Back of the Book — December 5, 2015

Oh, this is a sad program. We'll be talking about out pal Simon Loekle who passed away a week ago. We will also try to get to other topics on this program. 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, December 9, 2015, at 7:00 PM at the ARC CENTRAL Harlem SENIOR CENTER, 120 West 140th Street, New York, NY 10030, between Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell Blvds. in Manhattan.

The WBAI LSB met on Wednesday, November 11, 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.

The meeting started almost an hour late. We had a presentation from the Local Election Supervisor, and the LSB voted to hold an executive session meeting after the public portion of the next LSB meeting.

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.

Some years ago 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. We can no longer tell if the stream is working without testing every possible stream. Good luck.

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.

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.

Simon Loekle

Simon Loekle on April 30, 2011.
Simon Loekle

Our friend and colleague Simon Loekle passed away this past fortnight. He died from pancreatic cancer, Simon was 61.

Back in July Simon had sent us an E-mail saying that he wouldn't be able to do his program As I Please on July 18th, and asking us to express his regrets to his listeners. He concluded his E-mail, “...only wild horses or a free lunch would keep me from my weekly task. As there's no such thing as a free lunch . . .”

Thus I joked about the wild horses Simon was herding. We soon learned that he was actually in the hospital after having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on July 13. Simon, despite his being on the radio and presenting his literary ideas publicly at the Stand Up Academy was a private guy. Those of us who had known him for years knew more about him than the general public did, but he liked to keep some things private. We were told not to reveal what we knew about his health problem, and we held to that until the end.

We are very saddened by the death of our good friend.

We plan to talk about Simon on this program. I will probably update this part of this page.

The Winter Solstice will occur on Monday, December 21, 2015, at 11:48 PM (ET). We plan to talk a bit about the gloominess of this time of year and the far too early sunset times we have right now. More on the dates of the seasons and sub-seasons can be found here.

A ballot.
Maybe Your Vote Will Save WBAI

The WBAI/Pacifica elections are ongoing. If you are a member of WBAI due to having contributed $25 or more to the station by August 17, 2015, or having done more than three hours of work for the station as a volunteer over the year ending in August 17, 2015, then you are eligible to vote in this election.

The deadline to vote in this election has been extended to January 4, 2016.

If you have not yet gotten a ballot then you need to get one right away!

The Local Election Supervisor, Gene A. Johnson, Jr., is telling people that if they do not have a ballot yet then they should write to him or call him to get a replacement ballot.

You can E-mail him at:

His phone number is:
(347) 927-0701

Click here to fill out a Ballot Request/Replacement Form.

So you should contact the Local Election Supervisor ASAP, and probably vote on-line, which is pretty easy to do.

Our Thanksgiving table, November 26, 2015.
Our Thanksgiving Day 2015 Table

So we, R. Paul and Pickles of the North, had our pal uncle Sidney Smith over for Thanksgiving again this year. Not everyone whom we sometimes have over for this event could attend this year, so we had a small feast with Uncle Sidney present. We plan to talk about this on tonight's radio program.

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.