Back of the Book — May 24, 2014

All right, we're pitching again. There is no telling what topics we'll get to do tonight, so listen if you can. And check back here for possible updates.

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 some of that.

I have also posted a whole lot of the minutes of the Pacifica National Finance Committee. I'm a member of that committee because I'm the WBAI LSB Treasurer.

The next WBAI LSB meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 11, 2014, at 7:00 PM at a location to be announced.

The WBAI LSB sort of met on Wednesday, May 14, 2014, at 7:00 PM at The Theater for the New City, at 155 1st Ave. between East 9th and East 10th Sts. on the lower east side of Manhattan. Yes, we met in “the Johnson room.”

This LSB meeting never made quorum. I arrived a little late and found most of the LSB members out on the sidewalk. There is still a lot of controversy about the “sustainability plan” which was mandated by the current PNB. Mere hours before this meeting people had posted a 46 page “melding” of every one of these plans, and the plans also said that they were “notated,” which bloated the text even more and made those 46 pages of “melded” plans really difficult to read.

The folks producing this even larger bunch of verbiage had apparently done some of their melding in opposition to some of the folks who had put forth various of the plans in the first place. Apparently there had been words among some of the early arrivals about this before I'd arrived.

So after a while the faction went inside. They all vote as a solid block according to their instructions, so they didn't need to discuss this document. The independent LSB members were left arguing with each other on the sidewalk. In the meeting you only get two minutes to speak at a time, and there's a limit to how many times you can speak on a subject. On the sidewalk people could talk to each other about this 46 page “plan” that had been posted that afternoon at length. And folks did.

In the end, a couple of independent LSB members walked away. The rest of us went inside, and the meeting never made quorum. Still, there was some discussion, and the General Manager gave a report that I called “rosy,” because it cast a glow on the station's finances that made them look unrealistically healthy.

Various LSB members said they were going to send the 46 page “melded, notated sustainability plan” to the PNB on their own. The LSB never passed this thing, but people can end whatever they please to the PNB, as long as they don't misrepresent it as coming from the WBAI LSB. People from the WBAI Community Advisory Board who were at the meeting said they'd already sent their “sustainability plan” to the PNB a week earlier.

As is unfortunately so often the case the LSB did not get to a Treasurer's Report at this meeting, but I put out a written Treasurer's Report for all to read.

I suppose we'll try again next month. Oh yeah, the deadline for this “sustainability plan” was 60 days after the February PNB meeting. In my opinion, his call for the LSB to issue a “sustainability plan” was a cynical mandate from the current PNB majority designed to waste people's time and divert attention from what that PNB is doing. Well, it certainly has proven to be a waste of time, all right.

At a previous meeting the WBAI LSB voted to hold its regular 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 Web site. The site has gotten many of the individual program pages together to provide links and such, so check it out.

Because WBAI was forced out of its studios by the flood waters' destruction of the building's electrical system we still have this alternate, temporary stream for the radio station! I do not know how long this emergency stream will be up for. If this stream isn't working let me know.

WBAI has put up a stream for the Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. So if you have one of those devices you might try the link out. And let us know how it works for you one way or the other. That way the folks implementing it can iron out any kinks in the system.

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.

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!

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.

The Pacifica National Board (PNB) met in Washington, D.C. February 7-10, 2014. The big news is that they have mandated that there be no negotiations with the four candidates for the PSOA for 60 days.

Given that the PNB has had a change in its membership that has affected the balance of power, this postponement of any negotiations may actually be a ploy by the people who want to sell WBAI to make that sale more likely. It is possible that a PSOA would allow WBAI to come back after a few years, but it would also not result in a big cash influx to the rest of Pacifica, and that is what some people at other Pacifica stations want. Well, things are pretty much up in the air with WBAI right now.

You can listen to the public parts of the quarterly PNB meeting by clicking on the below links:

The Friday session
The Saturday session
The Sunday session
The Monday session

Chaos and fighting continues on the PNB and at the Pacifica National Office. The people who want to sell off WBAI have started on their destructive path with the firing of the Executive Director at a critical time. The Executive Director, Summer Reese, says she has a contract with Pacifica and that the PNB can't just violate that and fire her the way that they did. So the Executive Director is barricaded in the National Office along with some supporters and the PNB members who want to, among other things, sell WBAI are exchanging barbs with her. Yeah, Pacifica's getting some great publicity from all of this.

The disputed Executive Director has issued a press release giving her side of this episode. Here is her press release. Luckily for the Pacifica stations Ms. Reese worked to get the CPB filings done by the March 14, deadline despite having been fired the day before. Had she not done this work Pacifica, and all of its radio stations, would have missed out on all of the CPB funds for which they are currently eligible.

UPDATE: A lawsuit was filed by some of the PNB Directors asking a judge to grant a temporary restraining order, among other relief. The judge's decision is here. Since then more motions have been filed in court and there are to be more hearings in the future.


Our notification that we're pitching again
We're Pitching Tonight!

This is another pitching program. As you can see, we're tasked once again with raising $500 on this program. So we will try to do that. I must say that we fell quite short of that goal on the last program. I hope we do better this time.

So for this WBAI Spring 'thon, if you can, please call 1-212-209-2950 during the radio program and pledge some amount of money to help keep Back of the Book on WBAI and help keep WBAI on the air.

If you want to pledge to the program via the Web it's best to do so while we're on the air, you need to go here and pick the amount you want to donate, then click on “Add to cart,” and then be sure to pick Back of the Book as the favorite show from the drop down menu. Otherwise your pledge won't be counted towards the program.

WBAI is fighting for its life right now, and the amount of money raised in this 'thon will be crucial for the station's survival.

And, yeah, it's not day 12 of this 'thon, it's day 20. Management got that part of the notice wrong. What really matters is that we raise enough to keep WBAI alive.


Elombe Brath

Former WBAI producer Elombe Brath passed away this past fortnight. He used to do a program called Afrikaleidscope which focussed on the politics of black nationalism, and which presented opinions related to Africa. Elombe Brath described himself as a pan-African activist, and he was the founder of the “Patrice Lumumba Coalition,” members of which group were frequent guests on the air.

Elombe Brath and I did not agree on a lot of things. He was a member of the faction, and he never said anything about the mismanagement, and worse, of WBAI by his pal Bernard White. Mr. Brath was a producer at WBAI for many years. He had also worked at TV station WABC for decades.

He'd had a series of strokes starting in September 2007, and he passed away this past week at the Amsterdam Nursing Home in Harlem. He was 77 years old.

So-called Thunderbolt under construction
“Thunderbolt” Still Under Construction

Pickles of the North and I went to Coney Island a couple of days after the last radio program. Among other things we saw the state of this roller coaster that they're going to call “The Thunderbolt.”

They've been saying that this ride would be ready for this weekend, but that is not going to happen.

Yes, the official, full Coney Island season opens on Memorial Day Weekend every year. Pickles and I will probably not go there this weekend due to the enormous crowds that show up for the opening of the season. But maybe next week we'll be able to pay a visit to see how things are progressing.

We saw more horseshoe crabs while we were there. I plan to post those photographs on this Web page soon.

Yeah, I hope that Pickles and I can visit Coney Island a lot during this season, and if we do I'm sure we'll have more photographs of what's going on down there.

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.

We like to stay interactive with our listeners. Here are the various options for you to get in touch with us.

You can also send me E-mail.

And now you can even reach me on Twitter Twitter logo

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 © 2014, R. Paul Martin.