Pacifica Radio ignores court order and continues dismantling WBAI

WBAI fights a hostile shutdown by its parent company, Pacifica Radio.

WBAI is fighting a hostile shutdown by its parent company. WBAI radio was abruptly shut down by the Pacifica Foundation. Employees were fired, locked out and Pacifica has ignored a Manhattan Supreme Court order to restore WBAI’s operations.

WBAI Eco-Logic Host/producerr Ken Gale circulated this letter on Tues, 08 Oct 2019.

At 9am Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, all staff at WBAI was fired, management and non-management alike. All programs were canceled and replaced with “a network source called Pacifica Across America.” These plans seem to have been in the works for a while and there are many theories and rumors about why and who. Responses are still being planned as I write this. The Pacifica Foundation said it was a cost-cutting measure only.

Judge Frank P. Nervo of the Supreme Court of the State of New York granted a restraining order to WBAI, and against Pacifica. The Pacifica Foundation is ordered to show cause. All staff and programming to be restored.

Eco-Logic will apparently continue today, but might be internet only afterward, possibly on the Eco-Logic web site, possibly on another site. But there will be an announcement on http://www.ecoradio.org.

Pacifica has taken down all WBAI archives. This seems to be an act of hostility, not a cost-saving measure. They also timed their move for the second week of a fund drive that was going well,replacing programs that were raising money with California programs that do not. Pacifica has also replaced www.give2wbai.org with a single page reading “THE WBAI ONLINE DONATION SITE IS NOT ACCEPTING PLEDGES AT THIS TIME.”

Ken will be speaking at the “EcoJustice & Joy” event and potluck in Reidy Hall at All-Souls Church on Thurs. 10 Oct 2019 from 7 to 9 pm. Lexington Ave between 79th & 80th streets. Visit the Eco-Logic Facebook page.

WBAI staffers found their Brooklyn studio torn apart Tuesday morning even after a judge ordered the beloved community radio station’s owner to let it back on the air, station representatives said…

The order “means the station is legally back in the hands of WBAI’s personnel,” station General Manager Berthold Reimers said in a statement Tuesday morning, adding his thanks for the “enormous support that we had from our staff and broad sectors of the listening community.”

Stephen Pankowicz in a BoingBoing report on 07 Oct 2019 writes

This morning, WBAI volunteers received a short, abrupt note informing them that the station’s operations were being “discontinued” effective today, due to “ongoing and continued projections of further financial losses” which “jeopardize the survival of the entire network.”

…. This is sad and terrible news. I listen to WBAI whenever I’m in the city, and have appeared on Hour of the Wolf, Off the Hook, and other WBAI programs. My condolences to all the volunteers and listeners who’ve lost something wonderful and precious today.

Pacifica Radio is part of the Pacifica Network owned by the NGO Pacifica Foundation.

More from PacificaWatch (helping to make the Pacifica Radio network more transparent, making it easier to hold decision-makers to account)
NY Times article
Gothamist article

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