An update on the subject. I just read the following about Gary on one of the listervs.
"He wants very much to pitch during the drives, but management prevents him from doing so, out of what I can only describe as its compulsion to play power games."
And:"Gary has repeatedly told management that he cannot in good conscience continue urging listeners to pledge for premiums that have not been sent ... will not be sent in the near (or even far) future ... and very likely will never be sent at all."
Which is it: is Gary "begging and pleading" to pitch with management turning a deaf ear to his pleas? Or is he refusing to pitch?
Obviously I'm not privy to everything that has been going on between Gary Null and WBAI, but from what I understand, both are at fault:
How WBAI is at fault
For starters, Management apparently did not fulfill its promise to deliver Gary's premiums to his listeners in a timely manner (or maybe at all). For that Gary's anger is totally justified. I can testify to his many on-air promises that problems with delivery of his premiums had been resolved and would not be happening again under the new management at WBAI. So if it did happen again, that made Gary look like a liar. That's Strike 1 against WBAI.
Strike 2: According to a letter from Gary to WBAI management that was published on the listservs, WBAI did not respond to his numerous attempts to get the premiums problem straightened out. If this is the reason why he was refusing to pitch, the blame lies with WBAI.
Strike 3 in my opinion is the mistake management has made of alienating Gary at a time when he could be helping WBAI in ways that go beyond pitching during fund drives. At a time when WBAI listenership has been flagging, listeners have been flocking to PRN in record numbers. Since Gary has proven himself to be successful in attracting listeners to what is essentially a Pacifica programming grid, his input would be invaluable.
How Gary Null is at fault
Gary obviously took his inspiration for Progressive Radio Netwoek from Pacifa and WBAI, and for that he owes Pacifica a debt of gratitude. Rather than cracking jokes about BAI on his show, as he's been periodically doing these days, Gary should be looking for ways to help the station survive and flourish, in the same way that PRN is flourishing by doing the same thing WBAI does -- offering progressive programming content -- only apparently doing it better. While WBAI languishes, PRN is taking off like gangbusters. Something does not compute! What WBAI needs right now in my opinion is for Gary, rather than poking fun at his alma mater, or refusing to pitch, to pitch in and work to turn WBAI around.
It's the programming, stupid!
WBAI has had no Program Director since former IPD Tony Bates left last summer. This was also when their fund drives started taking a dive. My suggestion is that rather than hastily finding a replacement for Tony, WBAI could ask Gary to step in as Interim PD, primarily to help WBAI find immediate ways to increase listenership. Since the WBAI and PRN programming grids are so similar, with quite a few of the same voices being heard in both places, I cannot imagine that this will be such a difficult task. There is great demand for progressive programming, and with the state of the economy, and all the problems facing the country and the world right now, there is a crying need for sources of information that are not biased by commercial advertising. We hear things on PRN and WBAI on a daily basis that we don't hear on commercial media. MSNBC, which is touted by some as the first progressive television channel, occasionally does good work, but for the most part is unfortunately narrow in scope. We simply cannot afford to lose WBAI!