Back of the Book — November 10, 2012

This is a unique radio program in Back of the Book history. This program has been pre-recorded. The reason is that WBAI has been de-housed by the Hurricane Sandy super storm and is operating our of donated quarters where the late night programs can't go, at least not during their usual time slots. We had to improvise some technology and we recorded this program in our living room, as opposed to a studio. The topics of the program varied, but the Hurricane Sandy super storm disaster dominated. Check back for the updates to this Web page. I may also post a separate page about the super storm and our experiences in it.

Did you know that I've got a brief synopsis of some of the WBAI LSB meetings? Well, I do, and I've recently updated all of that.

The next regular WBAI LSB meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 14th, 2012, at a location to be announced.

An LSB meeting was called for October 10, 2012, at 7:00 PM at Alwan-for-the-Arts, 16 Beaver Street, 4th floor, in downtown Manhattan. However a quorum never appeared and at 8:00 PM, a full hour after the official starting time for the meeting and with members starting to leave in frustration, the Chair cancelled the meeting with the consensus of the members assembled.

At a previous meeting the WBAI LSB voted to hold its meetings on the second Wednesday of every month and/or the last Thursday of that month, subject to change by the LSB, which gives us the following schedule:

All of these meetings are set to begin at 7:00 PM.

WBAI has a program schedule up on its newly revamped Web site. The site has gotten many of the individual program pages together to provide links and such, so check it out.

Because WBAI has been forced out of its studios by the flood waters' destruction of the building's electrical system you will need to go here to listen the temporary stream for the radio station! This emergency stream should only be necessary for maybe another week at most. If this stream isn't working let me know.

WBAI is archiving the programs! Just go here and you'll be able to listen to this program any time for the next couple of months. You may need to scroll up one line to see the audio archive. Let me know if you find this feature useful. There is also another version of the archive here.

ARCHIVE UPDATE: The archive for this program is screwed up on the WBAI Web site. So you can access the Web archive I've made for this program here. Why a Web archive? Because this version of the pre-recorded program strips out the tiny bit of music that was played during the program. Yeah, got to keep it legal.

If you want to listen to any part of the WBAI archive click here to go right to the archives. When you first go to the Web page you'll only see the WBAI programs for the past 7 days. If you want to see older programs you can click on one of the “See ALL Shows” buttons. Or to see only the two shows in this time slot click here.

Back of the Book is one of the programs that you can download, as well as listen to on line.

In the table on the archive Web page Back of the Book and Saturday Morning With the Radio On are both in the “Show” column. The “Date and Category” column shows the date of the program. After the program I go in and write the details of the program and say which program it is. Of course I'd recommend that you just listen to both programs in this time slot!

In the Summer of 2009, there was a Pacifica National Board meeting held in New York. Here's the Web page I did about this PNB meeting and the amazing things that went on at it.

And the PNB has also met in Houston from Friday October 9th, through Sunday October 11th, 2009. The official audio archive of that meeting is here. It was not disrupted as the New York meeting was, although some of the same miscreants got out there to say stupid things.

The Pacifica National Board (PNB) met in Manhattan the weekend of October 1-3, 2010. The audio has been posted for the first day of the meeting, the second day of the meeting and the third day of the meeting.

PNB Chair Summer Reese has been appointed interim Executive Director of the Pacifica foundation, which owns WBAI. Press relese here.

The 2012, Pacifica election cycle has begun! Want find out more about it? Click here.

UPDATE: The latest word is that due to the chaos created in this area by the super storm the ballots will now be mailed out on November 13, 2012.

This is a very special Back of the Book program. Because WBAI has been flooded out of its studios the station is broadcasting from an alternate location, the facilities of which have been kindly lent to us.

Staff do not have access to the location after 6:00 PM. So the overnight programs have to either submit a pre-recorded program or let Management play some sort of archive in that time slot.

The DR-05 digital audio recorder
A DR-05

Well, we rose, sort of, to the occasion and we've posted a pre-recorded version of Back of the Book and sent it to the Program Director for uploading to a computer that should play it sort of on time, maybe.

This program was recorded in our living room. You can tell that we do not have any sound proofing in our living room. What we did was put the DR-05 recorder up on a microphone stand and Pickles of the North and I just sat there and spoke into it. This way we got a stereo audio file as opposed to a mono file we'd have gotten if we'd tried to use a microphone. These days we just aren't set up to record using a pair of microphones feeding into the recording device to get a stereo recording.

Back in the analog days I could have set this up a lot more easily, but I had great analog recording equipment back then whereas now we have one of the lowest end, cheapest digital sound recorders on the market. But we're damned lucky that we had that.

There should be an archive of the program on-line right after it airs. If that somehow doesn't work I've already put a Web friendly, meaning that it's a small file and doesn't contain any copyrighted material other than our lovely voices, that I'll post.

So although the sound quality of the program is not going to be up to the usual studio standards at least there's a program, unless something goes wrong.

I'll also point out that the exact time when this program will air in not certain. Management is going to try to get it to air right at 5:00 AM, but the entire overnight schedule is on a queue and the program may begin before or after its nominal start time.

It was a trip doing this radio program. It didn't feel like we were doing a radio program at all. I guess you just get used to being in the studio and hitting your mark at the right time and all. And free form live radio that's pre-recorded is a bit of a contradiction in terms. Still, we're very glad that we were able to get this thing together and get it posted for broadcast.

Of course the super storm and its effects occupied a lot of this program. One of its effects was that we had to pre-record this program.

cake Pickles of the North baked
Our Hurricane Sandy Cake

We'd talked about what was then an impending super storm on our last program. And the reality turned out to be even worse than we'd thought it would be.

On this program we talked about the devastation and our experiences during and after this storm.

For a little over two and a half hours we lost power on Tuesday night, October 30th. Compared to what others have suffered that was really nothing.

We were watching live TV on Monday, October 29th, when a TV news reporter said she was on Wall St. and had heard what sounded like explosions. It turned out that those explosions were the ConEd transformers exploding when they got hit with salt water rising from the East River and flooding into the subterranean cells that these power stations are kept in.

WBAI had stopped pitching and gone into reporting mode to cover this storm. WBAI producer Ken Gale, who covers ecological developments, was at the station at the height of the storm and he says that the water level reached up to the traffic light on the corner of Wall St. & South St. “Trucks go under that light!” he said aloud. Ken has a full description of his storm experiences here.

So WBAI's power went out at the height of the storm, and then ConEd turned off the electricity for lower Manhattan.

There was a contingency plan, a Plan B, and that was implemented right away. Chief Announcer Michael G. Haskins allowed his apartment to be used to send pre-recorded material to the WBAI transmitter — until he lost power too. There have also been Verizon problems for the Empire State Building, where WBAI's transmitter and antenna are located. Special Verizon lines are used to get the broadcast quality audio signal to the transmitter. When those fail you have a hard time getting that signal out. The pre-existing contingency plan involves using a microwave antenna atop 120 Wall St. to send the signal to the transmitter site. Of course WBAI's Staff weren't at 120 Wall St. by then and there would have been no electricity available to operate any of that equipment anyway.

So WBAI was on and off the air for a while. But then the station was able to broadcast from Gary Null's studios. And that's where we're broadcasting from today.

Pickles of the North baked us a cake before the storm hit, just to take the edge off the stress of it all.

We have also noted that there has been a perceptual time dilation going on since the storm hit. It was less than two weeks ago that it hit, but it feels more like a month or more has passed since our last radio program.

I have more images to post and more to write about the Hurricane Sandy super storm, but I've been up for too long on not enough sleep and I think I'm going to let this Web page stand as it is for the moment. I am thinking that I'll do an entire page on this disaster that has probably been caused by global warming. So I'll update this page at a later date.

blue and yellow chrysanthemums
Battery Park Chrysanthemums

Well, we're pretty sure that these lovely chrysanthemums got demolished by the flood that hit Battery Park two days later.

That's really too bad. It was a completely overcast day when we went to Battery Park after that program and I'm sure that had it been a sunnier mid-Autumn morning we would have gotten a really beautiful photograph, but the morning was what it was and this is what we could shoot.

There were some other developments in Battery Park that morning that I'll probably write about up here, but that's for the future. We're hoping that we recognize Battery Park when we go there next, whenever that will turn out to be.

There are a lot of issues that are considered hazardous to talk about on the air at WBAI, even though the gag rule was lifted in 2002. However, there is the Internet! There are mailing lists which you can subscribe to and Web based message boards devoted to WBAI and Pacifica issues. Many controversial WBAI/Pacifica issues are discussed on these lists.

One popular list the “NewPacifica” mailing list. Founded October 31, 2000, this list is sometimes lively and as of mid-2011, has 687 subscribers coast to coast.

Being lively, of course, it sometimes also gets a bit nasty. All sorts of things are happening on this list and official announcements are frequently posted there.

You can look at the NewPacifica list here, and you can join the list from that Web page too. If you subscribe to the “NewPacifica” mailing list you will receive, via E-mail, all of the messages which are sent to that list.

There is the option to receive a “digest” version of the list, which means that a bunch of messages are bundled into one E-mail and sent to you at regular intervals, this cuts down on the number of E-mails you get from the list. You will also be able to send messages to the list.

This list also has a Web based interface where you can read messages and from which you can post your own messages.

There is also the more WBAI specific “Goodlight” Web based message board. It is sometimes referred to on Back of the Book as “the bleepin' blue board,” owing to the blue background used on its Web pages. This one has many people posting anonymously and there's also an ancillary “WBAI people” board that's just totally out of hand. UPDATE: The bleepin' blue board has had to add a step for folks to get onto it because it's under attack by spambots. When you click on the above link you may be asked for a username and password. Type in Username: poster Password: enternow

When the computer in Master Control is working we sometimes have live interaction with people posting on the “Goodlight Board” during the program.

Our very own Uncle Sidney Smith, whose program Saturday Morning With the Radio On alternates with us, has a blog these days. You can reach his blog here.

My voice mail number at WBAI is 212-209-2996. Leave a message.

You can also send me E-mail.

WBAI related links

WBAI Listeners' Web page

WBAI Management's official Web site

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The contents of this Web page are copyright © 2012, R. Paul Martin.