THE WBAI TAKE OVER

On Friday, December 22 near 12 midnight, the executive director of the Pacifica Foundation came into WBAI's new home at 120 Wall Street and locked down the station by changing all the locks on the doors, sealing the offices of the General Manager, Valerie van Isler and the Program Director, Bernard White. At 7 am on Saturday Dec. 23, Bessie Wash sent a letter to Bernard White's home firing him as program director. Later that same morning, Sharan Harper, program assistant and producer of the morning show received a similar letter firing her. No justification was stated in either case. These latest dismissals follow on the threatened and then stated termination of the Valerie van Isler, general manager for the past ten years and who has served the station for over 22 years. In the letter to Bernard White, a 20 year veteran producer and program director and to Sharan, it was stated that they were denied any access to the station and if they came to the premises, it would considered trepassing which is tantamount to arrrest. A management memo was issued saying that all three were not to be admitted to the station or to the building's premises and a court order was said to be issued by Pacifica management to this effect.

In this midnight action, Bessie Wash, Pacifica's executive director appointed Utrice Leid as interim station manager. One of the first actions of this new regime was to ban six more WBAI producers including Mimi Rosenberg [ producer for over 25 years and Building Bridges co-host] Janice K. Bryant [ of Wake Up Call ], Eileen Sutton [ news department reporter] within 3 days of the takeover. Other staff and producers have been denied entry and are essentially locked out from doing production and other work on their programs. Open access is blocked for everyone and entry is now regulated by a security detail of men standing at WBAI's studio doors. This takover of the station is an extremely critical situation.

The media has reported on this crisis including stories in The New York Times on December 23, Newsday on December 24, The Daily News on December 24, Current - the journal for public broadcasting, and other newspapers in California and elsewhere.

WBAI URGENTLY NEEDS YOUR HELP DURING THIS CRISIS AND THE TAKEOVER OF THE STATION PLEASE CONTACT THE PACIFICA FOUNDATION'S NATIONAL OFFICE AT 202-588-0999 AND ASK THAT THESE ACTIONS BE WITHDRAWN BY THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR.

PLEASE CONTACT THE COMMITTEE OF FRIENDS OF WBAI AT THIS NUMBER HOTLINE # 1-800-825-0055 or click on www.colocation-etudiante.fr