While the dire financial situation at parent company Pacifica Foundation remains, the local programming and staff at WBAI New York (99.5) have returned to work after an injunction was issued, averting a takeover of the noncommercial station.
Pacifica abruptly shut down local programming and dismissed the staff on Monday (Oct. 7), replacing them with a network feed of Pacifica Across America.
“WBAI managed to get an injunction to stay the takeover of the station,” General Manager Berthold Reimers wrote in a memo to station staff late Monday. “This means the station is legally back in the hands of WBAI's personnel. All programs are back on and there is much to be done and we have no time to waste.” The station is planning a Local Station Board meeting for Wednesday (Oct. 9) that will be open to the public.
The injunction from the Supreme Court of the State Of New York prevents Pacifica Foundation from: “Seizing any property, offices or equipment of WBAI; Terminating employees of WBAI; Preventing WBAI from broadcasting its regularly scheduled programming; Interfering in the orderly administration of the business and affairs of WBAI.” The injunction is in effect, pending the outcome of a hearing on a petition filed by members of the WBAI Local Board and Pacifica.
Positioned as “Free Speech Radio,” the progressive listener-supported station has been a New York FM radio staple for decades.
In making its announcement to shut down the station Monday, Pacifica cited “ongoing and continued projections of further financial loses.” In a statement, the California-based nonprofit said, “We realize this news will come as a deep and painful shock but we can no longer jeopardize the survival of the entire network.” The company said it planned to relaunch WBAI “once we are able to create a sustainable financial structure for the station.”