Back of the Book — November 22, 2014

It's Saturday morning, November 22, 2014, 11:12, and I've updated this Web page with a link to the page with the archives on it. I have also done a tiny update to the part about the tiresome MTA hoops we had to jump through to get there on time. More updates to come. The original top of this page follows the arrow. ⇒ Okay, so we have another crazy commute to the studios this morning. I hope that we get there on time. It's the 51st anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, but we really covered that last year, so I just have a link to that Web page below. We also plan to talk about the below topics and more. I will put in the link to the archive after we get home later on Saturday, and I hope to get more updates done after that.

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 10, 2014, at 7:00 PM at a location to be announced.

The WBAI LSB met on Wednesday, November 12, 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 Johnston Theater.”

The LSB heard a report from the interim Program Director. The main thing I heard from his presentation was that he is leaving to go back to his real job in January. He also went over some of the things he's done and some things that he plans to do. Well, we'll see how this all goes.

We also got a report from the General Manager at this meeting. He was not pleased that I had reported what a person associated with the WBAI Community Advisory Board (CAB) had said that WBAI was leaving the CCNY studios after February. Well, it's too bad the General manager didn't attend the local Finance Committee meeting where this was reported, he could have given his side then. But when I asked the General Manager if his comments meant that WBAI would still be at CCNY on March 1, he waffled and then said that he couldn't say that. Uh huh, this is called a non-denial denial. And we had been told previously that CCNY has forgiven WBAI its back rent and wouldn't be charging us any more rent. That doesn't sound like an arrangement designed to endure for an indefinite period. It'd be good if we could know something for sure.

There was no Treasurer's Report at this meeting. As usual I put out a written Treasurer's Report for all to read. Yeah, there's a typo in it, but that's what I'd presented by the deadline so I'm leaving it there.

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.

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

WBAI is archiving the programs! Unfortunately, WBAI appears to have permanently switched to a new archive Web page. I don't know if it's possible to get an archive blurb up there, so far I haven't been able to. Try this page and see if you can find the archive of this radio program. Or, if you don't want to root about through a great many listings on a rather unorganized Web page, try clicking on this link to get to a page of links to the audio of whatever has been airing in this time slot for the past couple of months. There's no program description, but at least you can hear the program this way. Half of the programs on that page are Back of the Book programs, and since the General Manager has banned Sidney Smith from WBAI there's no telling what the other half of the programs on that page might be.

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 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.

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Another Crazy Commute in the Wee Hours

Well, it's going to be another wild time getting in to the studios at CCNY this morning. To make it even more fun the MTA Web site has contradictory information posted.

The photographs to the left are ones I took in a train station on the IRT line the other night. These signs say to take the #5 train to Manhattan. On the MTA Web site they also say this, but then when you try to set up a trip to get their idea of how long it'll take they say that a trip like that is impossible!

This entire thing where we're to take the #5 train to Grand Central Station, and then take the Shuttle to Times Square and catch a #2 train there is predicated upon the #5 train and the Shuttle running during the wee hours of a Saturday morning. Usually neither train is working then. We sure hope that the MTA remembers to have those trains running this morning.

We're leaving quite a bit earlier than usual and hope that we'll still be able to get there on time.

UPDATE: And we made it! We had to take four trains to get there, but we got to the studio in time. When we know that the MTA is planning something wacky with the trains in the wee hours we can adapt. It's when they don't let us know until we're on the train that we get into trouble.

We entered late Autumn at 7:11 PM (ET) yesterday. Yeah, the Sun is setting awfully early these days, which is depressing. Well, I just have to hold on till after the next program and sunset will start retreating again. And the Winter Solstice will occur on December 21, 2014, at 6:03 PM (ET). The days will start getting longer overall after that, and we'll be looking forward to Spring, yeah, we'll have to deal with Winter, but the radiator in our apartment has been fixed and it's much less cold than it had been. Well, we have to get through that season and look forward to Spring. I have lots more about the season dates, and sub-season dates, here.

Today is the 51st anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. We may or may not talk about it tonight, but we did a program about it the day after the 50th anniversary. That page pretty much says what we think about the entire issue.

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Site of Philae's First Touchdown

We plan to talk about the Rosetta Mission to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and the Philae lander. Yeah, it bounced, three times, before coming to rest on its side and in the shadow of an outcrop on the comet, which prevents Philae from getting its batteries recharged via its solar cells. The European Space Agency is hailing it as a great success anyway, saying that the lander got all, or almost all, of its data sent out after it had completed its primary missions. Too bad they relied on solar, but this mission has been plagued by problems for a decade or more.

Stone steps with Autumn leaves.
Sunlit Steps With Leaves

It's not one of my photographs of flowers, but it's got leaves in it. This is a shot of some steps in St. Nicholas Park that I took after the last radio program. I liked the early morning Sun on the dead leaves, and you can see that there are a variety of different trees in that park. And the season is at a stage where the leaves are not all a uniform, dead, brown color. Yeah, and then we tried to get down those steps without slipping and falling on the leaves. We succeeded.

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.