Independent news has never been so important.

Did you know that you can get Democracy Now! delivered to your inbox every day? Sign up for our Daily News Digest today! Don't worry, we'll never share or sell your information.

Pacfica Radio Station WBAI Lays Off Most of Staff

HeadlineAug 12, 2013

New York City’s Pacifica radio station WBAI, where Democracy Now! has broadcast for the past 17 years, has laid off two-thirds of its staff, including the entire news department, following a series of crippling financial problems. Summer Reese, the interim head of Pacifica, told The New York Times the layoffs include 19 out of 29 employees. WBAI lost its studios on Wall Street during Superstorm Sandy and has struggled to pay rent on its transmitter, which sits atop the Empire State Building. Summer Reese announced the layoffs in an on-air address to listeners following union talks on Friday.

Summer Reese: “With a very heavy heart and very great difficulty, we will be laying off virtually everyone whose voice you recognize on the air who is a paid programmer. This includes the vast majority of paid programming in the daytime. It will include the news broadcast, which I know from a great deal of feedback from the listening public is very important to the New York City audience. We do not have the ability to continue payroll at this station without making these layoffs.”

WBAI is one of five stations in the nationwide Pacifica network. Donated to Pacifica by philanthropist Louis Schweitzer, WBAI went on the air in 1960. Andrew Phillips, former general manager of Pacifica’s Berkeley, California, station KPFA, is taking over as interim program director of WBAI.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.
Make a donation
Top