Saturday, November 23, 2013


[ Between 6th & 7th Avenues. ]


1. Sat. 11/23, 2-5PM: Emergency Community Meeting on the Dismantling of WBAI
2. Pacifica National Board may soon decide to lease away WBAI’s signal
3. Context for the New Petition: Keep WBAI in control of its programming
4. Serious Concerns about One WBAI Bidder:
* Would Slash Public-Affairs Programming
* Current Station Features Consistent Pro-Israeli-Government Programming


Please sign the new petition (even if you signed an earlier version), and urge your friends and colleagues to do the same:
Pacifica National Board: Keep WBAI in control of its programming - go to


1. Sat. 11/23, 2-5PM: Emergency Community Meeting on the Dismantling of WBAI
How to Destroy a Legend: WBAI public affairs and news staff laid off, and their severance not paid, national office staff purged, Free Speech Radio News forced to close down, needed network-wide CPB money delayed for months, imported programming forced onto the air at the expense of covering local communities – especially those of color, another rash of arbitrary national management departures via transfers or “administrative leave.” Now there’s serious talk of leasing out WBAI. Solicited proposals are in the hands of the Pacifica National Board which meets on Monday, Nov. 25.

What can be done to stop the dismantling of our station and network? Join us at a meeting to get updates and plan strategy to re-route this train on Sat. Nov. 23 from 2-5PM at the International Action Center, 147 West 24 Street – 2nd floor, btw. 6th & 7th Avenues, Manhattan.
More details at


2. Pacifica National Board may soon decide whether to lease away WBAI’s signal
Despite a cash infusion from the October pledge drive, WBAI’s financial crisis persists. But rather than seriously consider and support implementation of many proposals by staff, listeners, and board members for off-air fundraising strategies, the Pacifica National Board is now secretly considering leasing WBAI to another organization. The mechanism would be a Public Service Operating Agreement (PSOA), sometimes called a Local Marketing Agreement (LMA), which would grant de facto control of management and programming to the outside entity for a fixed number of years.
In October, the National Board directed the Interim Executive Director, Summer Reese, to post a Request for Proposals for leasing, with a November 6 deadline (see ).

All discussion of this vital decision about the future of the station as we know it has been done in secret.

Six weeks after the National Board directed Ms. Reese to meet with the WBAI Local Station Board to brief them about this matter, she finally proposed a meeting this week – but in secret session. It’s possible the Pacifica National Board may take up the leasing question at its conference-call meeting this Monday, Nov. 25.


3. Context for the New Petition: Keep WBAI in control of its programming
In September, when word first leaked out about the National Board’s consideration of leasing, the WBAI local board’s Finance Committee unanimously passed a resolution urging the Pacifica National Board not to do so before trying other fundraising strategies, and to have local discussions of this matter in public. Justice & Unity launched a petition on, demanding that this course of action be followed by the National Board.
Now, we have updated the petition to include recent developments, and -- after the Pacifica National Board rejected a motion to discuss the Request for Proposals in open session – have added a demand that the National Board’s discussions and decisions on leasing must be MADE IN PUBLIC. Again, the petition link is

Leasing out the signal would mean losing WBAI's input into program decision-making, and depending on the lessee chosen, could be devastating to serving Pacifica's mission. It could also further the harmful trend in recent months to cut back WBAI’s local, progressive programming covering community issues and movements.
Justice & Unity believes that if after exhausting other fundraising possibilities, there is actually no financial alternative to a lease, the Pacifica National Board must publicly consult with the WBAI LSB and the WBAI paid and unpaid staff, to develop a set of principles/criteria by which any lease proposal would be evaluated. These should include compliance with Pacifica’s mission, maintenance of significant amount of current WBAI local public-affairs programming, ample opportunities for audience participation, financial viability, and multi-media potential, among others. Also, a key requirement, not just a preference, should be that any lease term must return control of WBAI in the shortest possible time.


4. Serious Concerns about One Known WBAI Bidder:
* Would Slash Public-Affairs Programming
* Current Station Features Consistent Pro-Israeli-Government Programming
The bidder reportedly recommended by Ms. Reese, is Auricle Communications, owner of WFMU-FM ( ), a mainly-music station in Jersey City, and a smaller station in New Hope, NY. Ken Freeman, Auricle’s and WFMU’s manager, has confirmed that his organization is one of the bidders on WBAI. In fact, he flew to Houston in early November to attend the Pacifica National Board meeting in order to make his case (the leasing issue ended up not being addressed at that time). Freeman told a WBAI local board member that his proposal for leasing was for only about 35% of the programming to be public-affairs -- a major reduction from WBAI’s current mix -- with the rest being music and arts. He would decide which shows to include, with the input of an unspecified advisory group.

An Internet search found alarming information about a Director of Auricle Communications. That Director, Nachum Segel, who (according to Auricle’s IRS 990 form) receives a salary, hosts a daily drive-time show on WFMU called “JM [Jewish Moments] in the AM” ( ). According to archived programs, Segel has repeatedly aired uncritical interviews with Israeli government officials and supporters, justifying the policies of occupation, war and repression. This type of programming is totally contrary to the Pacifica mission of promoting information and dialogue toward the resolution of conflict among nations and peoples.

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

1 comment:

  1. Well, I guess that "Justice and Unity" would rather have Bernard White get the lease, and to that end, they are trying to scare us with the spectre of the pro-Israeli bias! In the meantime, WFMU is the longest running FREE FORM INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY RADIO STATION in the US, likely covering the art and intellectual crowd in the Hudson Valley. 91.1 FM, I will have to give them a listen!!!!!