Dan Siegel's Speech About WBAI July 7, 2012

At the KPFA LSB meeting of July 7, 2012, Dan Siegel, a member of the KPFA LSB and a Pacifica Director, made a speech wherein he proposed a couple of ways of addressing the current financial crisis of Pacifica and WBAI. One way he suggested was “A decision should probably be made to, uh, close the station (WBAI) for a period of time....” and the other way was by selling WBAI.

New York supporters of Mr. Siegel have claimed that he never said the word “sell” in his speech, which is true. However he does say that “There were actual people who would buy WBAI for enormous amounts of money....” and he ends that thought by saying that although Pacifica had been resistant to that idea in the past, “... making that change does not seem as radical as it might be otherwise.” If you have buyers and you want to make that change, it sure sounds like you're proposing the sale of WBAI. But listen to the audio and decide for yourself.

Below is the speech in a variety of formats. Most browsers should be able to handle the stream; there are also copies of the speech in a couple of file formats that you can download.

The Speech

If you prefer to download the file here it is in MP3 format 1.6 MB.

Here's the audio file in Ogg Vorbis format 3.9 MB.

You can also download the file in the lossless .wav format. Here is the same audio in the .wav format 14.3 MB

The files above are excerpted from the original audio of that July 7, 2012, KPFA LSB meeting, and normalized. You can find the original audio here: Audio of the entire second half of the July 7, 2012, KPFA LSB meeting. Mr. Siegel's speech begins at about 11:17 into that file.

Dan Siegel has been the Acting Executive Director of Pacifica in the past, and in that role he supported the policies of then WBAI Program Director Bernard White, which is largely why WBAI is in its present state of financial crisis. Not only was Bernard White the Program Director who drove away much of WBAI's listenership but he also had himself put in charge of WBAI's premium distribution. Under Bernard White's supervision more 5,000 premiums were not sent out to the listeners who had paid for them, which did not help WBAI's future fund raising efforts either.

Bernard white has in the past also supported selling WBAI. In an interview a few years ago then WBAI Program Director Bernard White talked about the old hijacker PNB of 1998-2002, he said that, “Many of them wanted to sell the radio station, so they [could] make some money,” and then later in that interview he's quoted as saying, “It's not really a bad idea - WBAI could sell for $350 million and you can take $100 million and create a smaller radio station and take the $200 million and buy smaller radio stations.” That full article is here.

It should be noted that even with a “frequency swap” you can't just go down to the store and pick up a radio station. WQXR is a recent example of a frequency swap in the New York City area. WQXR is a classical music station, it had been the radio station of The New York Times. WQXR moved from 96.3 FM to 105.9 FM as the result of a deal between The New York Times, Univision Radio and New York Public Radio. In its new frequency WQXR can only broadcast at about one tenth of its old power. Large numbers of people who used to regularly listen to WQXR have poor reception now, or can't get the station's signal at all.

A frequency swap for WBAI would probably also severely lessen the number of people who could hear the station, and that really would be the death blow for WBAI.

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