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View Diary: Randi Rhodes Has Left Air America (121 comments)

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  •  Their biggest problem... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dark UltraValia

    ... is the bad management (factionalism, cronyism, crappy local daytime programming) of their NY station, WBAI.

    Its listenership has been dropping big-time, as has its membership revenue, while its expenses have been through the roof since they moved from Sixth Avenue to the ass end of Wall Street.

    There is hope that their recent LSB election may aid in a turnaround, but Pacifica national has been rather weak-willed about pushing for much-needed management changes, despite WBAI resulting in a net loss to Pacifica of more than $300,000 per year in recent years.

    That's a damn shame, because this station has the best signal of all the Foundation's stations, and has mad potential that remains largely unmanifest.

    •  As a NYer (0+ / 0-)

      I experienced the break down of WBAI. I can't listen to the station anymore mainly because of  what happened.

      In a nutshell:

      1. They were taken over by a group  of people we came to call the "Utricians" (seriously). This group led by Utrice Leid proceeded to fire anyone who wouldn't fall in line with the new direction that they wanted the station to go in. We were told that the old management was bad and at a future date we would be shown the proof and given full explanations for what had happened and why they had to take over the station in a midnight coup.
      1. This meant getting rid of people like Robert Knight, Grandpa Al Lewis (may he rest in peace), Bernard White, Mimi Rosenberg, and Amy Goodman among others. This all happened from Dec of 2000 - Jan 2002. No explanations or proof were ever given. WBAI Midnight Coup
      1. After we managed to get the station back (there were also firings and trouble at the other Pacifica stations but I am most familiar with the NY station) things seemed to be back to normal and people were once again pledging. This was short-lived. Return of the Banned & Fired
      1. Bernard White, after giving Robert Knight additional broadcasting duties on the morning show Wake Up Call, lost his mind (IMO), and removed Mr. Knight in the middle of a successful pledge drive. I won't mention what Mr. Knight was offering as a premium but it was something that many of us NYers were looking forward to receive for pledging.*
      1. A short time after that both Robert Knight and Gary Null's shows were removed from the station. Why WBAI Has No Money
      1. We were never told the full reasons why this happened but were promised by Mr. White that the full story would soon be revealed.
      1. As in the days of the "Utricians" explanations were never given, as far as I know.

      The station is now struggling, partially because of the advent of Air America in NY but also due to major mismanagement and favoritism on the part of Mr. White and others.

      They put all their pledge getting eggs in the Amy Goodman basket and refused to recognize that a huge chunk of their pledges came from Gary Null's show.

      While Mr. Null did feel that Utrice Leid was not all bad and had hired a fired show host named Paul DiRienzo (fired by Mr. White & co, but there was a lot of acrimony concerning this host) to be a program manager for his show (after Mr. DiRienzo had backed the Utricians and insisted on promoting her cause to some extent after the station was won back from the "Utricians" which may be why he was fired) it still was no excuse for killing the goose that laid golden eggs for WBAI.

      Mr. Null was perfectly willing to continue to support the station and do his show. As is shown in the link above under Number 5, Mr. White actually stated that Mr. Null did not bring in that much money which was a blatant lie.

      The station is unlistenable in part because of the many pledge drives they now require to try and stay afloat. It seems that just about every month they are having a new drive to raise money. They actually used the 40th anniversary of MLK's assassination as a pledge drive.

      Like I said, unlistenable.

      There has been a lot of bad blood at the Pacifica stations, (especially at WBAI) and between the gutting of the station and my having AAR to listen to (until recently) they are struggling.

      Right now I just hope that there can be some good outcomes to all the troubles with WBAI and AAR (though I wouldn't mind seeing the rest of the good talkers on AAR move to Nova-M and allow AAR to slowly sink into the quicksand of the less than liberal corporate ownership it has stumbled into).

      Anyone who has the time can check out the links I provided above for more details and this is the general link to the links above.

      The Theft of Pacifica

      Finally, I know this has been a long comment but I wasn't quite comfortable making it a diary (it would have been my first) since this really is in response to the comment above and most people may not be that interested in the struggles of Pacifica.

       *As a side note, about a year ago the station offered the very premium that Mr. Knight was going to offer when they removed him as host of the morning show, Wake Up Call. As far as I know, it did quite well as a premium.

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