Back of the Book — September 12, 2015

This is the 29th anniversary of Back of the Book! We will go through the usual rituals and we'll reminisce. We also plan to get to the topic below, and maybe more. We are somewhat amazed that we've gotten to this anniversary. Could we possible have another in the future? Check back for 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, Wednesday, October 14, 2015, at 7:00 PM at a location to be announced.

The WBAI LSB met on Wednesday, September 9, 2015, at 7:00 PM at the ARC Central Harlem Senior Center, 120 West 140th St., New York, NY 10030, between Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. in Manhattan.

This meeting started 30 minutes late. We had to meet in the lobby of the senior center because the guy who usually let's us into the room we've been meeting in this year wasn't there. He'd had to go to the hospital. Everyone hopes he's okay.

There was a very small Treasurer's Report at this meeting. As usual I put out a written Treasurer's Report for all to read.

There were elections for the LSB members of the Program Director Search Committee. Elected to the committee were:

The LSB also voted to have a committee to set up a radio program for the LSB to tell the listeners and Staff about what's been going on. And a lot has been going on.

At a previous meeting the WBAI LSB voted to hold its regular meetings on the second Wednesday of every 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.

Here is WBAI's current Internet stream. The stream does appear to be working at this time.

WBAI is archiving the programs! WBAI has permanently switched to yet another new archive Web page! This one is more baffling than the previous one. We have to put archive blurb copy in before the program airs. The person in charge of the WBAI Web site says, “If you fail to create a playlist, your show may not show up in the archives at all.” So we made an archive blurb long before the program.

This is a link to the latest version of the official WBAI archive To get to this program you'll have to click on the drop-down menu, which says “Display,” and find Back of the Book on that menu. We're pretty early in the list, so it shouldn't be too difficult. Once you find the program name click “GO” and you'll see a list of programs, most of which are Back of the Book programs. I will see if this can be made easier to get to, but they've only recently implemented this new page and I haven't had time to see what I can do with it. Good luck.

Since the General Manager has banned Sidney Smith from WBAI there's no telling what's on in the alternate week's time slot anymore.

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 a number of workers have quit their jobs in disgust. The people who want to sell off WBAI started on their destructive path with the firing of the Executive Director at a critical time. The Executive Director, Summer Reese, said she had 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 barricaded herself and the National Office workers in the National Office along with some supporters. Yeah, Pacifica got some great publicity from all of this.

The disputed Executive Director 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 been ineligible for CPB funds, which have been a significant part of every station's budget.

UPDATE: There have been lawsuits filed, and judgments rendered in the cases brought by the minority PNB members against the actions of the majority PNB Directors. I'll keep this running battle updated on the appropriate Web page.

Bring Back Uncle Sidney!

Our friend, fellow WBAI producer and Saddle Pal Uncle Sidney Smith has been banned from WBAI by General Manager Berthold Reimers. The General Manager will not say why. He won't even tell Sidney why he's banned! This is grossly unfair to Sidney and constitutes abuse of Staff. Why did Berthold ban Sidney?

There's a posting here about it. More to come.

This is the 29th anniversary program of Back of the Book! We will be reading “Before the Law” by Franz Kafka, as is our tradition, and we'll talk about the program over the years. Jeez, we are somewhat amazed that we've gotten done 29 years of programs. I estimate that comes to around 730 individual programs, estimating that we average two programs per year that get preempted one way or another. Will we stay around to make a round number of the years?

birthday cake
Something I'm Not Supposed to Eat

Yeah, that's my birthday cake. It actually does say, “Happy Birthday Rpaul.” I guess we'll settle for the name not being 100% right.

I am really not supposed to eat such things. But my diabetes is still under very good control and I didn't gulp it all down at once. And I came through it without any real problems. Oh it is good to be able to have cake now and again. Right after this I went back on my strict diet and lost the weight I'd gained from that cake pretty rapidly.

Twin Towers on 9/11
The Twin Towers on 9/11/01
photo credit: Joanne Dittersdorf

Of course we'll talk a bit about the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and about the plane that was bravely brought down by the passengers over Pennsylvania. No, we will not spout any 9/11 conspiracy nonsense, we don't do that sort of crap on this program.

spider_on_window (13K)
Our Summer Window Spider

We've had this spider nesting on the outside of our window for weeks now. It has a web there, you can see some of the web silk radiating down from the spider's central position.

This spider has been there through heat waves, direct Summer sunlight and thunder storms for all this time. We'd thought that it had been swept away after the big storm the other day, but then it just showed up again. It had apparently been sheltering in another part of the window.

The spider has caught one or two small insects in its web. Well, that's nature red in tooth and claw. It is interesting to be able to watch something like this tiny, living thing making its living in wild circumstances right on the other side of our bedroom window.

We hope to get around to talking about a new study that says that lower blood pressure is better. I'm glad that they've finally figured this out.

On a previous program Pickles of the North told us about her first ancestors who came to the North American continent 350 years ago. But she's found a somewhat earlier ancestor here. She'll update this geneology search.

pickles at Nathan's
Pickles of the North at Nathan's

Pickles of the North and I went to Coney Island again this past fortnight. Here's a shot of Pickles sitting in the patio area of Nathan's. We usually eat there early in the day, but this time we were there early in the evening. Oh, hot dogs!

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 formerly popular list is the “NewPacifica” mailing list. Founded October 31, 2000, this list has been moribund for a couple of years due to de facto censorship by the group owner. As of early 2015, it has 693 subscribers coast to coast, but postings on it are very infrequent now.

Back in the day it sometimes also got a bit nasty. All sorts of things used to happen on this list and official announcements were 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 © 2015, R. Paul Martin.