. 

So my initial month has been taken up by implementing lines of communication that have been sorely neglected in the past. Developing relationships of mutual respect and constructive criticism with every producer, especially our core programmers. I believe that without this initial establishment of mutual respect I cannot move forward and make necessary changes to any area of programming. And in my first month I have noticed many good and bad aspects to BAI, most of which will already be very familiar to you.

Good things:

There is a general goodwill amongst the listeners, staff, producers and volunteers about the station. They all want it to succeed. They are all painfully aware of the destructive history of internal politics, over decades, but what is striking is that in spite of all this they continue to believe in WBAI. Listeners continue to listen and give money. Producers sick and tired of the infighting continue to give their time to do shows. Staff press on with unbearably long and tedious fund drive organization, with serious threats of station insolvency, often juggling four or five jobs at a time. Volunteers, who have heard about and believe in the station, experience the bad atmosphere first-hand yet still give their time regularly and often. Listeners especially want the station to succeed, even the ones that criticize it the most. There is a groundswell of hope, change and opportunity; enough people want the station to be a certain way and are happy to work towards it.

There is evidence that the various departments at BAI are physically happier. The News Dept is happier and are being used across the station more. During the recent SCOTUS Health Care decision, we featured Jose delivering an up to the minute report on Delphine’s Thursday morning show seconds after the decision was handed down. Delphine had a great professional 10 minute dialogue with Jose about the decision, and both forward promoted all the programs that would be dealing with post-decision discussion through the day, mentioning Hugh Hamilton, Robert Knight, and focusing on the 6 pm in-depth BAI News Bulletin analysis that evening. Delphine even featured a discussion with Health Styles producer Barbara Glickstein later on her show talking about the decision, and of course forward promoting the Health Styles show later. This cross-pollination, cross-promotion of shows was welcome and all enthusiastically administered, something that I notice BAI hardly does anymore. To see it happening during a big news day was good for everyone.

Station community and collegiality seems to be returning, slowly. It is being rebuilt, as in the Esther/Amy cross-promote, and there is a groundswell of enthusiasm amongst the producers for more of the same. Again, this seems to have been neglected over many years. Hopefully this will translate to more listeners.

Bad things:

You all probably know this all too well. I don’t have to mention to you the chronic institutional inertia and memory that exists at BAI, and has done so for 20-plus years. No amount of goodwill can change this unless there is constant and meticulous work done by all administrations at every level of the organization. Most of my communication with producers and departments has been taken up by individual and collective venting of problems, psychological and physical. It needs to be acknowledged at the very least so we can move forward. But I am overwhelmed by the beating producers have taken over the years, and they are all letting it out. My concern is the radio, first and foremost, so the welfare of producers and operations is paramount. That’s why I have been part new PD and mostly psychiatrist to people over this last month.

My concern is that this inertia, this atrophy, cannot be changed even with the best intentions. There is a fear and anxiety amongst the station that hangs over everyone, rightly or wrongly. Fear of insolvency, fear of cutbacks to an already threadbare staff, fear of too much bad history that has prevented us from solving even a few of these problems. This affects us on-air, especially during the current fund drive. I am concentrating on the air we deliver and I am trying to make it better, but these pre-existing situations make it very difficult to do that.

From a general programming point of view, it is still way to early to seriously assess the grid. But some initial impressions suggest an overall dated and stale sound. We sometimes sound like a station still broadcasting in the 70s. Many programs can adapt and change with help and critical production techniques, but many programs have to seriously be reconsidered. Some programming hasn’t changed in decades. I’m not suggesting a slash and burn approach, but the feeling is that even the slightest change will be slow, painful and full of political ramifications. 

Our audience is old, too. This isn’t news to us. I’m not being age-ist, but we need to attract a larger, younger demographic. This isn’t at the exclusion of older listeners, but we certainly aren’t including any younger ones. And by young I mean at the very least 30s or 40s.

Our fundraising is problematic in that we are deriving funds solely from one source: our listeners. And that source is ever diminishing. Also, by the sound of our fund driving, we are targeting aging hypochondriacs, an ever-decreasing market. Not healthy (irony alert).

There are already some obvious deficiencies in structure and production staff. The regular weekly shows, Wake Up Call, Hugh Hamilton, Robert Knight etc., are in serious need of content/line producer staff. Wake Up call needs a proper in-studio/ content producer. So does Hugh Hamilton. We can’t rely on interns, as enthusiastic as they are. We need a serious commitment from producers if we are to have a seriously produced daily show in either drive slots.

The News Department is also short-staffed by maybe 2 or 3 journalists. We don’t have a morning drive live news bulletin of any sort. In a perfect world, or even half-perfect, we’d have a live person reading a 5 minute or so news bulletin at a given half-hour or hour. I know Esther and Hugh would love this to happen. I seriously do not know how we can address this, given our fiscal problems. But, again, interns are not the answer.


I have only touched on a very small number of the many issues that I have encountered so far. We all know that dealing with just one of these issues is a 10-hour argument. But I have also encountered enough people involved at the station that are willing to work hard to fix them. I am encouraged by the desire and enthusiasm of producers and staff that, in spite of all our ongoing problems and checkered history, are still excited about making good radio. They are wanting to be directed to produce quality, relevant and compelling content. Support staff are keenly aware of our deficiencies in all areas of administration and they want to be guided and involved in rejuvenating those areas.

The listeners are out there. They want us to succeed. We need to get them back. Earn their respect. In this internet/blog/DIY world, a programmatically well-curated radio station is still a unique entity in an increasingly media consolidating landscape.

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to re-instill a sense of community, a sense of collegiality at the station that, ironically, USED TO EXIST. The horror stories I have heard so far did include some encouraging history of teamwork and togetherness that did occur in all areas of administration. I am trying to rekindle that. It is going to take a long time.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The bells were ringing...

Early this morning, I heard Tom Wisker fall asleep on the air. It was the second time I happened to be tuned in when he did that. Having often expressed my feeling that WBAI has become something beyond a retirement home for broadcasters who cling to it as the final stop, I think Mr. Wisker—who sounds like a very nice person when he is with it—needs a boost, perhaps a change of environment. or at least an indication that he is appreciated. Yes, that may be all he needs, just a wee bit of the attention lavished on so many of the station's lesser talents. The same goes for most of the WBAI voices that have been exiled to Cyberia are. 

What happened this morning—during a fund drive, no less—should not have happened. One WBAI outsider cling-on, Pamela Somers, had a very different take. This, she seems to believe, is what it's all about. Read on and you will see her rather extraordinary and, typically, disingenuous assessment. She was responding to a comment I posted on the BlueBoard. What follows her remarks is the actual unedited segment, taken from WBAI's archive.

"Funny that you should mention Tom Wisker, because when I went to bed late last night I had the pleasure of listening to Tom's entire show. I was first lured in by the enticing music. He always plays stuff that is music to my ears. Someone named Nina Gordon? He said that he really liked her too, and she'd be all  that we'd be hearing that night. So I snuggled in for the long haul and kept listening. 

But then -- as the show continued, I realized that I was listening to a BAI treasure. It was wonderful just to hear Tom ramble. It wasn't incoherent, it was funny! It was what Overnight is supposed to be -- it was BAI at its best. I didn't hear Tom snoring last night, and I listened all the way through to Libido Talk. But I remember the night that he fall did asleep, when the Blue Board got all agog. And I seem to remember you saying how terrible it was that he was snoring in the control room, and me thinking how funny it was. Another great BAI moment. I'm not a fan of the technical war talk, but aside from that I love Tom Wisker!" 

Now listen to a host Pamela Somers regards as a "BAI treasure," showing "what Overnight is supposed to be," and demonstrating "BAI at its best." 

I have sympathy for Mr. Wisker, who probably does not get paid for his work at WBAI (he has been there 34 years) and surely could use  at least occasional recognition for it.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I don't know the real identity of  "Harmony", but his/her following response to a disingenuous question posed on the Blue Board by Frank LeFever impresses me. It contains an insightful appraisal of WBAI past and present, one that will not sit well with people like LeFever, Kathy Davis and Reimers, but should interest and give Chris Hatzis, the new Program Director, something to think about. Will he see it? Probably, because Uncle Sidney (Smith) one of WBAI's neglected talents has copied and distributed Harmony's words to the current management.  

LeFever's question was: 
Is WBAI doing more harm than good or more good than harm?

Not surprisingly, it was more or less laughed off as yet another LeFever cry for attention. Keeping count, he saw that as a sign of forum-wide cowardice, and remarked:

> Interesting. So far, 37 people have read my question, but only
> one has actually risked an answer -- and that answer not quite
> explicit.

To which Harmony replied:

More harm than good.

I don't have to think hard about this question - it's been my view for a very long time. A long, long time ago, this was a radio station that was relevant and occasionally revelatory. It allowed expression of unusual and sometimes very extreme views but those views were not the rantings of hatred of others so often heard in more recent epochs. Most of the people producing the shows were bright and were aiming to educate or entertain, rather than to rant and bully. There was some degree of professionalism in the organization of the programs. The technical aspects were not so carefully handled, but people looking for novel ideas would have a good chance of finding some on those airwaves.

Back then, there was a striving for excellence. Intelligent and articulate people were the rule rather than the exception, as seems now to be the case. If you listened, you could be exposed to many different points of view. Sometimes you would be entertained and sometimes the station would leave you better informed about the world. There were also some meandering shows that were not very interesting and which depended on serendipity for their better moments, but even the bad shows were not spewing hatred or racism.

Over the years, the informative, entertaining shows got fewer and fewer. Some of the ones considered 'best' now are really pretty mediocre by my old-timey standards. I have no particular allegiance to listening to the station just because it has a particular political bent. I like to hear many points of view and honest debate. The only show in recent years that impressed me was MORC done by Bill Weinberg and sometimes by Ann Marie Hendrickson.

Now on the rare occasion I tune in to the station, it's dominated by inarticulate people. Some on soapboxes, some meandering about. The political ones are not making compelling arguments for their positions that would reach out to people who had different backgrounds or beliefs. Instead, they are preaching to the choir, and only the choir would sit through radio shows which are so poorly organized, repetitive, and amateurish in the worst sense of that word.

Even the news is not worth listening to. The few news broadcasts I've heard seemed to specialize in excessively long interviews with protesters, litigants, advocates, partisans, etc. where the interviewer would lob softball questions. They seemed more like PR pieces for the interviewee than interviews done from an independent viewpoint.

And this is just the non-promotional programming. I don't need to go into the disgust I have in the snake-oil premiums being offered to the ill and the compilations of conspiracy theory or fiction masked as history or science that are being offered to those who are overly credulous and willing to pay top dollar for dubious information that is either freely available or more cheaply obtained through other channels.

The best and the brightest now are disseminating information on the internet. Blogs, vlogs, and podcasts are all filling a good part of the information needs that formerly were filled by radio. When I can easily get a good audio book or a fascinating podcast to listen to, why on earth would i put up with a mediocre radio station that fund raises so much of the time? It's jvery easy to find alternative entertainment and information source nowadays - I'm not sure who still listens to this radio station and I don't know why they listen, either. No computer? Force of habit? Tuner on radio stuck on one frequency? Except for people who work there or have a friend who is on the air, I just don't see what audience it would appeal to.

I'm even more baffled trying to figure why anyone contributes to support the existence of this station. Not only were much of the premiums terrible pseudoscience,sleazy conspiracy stuff and some very boring lectures, the station didn't even have the respect for it's listeners to fulfill the premiums that were bought by listeners. Someone I know made what was for them a fairly sizable contribution for one of the less-skeevy premiums, and they never got the promised premium. That was many years back, but that was the last contribution that he will ever make. Burn your contributors once, and many of them will not donate again. Personally, I think that's another piece of evidence as to why the *

Bottom line: If a radio station can only raise funds by shilling for snake oil and b.s. conspiracy theories, then it probably doesn't deserve to survive.

* The rest of this sentence is missing from the original

Monday July 9 2012
Today, the poster, "Harmony," shared a second set of thoughts on the BlueBoard, giving a remarkable insight to the problems at WBAI, and a system that became useless through mismanagement and seemingly indiscriminate granting of microphone access to people who had neither the intention nor the talent to move on.  

Harmony writes:
I have one more thought to share here. I realize it will not be very popular with the people currently working at the station.

During the time that wbai was a reliable source of interesting radio and intelligent ideas, the station had very few paid staff, and most of them were not paid specifically to produce content. Few people stayed there long-term. A lot of talented people used the radio station as a place to gain skills. They did interesting radio for a few years and then they moved on. The ones who had high interest in radio and commensurately high skills often went on to other radio venues like National Public Radio. Those who had other passions often went on to make their living in some other field of endeavor. There weren't many long-term employees even when the station had the funds to support a larger paid staff. Of course, there were always some paid staff to handled the mundane aspects of running a radio station. In general, you have to pay engineers and bookkeepers and such, because there's not much appeal in doing that for free.

But the good programmers moved on and other people took their place and learned the skills and got good and then they moved on as well. And that was a continual cycle. The most talented programmers who wanted a career in radio did not linger at wbai for decades. They were hired for jobs at other radio stations or in other media outlets.

This was not seen as a bad thing back in the day and a side 
effect of this was that it opened up slots for new programs, new 
people, new ideas. New is not always better but most people 
aren't bottomless founts of creativity. Having programmers move on to new outlets was probably good for both them and the station.

As I said in my previous post, I don't listen much to the station now, but what little I hear often has a half-hearted, and worn out quality. I'm not sure how much of that is due to the low listenership. A miniscule audience has to be dispiriting for the programmers. You can't attract the best talent by offering them an audience almost too small to be measured in a performance medium. But same-old, same-old doesn't generally generate buzz or attract listeners, so this may be a cycle that is impossible to break. Way back when, the volunteer programmers usually had something in particular they wanted to share. It might be a political viewpoint, it might be news they felt was not being heard in mainstream media, or it might be music they had a passion for that they wanted to share. When a radio station has very few listeners people may feel no one is listening.

To put it bluntly, one of the qualifications for many of the current programmers is that they are not good enough to be hired or given airtime by any other radio station or network. I am not saying this in relation to any specific person and I am sorry if it sounds mean-spirited but I think it is a fact. People may say it is an act of sacrifice or devotion to stay there for many years, but in truth, most of the people involved have no other option if they want to be involved in radio. The current dynamic is not attracting many people who are good enough to get radio gigs elsewhere and this has been true for many years. It isn't just because of their politics, as much as they might want to think that is the case, it's because they are not good at producing interesting or exciting radio.

At this point, the station has gotten so far off track that I don't have any suggestions for fixing it. I am just pointing out some contrasts I see with the station now, and the station as it was during a period when it was interesting and relevant. When the station was doing radio well, it had a contributor base that was willing to donate money specifically because they got value from the programs. Most of the contributions now seem to be sent in for premiums of dubious merit, some which are just horrid. The fact that people donate to buy them speaks poorly of the quality of the current listenership.

In this era you can get your ideas across to more people by having a popular youtube channel or blog, so it's hard to see why someone talented and sane would want to jump through hoops to try to get a program onto this dysfunctional, washed-up radio station. Aside from the lack of listeners, the internal politics sound like they are downright poisonous.

I am sorry for the offense this post may cause, but the first 
step in improving any situation is to understand where you are 
and how you got there. Considering some of the better times this 
station has seen, I think the current situation is mighty sad. 
Truly, the station been various types of mediocre and miserable 
for a very, very long time.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

From the BlueBoard desperadoes...

The following are responses to frivolous messages posted in the Blue Board forum by resident trolls who do not share my respect for the new Administrator and the work he is doing. I post them here, with a link on the BB, because I am trying to do my part for that forum's survival.  

Somers submitted (Knight generated):

"That's even more than his saboteur predecessor Edwin Johnston managed! 
Incessantly stalking and demeaning Robert Knight, and every other good thing about WBAI, hoping to destroy reputations and ultimately the station he so badly mismanaged -- A HALF CENTURY AGO! Post, Koch, Lasar, and others have well documented Albertson's reactionary politics and notorious misadventures in censorship. 

Yet Albertson somehow persists, to the detriment of the good and constructive souls who flee this poison-pit in astonishment and terror. Is this a proper or dignified way for an octogenarian has-been to so prolifically waste his bitter dotage -- and burden the rest of us with the demons of his own past doings? " —Robert Knight (very likely)

My Response:
Hate to correct you Mr. Anchorman, but I actually left WBAI in better condition than I found it:

1. Integrated staff (25 salaried).
2. More diverse programming.
3. New transmitter atop Empire State Building.
4. Increased power license.
5. Return of Bob Fass.
6. No serious debt.

Was it my "military intelligence" training, or was I just lucky? Who knows? The fact is that you and other opportunists whose career braked at WBAI many years ago still reap the benefits from my tenure there. Unfortunately, people of your ilk have been rather destructive over the years, but let's. hope that will be remedied.

You might not wish to compare the station I left to the one you stagnated in,but perhaps—when you are finished downloading and dusting off the "cutting edge" material for next week's comic strip, I might persuade you to present us with the alleged "documentation" of my "mismanagement."

You could always make up something—you're good at that.

This is more from Robert Knight and his cheerleader. Actually a rehash, but that is what they do.

I pop it in here FYI, but it does not warrant an answer from me. Any moderately intelligent person can see this for what it is, because it is, literally, outrageous beyond belief. If you think it merits serious attention, I suggest that you ask Knight and Somers to produce the "documentation" of which they speak. Better still, contact the mentioned writers, Jesse Walker and Matthew Lasar. It might not be a bad idea to talk to Chris Koch, but you would be wasting your time with Steve Post—he invented most of this stuff in a failed effort to make his book on WBAI interesting. Many of you don't seem to realize it, but WBAI is saddled with a delusional, self-serving guy named Robert Knight and his incredibly dense lackey. If you think the JUC was bad for WBAI (and it probably was), I think the group these two identify with is far more destructive.

Who is Chris Albertson - Really?
A short-term WBAI manager who, in 1965, sided with the anticommunist fervor of the times, and personally censored one of Pacifica's finest productions -- WBAI reporter Chris Koch's groundbreaking first-hand reports from Hanoi during the Vietnam war.

Following a staff revolt over his censorship, Albertson was run out of WBAI and, ever since, has been prolifically, verbosely, and revisionistically self-praising his brief, failed WBAI "management" tenure - and of course, "defending" his notorious blows against "anti-war" journalism and "free speech radio."

Nevertheless, Albertson's contentious and censorious time at WBAI has been documented by radio historian Jesse Walker, as well as the far-more-popular former WBAI station manager Steve Post - whose challenge to Albertson's censorship earned him (and others) Albertson's eternal enmity.


Hissing into the wind, again!

If you have visited the Blue Board since midnight, July 4th, you will have noticed that the usual disrupters, the ones most responsible for all but putting that forum out of business, are up to their old tricks again. It didn't take much to get them riled up, just a suggestion from yours truly that doesn't sit well. You see, I dared to disagree with Frank LeFever's suggestion that WBAI hand out promotional leaflets at a OWS-affiliated protest that the station has nothing to do with. Here's a direct link to an exchange that ensued:

My suggestion is just that, a suggestion—it expresses my thoughts on the matter and, if anything, invites pro or con comments. Instead, the old trolls assembled and (some posting anonymously, others under various IP addresses, to give the illusion of number). The malcontents are Pamela Somers (the original hare-brained poster who followed me to that board 2 years ago), her boyfriend, Robert Knight (who tries to hide his identity, but isn't very good at that, either), Frank LeFever (who is miffed whenever anyone disagrees with his pedestrian "ideas" and, regrettably serves on a WBAI advisory board), Wendy (a foul-mouthed, singularly naïve out of state woman who doesn't even listen to the station), Pam Cooke (a literate woman with a Jekyll and Hyde strain who could contribute positively, but chooses not to, and a couple of anonymous posters with a recent history of resenting any attempt to repair WBAI's tarnished image. These are old hissing snakes that the majority of us were happy to see either straighten up or wriggle out of the pit.

They not only want WBAIt to stay as flawed as it has become (with minor, self-serving adjustments), they feel that it ought to be promoted just the way it is. I regard that approach as an act of folly—something akin to selling a carton of sour milk and promising that the next one will be fresh.

Of course, I don't expect everyone to agree with my thoughts on this, but posting trollish nonsense (here's an example) is not only infantile but also destructive as far as the Blue Board is concerned. Why not welcome the fact that the old forum has been given another chance? I count myself among those who thank R. Paul for taking on what—as we 
now so sadly see—is a thankless task.

It has been a little more than two years since I became aware of the low levels to which WBAI has been taken, intellectually and professionally. When I first voiced my concern, Pamela Somers revealed her bias towards anyone who has the audacity to find Robert Knight's work and personality less than perfect. She hadn't been pouncing long before a couple of other trolls (including Knight) emerged from the cracks. She did her best to belittle my  earlier contributions as WBAI's GM and went so far as to dig up "dirt" where none existed. That did not deter her or Knight, they simply made up what they could not find—slanderous, baseless fantasies inspired by supermarket tabloids. You can hear Knight (who fancies himself as being Pacifica's "investigative-reporter"-in-chief) in action at this link to an earlier post: Secret Agent Albertson.

I have to wonder why someone like Frank LeFever, who serves on a WBAI advisory board, waited all this time before voicing his disapproval of fund raising "premiums" such as the double helix water. It was just as fraudulent when Kathy Davis and Tony Bates introduced it, a couple of marathons ago, but he did nothing about it. Absentee GM Reimers could have stopped it, but he gave it the nod instead, and this board member likes to brag about his zero degree of separation from the GM. Given his direct involvement with WBAI and his mingling privileges, I find his failure to act particularly egregious.

If I was so off base in my observations, why could they not come up with a valid argument against them? I believe their time would be better spent arguing that point in a civil, reasoned manner. They somehow cannot see the folly of trying to preserve rather than improve a failed, nearly bankrupt radio station.