A Post Hurricane Sandy Campaign to Restore WBAI
An Emergency Pacifica Network Fund Drive for WBAI-Pacifica Radio in New York City
Help WBAI Recover After Hurricane Sandy. The people of the tri-state area are in the throes of recovery after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Pacifica station WBAI lost signal after heroically staying on the air for as long as it could to provide the needed emergency information. This fund raising effort will help WBAI get back on the air and back to its job of providing up-to-date information to the boroughs of New York and New Jersey.
Help WBAI Recoup What Was Lost. Sandy hit NYC while WBAI was in the midst of the Fall Fund Drive, and only days before the much publicized and anxiously awaited major fund raising event, the 1st Annual WBAI Art Auction. They were forced to cancel the auction but have been able to re-schedule it for Dec. 5. As the east coast recovers from this dramatic super storm, we invite art lovers from all over the country to join us in celebrating NYC’s art community who have come together to donate their work.
Make a donation directly to WBAI here: www.give2wbai.org
Browse and bid on the WBAI Art Auction here: www.wbaiauction.org
What Happened During Sandy…
WBAI’s General Manager, Berthold Reimers, reported that as Hurricane Sandy roared toward the east coast a little over two weeks ago, the NYC transit system was shut down and seven WBAI producers and volunteers camped out at WBAI to continue round-the-clock live Hurricane Sandy coverage. Pacifica Radio WBAI NYC, located at 120 Wall Street, is the last building on Wall Street before you reach Manhattan’s East River. The WBAI staff of producers and volunteers remained, though the area had been evacuated. It was Sunday night.
By Monday evening the waters were rising to the second floor of the 34-story Manhattan building. Electricity was cut off and WBAI was off the air.
Five minutes later, long-time WBAI chief announcer, Michael G. Haskins began broadcasting out of his kitchen from uptown in Harlem and WBAI resumed broadcast service from his kitchen-studio. It was Monday night as the storm surge and powerful winds battered the area and the population, which was desperate for emergency information.
Then WBAI’s signal went dead. There were problems at the Empire State Building transmitter site and BAI, along with other NPR stations, was off the air during the biggest disaster ever to hit the east coast.
Meanwhile, WBAI’s crew was trapped on the tenth floor in the station’s studios at the intersection of Wall Street and South Street, in the heart of New York’s mandatory evacuation zone. They were not able to safely exit the building until Tuesday morning after the waters finally receded.
Late Tuesday, WBAI, came back on air with archival recordings but no live coverage. By Wednesday afternoon, Program Director Chris Hatzis and chief announcer, Michael G. Haskins were able to go on air and announce WBAI was again broadcasting live, this time from the studios of Gary Null’s Progressive Radio Network on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
WBAI was in the midst of their 2012 Fall Fund Drive and probably lost about $150,000. The “Reboot WBAI” campaign is about getting Pacifica Radio back on air in NY and adjacent areas to again provide the public service needed at this time of recovery.
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