In 1968, when I left campus after the police bust and limped home to sort out what had just happened, I found a media blackout except for coverage on one radio station, WBAI. Bob Fass had been taking call-ins, and that one radio station was the only place I could hear echos of the night's events. James Reston had a blurb in the morning's NYTimes, evidence that he had not been there. Much silence and censorship all around.
WBAI is still on the air, but barely, with a glorious anti-war record followed by hard times in the programming department: since Sandy we have been evicted from the 120 Wall Street building (next to the East River, it was flooded and lost electricity as it gained mold and mildew). Our fund drive in progress at the time has tanked. We are broadcasting from temporary borrowed studio space at CCNY, but are in danger of losing our 50,000 watt antenna at the Empire State Building, for which we now owe $250K in rent. Our former landlord wants back rent, of course: Silverstein sort of joked about WBAI's guest speakers implicating Silverstein père in the WTC collapse, but the back rent is no joke. All in all we need $500K, half a million dollars, before the end of the month. If we lose the antenna, we won't have to worry about back rent: we'll be off the air and lose our license.
Only one in ten listeners ever donates to WBAI. Some former listeners have come back, but we need all of you/them, and many new listeners.
Now would be the time to support free-speech, independent radio, even if you only value the one or two programs you listen to regularly, or even if you value only the fact that WBAI takes no corporate sponsorship or underwriting and is the only listener-sponsored (not to mention leftist/progressive) station on the air. Many former listeners, ironically, still donate because of what we stand for. But we need more than we've had, so please donate if you can. I'm attaching a clip from a news story about the crisis and a press release that also summarizes our situation.
Don't wait until next year to donate, please. And while I'm assuming most readers of this list remember the glory days of WBAI, do check out wbai.org to see when Richard Wolff, Bob Fass, Law and Disorder, Guns and Butter, Democracy Now!, Counterspin (FAIR), Al Jazeera, or Occupy Wall Street are on: you might like one of these programs. Or not. But please consider donating: next year might be too late. Some of us are pressing for more antiwar information on the station; others want more programs on education, policing, media consolidation, labor: they won't happen if our listeners don't demand it, or if we are forced off the air. At the moment we don't even have an address where you can mail a check: online donations are at