Different reactions to WBAI staff changes

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There’s been a “changing of the guard” at New York’s WBAI, the Pacifica station that has been hemoraging money for years. General Manager Tony Riddle was offered a reassignment and Program Director Bernard White was escorted out of the building on Friday, the New York Daily News reported. “This is a termination,” White wrote in a letter to his supporters. Steve Brown, a member of the WBAI local station board, told the Daily News that the changes are intended to revive the station, but White’s supporters see it differently. An alternative view from Berkeley, Calif., home to the Pacifica Foundation that owns WBAI and Pacifica community radio stations in four additional markets, comes from former KPFA listener board chair Richard Phelps, who has either attended or listened online to many Pacifica National Board meetings. In a commentary for the Berkeley Daily Planet, Phelps writes: “Why didn’t Pacifica correct this problem early on? There was collusion among some PNB members from various stations to allow WBAI to do what they wanted to do with no oversight or accountability to the Bylaws or the listener/subscribers.” Worker’ s World also provides an account of the lead-up to the takeover.