WBAI New York Eliminates Local Programming & Staff
The Pacifica Foundation announced this morning that the organization has ceased local programming and operations of 99.5 WBAI New York.
WBAI has been unable to sustain itself for years, if not decades. Many staffers were laid off in 2013 including the station’s news department, which was followed by attempts to lease the station to another community operator. After amassing $1,819,687.52 in unpaid rent to the Empire State Building, the organization gained an emergency loan to prevent the building’s holding company from seizing assets and then reaching a settlement to relocate their transmissions to 4 Times Square.
WBAI has long been an afterthought with its Class B signal in the middle of the commercial band registering between a 0.1 and 0.2 share in the New York market. General Manager Berthold Reimers and Program Director Linda Perry-Barr are among the employees dismissed.
WBAI will air Pacifica’s syndicated “Pacifica Across America” programming for the foreseeable future.
The following memo was sent to staffers this morning.
Due to ongoing and continued projections of further financial losses at WBAI, local station operations are being discontinued as of October 7, 2019. We realize this news will come as a deep and painful shock, but we can no longer jeopardize the survival of the entire network.
We are grateful for all our your efforts over the years to help WBAI and its listeners. We deeply appreciate the loyalty you have shown the station and the Pacifca radio network.
We will relaunch WBAI once we are able to create a sustainable financial structure for the station. We will be airing a network source call Pacifica Across America until then.