Saturday, February 8, 2014

WBAI: is the fix in?

WBAI's winter fund drive is tanking. At the end of the first five days they've only brought in $20K. A series of events have led us to wonder if the fix is in:

1. First came the announcement by Interim Program Director Robert Hennelly that this is a "make or break" fund drive. If this drive does not succeed, WBAI may be forced to enter a leased agreement.

2. Then they eliminated premiums, saying that "the program is the premium", knowing full well that this approach did NOT work the last time around when the fall drive was tanking.

3. Then they eliminated Gary Null. (More on that below.)

4. Then they eliminated the two shows by paid professionals in the afternoon ("The Sojourner Truth" and "Letters and Politics", both from Pacifica sister station KPFA) that had replaced the drive time shows that were lost when the paid staff was laid off last August.

5. And they replaced those shows, which could be considered the best of Pacifica,  with "local programming" -- ie just "regular people" talking about "regular things", like weight, image problems and so on. These are not going to be radio people, said interim PD Robert Hennelly, but people just like us, the listeners.

So what's going on with Gary Null? Well earlier in the week Gary announced that he'd attempted to contact Pacifica Executive Director Summer Reese about this, and as soon as he heard back from her, he'd discuss it on the air.

Here's what he said on his PRN show on Friday:

"Summer Reese was supposed to get in touch with me last Monday. I have not heard one word from her. I'll extend her until next Monday. If I have not heard from her by Monday, I will then lay out the full story that none of you have heard, and you will understand why I am not on WBAI or any other Pacifica station at this time."

So what do you think, is the fix in?

Postscript from Gary Null: "I've waited for Summer Reese to get back to me and she's a week late, but she's been busy with the Pacifica National Board Meeting held last weekend, so I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt, and I'm holding off my discussion of Pacifica until next Monday evening (Feb. 17) on the Progressive Commentary Hour at 8pm."

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