MOTION TO DISASSOCIATE WBAI LOCAL STATION BOARD FROM COMMENTS OF STEVE BROWN

[Introduced by Board member Michael Tarif Warren;not yet debated or voted on]

Whereas, in two recent public emails sent to many WBAI listeners, WBAI Local Station Board member Steve Brown:

•  referred to the content of programs instituted by Program Director Bernard White since 2002 as "the overtly anti-White and anti-Semitic attitude of the new hosts and their program material," without providing any substantiation;

•  urged listeners with complaints "about anything that might be considered 'offensive'" to contact Mr. Brown "EVEN IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING SPECIFIC [emphasis in original]...even if all you have is, say, a 'feeling' that WBAI has become more racially intolerant, or 'unwelcome,' or 'hostile' to people of your skin color or ethnic or religious background"; and

•  claimed that Program Director Bernard White "constantly makes false and self-serving statements about the supposed growth of his listenership."

and

Whereas, the LSB is specifically charged under the Pacifica bylaws with the duty to "assist in station fundraising activities," and to "exercise all of its powers and duties with care, loyalty, diligence and sound business judgment" and one of the official purposes of the Pacifica Foundation is "to engage in any activity that shall contribute to a lasting understanding between nations and between the individuals of all nations, races, creeds and colors," and

Whereas, such unsubstantiated charges, negative attacks, and racially charged rhetoric are extremely damaging to the station's efforts to increase listenership and raise funds, and furthermore run counter to the above-stated mission of Pacifica, and

Whereas, Mr. Brown's call for the collection of "feelings" about "offensive" programming creates an intimidating, chilling climate of surveillance of WBAI programmers,

Therefore, be it resolved, that:

1. The LSB disapproves of, and disassociates itself from, the aforesaid recent public statements by Board member Steve Brown and calls on all LSB members to desist from making statements that prejudge the performance of WBAI management personnel, that indulge in personal attacks on management and staff, and that undermine listener financial support for the station

2. The LSB respects differences of opinion about station policy among its own members and with station management, and suggests that the station sponsor a community forum with speakers holding diverse views on the nature of WBAI programming as part of the overall role of media in U.S. society.

[See references on reverse side]

REFERENCES FOR CITED QUOTES:

•  From: "MAKING CHANGES WITH OUR EYES SHUT?", email sent May 10, 2004:

Ultimately, the unfair and arbitrary programming changes, and the overtly anti-White and anti-Semitic attitude of the new hosts and their program material, succeeded in causing forty-four thousand (44,000!) WBAI listeners to take the time and the effort to register their disapproval by individual protests to the PD [Program Director], which he either ignored, or rebuffed with threats.

2. From "MAKING CHANGES WITH OUR EYES SHUT?," email sent May 10, 2004:

At WBAI, the program director constantly makes false and self-serving statements about the supposed growth of his listenership and the success of the program changes he has made.

3. From: "Are some WBAI programs endangering our license?" email sent May 28, 2004

We would like to know if you have heard anything that might be considered "offensive" in this way, so that we may incorporate it into our efforts to educate our producers and staff about our vulnerability to the new FCC rules.

If you have specific examples, please tell me about them. The names of the programs, hosts, airtimes, etc, would be helpful, of course -- BUT EVEN IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING SPECIFIC, PLEASE CONTACT ME ANYWAY, AND LET ME KNOW AS MUCH AS YOU CAN RECALL. Even if all you have is, say, a "feeling" that WBAI has become more racially intolerant, or "unwelcome," or "hostile" to people of your skin color or ethnic or religious background over the past few years -- I want to hear about that "feeling."

 

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