On Wednesday, August 3, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) finally issued its approval of WBAI's license renewal. The process has taken more than 2½ years due to a number of complaints.
LICENSE RENEWAL AUTHORIZATION
THIS IS TO NOTIFY YOU THAT YOUR APPLICATION
FOR RENEWAL OF LICENSE, BRH-20140130ANC, WAS
GRANTED ON 08/03/2016 FOR A TERM EXPIRING ON
PACIFICA FOUNDATION, INC.
1925 MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. WAY
BERKELEY, CA 94704
Here's a link to the renewal information on the FCC's Web site.
Links to the letters of complaint are included in the on-line renewal notice. They were from two New York City nutcases and one listener who said that,
THE PROBLEM WITH WBAI FM AND THE OTHER PACIFICA STATIONS IS THAT THEY ARE SO BIASED AND SO FAR OUT OF THE MAIN- STREAM THAT THEY PROMOTE IDEAS THAT ARE BEYOND UNCONVENTIONAL, which was in all caps in the original letter, which you can view here.
The two nutcases mix their fantasies and prejudices with a few partially articulated facts, the details of which they get wrong. In the end, nothing they complained about mattered to the FCC.
So the good news is that WBAI's license has been renewed. The bad news may be in the timing. While WBAI's license remained un-renewed the station could not be sold. There are people in Pacifica who have been wanting to sell WBAI for years. Unfortunately, there are some people in New York who are aligned with the people who want to sell WBAI.
The Pacifica Foundation overall is in bad financial shape. WBAI is not the only station that is struggling to meet its operating expenses.
Selling a Pacifica radio station would require an affirmative vote by a majority of the entire membership of Pacifica, according to the bylaws, and there are complications involved in that because the current version of the Pacifica National Board (PNB) is of questionable legitimacy. The ballots for the 2016, Pacifica elections are currently scheduled to go out on August 15. I do not think that the PNB can vote to sell WBAI and get an additional ballot soliciting approval of the sale of WBAI included with those election ballots. Some have been saying for a while that there is a move to force Pacifica into bankruptcy so that a station or stations can be sold without bothering to get the approval of the membership of Pacifica.
Below is the audio from the August 4, 2016, PNB meeting where Lydia Brazon, calling herself Pacifica's interim Executive Director, mentions WBAI's license renewal. She says that the station's license renewal,
... will allow us to proceed with a lot of things..., and then she gives a nervous little laugh. One of the
things may be the selling of WBAI. And, no, the license renewal was not necessary for Pacifica to negotiate with debtors.
We'll see what happens over the next few months.
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