Wednesday, October 9, 2013

WBAI Local Station Board Meeting


WBAI Local Station Board Meeting
Wednesday, October 9, 7PM
Alwan for the Arts, 16 Beaver Street, Downtown Manhattan
Trains: 4,5 to Bowling Green (wheelchair accessible); 2,3 to
Wall St; 1 to Rector, J to Broad St., R to Whitehall St. (but R
is not running uptown from Brooklyn) Please come to the local board meeting. There will be opportunity to share your views on the leasing of WBAI, program changes and other issues.

Does it matter if there is something called “WBAI” if it does not feature programming by and for underserved communities? Four weekly hours of programming by and about Asia and Asian-Americans, Muslims, women, people with disabilities, Haitian freedom and independence,
and rape have been cancelled by the Interim Program Director, Andrew Phillips, whom Pacifica sprung on WBAI in early August.

In their place at 9PM, Monday through Thursday, Phillips has put former Air America host Thom Hartmann whose self-titled program is seen on Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) weekdays at 3PM. Earlier this year, Hartmann was the substitute at Pacifica’s Los Angeles station while a regular host was on maternity leave. (KPFK-Los Angeles’ is the home station of Pacifica National Board Chair and Interim Executive Director Summer Reese.)

WBAI’s Monday to Thursday 10PM slot will also be eradicated after the fund drive. The 7 programs heard there and the 6 programs from 9PM can request segments on a new 10PM show. The shows to be removed, without notice, discussion, or evaluation, are:


  • Asia Pacific Forum
  • Muslim State of Mind (formerly Tahrir)
  • Joy of Resistance (women’s liberation) / Largest Minority (disability rights)
  • Haiti, the Struggle Continues / Rape Declaration Forum

  • 10PM

  • In Other News
  • Expert Witness
  • Women’s Collective/The Holistic Edge (formerly The Open Center Show)
  • Ethics on the Air (Ethical Culture Society) / CUNY: A Mission Deferred
  • Global Movements, Urban Struggles (incl. The War on Immigrants Report)
    All other programs, we are told, will be “reviewed”.  Wondering what happened to WBAI’s only youth program, “Rise Up Radio”, produced by members of the next generation of activists? It was one of 3 shows previously yanked by the Interim Program Director without discussion in the 2 months since he arrived.

    As Pacifica’s Interim Executive Director (IED) and the Pacifica National Board (PNB) work on leasing the station, the IED and the Interim Program Director she installed at WBAI are flouting the bylaws that require program changes be a result of a collaborative and respectful process. Any consultation that may be happening here is being done outside of the full national board, outside the full local board, and without the involvement of the staff as a whole. Apparently, in the effort to “save” the station by “broadening” the programming reach aka giving more airtime to more white men, management feels entitled to trample organizational rules and staff rights.

    If this sounds at all familiar, it may be the rhetorical echoes of those who gave us the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act and those who justify the NSA incursion into everything.

    P.S. While proximity of administrators to programmers matters, how is it that the temporary studios at WHCR in Harlem have suddenly become so unbearable that money can be found to urgently build a studio in Brooklyn when laid off staff have not been paid severance and so don’t have money to shop the health care exchange? And while ownership is generally preferred to forever paying rent, exactly why the push to buy a multi-million dollar building that is not central to he five boroughs, much less to the rest of the metropolitan listening area, instead of negotiating an extension of the reasonable lease there?

    Justice and Unity
    PO Box 2690, Manhattanville Station,
    New York, NY 10027

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