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WBAI in Crisis

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By Reginald Johnson

 

 

 

    Progressive radio station WBAI in New York is in dire financial straits, and sweeping layoffs are planned.

 

   A majority of the 28-member staff at the station have received layoff notices from the Pacifica Foundation, which owns WBAI and four other listener-supported, non-commercial outlets around the country. Layoffs were supposed to go through July 15, but were delayed until Wednesday, July 31.

 

  Details on what program cutbacks would take place as a result of the layoffs and what the future holds for WBAI is unclear as neither Pacifica officials, station management, Local Station Board members or the union representing staff, could be reached for comment.

 

  WBAI has been struggling in recent years with high rental costs and major damage to the station from Hurricane Sandy. Additionally, fundraising drives have fallen short of their goal.

 

   At certain times this year staff has gone without pay and the station came close to losing its 50,000 watt antenna on the Empire State Building due to unpaid rent.   

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Reginald Johnson is a free-lance writer based in Bridgeport, Ct. His work has appeared in The New York Times, BBC-Online, the Connecticut Post, his web magazine, The Pequonnock, and Reading Between the Lines, a web magazine affiliated with the (more...)
 
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WBAI in Crisis