WHAT'S REALLY HAPPENING AT WBAI?
Problem: A concerted effort by many members of the Local Station Board (LSB) to reverse the progress WBAI has made in recent years towards a management, paid staff, and program schedule that includes a full representation of the issues of concern to communities of color and poor people, in particular to African-Americans. Some on the board -- particularly members of the "LIST-PROG" slate and supporters of health programmer/entrepreneur Gary Null -- have been fighting against this for several years. It took decades of struggle to make these advances. Now the board majority is poised to start reversing all this.
This comes after a year in which some of these same board members fought bitterly against including affirmative action measures with teeth in the Pacifica bylaws, so as to make at least minimal efforts to have boards that approach the diversity of the radio signal areas.
Forms it's taken:
micromanaging management, over-reaching the authority granted the board in the by-laws
incessant harassing emails, phone calls and information demands on General Manager Don Rojas that played a major role in his decision to resign at the end of the year
frequent attacks on the policies of Program Director Bernard White, and efforts to use the mandated annual evaluation of him to get him removed
refusal to disavow racist and racially inflammatory comments by two board members, Luanne Pennesi and Steve Brown, as well as other comments by them that pre-judge the outcome of the board's management evaluations, and in the case of Pennssi, outrightly call for a financial boycott of WBAI
a vote to in effect remove prominent African American leader Father Lawrence Lucas from the board due to his absences while hospitalized with serious illness; beaten back after exposure of the blatantly unfair nature of this maneuver.
a vote that no more than 99 WBAI listeners who are poor, disabled, or incarcerated could apply for hardship waivers to gain membership with the right to vote in the upcoming LSB elections.
Help turn back this sneak attack on the gains for access to the airwaves by communities of color in struggle.
· Attend board meetings and show your support for efforts to resist the harmful actions of the board majority. Check www.wbai.org for meeting listings or call 212-591-2111.
· Get involved in the WBAI Justice and Unity Campaign to change the makeup of the Local Station Board in the upcoming elections.
WBAI JUSTICE AND UNITY CAMPAIGN
www.justiceunity.org * (212) 591-2111
Sign up on the website for our low-traffic email announcement list.
WBAI Controversy on Public Access TV
For more info on the controversies surrounding WBAI and progressive media, tune in to "The Battle for Progressive Media" on Manhattan Neighborhood Network, Channel 34, every other Monday, starting Sept. 27 from 10:00-10:30 pm . Schedule: www.mnn.org
Click HERE for a downloadable Word file.