On August 9, WBAI, the listener-supported radio station, announced that it was laying off most of its paid staff. The only surprise in the announcement was that it took so long.
WBAI, one of five stations in the national Pacifica network, has been failing for years. Some of its problems are the familiar ones of “legacy” media, to use that annoying but fashionable term. But most of its problems were home grown. The programming was mostly unlistenable. Hosts who couldn’t talk very well yammered on about material they didn’t understand. Interviewers knew nothing about their interviewees. Health nuts flogged miracle cures and conspiracists spun elaborate theories. I recall turning on the morning drive time show and listening for 20 minutes to someone the host never identified—and, in all that time, I never got an idea of what the interview was supposed to be about. Read More