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WBAI Firings Draw Public Protest

HeadlineJan 08, 2001

The New York Times reported yesterday a few hundred protesters gathered outside the Lower Manhattan offices of radio station WBAI on Saturday afternoon, denouncing last month’s abrupt dismissal of three longtime employees in what has come to be known as the “Christmas Coup.” The New York Times article goes on to say the struggle between employees and volunteers at WBAI, a voice of the left for half a century, and the management of its parent group, the Pacifica Foundation, has become increasingly tense since Pacifica fired WBAI’s general manager, Valerie Van Isler, and locked her out of her office on December 22. Ms. Van Isler was replaced by Utrice Leid, a producer. Two other WBAI employees were also fired: the program director Bernard White, and the union steward Sharan Harper, a program assistant on the morning program Wake-Up Call. Also, some volunteers were banned from the station.

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