Position of REC Networks: WBAI, New York

REC Networks is aware of the situation that has been taking place at Pacifica Foundation station WBAI, New York including the litigation and has heard from both sides of this issue.

With the exception of the output of the WBAI FM transmitter, REC takes no position in the dispute of the issues that are within the jurisdiction of the State of New York.

As far as the FM transmitter goes, the broadcast station is licensed to Pacifica Foundation and is licensed together with their other stations such as KPFA, KPFK, WPFW, etc.  The ownership report for WBAI shows the Pacifica National Board (PNB) members as those holding an attributable interest and not the local WBAI governance (even though WBAI does send members to the PNB).  This means that the PNB is responsible for every electron eminated from that transmitter and that responsibility falls under federal jurisdiction and not a state court.  If the PNB relinquishes control over what goes over the WBAI transmitter to a local governance board, that can be seen by the FCC as an unauthorized transfer of control. 

Even if the state orders the reactivation of employees, access to the facility and production of programming, the PNB still has the ultimate control of what goes over the transmitter.  This does not mean that the local governance board can't use the website and stream as that is not within FCC jurisdiction but the PNB is ultimately responsible for the FM station transmitter and the content that goes over it. 

While we would never see it ever get to this point, PNB does have the right to take WBAI silent for the duration of this dispute.  Likewise, barring any civil agreements/contracts that I am not aware of, PNB would have the right to sell WBAI, a crossroad we should never have to reach.

WBAI is a New York institution and is the voice of those who would otherwise not have a voice on the radio.  REC hopes that this issue will be soon resolved and local programming can return to the WBAI FM station.