At midnight Wednesday, 6th, November, 2019, embattled “progressive” New York radio went back on air with local control, by court order of NYS Supreme Court Judge Melissa Crane.
The restoration of live local broadcasting, access to their website, archives, and live stream came after a month of legal wrangling in the courts.
Earlier this month on air hosts and staff at the Cobble Hill, Brooklyn studio offices were emailed a statement by the Pacifica Foundation saying; “Due to ongoing and continued projections to further financial loses at WBAI, local operations are being discontinued as of October 7, 2019.” Doors were locked, studios rendered unusable, and access denied. Four weeks of court action and activist pushback court victories, appeals and counter appeals ensued.
On Thursday, 7th November 2019, WBAI hosts Wuyi Jacobs and Sally O’Brien confirmed to the Amsterdam News, that the station was back on air, while the fight was not yet over and appeals were expected. Bashir Mchawi posted on Facebook,
“While still in a fragile state, internal warfare has broken out at WBAI (again). Whether WBAI survives or not is up to all of you. With the current programming crisis caused by no news department, constant blabbing about fund raising and programs piped in from the West Coast, I can understand all of the people who have turned their radio dial to other stations. How about picking and choosing? There are still some good programs on BAI. Select a few programs to listen to in your car, at home, on your smartphone or tablet, on your computer…you can even retrieve programs from the archive at wbai.org. For WBAI (99.5 FM) to stay alive, the station needs you. My current program, Education at the Crossroads, began in November of 1996. It will be 17 years at the end of the month! There is now not a single Black-owned FM radio station in New York. We need access to the airwaves. WBAI is just about all we have. Select a couple of programs to listen to and tell a friend or two about WBAI.”
Hosting shows immediately on Thursday morning were Wuyi Jacobs, Mimi Rosenberg and Milton Allimadi.
In a statement to the AmNews, Pacifica Foundation National Board Chairperson Sabrina Jacobs said Pacifica will comply with the judge’s order and will consider an appeal
“The Foundation wishes to point out that neither the judge nor a faction of the Pacifica National Board of Directors has offered a solution to the financial crisis that necessitated the layoffs in New York,” Jacobs said. “We await the written decision of the court before offering any further comments.”