UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

April 3, 2009

PACIFICA AND WBAI IN BATTLE

Richard Prince, Journal-isms - The national board of Pacifica Radio - which owns five politically and culturally "progressive" stations around the country - has taken steps to "secure our broadcast signals should we need to prevent legal liability," the board said in a statement.

The statement was issued after the general manager of the New York Pacifica station, Tony Riddle of WBAI-FM, reportedly wrote to the national Pacifica leadership saying, "It has been brought to my attention that you have issued an order today to change the locks on the WBAI transmitter room in the Empire State Building tomorrow."

A support group, United for Peace and Justice, announced a rally in New York for Saturday morning to "Save WBAI Radio!". . .

The New York Times said last year of WBAI, "its turmoil-filled . . . history has featured a fiesta of staff clashes, board eruptions, station coups and protests. Amid accusations of every imaginable form of -ism, on-air personalities and producers have been summarily banned; on-air resignations have not been unknown."

The other Pacifica stations are KPFK in Los Angeles, KPFT in Houston and WPFW in Washington.

The national statement was signed by Grace Aaron, who chairs the Pacifica National Board and is interim executive director of the Pacifica Foundation. It began:

"We have received complaints about programming that may be threatening the financial and legal health of the Pacifica Foundation. . . Pacifica is the license holder for all five stations and is ultimately responsible for everything broadcast over all of them. . . .

"The Pacifica Foundation is facing a severe financial crisis. Multi-year downtrending listenership at all of our stations has been eroding our membership and net income. . .

In New York, "we are at risk of being sued for breach of our lease agreements, which could have dire consequences," including "a loss of our signal.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard this rap this morning on WBAI and it sounds like hogwash to me. WBAI is going to get greased because it can't raise $$. A lot of the shows are old, old , old and can't attract young listeners because it's not 1968 anymore. It's a shame because I am an aging boomer and I love the station just the way it is but people like me don't matter anymore even if I send in $100 every year.

April 9, 2009 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the station actually has very good listenership numbers. this is a fight between progressives - including tony riddle and bernard white - and reactionaries and racists, who think the station's progrmming is 'too black' (an actual quote by steve brown, the group quarterback seeking to fire riddle and white.

April 22, 2009 5:39 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home