J’accuse! The Betrayal of WBAI

A Statement of Continued Resistance by the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade
—in Exile

“Freedom of the press, if it means anything at all, means the freedom to criticize and oppose.”
— George Orwell

“You have the right to free speech… As long as you’re not dumb enough to actually try it.”
— The Clash

“And still it moves.”
— Galileo, upon his excommunication for asserting that the Earth moves around the Sun

After more than 20 years on the airwaves of WBAI-New York, the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade was officially cancelled the day after my last broadcast of March 15. This was explicitly presented as a result of my relentless criticisms in recent weeks of the station’s direction, and specifically of my attacks on “other producers.” I will here answer these charges, and demonstrate how the show’s cancellation is illegitimate. But first I will make the obvious point that this episode clearly exposes the lie that there is no “gag rule” at Pacifica Radio‘s WBAI.


David Icke My conflict with WBAI program director Tony Bates—and, by extension, station manager Berthold Reimers, who has acquiesced in his decisions—began almost immediately upon his arrival from California in 2009. His strong emphasis on fund-raising premiums that peddle health quackery and bizarre conspiracy theories of a right-wing bent had succeeded in getting KPFK out of the red, we were told. But I protested it on the air—calling out the premiums by name. In late 2009, Tony called me in for a talk, and said this would not be acceptable—at least not during the fund drives. We worked out a compromise, whereby I would invite Chip Berlet of Political Research Associates onto my show to critique the theories, and make this interview the premium for my own show. I would refrain from calling out the premiums by name, but focus on the ideas. In the short term, this worked.

Then, last summer, WBAI promoted a conspiracy potboiler by the infamous crackpot David Icke—who maintains that the world is secretly run by “shape-shifting reptilians” from another dimension, who appear to frequently have Jewish last names. Of course it is impossible to criticize these “ideas” without explicitly calling out David Icke—there aren’t (thankfully) that many people who assert that we are secretly ruled by alien reptilian overlords. I stated clearly the hopefully obvious truth that WBAI’s promotion of Icke is a profound embarrassment—both over the air and on my website.

David Icke's Lizard people A few weeks later came the “Halloween Massacre” in which WBAI’s schedule was dramatically and capriciously re-jiggered. In this shake-up, the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade was exiled from its 20-year midnight slot to 2 AM, and shaved from 90 to 60 minutes. The notion that this was anything other than a retributive measure is, I believe, quite transparent—despite the requisite denials.

After this, I announced that the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade was returning to a state of “resistance” for the first time since the Christmas Coup period (December 2000—February 2002). I stated that I would aggressively confront WBAI’s misguided direction in my broadcasts until my demands were met. These were three: 1.) A public apology or statement of reconsideration for having aired the crypto-Nazi David Icke, and a commitment to eschew such material in future; 2.) a moratorium on new premiums until the extensive backlog of owed premiums is cleared out; or a “premium amnesty” in which listeners with outstanding premiums could have the option of writing them off in exchange for a year’s extension of membership; and 3.) a return of the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade to its original timeslot, in recognition of an inappropriate punitive measure.

Before I detail the mechanics of what happened next, I have a few words to say about each of these points.


Management’s claim that the premium backlog is being addressed warrants the utmost skepticism. There are certainly several hundred outstanding premiums, and a figure of over a thousand has been broached to me. When I inquire about the WBAI t-shirts that listeners have been owed, sometimes literally for years, I am told more need to be printed up—yet there is no indication that anybody is taking responsibility for this. The premiums department is under-staffed, and with a constantly increasing workload, chaos is inevitable. Even the Chip Berlet premium that I offered as a compromise measure was apparently not reliably sent to those who pledged for it. When I have personally followed up on listener complaints, even locating the lost premiums meant digging through deep and seemingly orderless piles. Listeners who have pledged over $100 for premiums that were hyped relentlessly during the fund drives are left waiting endlessly. Continuing to aggressively pitch premiums before this problem is resolved constitutes an arrogant and cynical betrayal of the listeners.

Even if a premium moratorium can be dismissed as unrealistic when the station desperately needs to raise money, my suggestion of a “premium amnesty” was a win-win. The only reason to reject it was to avoid admitting that there is a problem.

And even if the backlog were addressed, the hard-sell premium approach to fundraising would still constitute a betrayal of the Pacifica mission. As I have repeatedly pointed out on the air, in his 1951 essay “The Theory of Listener-Sponsored Radio,” Pacifica founder Lew Hill wrote of the importance of a base of listener-supporters “who have not responded to a special gift offer...but who use this means of supporting values that seem to them of basic and lasting importance.” (Emphasis added.)


Gary Null
Gary Null

The content of the premiums, however, is a more fundamental issue. One of the few positive moves taken by the previous management at WBAI was the sacking of “health” guru Gary Null, who has become a mini-mogul by marketing dubious products (“Gary’s Green Stuff,” “Gary’s Red Stuff”) and hubristic claims (“reversing the aging process”). Ironically, Null’s return to WBAI comes on the heels of his hospitalization last year for taking one of his own products—an “Ultimate Power Meal,” which he claims the manufacturer spiked with more vitamin D than his formula called for. This explanation begs the question of whether Null’s own formula was safe. More to the point, the notion that we can maintain good health through purchasing such sexily-dubbed industrial products rather than simply eating right is a reversal of everything good that came out of the “natural foods” movement.

Null is also notorious as an HIV-AIDS denialist, for which ACT UP-New York had petitioned the station not to return him to the air.

I do not take calling out other producers by name lightly. Gary Null, however, does not even come into BAI, but produces his show remotely; he is nationally syndicated on several other stations across the country; and his recent return to BAI is another embarrassment. Further, he is exploiting WBAI to build his commercial empire, much as he exploits the gullible and ill who purchase his products. I do not consider him a legitimate producer.

Right-wing Trajectory

Milton Friedman In my final broadcasts, in addition to directly taking on Gary Null, I also explicitly criticized the “Zeitgeist” film series by director Peter Joseph—the latest entry in creepily fascistic conspiracy potboilers aggressively promoted by WBAI. This admittedly isn’t quite as bad as David Icke (reptilian overlords are a tough act to beat), but probably worse than many similar such offerings in recent years—such as the endless 9-11 pseudo-dissections; or The Money Masters, a turn on the old banking-conspiracy trope with a special endorsement from Milton Friedman, whose free-market doctrines were famously emulated by Chile’s fascist dictator Augusto Pinochet.

The oddly named “Zeitgeist” series, in addition to recycling specious theories about 9-11 and hegemonic world conspiracies dating back to biblical times, also appears to promote more sinister and openly right-wing fantasies. (No, I am not going to waste my time watching it, but this is clear from its website and Wikipedia page, which can presumably be considered reliable in this instance.) Among these is the “North American Union” hallucination —the notion that NAFTA was the first step towards a European-style monetary union and dropping of border controls between the US and Mexico. There is not a shred of evidence to suggest that this exists, of course; in fact, the US is notoriously building a security wall on the Mexican border! One would think (or hope) that most WBAI listeners would support a loosening of border controls in the Southwest.

Where does this idea come from? The first promoters seem to have been the John Birch Society, the radical fringe of Cold War anti-communism. Phyllis Schlafly With the demise of the Soviet bloc, they had to find a new enemy, and appear to have hatched this theory to exploit anti-immigrant xenophobia just as they once exploited anti-communist Russophobia. Others to tilt at this windmill include Phyllis Schlafly‘s Eagle Forum and self-styled “Stop the North American Union” mouthpiece Daneen G. Peterson, who luridly warns of an imminent “overwhelming human tsunami of illegal aliens.”

What the hell is WBAI doing in this company?

I will be told that the NAU theory is only mentioned in one of the Zeitgeist trilogy, and not the most recent which BAI was aggressively pitching in the last fund drive. I am not impressed. Unless the Zeitgeist producers have clearly repudiated the NAU trope, it remains a part of their (using the word properly, for a change) zeitgeist. Furthermore, I understand that BAI was offering the complete trilogy as a premium package.

Anti-Semitism (Yes)

Right-wing conspiracy theory and anti-Semitism inevitably go hand in hand, and WBAI seems to be working hard to live up to the old calumny against it. The Judeophobic undertone was evident in The Money Masters, with its dark ruminations about foreign bankers undermining American sovereignty, and it isn’t even an undertone in David Icke—it is blatant.

Which brings us to the last target of my on-air ire the night of March 15: after Gary Null and the Zeitgeist was WBAI’s new golden boy, George Galloway—the British politician, who just lost his parliamentary seat last year. He isn’t exactly a conspiracy theorist, and his left-wing credentials are superficially good thanks to his opposition to the Iraq war and support for the Palestinians. However, you don’t have to scratch very deep to find an ugly reactionary instinct.

Galloway denies that there is (or was) a genocide underway in Darfur, asserting it is “one of the big lies which Bush and Blair invented.” On the question of Western Sahara, Africa’s last colony, he says: “I am against the partition of Morocco.” Those with any familiarity with the struggle in Western Sahara know that talk about opposing the “partition of Morocco” is akin to opposing Israeli withdrawal from “Judea and Samaria.” The Sahrawi Arab people of Western Sahara are just as illegally occupied by US-backed Morocco as the Palestinians are by US-backed Israel—similarly in defiance of the United Nations and world opinion. What accounts for Galloway’s double standard? Perhaps a fondness for authoritarian regimes, especially those that affect an anti-Israel posture?

George Galloway In a hilarious video collage on a conservative website called Propagandist, Galloway emphatically denies supporting Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—interspersed with footage of him telling the dictator to his smiling face of his “support for your election campaign.” (Yes, it is too bad only conservatives feel compelled to call pseudo-leftists like Galloway out on their hypocrisy.)

In Galloway’s victorious 2005 campaign against Oona King—who happens to be both the second Black woman to serve in the House of Commons, and a Jew—WBAI’s new leading light was accused of making an alliance with Islamist elements in the Bengali community who viciously Jew-baited King on the campaign trail. Galloway’s Respect party denied the charge, but there was a similar controversy over the dropping of an LGBT rights plank from the Respect platform in apparent appeasement of “right-wing Islamist” elements in the coalition.

But the real proof of Galloway’s anti-Semitism (or, at the least, willingness to exploit anti-Semitism) is an interview he did after his election with the loopy conspiranoid site Prison Planet, in which he both blames the Jews for persecution of Jews (including bringing Hitler to power), as well as for unleashing global terrorism upon the West.

The assertion that “the Zionist movement, as it is well documented, funded Hitler before World War Two” is a paraphrase attributed to Galloway rather than an actual quote—but when he was later asked about the interview by the UK Jewish News, Galloway responded: “I stand by all those comments. Everything I have said there is fact and there are shelves full of books to prove it.”

In an actual quote in the interview, he said “the American people are paying for” the “ideology of Zionism”—an implicit reference to 9-11. Not for the crimes of our own government, but for “the ideology of Zionism.” The perennial scapegoat game.

I have been told that calling out Galloway on anti-Semitism is a “tactical error” because it is a “badge of honor” on the left to be accused of anti-Semitism today. This comment utterly misses my motives. I don’t want to attack George Galloway for some arbitrary reason; attacking him merely serves the aim of exposing anti-Semitism at WBAI and on the “left” in general. Why, in contemporary leftist discourse, is it legitimate to call out the implicit anti-Mexican racism of the Zeitgeist, but not George Galloway’s anti-Semitism?

It is obvious that cynical use of the anti-Semitism charge has dangerously muddied the political waters. I indeed wear it as a badge of pride that my name appears on the Jewish Self-Hating and/or Israel-Threatening (SHIT) List, thanks to my WBAI programming in support of the Palestinian cause. I utterly refute the notion that calling out real anti-Semitism constitutes in any sense a defense of the ideology or program of Zionism, or a betrayal of the Palestinians.

The night of my last broadcast, Galloway had been the featured speaker at a benefit for WBAI, and it was just announced that he is to begin a new high-profile talk show at the station. I charge that this is as much of a retrogression as the return of Gary Null, if a less obvious one due to Galloway’s greater subtlety. I do not apologize for my on-air criticisms of him. I repeat my challenge to the listeners: If anyone can provide plausible proof of the North American Union, or the legality of Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara, or that the Zionists funded Hitler’s rise to power, I will eat my every word.

Mechanics of the Termination

Nothing about the termination of the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade was legitimate. Ironically, on my penultimate show of Feb. 8, during the fund drive, I raised over $1,000 for the station—in 60 minutes, starting at 2 AM on a Tuesday night. What’s more, I did it while explicitly not pitching the premiums, while urging the listeners to forget the idea of premiums altogether, and while strongly dissenting from WBAI’s recent direction. After the broadcast, I e-mailed Tony and Berthold, saying that I claimed this as vindication and asking if they were ready to talk. After some initial equivocation and sarcasm, they indicated that they were, and that “schedules and programming” were up for discussion.

I was optimistic, and requested that they name a time to meet. A game of e-mail tag ensued, in which they were slow to respond to me (admittedly, this was the middle of the fund drive). As days turned into weeks, my hope evaporated. Gary Null was aired practically round the clock. When I was pre-empted for fund-drive specials, it was for the Zeitgeist rather than something I could support like the Daniel Ellsberg or Noam Chomsky premiums. George Galloway’s star precipitously rose at WBAI.

So when Tony called me at home on the day of my next scheduled broadcast, and told me that I shouldn’t go back on the air until after we’d talked, I replied, “I don’t know how much there is to talk about.” The show’s final status was left ambiguous.

Tony Bates The Tuesday after that, I was pre-empted for Women’s Day programming. The Tuesday after that, March 15, I was at a loss as to what to do. I had still heard nothing from management. On Monday, I had sent e-mail again asking for a clarification of my status. None was received. I figured it was better to lose my program for speaking my mind than being a no-show, so I went down to the station. I asked the fellow who was on operations duty that night if anything else was scheduled for my slot. He said no. I did my cantankerous broadcast.

The next day, Tony called me to say that I wasn’t supposed to have been on the air because I was suspended, that the station was going to “terminate the relationship” with me, and that this would be sent in writing. I respond that I had never been explicitly told I was suspended—certainly never in writing, despite having sent several e-mails.

Furthermore, as I have stated many times, the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade is a collective, even if the burden has mostly fallen on my shoulders in recent years. In fact, at the time of the Halloween Massacre, I had been in California on assignment for over a month, with co-host Ann-Marie Hendrickson filling in for me. Management made no effort to contact Ann-Marie to inform her of the schedule change. She was left to glean what she could from the grapevine, while I found a message from Tony on my answering machine when I returned to New York.

I assert that even if I am barred from the airwaves for perceived excesses, Ann-Marie Hendrickson should be afforded the option to continue producing the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade if she so chooses.


I was an outspoken dissident under successive WBAI management regimes, and fastidiously avoided lining up with either of the toxic factions that have been tearing the station apart for nearly 10 years. The danger of such a position is that I am accused by the dogmatists in both factions of being in the other faction. This is all hogwash. The enemy isn’t a particular faction but factionalism—by which I mean the willingness to compromise principle for tactical expediency. Both sides have done plenty of that.

It was the former regime of Bernard White that began the conspiranoid trajectory, and I vocally dissented at the time. Yet I did not support the campaign for Bernard’s removal for fear that we might do the proverbial frying-pan-to-fire maneuver. My cynicism now seems entirely vindicated.

However, I will not be joining the pro-Bernard opposition faction known as Justice & Untity, which uses the most divisive tactics imaginable in spite of its name. Worse, they remain in an unprincipled alliance with the retro-Stalinist Workers World Party/International Action Center, which continuously makes excuses for—and often avidly supports—mass murder (Tiananmen Square, Bosnia, Saddam Hussein, now Libya). This crew has no legitimacy to oppose WBAI management.

The Alternative

I am often baited for daring to criticize when I have no solution to WBAI’s financial woes. I respond that having a solution is not a prerequisite for the right to protest the station’s actual direction. And in fact I do have a proposed alternative: That WBAI abandon its race to the bottom, its shameless pursuit of the lowest common denominator, and start restoring intelligent programming. This is the only thing which holds out any hope of building back up a loyal subscriber base that supports WBAI to support WBAI, and not to get some potboiler or snake-oil in the mail. Maybe it is too late for this. I don’t know. But I do know that the current trajectory is straight towards hell, and urgently needs to be rethought.

Solidarity or Betrayal?

Too many WBAI producers are willing to compromise in the interests of keeping their shows. Compromise is inevitable of course, but there has to be a line you cannot cross. Think: What are you legitimizing with your presence on the airwaves? Where is the line beyond which you cannot embrace something even with the complicity of your silence? Quackery? Xenophobia? Jew-hatred? Censorship?

Robert Knight I put this to the producers at the station whom I still respect, who are many. Others have disappointed me bitterly. When Robert Knight was removed from the air under the Bernard White management, I vocally and repeatedly protested this in my own timeslot. I did so at risk of losing my show. I did so despite my disagreements with Robert on many issues. I did so because it appeared to me his sacking was an act of political retribution, and because I esteemed him as a producer.

Not only has he not now similarly spoken up on my behalf—he is deeply complicit in my exiling. In the same shake-up which exiled the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade to the wee hours, Robert was given a Monday-to-Thursday afternoon news hour slot. Making room for this, and Gary Null’s five days of hourly programming, was seemingly the justification for the wholesale schedule reshuffle. Far from dissenting, Robert has directly benefited from my silencing—while engaged in unseemly on-air crowing about “the new WBAI” and its supposedly improved direction. It pains me to have to call my old colleague out on a betrayal of solidarity.

This is a case study in the dangers of factionalism. But maybe it doesn’t have to be that way.

I call upon all producers of good faith to speak out on the air. No, you needn’t be as intransigent and relentless as I was—but say something to distance yourself from the foul-smelling propaganda and arbitrary wielding of censorious power that reigns under the current management at WBAI. It is our only hope.

  1. Bill, I have only been listening…
    Bill, I have only been listening to the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade since August, 2010, but it has been a wonderful experience of learning new stories and events that don’t get reported on by the mainstream media. I am very sorry for myself that I only caught the tail end of the show. I would have loved to been listening since the show started. I am also very sorry that this radio station has gone in a far rightwing direction, which is also unfortunately the direction our entire country seems to be going in. It really seems like there was nothing you could do to stop it, but principle demanded that you attempt it anyway. I find it concerning and sad that so many of us can not “walk and chew gum at the same time”, as you tend to say on the air a lot. Everything has to be an “either/or” these days. Nothing can be complicated or ambiguous. There has to be a definite good and a definite evil. This is a dangerous mentality.

    You can’t criticize Israel and not be an antisemite, and you can’t defend Jews and not be a “pro-Zionist.” You can’t be on the Left politically and criticize people in your own lot, without being a “stooge” for the “Rightwing”, and you can’t be on the Right politically and criticize people in your own base, without being a “stealth Socialist.” This is ridiculous. I thought “making up your own mind” really meant what the phrase says. Perhaps I missed a memo. Is there any possibility of continuing the MORC as a podcast, or moving it to another station?


  2. This is really gutting.
    This is really gutting. It always really seemed odd to look forward to Tuesdays, but it was because that was when my favorite radio program, MORC, was on my favorite radio station, WBAI. Reading this post has made it clear how absurd and out of touch the stations new slogan, “the only Left, left” truly is. I’m sickened by this chain of events and want to do something to help bring back MORC.

    Perhaps a petition would be a good start…


  3. Correction…
    Tony Bates was a cast-off from KPFK in Los Angeles/North Hollywood, not KPFA at Berkeley.

    The lunatic fringe/conspiracy nuts and 9/11 Truthers are limited to only about three hours a week at KPFA, which has gotten its premiums on track and out to pledgers as soon as the premium is available to ship.

    Again, Tony Bates = KPFK.

    That may change now that the new interim General Manager is the same person who brought Gary Null to WBAI lo these many years ago.

    Pass the red and green chunky salsa.

      1. Who Did The Deed?
        More likely it was LaVarn Williams who brought Null (and Knight) back to WBAI.

        Mr. Reimers, an associate of Ms. Williams, seems to be the one nominally “in charge” in the ousting of you and Doug Henwood.

        Now that she is firmly in place back in Berkeley, Ms.Williams has taken control of programming, at least according to the last GM (who lasted but a month), and is on her way to turning KPFA into Quack And Truther Central.

        Interesting to note that nearly all of the figures you protest in your piece promote nonsense that has long been favored by Williams compatriot Joe Wanzala in Berkeley. Yes, they were instrumental in dethroning Bernard White. But they are ideologically not much different. The enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend.

        The Betrayal of WBAI is nearly complete. The Betrayal of KPFA is in progress.

        1. The enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend.
          I agree with that, and this is definitely a case in point. But Bernard’s ideology was more Black nationalist, and somewhat rooted in Samori’s Third Worldist views. The new crew is more New Age/conspiranoid.

          1. Who is it institutionally supporting these nuts?
            I am kind of at a loss as to how a pack of Scientologist/conspiracy theorist/right-wing anti-Semites has gotten so entrenched in Pacifica’s hierarchy. Who is backing these folks? By what means are they hired? Who on the national board? And what are the means by which people with views in line with Pacifica’s mission can help?

            It’s ridiculous the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade was bumped to those hours. And truly shameful that Zeitgeist/Lizard People garbage is enabled by administrators from the Pacifica network.

            The sad truth is that hardly anyone I know cares anymore. The toxic environment at WBAI has gone on for too long, with generally crappy programming and no real access for younger people to make radio. What are people supposed to do? Run for the LSB? Does that even help? Is the LSB empowered to deal with things like station management? How is the national board governed that allows this loopies to run amok?

            Seriously. NYC is jam-packed with talent, people of conscience and independent media makers… and they aren’t getting shows on WBAI. Instead, it’s an endless fund drive, poorly conducted and with diminishing returns.

            Not wanting to throw my hands up, practical advice on how to salvage what could really be a functioning network is desperately needed.

      2. Andrew Phillips is the new interim General Manager at KPFA.
        Andrew Phillips is the new interim General Manager at KPFA.

        His “claim” to fame is that he brought Gary Null to WBAI.

        KPFA is the only Pacifica station not routinely carrying Gary Null at this time.

        Phillips is also floating the idea of dumping “expensive” premiums at KPFA, even though these not only pay for themselves in pledges, but are being sent out in a timely manner to all pledgers.

        Berthiold Reimers is a very nice person; however, he is not a radio management person. Radio is not an MBA-friendly environment; you can’t just take over as a station manager and expect to be competent just because you have “management experience”.

        Likewise, you can’t manage a radio station because of your street cred as an “activist”, because sooner or later, your “activism” is going to run counter to someone else’s, and no matteer what you do, you lose.

        Either you betray your cause or you favor it over the opposing view, and you lose no matter what you decide.

        Pacifca needs to stop hiring “friendly” people and start hiring competent ones instead.

        No more poltical incest!

        1. Not sure I agree
          I think there can be a big tent politically that still excludes (or significantly reduces the voice of) right-wing conspiranoia and the fascistic pseudo-left (e.g. Workers World). In retrospect, Samori Marksman looks better and better.

        2. WBAI won’t survive
          I’ve only been listening for a year and let me be perfectly honest, most of the shows on WBAI sucks. Lots of complaining no movement towards a solution. I won’t name names because it seems to put some people here on a mental bend which will end the discussion with insulting rants and sarcastic replies, however, there are only a few shows in terms of information and quality, and CONSISTENCY in the two previously mentioned factors that should constitute and worth while show. I hear MANY host coming on the air and “winging it”.
          Regardless of who is wrong or right (I’m sure you guys at WBAI will ever sort that one out LOL) even my 16 year old brother can see that the station won’t survive anyways, at-least not begging for money more than half of the god damn day.

          1. I no longer listen to WBAI
            There are still a few gems at BAI, but they are more and more lost amid endless garbage. So now even the good shows merely serve to legitimize the sinister garbage (e.g. Gary Null) by failing to oppose it. I can no longer listen. Yes, most of the shows on WBAI suck. (Not “sucks.”)

  4. You will be sorely missed
    I rarely listen to BAI anymore, the nuttiness has become so pervasive. Bill Weinberg’s show was always enlightening, some of the better radio I’ve ever heard (and I’ve listened to lots of radio).

    I tuned in on Monday night, and some nutbag was ranting about “chemtrails,” and claiming political action was futile, since the CIA controls the antiwar movement, anyway.

    With the loss of Doug Henwood and Bill Weinberg, BAI might as well just cede the airwaves to Monroe, the phone troll.

  5. What, no anti-Semitism here…
    As before, when I posted this piece to New York Indymedia, it prompted much ugliness from the peanut gallery. For those with a prurient interest in such arcana, here is the latest in high intellectual discourse from the most esteemed organ of the NYC “left”:

    BOORISH Orthodox Crusade

    Mar 22, 2011 02:45PM EDT
    …. http://

    Your zionist, pro-Jewish leanings fooled no-one.
    Your program was smarmy and faked sincere feelings for tre peace, boring and self-indulgent. You always seemd to support aggressions against Arabs from time to time…even your title with the word CRUSADE in it? Wise? Or a self-inside-joke? Why not MOORISH ORTHODOX HOLOCAUST? Or JIHAD? Or–well you get the point.

    good riddance.

    Click here for more.

  6. Thanks for MORC
    I will miss MORC, Bill. I lost a lot of faith when WBAI dumped Doug Henwood, moved your show, and then brought back Gary Null. Now whenever I tune in it seems they’re selling quack medical cures. Don’t they know what’s important?

    1. Thanks for MORC.
      mmmmmmm – Antisemitism or other sins may have occurred to your sensitive imagination some time in the past. It is the tenor of the politics NOW that we have to reckon with. I think George Galloway is pretty good now . . .

      The cases of HIV=AIDS and the World Trade Center are MATTERS OF OPINION. You seem to have forgotten this, if you ever knew it. For example, the VERY influential San Francisco chapter of ACT-UP is ANTI-HIV. In that connection, do you ALSO deny a conspiracy of some sort in the JFK assassination?

      I think you would be one of the people to support that one CAN’T EVEN THINK about something unless one HAS A POSITION about it! But yet you think you can’t join either faction at WBAI. BBBbbbiiiiGGGG mistake, if you ask me! And where are all your examples of the perfidy of the Independents– other than your PERSONAL beefs with Tony and Berthold?


      1. Oh, please stop
        What I documented above demonstrates very clearly that Galloway (at the very least) is willing to play to anti-Semitism. If you don’t get it, it is because you don’t want to, and we have nothing more to say to each other.

        I made no claims about 9-11 other than that the conspiracy potboilers WBAI offered are wacky and unserious. I think the notion that HIV is unrelated to AIDS is dangerous claptrap, not just another “opinion.” ACT-UP San Francisco’s espousal of this line was rejected by legitimate activists and led to ugly factionalism of the type that is now destroying WBAI, thank you very much. I think it is unlikely Oswald acted alone, but I don’t claim to know the exact nature of the conspiracy (if any), and I don’t see what it has to do with anything we are discussing here.

        My attitude is precisely the opposite of the notion that you can’t discuss issues without having a “position.” In 20 years of radio production, I tried to encourage dialogue and grappling and analysis instead of the propounding of dogma. Weren’t you listening? I guess not.

        The perfidy of the so-called “Independents” is precisely that they put Tony and Berthold in power, and are doing nothing to interfere with their destruction of WBAI. If you think that telling the truth rather than lining up with a faction was a “big mistake,” you apparently believe that my aim was to keep my radio show, rather than to, um, tell the truth.

        1. You will be missed
          Aside from your thoughtful show, the rest of the station was pretty useless and unfortunately this has been the case for some years.

          I will miss and Ann-Marie. I hope you keep up some form of broadcasting, like perhaps a podcast.

          Thank you for your many years of thoughtful analysis. I don’t always agree with you but you often make me look at things differently and think about them in new ways.

        2. Cool off your radiator
          I only discovered U recently, so don’t pop off about the past.

          As for the rest, you are as much of a crackpot as the rest of them you decry. Still, I hope they will not fire you and they would be very foolish if they did. I think their uncertainty and failure to provide a written dismissal are a good sign.

          I asked about the Kennedy assassination because I wanted to see if U were against all conspiracy theories.

          I think your habit of stigmatizing a person for life, ignoring their own explanation of their behavior, is foolish kamakaze paranoia. Realpolitik is not only for the coarse, conscious people can practice it too. Even the best causes would never succeed if they didn’t sometimes consort with the enemies of their enemies.

          Couldn’t every Arab leader be considered an antisemite?

          What is it about AIDS that deserves no credence while you give some credit to 911 and Kennedy conspiracy theories? Your snide insinuation that people who disagree with the HIV theory are not “illegitimate” activists smacks of Justice and Unity’s claims that Black people who oppose them are “Niglets” or are not “real” Blacks.

          Thanks for allowing open conversation here. This is another Bluboard— ehehehh. Speaking of that, does Monroe post here?

          You site’s symbol for Italics is “em” instead of “i.” Why? “Em” I thought is supposed to designate an “em dash.”

          What was your education? Are U a college graduate?

          In solidarity,


          1. Take a hike, willya?
            Oh really? I’m “as much of a crackpot” as people who say the world is run by shape-shifting reptilian overlords?

            Get lost.

            BTW, you used a double negative in your “not ‘illegitimate'” construction, thereby saying the opposite of what you meant. Way to go.

            This kind of “solidarity” I need like a hole in the head.

            If you were a caller, I’d hang up on you.

        3. HIV
          Bill, I always enjoyed your show, so sorry to hear the news (just found out).

          Your friend Gary Null was censored last Friday by Tony Bates for bringing up the same premium problem you do here.

          As far as HIV, are you simply accepting “scientific authority”, or do you have your own understanding of the biochemistry of retroviruses?

          Really, there’s no evidence that such an entity is exogenously acquired as an infection. Tons of new research, based on a gene for gene comparison demonstrate that these elements are constituents of the genomes of evry human being on the face of this earth. (google deHarven + HERV)

          1. Go away, wackjob
            Yes, I do accept the scientific authority, and you can take your scare quotes and shove ’em. Anti-retoviral drugs have been extending the lives of AIDS patients for some 15 years now. HIV-denialists are the equivalent of flat-earthers, gold-standard cranks and the Mossad-did-9-11 crowd. You need to spend some time here and here.

            Re. Bates censoring Null: Do we file that under “No honor among thieves” or “Plague on both their houses”? Probably both.

    2. I’m sorry to hear about the…
      I’m sorry to hear about the unprofessional manner in which they (whoever that is) fired you. It’s definitely, without a doubt wrong. But allow me to say this:

      Since I’ve been listening to Null he’s never claimed to cure anything, and if he has he’s always backed it with facts (which I’ve verified myself because I rarely take anyones word without checking). In fact, I hear Null complaining about some of the same problems I’ve read in the monologue above, such as premiums not honored by the station and the seemingly and now, not so seemingly endless fundraising. You might get your wish anyways because he has repeatedly threatened to leave the station and his Progressive Radio Network is actually 100 times better IMO.

      All in all, it seems WBAI is a highly dysfunctional station. And it’s sad because I’ve listened since I was 15. Gary Null, Armand, Amy, and Earl Caldwell and Hugh Hamilton are all folks who seem to do their homework before they open their mouths, although I don’t agree with everything they say. I can tell you, as a bodybuilder who walks the walk I can tell you straight to your face that you gotta eat meat or you won’t grow, period! You can’t live off of powders, you gotta get real food, blah blah and etc. I personally think Gary Null looks terrible, but as far as his information goes; he does his homework and he truly uses his money to help others… I’ve experienced this personally so I guess I’m biased. But tell me who isn’t?

      Democracy Now is often late to support progressive causes and frequently “plays it safe”, but they work hard and do their homework. Hugh is sometimes too quick to attack those who deeply criticize some aspect of the African American community, but his shows are well researched. The same goes with the other folks I mentioned. I have rarely if ever heard any of the above mentioned host go on the air and just “wing it”. I honestly can’t say the same to too many of the other programs. I think we all have to be careful of distinguishing clashes in political ideology, with personally attacking another individual in terms of their ethics, religion, etc.

      1. Don’t be a Null-sucker
        Null “never claimed to cure anything”? The man who claims to have the secret to “reversing the aging process”? Gimme a break, willya?

        “Uses his money to help others”? You mean by reinvesting in his lucrative business to get his dubious products out to more consumers?

        Hey, I’ve got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. Real cheap.

  7. Sad, sad, sad
    Damn, Bill. You had the last remaining show that I cared about on that sinking ship.

    The place is now a refuge for people too talentless to be allowed to broadcast anywhere else. The conspiracy and health nuts are now the predominant source of income.

    There is nothing worth saving of that station. I will not give money to support the dissemination of antisemitism and other divisive ideologies. The place will probably go broke soon, or if not it will survive as some unrecognizable mutant, fueled by snake oil, paranoia, and prejudice.

    I remember the tail end of the station’s glory days. At this point, it’s like some crippled critter that needs to be put out of its misery. It not only is a waste of money and broadcast spectrum, it’s actually working against the pacifist principles on which it was founded.

    You and Ann-Marie will be deeply missed. I hope you find some other venue for your show: perhaps a podcast.

  8. So sad
    Aside from your thoughtful show, the rest of the station was pretty useless and unfortunately this has been the case for some years.

    I will miss and Ann-Marie. I hope you keep up some form of broadcasting, like perhaps a podcast.

    Thank you for your many years of thoughtful analysis. I don’t always agree with you but you often make me look at things differently and think about them in new ways.

  9. I never listened to your show, but a few comments & questions…
    1. I was very briefly chair of the WBAI Community Advisory Board. At the time, I asked for the station’s programming policy in writing… first from GM Tony Riddle (Bernard White, I think, was on leave), and then from interim GM LaVarn Williams. There was none. So, I thought, that would be a good start for a discussion: what’s the station’s programming policy? What are the lines that cannot be crossed, for starters? And more constructively, what goals should we aspire to? The Pacifica By-Laws don’t give much guidance, stuffed with nebulous terms – and they are woefully out of date in the age of the 500-channel TV and the internet (a line about providing a platform for news not heard elsewhere doesn’t make sense in 2011).

    2. Would you have been open to the suggestion to that one of the radio station’s objectives should be to build communication and leadership capacity to underserved communities? In practical terms, this could mean that radio program producers would be given shows for 4 years (after serious try-outs), during which they have to recruit and train their replacements, and on and on. I’ve never understood how people can brag about having shows for decades on a “community” or even “free speech” radio station. If WBAI were trying to distinguish itself from commercial radio or elitist “public” radio, then we should try to create a new model of media cognitive-intellectual-moral authority that doesn’t rely on celebrities or “I got here first” seniority. What do you think? Would you have trained your replacement and gladly turned over “your” show? (Honestly, I think people should be deeply moved to have had the opportunity to broadcast from the middle of the FM dial in NYC…)

    3. I agree with your characterization of the charlatans and factionoids in charge. But they are more than (less than?) charlatans and factionoids, they are murderers. The “health” shows are pompous megalomania and commercialism. There’s not even an attempt to hide it. To secure their cash, the programmers and managers and current LSB chieftains lie. Some lie directly, making counterfactual statements on the spot. But the more destructive lies are like the ones Obama tells – say one thing and make it sound reasonable and forward-looking, sucker in all the people of good will who will invest their time, resources, and hopes,… and then do the opposite. This is worse than a lack of radio talent and managerial skill, or even sham hucksterism. The leadership at WBAI and Pacifica is sinister and calculating, a major drain on the already enfeebled progressive Left as well as various communities in need. Much worse than Rush, Beck, and Palin could dream of being. Since that is the case, shouldn’t we strike against and boycott WBAI and Pacifica, as we would any group of cash-craving and attention-seeking mercenaries?


    1. Maybe you should have listened
      “Much worse than Rush, Beck, and Palin could dream of being”? Don’t be absurd.

      Tony and Berthold, much as I oppose what they are doing to BAI, are not exactly “cash-craving and attention-seeking mercenaries.” They are not profiteers, certainly (although Null definitely is). They are trying to get BAI out of the red and assure its survival. My problem is with their methods, not their motives.

      Bernard White was program director, not general manager. Tony Riddle was the GM who was ousted along with him.

      No, I certainly would not have “gladly turned over ‘my’ show.” Why should I have? I did a good show, and there was no reason for it to end.

  10. BAI history
    I started listening to WBAI when I was 14 years old. It was what all the cool kids in my high school did. Since then the station has gone through its ups and downs. I remember fights and strikes and factions but I am saddened by what it has become. Where are call-in shows and “free form” radio these days? Where is free speech radio when everyone has to toe the party line? When there are forbidden topics, how is the station any different from Z100? There’s nothing there to attract anyone with much of a brain. BAI, don’t just ask for our money, ask for our input! If you don’t want the second, you won’t get the first from me.
    I think it is time for the management and personnel of WBAI to do a study of the original purpose and mission of Pacifica before all is lost.
    Bill, I think you should look into an internet broadcast in the interim.
    But I think we need a forum on bringing our station back..
    oh yeah, Indymedia.org, that’s another waste…

  11. Galloway loves Assad
    This just came to our attention. Shortly after being elected, George Galloway made a trip to Syria–where he praised President Bashar al-Assad as a “breath of fresh air” after years of dictatorship, and “the last Arab leader.” (BBC News, Nov. 19, 2005) Has Assad lifted the dictatorship that he inherited intact from his dad? We haven’t heard of it, and presumably neither have the protesters now being gunned down by Assad’s security forces in Syria. Will anybody confront Galloway on this question?

  12. Pacifica Board = Dysfunction
    To any sympathetic listeners that weep at the demise Pacifica, please consider collective action. At some point about 10 years ago listeners were concerned with the direction of Pacifica and they forced a major change. The listeners can do this, it’s in the By-Laws. If the Board is not fulfilling the Pacifica mission it can be overthrown. This needs to happen again.

    When this happened before, a good intentioned effort produced the nightmarish system of Local Station Boards and National Boards which now account for Pacifica’s race to the bottom. Becoming a Board member requires no talent, no business, radio, journalism, or even activist experience. It doesn’t even require a demonstrable commitment to the station through a substantial number of volunteer hours. You can buy your way into eligibility for a $25 pledge or a paltry number of volunteer hours. The Boards are, at the least, unmanageably large – over 20 people. Groups of over 20 people are rarely able to quickly and efficiently arrive at the same conclusion and take swift action. These Boards do not know how to fund raise, they do not understand what integrity in journalism means. They squabble, they posture by passing countless resolutions against conflicts against the world, they wear their position on the board as a badge of honor while also, sometimes, bashing the network in public, but these Board members rarely do any of the boring work required to keep a radio station on the air daily, to raise money that is not based on quick and easy get-healthy-quick schemes.

    The By-Laws that govern this once ascendant, nationally vital radio network are a tangle of contradictory rules that ensure that each and every Board member can pursue their pet projects at the expense of the financial health and more importantly the integrity of the station they pretend to serve. Many of these people are well intentioned, but they are dragging the network straight to hell.

    The listeners of those wonderful Pacifica programmers who have been fired from Pacifica over the years because they dare to declare the emperor has no clothes can come together and try to save the station by telling the National and Local Boards that they are not fulfilling the mission and demanding a major change.

    The by-laws can be found at Pacifica’s website: http://www.pacifica.org/governance/bylaws_rev.html

  13. I was one of the folks who helped MORC raise a thousand dollars
    I was one of the folks who helped MORC raise a thousand dollars for the station that single day, heck, single HOUR, in the dead of night, that you were fundraising for the station. I was hoping my humble offering of $25 dollars would be taken as a vote for WBAI turning away from cypto-Nazi conspiracy theory and disgusting pseudo-scientific snake oil salesmen. Instead, you got canned.

    I have been listening to WBAI since I was 17, and your show was part of the initial draw the station had on me. I also enjoyed the comic book show that ran on Tuesdays back then, which was canned not long after I started listening. R. Paul Martin, another favorite of mine, always had a crappy time slot, and now with the Halloween schedule changes, it’s even worse!

    WBAI claims its audience skews into the AARP membership demographic, and that young people just aren’t interested. Well, I’m 26 and the station seems determined to drive me off. Another example: Delphine Blue’s music show, changed to the middle of the day when I can’t tune in. Or the block of hip-hop shows all being on Friday, when I’m usually out and about and can’t listen. I have less than no interest in the quacks WBAI now offers in prime time slots: they enrage me. Their lies separate sick, hopeless people from their money and from treatments that might actually help.

    WBAI recently sent me a reminder to cough up my $25 donation. I intend to reply with a letter that they will not see that admittedly paltry sum unless and until they recognize that my dollars were a vote against the current moonbattery.

    1. Delphine Blue!
      Delphine Blue is far-and-away the show I have most loved on WBAI. Why isn’t she in charge of programming, since she ACTUALLY PROGRAMS HER SHOW, respects her listeners and plays consistently great music that is new and old, fast and slow, heartful and funky. If her show’s care were the station’s aesthetic ethic, it would draw hundreds of thousands of listeners. But no: old white negrophobes battle it out with cranky conspiracy theoriests from la-la-land.

      And the rest of us are actually “driven off” by the bizarros. Seriously. Who are these people and how did they get entrenched at the network? What is the national board structure? Do the LSBs have any actual authority over staffing?

      1. The New Boss at WBAI
        The Local Station Board, in consultation with the Pacifica national board, gets to choose WBAI management (program director and general manager). It does not make programming decisions, which are the purview of the program director. I understand that Tony Bates, the program director who sacked me, has himself now been sacked (or suspended, depending on who you believe).

        I too am a longtime fan of Delphine Blue, but she has been one of the favored producers under the new management (given a twice-weekly prime-time two-hour slot), and has she raised a peep of protest over their sinister/wacky direction (or my censorship)? Not that I am aware of…

        1. Powers of local station board
          I wish the Local Station Board got to choose the general manager and program director, in consultation with the Pacifica National Board or otherwise. The LSB gets to elect a search committee from its membership to seek out and vet applicants for GM and submit the names of a few they have trimmed the list down to, to the Executive Director. At KPFK, the last time that choice was made, the local station board as a whole never got to consider the choices.

          The LSB similarly gets to put together a similar “search committee” for Program Director, and winnow down a list of applicants to submit a pool of candidates to the station general manager. Regarding both the station manager and the program director, the local station board does have the power to evaluate their performance and potentially to recommend their removal and replacement based on unsatisfactory performance.

          The crises at the foundation, network and stations are part of a larger crisis of society and the “left.” It’s easy to decry “factionalism,” but much harder to build an alliance that can actually get something done about the long list of problems. Several responses to this material have talked about podcasts, and I think it is long past time to use the options of internet radio, podcasting and other such methods to get authentic liberatory analyses, discussion, exposures and debates, along with resistant culture, out to people so that the kind of dialogue that taps people’s creativity, curiosity and com-passion can get underway. As people get a sense of what good radio can do and be, it will give a platform from which to struggle to transform what Pacifica is putting out there.

  14. Jesus
    Sorry about this Bill, that’s god awful.

    One quibble: the Respect coalition apparently acknowledged they “accidentally” left out the LGBT rights inclusion and swore to put it back in: http://leninology.blogspot.com/2005/11/tatchell-and-pink-veiled-islamophobia.html

    Not that I disagree with your assessment of Galloway of course, the guy’s been downhill for a while in regards to voting for progressive measures- http://infantile-and-disorderly.com/2009/04/06/galloway-is-not-good-value/

  15. not new
    Dear Bill,
    There is nothing new here. I recall when Null first arrived and know of similar events from a time before you arrived at the station.
    With Best Wishes, david

    1. Before I arrived at the station?
      Oh, really? In the mid-80s, then? And what difference does it make whether or not it is “new”? Does that mean I shouldn’t protest it? And in fact it is new: the current crew are taking things to a whole new level of wackiness and mediocrity.

      1. Rampant conspiricism
        Conspiracism is certainly being pushed by Bates and his friends.
        Radio Free Eireann is now promoting a fundraiser for Irish fascist Gerry McGeough being organized by Helen McClafferty. McGeough was owner and editor of The Hibernian.’It published numerous articles alleging that the international banking system is run by money-manipulating conspirators (e.g. Helen McClafferty “The Illuminati and Bilderberg Conferences”” HIBERNIAN February 2007 pp20–21 _”In 1776 the Illuminati set out to destroy nations and religions, private property and marriage. Today,in 2007, we are now witnessing those acts coming to fruition”
        John McDonagh is a close political friend of McGeough and in the 1990s they organized an ‘Irish Race’ convention in NYC.
        The anti-fascist magazine Searchlight exposed McGeough pointing out that the Hibernian carried long pieces in each edition promoting the infamous Father Fahey. Fahey, a 1930s Irish priest, called for the destruction of the “worldwide Jewish, communist and Freemason conspiracy”,
        Tony Bates has apparently now converted to Irish right-wing nationalism as RFE announced to today that Bates will be a guest at McDonagh’s group’s annual get-together.

        1. Let us work together
          Dear Brother and His Supporters,

          I have been a listener of WBAI since 1990, and have caught several of your programs since 2001. I do not always agree with you, but I never doubted your independent thinking and intellectual courage (neither of which, as I am sure you know, can guarantee an approximation to truth).

          There is much in your criticism (of conspiratorial thinking; intellectual laziness and the denial of collective responsibility; scapegoating of overprivileged or underprivileged minorities; organizations despising and abusing their supporters; colleagues who can and should work together betraying each other; etc.) that deserves a far larger audience –as I see it. Also, some of these problems can be seen in a larger context, making note of their presence in different times and places –without broad pronouncements about ‘human nature’.

          Although I am in no position to check the veracity of some of your reporting, it seems to me that there is also much in what you state that relates to current events, and is not heard often enough (such as what you write about Libya, Morocco, Venezuela, …).

          If you wish to get together with some of your listeners, supporters, and fellow activists, please count me in. Beyond this, I personally beseech you to work toward an honest communication with activists (young and old) who are seeking solutions outside electoral politics.

          I am a philosopher and a moral agent who has been writing since 1980 on some global issues that you, too, address. I have also been prepared to work with, and ‘carry water for’ like-minded activists. Please contact me concerning what we can do for those who are in deeper trouble than ourselves, and those who may have far more limited ability to make their grievances and/or their ‘remedy proposals’ heard.


          Sadik Bir Dost (which means ‘A Loyal Friend’)

  16. Occupy gets it DEAD WRONG on WBAI!?!?!
    Can it be true? The Occupy fools occupied WBAI on BEHALF of censorious reactionary jerk Tony Bates…?!!? Say it ain’t so!!!

    That’s what this press release seems to indicate.

    Can anyone provide details?

  17. “Off the Hook” protests WBAI (mis)management
    WBAI’s longtime computer-hacker show “Off the Hook” has an open letter on the affiliated 2600 website protesting how they were barred from the air for three weeks starting with the Sandy disaster—due to Gary Null, who had ostensibly provided a remote studio, denying them access on the ostensible basis of limted hours of which they had (in classic WBAI manner) not been informed. Right, they showed up ready to do a show, and were given the boot. And then, even when WBAI was restored to its home studios, barred again due to a (you guessed it) fund drive. The statement closes:

    Regrettably, we must start looking for another outlet for “Off The Hook.” We want to continue broadcasting over the radio, as that is where the true magic is. Podcasts are a supplement to this, but not a replacement. We don’t ever want to lose the possibility of someone accidentally stumbling upon our show while driving in their car or of non-tech savvy people being fascinated by what they hear. Pulling in listeners who never even knew that they were interested in what we were talking about is what makes all of this worthwhile. But we know that achieving that may be an impossible dream, even in New York.

    WBAI is a unique gem on the radio dial. It must be preserved. But without immediate and significant changes, it cannot survive and we don’t see how “Off The Hook” can continue there, either. Popular programs that serve a true function should be recognized as such, not simply treated as some sort of oddity that’s the first to get bumped when the talk gets serious. This is far from the first time something like this has happened, which is why we can’t buy into the usual promises of trying to do better and being more inclusive next time. The words of hackers and those who design technology should not be thought of as an irrelevant postscript. More often than not, they are the conversation itself. We hope we can find a place where that’s recognized.

    We knew this was inevitable—that, one by one, the intelligent programs at WBAI would be forced from the air. Which is why we wish that the “Off the Hook” crew—and all other intelligent WBAI producers—had displayed greater solidarity with the “Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade” when we were under attack. Instead of hanging together, it appears we are hanging separately…

  18. WBAI: I hate to say ‘I told you so…’
    Lest anyone have any illusions, let me hasten to emphasize that I have utterly washed my hands of WBAI. But I can’t help noting the Oct. 25 story on the Village Voice blog, “Andrew Philips Resigns From WBAI, Pacifica Soliciting Offers to Lease its Signal.” Yeah, that’s right. First, the new interim program director, Andrew Philips (who had also been PD at BAI some 25 years ago, and had lately been station manager at KPFA), has stepped down after just a few weeks at the helm, dashing hopes that this old hand could shepherd the station out of the wilderness, and that the recent move from Wall Street to Brooklyn signalled a fresh start. Apparently the resignation was prompted by a move by Pacifica interim executive director Summer Reese to yet further exalt Gary Null in the BAI line-up (and seemingly in violation of station autonomy):

    According to Philips, the dispute centered around Reese’s decision to move controversial health guru Gary Null’s program earlier in the morning. In Philips’s eyes, that was a crucial time slot for hard-hitting news and commentary. “We really didn’t want to be pitching ‘Green Stuff’ [Null’s signature drink] and different health products. We wanted to be giving content,” Philips tells the Voice. “I resigned over that.”

    It get worse, however.

    …on Thursday, Reese took the air to publicly respond to rumors that Pacifica was looking to sell WBAI.

    “Are we just selling the station? Has Pacifica decided to unload WBAI?” Reese said she has been asked by employees and programmers. “The answer is no — unequivocally no.”

    What Pacifica has done, she went on, is put out a request for proposals seeking a potential partner to either lease the signal from WBAI or swap frequencies with the station. Under the agreement, Pacifica would retain the station’s license and provide some programming. The partner would pay the bills, and supply much of its own programming, too.

    “We have such an incredibly valuable signal in New York City — all I can say is 50,000 watts in the No. 1 market,” Reese remarked hopefully on Thursday. “It’s a huge signal in a huge city.”

    Now isn’t that cute? Reese’s “unequivocally no” actually turns out to mean, “Well yeah, sort of.” Another one to file under words-mean-whatever-we-want-them-to-mean…

    Again, while one hates to gloat over the ignominious demise of a once-great counter-cultural institution, I can’t help but note that maybe this could have been avoided if management had heeded my advice three years ago and moved to restore intelligent programming rather than clinging intransigently to the ethic of appealing to the lowest common denominator. As I stated in my parting manifesto, I didn’t know that would work, but it was the only thing that stood any chance of doing so, and the station’s actual trajectory was straight to hell. Well, now BAI stands at the very gates of Hell—that is, de facto if not de jure sale and commercialization. And management has learned not a thing. More from the Voice:

    In an interview earlier this year, General Manager Berthold Reimers told the Voice that Null’s products, which are sold during pledge drives, generate a large share of the station’s revenue.

    “I understand why they are pushing these health premiums. At the same time, it’s not the long-term answer. It’s not going to save WBAI. We’re going to continue to spiral down if we continue this model, and eventually someone will come with big bucks, pay up the debt and take over the signal.”

    That day may come sooner rather than later if Pacifica’s national board finds a compelling response to its call for proposals to lease its signal.

    Reimers was complicit in my firing for warning against exactly that wackery-driven downward spiral. And even now he is basically saying the losing strategy will be rethought … one day, eventually, when the station is out of debt. Like the gambling addict who is going to quit as soon as he hits the jackpot and wins back his losses.


  19. WBAI: I hate to say ‘I told you so…’ (again)

    A Feb. 12 Capital New York report, "The crisis at WBAI" (after all these years, we could say a permanent crisis), notes that new interim program director Bob Hennelly has given Gary Null the boot, and contains this delicious line: "Hennelly pulled Null's controversial show from the air to prevent the Federal Communications Commission from charging WBAI with fraud." But of course, I was sacked from WBAI in 2011 for protesting Gary Null's quackery. Talk about being prematurely correct.