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Wha Gwan 102019

WBAI RIP October 22, 2019.

Pacifica Foundation is poised to become the next progressive Clear Channel Communications. When left leaning, free-wheeling, WBAI 99.5 FM, was demolished on October 7, Pacifica Foundation went into Clear Channel Communications mode. WBAI staff members were fired without notice or due process. All local programs were replaced by a global, homogenized, curated feed for station (fill in name of local station here). The only relevance this pap feed has to the local community is the interspersed, repetitious voice tracking, "Hello Brooklyn, This is WBAI, 99.5 FM".

Radio Ink [10/22/2019]: The Battle at WBAI Rages On

EG [10/23/2019]: What a horribly biased and amateur hit piece. No attempt at all appears to have been made to get another perspective other than what they were spoonfed by Pacifica. Some facts they neglected to mention include the irresponsible decisions by Pacifica (60K a month at Empire State, expensive Wall Street offices) that WBAI got saddled with, the fact that the majority of the PNB (Pacifica National Board) voted to condemn Vernile's behavior and that his actions were done without even consulting them, the millions of dollars in CPB funding lost by Pacifica for failing to complete required audits for years, the fact that WBAI has been bailing out the rest of the network for decades before Pacifica's actions caused the financial reversals, or the fact that WBAI had 12 employees while KPFA now has 45. That's all just off the top of my head. I'm sure when this story is shared, a lot more will be brought up by the people who are actually involved.

[MM] Problem is, we now know this, the people who read Radio Ink don’t know this. You need to formulate a rebuttal and have them publish it.

There's always two sides to every story
Oh, there are always two sides
Don't you know there are always two sides
Oh, there are always two sides
Don't you know there are always two sides
There's always my side
There's always your side
There's always his side
And always my side [Etta James]

Rogue vs. Rogue: Arguments for Consideration

“The four-million-dollar figure is a complete and total fiction,” said Alex Steinberg, a member of the local and national station boards that oversee WBAI and Pacifica. “They just created it to make WBAI look like a deadbeat.” ... Berthold Reimers, who said the station only owes Pacifica and outside lenders about $700,000.

In the after-shutdown vote of the Board of Directors, which was held over two nights on October 12th and 13th, after five board members were prevented from voting on the 12th, the Board voted 12-9-1 to restore WBAI, change their officers and remove attorneys Foster Garvey from the case.

[The] most fundamental argument is that WBAI saddled the rest of the network with the debt run up by its lease of antenna space atop the Empire State Building.

However, WBAI should not be blamed for the debt run up to locate its transmitter on NYC’s Empire State Building. A deceased WPFW-Washington, D.C., director who was then serving as Pacifica’s interim executive director (iED) signed that contract in 2005 with the approval of the Pacifica National Board.

WBAI, which has had transmission facilities on the Empire State Building since 1965, alleges the building’s owners took advantage of its monopoly position in rooftop real estate and in 2005, after the loss of the broadcast facilities at the World Trade Center in 2001, negotiated a highly questionable tower lease contract with Pacifica’s former executive director, Ambrose Lane. [Tower Lease]

... all those [Pacific Board Members] determined to shut down WBAI and sell its valuable license constantly affix blame on WBAI.

... the shutdown is of particular concern to Pacifica’s Black community because WBAI-NYC and WPFW-Washington D.C. have the greatest number of Black hosts and listeners thanks to their demographics

Comments: WBAI Pacifica

Oct 8, 2019
Sad. It’s the real end of an era. And on top of that WBAI/Steve Post guest Marshall Efron passed away on the same day….
Hope all is well with you Lister. I think about you often. Holla at your boy one of these days.
Murray Elias

Caribbean Life: NY free-speech WBAI radio ceases local broadcasts
Whoh Lister, what does this all mean... will you still be on the air??! Let's talk...
- DK

Tuesday, October 9, 2019
So sorry to hear about this. I got my radio experience at WBAI as well: Human Rights in the Americas. I was there during the time of Amy Goodman.
Hail up Vinette Pryce and of course my good friend Lister.
Lloyd [D'Aguillar]

Breaking News: Lister was the last person to hear of this... The End Of Cob-Webbed WBAI-99.5 FM New York.
Yeah ... Soon come again ... an' re-win'! ... Haul an' pull up! Me seh lick it back from de top to de las' drop. In other words make Pacifica RED Again...
Please ... please ... This time no more cob-webbed WBAI. The only Pacifica solution is radical change.
"Radical Change is good live radio." Says Lister, WUSB / WBAI
Clappers BurnBabyBurn Pacifica WBAI-99.5 FM New York, U.S.A.
Lister Hewan-Lowe

I don't think that there is a way back. $4M is a lot of money.

WBAI Pacifica Announces

We are writing as fellow lovers of radio to share with you news and search for a way forward together. We are penning this letter because we appreciate the amazing energy and commitment WBAI has manifested over the years and know you do as well. We are also writing to express certain understandings about the Pacifica Network of radio stations and the Pacifica Foundation.

As a network we hold each other together, we act in the spirit of solidarity and fiduciary responsibility. The WBAI staff has tried for several years to mitigate a ballooning debt and has been unable to do so. WBAI has accumulated $4 million debt to the Pacifica Central Services - a weight our stations, Archives, and National Office have had to carry. Additionally, we as a network of stations must secure $3.2 million to repay a loan that is due in full in 2021.

On Monday, October 7th the Pacifica Foundation had to suspend most of the local NY operations. We were necessitated to act in the most responsible way we saw in order to stabilize and secure the future of 99.5fm WBAI and the network. While this decision was abrupt it was after careful examination of all possibilities.

The current program grid for WBAI will be based on Pacifica Across America - a curated collection of original content produced by stations in the Pacifica Network.

The next step will be to relaunch WBAI. We hope you will join us in (re)creating a truly independent, resilient, economically viable institution from the people - for the people. We seek to create an eclectic mix of local WBAI favorites alongside new shows and best-of nationally syndicated content.

To succeed we call upon our wonderful and loving community of listeners, rebels for their creativity, patience, and financial support.

Thank you now let's make great radio.

A Call to Arms

WBAI Staff, Listeners, Elected Officials, & Community Groups Hold Press Conference on Steps of City Hall - October 15 – 12 NOON

WBAI fights back against a plot by rogue faction of the parent Pacifica National Board and its Interim Executive Director to eliminate the iconic New York station

Contact: Sally O’Brien, (718) 930-3625






On Tuesday, October 15 producers, staff and listeners of progressive, noncommercial WBAI Radio will hold a noon press conference on the steps of City Hall in response to last Monday's sudden shutdown of the 60-year-old iconic NYC radio station by a faction of its parent organization--the Pacifica Foundation—led by their handpicked, recently appointed Interim Executive Director (IED), John Vernile.

Attorneys and board members will update the media on rogue efforts to destroy WBAI, while producers and community representatives discuss the importance of the 60-year-old community radio institution to New York City and its surrounding area, and call for the restoration of this free-speech beacon to the rightful owners--the listeners of NYC and surrounding areas.

WBAI was shut down without warning in the early morning hours of Monday, October 7, when Pacifica representatives--including IED Vernile--and two security guards entered the station unannounced, demanded the staff leave, locked the doors and fired 12 paid staff and 168 radio producers. They then rerouted the transmitter so that only programming originating in California would be aired – eliminating all local programming.

There had been no advance vote by the Pacifica National Board (as mandated by its bylaws) to authorize this action, which could pave the way to sell WBAI’s valuable broadcasting license.

In a dramatic turn of events over the weekend, a faction of the Pacifica National Board voted on Saturday to retroactively affirm the shutdown of WBAI by denying participation to 3 WBAI elected Board members--but on Sunday, a majority of the board (12 members) called an emergency Board meeting (boycotted by the anti WBAI faction) and voted to rescind the shutdown and restore WBAI to full functioning under local control. The Board’s pro-takeover minority meanwhile has vowed to challenge the Sunday vote as “illegal.” So while the legal battle continues, the movement of listeners, producers, and community advocates is growing in its call to save WBAI and free speech radio in New York City.

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