A long way from Wall Street

WBIA is coming to an end


They’ve been kicked out of their temporary space in Harlem, relegated to trying to broadcast from office space in Brooklyn with no studio, using just a phone line to their transmitter. Atlantic Avenue is one of the main streets in Brooklyn.

(Google Earth View)

WBAI is the New York City affiliate of Pacifica Radio, the anti war group formed after World War II. The troubles began with infighting over how much WBAI should remit to the mother ship in Berkley Californua, and culminated in Superstorm Sandy destroying their facility in a building on Wall Street. WBAI is unlikely to occupy Wall Street again.

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3 Responses to A long way from Wall Street

  1. CC1s121LrBGT says:

    For them to survive, they need to re-invent themselves. They were the “General Store” of the non-mainstream. The General Store went away… or perhaps reinvented itself as the 7-11, Circle K, Quick Check, and Starvin’ Marvins of the world.

    First step would be to sell their broadcast license and move to internet streaming only. Second step would be to focus on building a library of podcasts so people can listen at their convenience. Third, they would be able to sell their real estate and move to remote workers in home offices.

    The last I knew, they had a lot of volunteer labor in their operations…. similar to the way streamingradio guide and vlc media player use volunteer labor. 😉

    • Art Stone says:

      The infighting within WBAI dried up what donations they still got. At least Lynn Samuels and Al Lewis didn’t live long enough to see it fall apart.

      It’s weird that I’ve arrived at the point that the only voice on radio that is similar to mine is now Amy Goodman.

  2. CC1s121LrBGT says:

    It is not just the physical location or the infighting but the internet for news and blogs as well as musical streams that did to WBAI and Pacifica what it did to the NY Times and other newspapers.

    Back in the day, if you wanted to hear news that was not mainstream media, there was little else other than Pacifica. They were radical anti-war and pro wealth redistribution even back before it became fashionable to be against crony capitalism or as it was called then, “corporate welfare”.

    Now, people with serious interest in politics have endless blogs and cable news, including conservative media, libertarian media, Russian media and Middle East media and national channels from many countries.

    I would sometimes listen to the Pacifica music programs in their smaller cities because they did a professional job of playing tunes that the other stations did not play… that was before streamingradioguide radio streams, pandora, spotify, beats, etc.

    What purpose do they serve? Even if I like their music, I might be turned off by their politics and therefore avoid them…. or if I like their politics, I might be turned off by their music and avoid them. To paraphrase and slightly misquote a leading Presidential candidate, “What difference do they make? ”

    Parrott, that question is addressed to you. 🙂

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