Back of the Book — August 27, 2016

It's Sunday night, August 28, 2016, 21:34, and I've updated this page with the information about WBAI being off the air during this program, and why that happened. I've also noted the completion of 30 years on the air for this program. I should get some more updates soon. The original top of this page follows the arrow. ⇒ As we prepare to rush out we do not hear anything on 99.5 FM. We've not heard any programming, or full quieting for some time. Is WBAI off the air? We hope not! I'll update this no matter what.

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.

It's hard to tell when the next LSB meeting will actually be held.

The WBAI LSB was to have met on Wednesday, January 13, 2016, 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 election results were announced right before the meeting was scheduled to begin, and then I was assaulted by the Chair, and can there be a legitimate meeting when people have been driven out by violence?

There hasn't been a real LSB meeting since last year. In fact the bad guys set up a totally illegal meeting in late May, and those of us who are not on their side have protested it.

Also, the lawsuit about the attempt to steal the 2015, WBAI Staff LSB election and keep WBAI representative off the Pacifica National Board went to trial on Friday, May 20, 2016. We are still awaiting the judge's decision.

Even though those of us not in the so-called Justice & Unity Campaign haven't been attending LSB meetings due to the dispute about who's a member of the LSB and the denial of WBAI representation on the PNB I have put out more written Treasurer's Reports 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 from that meeting was that they mandated that there be no negotiations with the four candidates for the PSOA for 60 days. And this initiative appears to be dead, for the moment.

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.

Why This Program Wasn't on the Air on August 27, 2016

When I was setting up the air check for this program I found that I couldn't get WBAI tuned in. We figured that the station might be off the air. We were right.

When we came in we experimented a bit and found that WBAI was indeed off the air. Someone had scheduled a whole bunch of other programming on the computer. I realized after a bit that instead of a long, pre-recorded program being about to end, it was going to go on for another hour or more. So I faded that down and we went on the air.

We did a radio program, and I'm told that although it did not go over the air it did get streamed, and I have confirmed that it is in the archives.

It was only after the program that we found a notice tacked to the outside of the door to Master Control.

Sign that says that WBAI was off the air on the morning of August 27, 2016.
The Notice

We weren't pleased, and no one who was on live that morning was pleased at this. I knew that there could be a number of different reasons why this would have happened, ranging from the Empire State Building finally shutting our transmitter down for non-payment of the full rent, to maintenance at the Empire State Building, to Management not paying the bill for the phone lines from 388 Atlantic Ave. to the Empire State Building, to a failure of a part in the transmitter. I explained this to a couple of fellow producers, who are not as used to this sort of thing happening.

After we got home later that morning I found an E-mail from WBAI General Manager Berthold Reimers, dated 8:59 AM on August 27. It was a reminder of the fact that the Empire State Building had scheduled some electrical work, it said, Power Shutdown Notice: There will be a Power Shutdown scheduled for Saturday, 8/27/2016 beginning each day at 0001 HRS and concluding at 0800 HRS. During this shutdown we will be replacing a Main Switch in the Power Vault. The reminder to the General Manager and the Operations Director was dated August 26, but included in the reminder was the original E-mail telling WBAI Management about this scheduled down time for the Empire State Building, and that was dated August 17! So WBAI Management had known 10 days in advance that WBAI would be off the air on Saturday morning, August 27, and they never told any of us about it until after it was scheduled to be over. Other producers have reported that WBAI got back on the air at about 11:30 AM on August 27, 2016.

Here's most of the E-mail alerting management to the scheduled down time at the Empire State Building.

Battle_of_New_Orleans_1815-01-08 (39K)
Fictional Depiction of the Battle of New Orleans
painted by Edward Percy Moran (1862-1935)

We plan to talk about the Battle of New Orleans which took place mostly on January 8, 1815.

The reason why I want to talk a bit about this battle is that I have found that the battle, which I was always taught was an example of a totally futile gesture and a worthless waste of life, turns out to have been a major turning point in the future of the United States of America and of the world!

Yeah, that painting from 1910, is the typical painting you get of any kind of battle. Painters have to show faces, and they can't do that if the canvas is of a normal size and depicts the real life battle ranges. So you get depictions of people right on top of each other when they were much farther apart, mostly. Paintings of sea battles are usually presented on scales that are even more ludicrous.

Verdun_and_Vincinity_1916 (38K)
Verdun & Vicinity—1916

Yeah, this is another battle I want to talk about, briefly. Unlike the days of the Battle of New Orleans, the Battle of Verdun lasted, officially, for 303 days! It was conceived of by the German Empire as a trap which would turn Verdun and its surrounding forts into a meat grinder for the French Army. That strategy worked, until the Battle of Verdun became a meat grinder for both sides.

British fleet in lower NY bay 1776
From Harper's magazine 1876

While we're on the air during this program it will have been exactly 240 years ago that the Battle of Long Island, aka the Battle of Brooklyn, will have started.

This was a big loss of territory for General George Washington and the Continental Army, but Washington was able to save the army, which was more important than the battle had been.

We're planning to talk about some few events that happened in the wee hours of that morning 240 years ago, and of course we'll talk a bit about Washington's escape. This battle has always been recognized for its importance to the United States.

This program marks the end of 30 years of Back of the Book. We will be celebrating our 30th anniversary on the next program, assuming we have a next program. That means that the program will be XXX! We'll have a bit of a retrospective of the program, as well as doing new stuff.

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 open list is the 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. The bleepin' blue board had to add a step for folks to get onto it because it was 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

UPDATE: In of June 2012, I ended up having to salvage the bleepin' blue board, and so I'm the moderator on it now.

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 used to alternate with us, has a blog these days. You can reach his blog here.

Sidney is also posting occasional podcasts these days at the Web site he's established.

One formerly popular mailing 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.

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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