David Hinckley's Radio Dial Column in
NY Daily News Tuesday
The City Council waded into the WBAI case yesterday as its Civil
Service and Labor Committee opened a hearing that chairwoman Lucy
Cruz said can "promote civil discourse."
The management of WBAI and its parent, Pacific Foundation, are
under fire from critics, who say acting station manager Utrice Leid
and Pacifica executive director Bessie Wash have unfairly fired
hosts and imposed censorship, undermining the station's traditional
The committee was considering Resolution 1723, which supports the
critics and calls on Pacifica and WBAI to restore "democratic, legal
management." Leid and Wash, however, say the present management is
both, and their side of the discourse yesterday was curt.
Wash sent WBAI staffer Richard Antones to read a statement saying
adoption of Resolution 1723 "would not only be unwise, but contrary
to law." Leid sent Gregory Segarra, an assistant morning show
producer, to read a statement saying "this resolution precludes any
reasonable discourse." She blamed the appearance of crisis on a
small faction given to lies.
Councilwoman Christine Quinn, who introduced Resolution 1723,
called Wash's statement "incorrect and offensive." Quinn also
expressed her disappointment that Leid did not attend in person.
Other persons at the hearing, which drew 75 to 100 people,
charged WBAI and Pacifica management with diminishing one of the
last public forums on radio - a progressive voice on issues and a
place where groups that can be marginalized by other media can be
Fired morning host Bernard White said of Leid, "We could not
believe someone we held in such high esteem could be involved in
something so diabolical."
The committee put off a vote on the measure.
Save WBAI - PROTECT FREE-SPEECH RADIO...THE VOICE
OF THE VOICELESS!