Just in: New York radio station is killed off

Just in: New York radio station is killed off


norman lebrecht

October 07, 2019

From James Irsay:

As of this morning, there is no more WBAI. The national office has fired ALL staff (including our manager Berthold Reimers and program director Linda Perry-Barr). There is no more technical staff, and 99.5FM is broadcasting programs remotely from a California Pacifica station (not sure if KPFA or KPFK). This is the work of new Pacifica interim Executive DirectorJohn Vermile.

Sorry to bring you such horrific news. We are hoping to get back in action after consulting with the appropriate professionals.

Founded in 1941, WBAI was a liberal, left-wing, progressive radio station with a diverse musical output.

From the 1960s, under Music Directors John Corigliano, Ann McMillan and, later Eric Salzman, the station aired an annual 23-hour nonstop presentation of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle, recorded the previous summer at Bayreuth. It was also the first to broadcast a Philip Glass opera.

New York’s won’t hear its like again.


  • Larry says:

    It was a great station. They also operated the “Free Music Store,” a terrific program. Sad news indeed. I noticed that the Pacifica Foundation — parent organization for WBAI and the others – has advertised for a new executive director.


  • nimitta says:

    Shame. I remember WBAI not only for its distinctive and varied musical programming, but for the depth of its political coverage – for example, reporting from the frontlines of the 1968 Columbia University student protests.

  • anmarie says:

    So sad! I used to volunteer there. What wonderful times!

  • Cubs Fan says:

    Sadly, it won’t be the last. Radio in general is in deep trouble. They’re all scrambling to find revenue and an audience. Even stations that broadcast more popular music, non-stop political talk, religious proselytizing and and sports are having problems.

  • David says:

    No longer needed, as the local NPR station, WNYC, has displaced it as the NYC bastion of left-leaning political correctness, with nary a dissenting voice to be heard.

    • Bill says:

      plenty of dissenting voices to be heard if you just operate the tuning dial. no need for them to be on the same station, go out and hear what the others think, regardless of where you are comfortable!

    • Jack says:

      Left-leaning = Not Fox News

    • Edgar says:

      So we should be confined to the faux news by Donald Trump’s Reichsrundfunk Fox?

      Freedom of speech and press are not dead.


  • Ken Danziger says:

    Genuinely crushed to read this.

  • Cyril says:

    How much longer will WFMT in Chicago last, I wonder. I’ve stopped listening because I don’t care to hear what they now consider classical music – the soundtrack of “Legends of the Fall”…

  • Mike Schachter says:

    Liberalism is all about shutting out views you don’t agree with, like the good old Soviet Union.

    • Bill says:

      Yeah, haven’t figured out how to be “fair and balanced” like Fox News!

      • David K. Nelson says:

        Mark Twain:
        “In all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane. … Why is he insane? I told you before: it is because his opinions are not ours. I know of no other reason, and I do not need any other; it is the only way we have of discovering insanity when it is not violent.”

  • Steve Post Fan says:

    Initially it was a very creative station which later turned on itself… to the point of being anti-Semitic. And at that point I stopped listening and never tuned to it again.