Transcription by Gil Gilmore

There are five previous callers that discourse on other matters  unrelated to the station.  The transcript picks up at around 7am  after Clayton has cut off a listener who complained about the threat  to WBAI.


CLAYTON RILEY: Its always amazing to me that people will deny  the race based issue here. All the victims that our previous  physician friend described are Black people here at the station.  The folks most vilified are Utrice Leid, a Black woman in power,  Joann Bob, who is the chair of the local advisory board, a Black  woman with authority under siege, Mary Frances Berry, Bessie  Wash ...

 And folks will deny this and say it has nothing to do with this   (inaudible comment) and claim, "you're just playing the 'race card' ".

This is the cover that has been used for many many years by  racists in the south; by segregationists in the closet. The conflict  here is a conflict over who will have the power to run this radio  station; And our friend, the doctor, has his ideas about who should  be running this radio station. Others of us have different ideas. Ok,  but that is the real conflict here, who is going to be in charge, who  is going to make decisions.

I think there is a faction of people here who say that 'we don't want  Black women making decisions any more. We want people who  are soft and maleable and who will go along with the program as it  is dictated by a small group of dissident whites who's intention is  to recreate the power structure of this station;  and to eliminate,  ever, the possibility again, that Black voices here, particularly  Black female voices, will be part of the decision making process.

We will move on to our next call.

CALLER: (relates issue about Staten Island but tape is inaudible)

NEXT CALLER: I just have some concerns (inaudible) ... and I  appreciate some of the issues you bring to the station. I just feel  that there are some issues around communications with your  listeners and I know its hard because people are calling in and  they're missing Bernard and the people before and that puts you  somewhat on the defensive

CLAYTON RILEY: No, i'm not on the defensive at all.
( muffled as  the caller and Riley talk simultaneously) ...
What i'm saying is that when people in support of other people at  this station feel it is appropriate to refer to anybody, me or anybody  else, as Hitler, when i get letters in the mail that are so viciously  racist ....,

("are you there", Caller responds affirmatively) ..

that are so viciously racist, that attack and attack  and attack,  make personal ad hominen attack, under the cover of not even  signing these letters.

You heard the woman yesterday shrieking away (obviously another  member of the support group on the other side) using racial  invectives. Of course I'm going to react to that. Of course I'm going  to say it is inappropriate to take calls from people whose sole  intention is to attack me.

I think you would, if you were getting 15 or 20 calls at home that  attacked you would you continue to take the calls and say say  whatever you want?

CALLER: No, I know it. That's why I understand your frustration  and why you may be defensive . (caller goes on to try and explain  the frustration and anxiety of the callers which may on occasion  lead to intemperate speech and hyperbole)

CLAYTON RILEY: Let me say in response to your comment, and I  do appreciate your stating things as you have, it has startled me  quite frankly -- and I thought I was way past the point in my life  where I could be startled any more -- but I have been startled by  the fact that people who call themselves progressive, people who  say they are in support of whether Amy Goodman or Bernard  White or Al Lewis, would write the ugly, racist kind of commentary  that they are currently writing and, in some instances, stating on  the air.

Now I am not opposed; incidentally let me make one other point to  you. A motion was brought up in staff meeting to ask for a sense of  the body on the issue of returning people who had been fired. I  signed that, I supported that. I have signed petitions that asked  that people be returned , that the ban be lifted. And I have stated  that on numerous occasions. It doesn't make a bit of difference.  People still say things.

Now you tell me, I hate that -- and I'm going to break a personal  rule of mine by using a term that I never use any longer publicly ,  alright? But I'm going to state it because I think it is important. You  tell me what you are in support of when you write a letter praising  Amy Goodman (I have no objection to that) but you end the letter  saying "Clayton Riley, a nigger like you isn't fit to sit in the room  with Amy Goodman.

CALLER: Well that's very disturbing

CLAYTON RILEY: Disturbing !!

CALLER: But you .

CLAYTON RILEY: Now don't go to the place where you tell me  "you have to understand "

CALLER: No, that's not what i was going to say. i was going to say  not all of Bernard and Amy's listeners, you may be talking about  some people but that's not all of the listeners

CLAYTON RILEY: I didn't suggest its all the people

CALLER: (Tries to defuse the situation,  suggesting that more  people would appreciate Clayton's role there if they understood that  he supported  the movement to bring back the banned and the fired  , etc.) Clayton then denies provoking listeners into making harsh  comments.

CLAYTON RILEY:  ... I think we attempt to give people and  opportunity to speak. But I don't think it's appropriate to sit here  and listen to people attack, attack, attack in the same way  everyday.

Guy calls up, wants to be heard; starts out by saying 'you're a sick'  -- what was the pronoun that was going to be attached to that.
A woman comes here and uses language that I think would have  curled your hair and then turns around and says that the six people  who were witnesses to this did not actually hear her say these  things.

The whole thing about this is the staff right now -- And I'll say  something else to you because I think we're engaged in a  reasonable conversation -- where we have gone now is in a division  of our staff that isn't even into two's. We are divided four, five , six  different ways, the result of which is going to be a staff so  weakened that when we do have a fund drive in February, less than  a month, we will be in a state that makes it virtually impossible for  us to raise money.

CALLER: I'm concerned about that to.

CLAYTON RILEY: Well the concern has to be why are there  people who are continuing to divide the staff further.

Let me give you an example. On Saturday last, an ad homimem  attack was made on the program that proceeds my, against me,  against the current station general manager of the station,  followed  up by the same kind of ad hominem attack when we went off the  air.

Alright, we have said, can we lower the temperature to the point  where we say we are a staff. The fact is, we are no longer a staff  and in the absence of 'staffhood' if you will, I think it is time to say,   that some of us are going to have to encourage the board of  Pacifica to sell this radio station. There really isn't any future in the  direction we're headed now. There is no place for us to go.

CALLER:  Well that makes me really sad and it makes me really  sad that the WBAI is going through this. This is a station, I'm 46  years old, I've been listening to this station since I was 20 years  old , there's a big loss there. I mean Amy Goodman...

CLAYTON RILEY: Actually Amy Goodman is here, did you think  Amy Goodman  wasn't here

CALLER: (Expresses sadness at how disjointed things are at the  station)

CLAYTON RILEY: Well things are disjointed, they are past  disjointed, I think we are in a state of utter chaos here and we're  headed toward a catastrophe. You're going to hear people say we  gotta do this and that , we got to bring folks back .. . The station  as we know it is finished ! One of the reasons it is finished is that  there will be those among us who will say this; if the invective  continues, if the name calling continues, then I want to say again; I  want to say again -- and we will ask  who provoked this sort of  comment, and when a letter ends with <Clayton Riley, a nigger like  you isn't fit to sit in the room with Amy Goodman>. I say its over.  And I say  when I am asked, as I have been, to comment to the  board of Pacifica, I say you should consider selling this radio  station.

CALLER: (expresses sympathy for Clayton's reaction)

CLAYTON RILEY: Well one of the things, before your rage  overwhelms you , you'd want to ask what is happening here that  provokes that sort of comment. Who is being supported when  those kinds of comments are being made.

CALLER (suggests that people are feeling a sense of great loss  over recent events in the station and that had Clayton been  similarly terminated he could imagine his fans reacting in a similar  fashion ending with just because some people react inappropriately  it doesn't mean everyone is wrong)

CLAYTON RILEY: I've never suggested that and i've never  suggested that people who support any number of people here fall  100 per cent into that category.

What I'm saying is we are seeing a move toward what for the  station's purposes is a civil war, and quite frankly I think its going  to escalate, given what is planned for this evening at the station,  which we'll talk about in a few minutes, its going to lead to  violence. There's going to be blood spilled and people are going to  get hurt.

CALLER: But i hope that's not true  and I hope ..

CLAYTON RILEY: Well it is true because that is where we're  moving.

AMY GOODMAN: Let me just say that first of all, whatever letter  you got Clayton that was a disgusting comment at the end of it   and that is absolutely terrible. And I really urge people not to make  any ad hominem attacks, insults or racists comments like that.  That's just horrendous and unacceptable.

But on the issue of can this station be made whole again, there's  not question about it. In one fell swoop people rehired, the  bannings lifted ...

CLAYTON RILEY: Well that's just nonsense ! I mean that's just ..   Amy that's silly; You say that if you get your way than everything  will be whole again.

AMY GOODMAN: Not my way, not my way Clayton

CLAYTON RILEY: And I am saying to you that this station is riven  with discord. This station is divided not into two but in four or five  different ways.

AMY GOODMAN: Well just let me say a few things. I think that if  Bernard White and Saran Harper are rehired ..

CLAYTON RILEY: Everything will be fine

AMY GOODMAN: I think that things will be on the way to making  the station whole again

CALLER: They' ll be healing

AMY GOODMAN:  I think if the bannings are lifted , people like  Janice K Bryant, Eileen Sutton and Sarene Roberts and others ...

CLAYTON RILEY: Can we move past your mantra, ah, we do have  a newscast scheduled

AMY GOODMAN:  I can make a comment, you can disagree

CLAYTON RILEY: Well its a mantra. Hey !! Let's get something  clear to all the listeners. You are a guest here. You no longer work  for WBAI. Is that not the fact?

AMY GOODMAN: That is not the case, I am co-host...

CLAYTON RILEY: The case is, No you are not co-host of this  program. Let's be clear about your status here. You are no longer a  member of the WBAI staff and you know that.

CALLER: Clayton I don't understand why you need to talk to Amy  that way

CLAYTON RILEY: Well because it happens to be the truth.

AMY GOODMAN: Clayton relax ...

CLAYTON RILEY: No, don't tell me to relax !! Don't be  condescending Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: I'm just saying I came in to say ...

CLAYTON RILEY: Well that's being condescending, Amy..

AMY GOODMAN: Please relax and let me say a few thing ....

CLAYTON RILEY: No, No, I don't think it is appropriate for you to  suggest -- as though you are speaking to one of the children that  you don't have, or perhaps your grandchildren, or perhaps a  classroom full of people -- relax. Who are you to tell me to relax !

AMY GOODMAN: I'm just saying you got to back off a little bit.

CLAYTON RILEY: Well why don't you back off a little bit.

AMY GOODMAN: Because i'm not attacking you

CLAYTON RILEY: You are attacking me when you say I don't  belong here

AMY GOODMAN: I did not say that

CLAYTON RILEY: Yes, Of course you said that !

CALLER: You said that to her. She did not say that to you. You  said that to her..

music comes on.. followed by the news and another caller following  which Clayton makes further comment

CLAYTON RILEY: Ok, it's 8:11here in the morning, all of us are, I  suppose, a little discombobulated by recent events  I will try and  continue in a reasonable fashion.

I just want to say that our calls recently for a de-escalation in what  continues to be a growing warfare here at the station, don't seem to  be functional at all. And I do have to go back to what I said before.  The reason we're in such decline is because of the continuing  efforts to expand, to deepen and widen the divisions that exists  between the station.

 I have mentioned several times that I have supported the return of  people , I have supported the lifting of the band. It doesn't mean a  thing. It doesn't do any good because the attacks continue. And  we're not simply talking about disagreements any more which is  really the serious problem. And I have a very serious problem  continuing to work with people who I think are in essence saying  you don't belong here, you're not the right kind of person to do this  kind of work, particularly when it involves racial invective.

Its all well and good to say , yeah, I deplore that sort of thing too.  The real situation that we confront is who is going to run this radio  station. Who is going to have the power to make decisions here.  And I think at this point we have gone past, unfortunately, most  particularly past that point where Brother James suggested to us  that a period spent with binding mediation might be helpful.

The fact is we don't have a staff any more. We have a collection of  people who are ready to lunge at one another's throats at a  moment's notice or any seeming provocation.

And this is why I think it is appropriate to suggest to the board of  Pacifica that they initiate moves simply to sell the station. There's  no where for us to go, given the direction we're headed now.

AMY GOODMAN: Well of course I deeply believe in community  radio , in WBAI, and I think we can move forward. People who are  just tuning in now and even people who have listened for a long  time may not know how Pacifica began....(further comments  detailing history of Pacifica and the other stations)

She ends calling for the lifting of the bans

CLAYTON RILEY: Well Amy I would have to say you vastly over- simplify what is involved here and indulge in a level of wishful  thinking that I think is quite unfortunate because it doesn't address  the central issues that we have at a supposedly progressive radio  station is the orthodoxy that prevails here among people who say  we do not want anything to change.

In other words, when you talk about people returning what you are  saying is I want to go back to what was and nothing in that regard  will ever change. And the reflection of that attitude comes from the  listeners.

I read letters that say we have to go back, we have to go back, we  cannot change anything. Well the fact is life is change as we all  know. And what I've heard promoted by you and others here, is no,  we can't change anything. We have to have remain, we have to set  in place, to keep in place an orthodoxy that says essentially tha  the Bernie and Amy show will be going on fifty years from now.  And the two of you will be sitting here, having closed down the  possibility that anybody else can be involved in some of these  areas.

What i'm saying is that change involes all of us and when it comes  we have to accept that there are legitimate reasons for it. And  again I have to say that given these deep divisions that have  developed and, let me add, deep divisions that are consistently and  continually encouraged by people who want there to be more and  more divisions.

And I think that given all that,  we should see what the possibilities  are of simpy saying to the board lets move in another direction, of  another radio station and of another staff of people possibly some  of whom who would be retained and others would not be.

This way simply isn't going to work and I think its polyannish to  sugest "Oh we'll all get back together and everything will be fine".....

<He continues to express himself further in this vain>.