March 5, 2001
The time now exactly five A.M. Once again, this is WBAI, 99.5
F.M. in New York. the name of the program is Night Drum. My
name is Brother Shine. And for the next forty-five minutes or so
I'm going to be talking. I said telling a story but I don't know
if it'll be in story form. I'll be talking. A lot of what I'm
going to say is going to come ... it's going to sound and is going to be
I, I, me, me, I, I and I just want to ... I want that to be clear because
whatever I say, I'm saying from my perspective, something that I've learned
to do here is talk from the first person, talk about what my feelings are
and why they're
that way and not be a spokesman for everyone, particularly those I haven't spoken to.
How can I start this? Well, initially I was going to start at
4:30 and I was going to take you all the way back to 199-1988.
And I said no, let me play some music and get comfortable because actually this .. I'm not in a comfortable position. And
when I'm talking about position I'm not talking about the way I'm sitting or how I'm sitting. I'm just talking about the situation ..
situation around this station, the situation among friends, among family, among people that have and did and do work together. Earlier this week I was told that the perception is that I, Brother Shine, is one of the architects of the coup, the take over, the changing of the guards. And initially I was ... I was a little angry and I'm .. and I'm still angry and I'll explain that in a moment.
But my initial anger came from the fact that people could be, and I
knew people would be asking questions around my position, around what has
happened here at the station. My position has been the same position
for over four years. I have not
changed my feelings about one thing here at the station. Now, I said ...and .. and I have to .. I do have to go back a little time to .. to say how I .. I've .. I've gotten here or what this position is that I have.
1995 walked out of prison, walked into Mart 125. My sister Alzania gave me a job. Walked back into a halfway house. when I wasn't working at Mart 125 I was down here at the station volunteering. And at the time that was a fund-raiser so I was volunteering in the volunteer room answering phones and whatever else that I could do. After the Marathon I ... I spoke to several people to say that I wanted to come down here and assist in any way I can or could because one, there was some things that I needed t keep out front. I needed to keep ADAM, African Descendants Awareness Movement, out front. I needed to keep the ... the work that we do on the front ..on the front burner, so to speak. At the time I also needed to apologize to individual leaders in the black community and groups of people. And the reason being is because in 1993 I felt like I took myself off the front line and I found myself back in prison. So those are some of the things that brought me here.
One of the things that ... One of .. One of the stories that I've
told often is that when I first came here I could barely put on my headphones
on my Walkman let alone work or use any of this equipment here at the station,
at the time 505. And approximately eighteen months later there wasn't
and isn't a lot of the equipment that I can't use, or at least I can be
shown how to use it and as we say in certain places, I can walk down the
hall without pulling the fire alarm. In other words, I may have a
little common sense from time to time. In doing that I ... one of
the things that I didn't want people to say is that I was down here because
I was all right with Elombe or I was all right with Bernard or I was all
right with Samori or I was all right with Sofia Buccari or Rosemari Mealy
or any number of people. I was down here because I did a job and
I did ... did it
relatively well. My position was that I wanted to bring as many new voices to the station that I could. I wanted to show as many people this radio station as I could and I have been. And that's what I've done for six years.
And in my creative training what I've learned creatively, I have in
the past, I will in the future and I'll ... I'll say today I owe
that to Bernard White. What I learned about leadership and principle I owe that to Samori Marksman. I have said on this airwaves several times that, one, I am a nationalist, a black nationalist, Pan-African nationalist. I work first and primarily for my community. Now, if you live in my community, good. that's on you. But I've never tried to disguise that or hide that or anything. that will be of importance later but I just needed to put that out there.
Now, to go back to Bernard, Samori and Elombe and .. and various other people here at the station who have contributed to my growth, my learning, me being here at the station, because I acknowledge and I praise the people who have assisted me does not mean that I walk in lock step or that my nose is so far up their behinds that if they make a decision I have to go with it. That have never been me, never will be me, and I've ben offended when people say: OH, you must be in this camp or you must be in that camp. I've had my own camp for five and a half maybe six years with the same position.
I felt like then and now, that the then General Manager was a deficit or a detriment to the station and the people. I felt like when these issues came up for that person to be put in the middle of it was a mistake. I call it bad leadership, and I'm not going to make excuses for bad leadership. In terms of the people that have been named as architects there didn't .. there was no need for a group of architects. Leadership has been in such a disarray that it was literally child's work or child's play. Because before we can unify the masses, we have to be unified in house and we were not. So for four to five years my position has been there has been no vision ... Excuse me. Let me take that back. particularly for the last two years there has been no vision from Management. we have not been united. And I do not think that the vanguard here felt or spoke or knew what the masses of the producers felt. 'Cause it's all very good and well to talk about what you, the listener, feels, but it has to start inside and it has not been. I don't know if it's lack of communications or ..or just not trying to reach out.
Now, I've said that to say that some people who are .. who have been
extremely close to me doubted me because I had a
different position. Are we saying that because I choose to go about struggling different than you, because there's certain things
that I will not sign onto, that I am now the enemy? There's a couple of issues that I .. I .. I have to speak about, and I'm
working hard as I can not to use names and call names but there's some issues that I just have to. We have been in a situation where ... Excuse me. Let me ... let me back up for a second. I think most of the producers here have said in the past and will say today that they do not want Pacifica in here dictating how we run this station. But the truth of the matter is that Pacifica has been here running the station. Can you ask any of the Union reps or shop stewards whom made it such a struggle to get a Union contract.
Why do we still to this day, after three or four years, still not ....
still do not have a Union contract if Pacifica wasn't here?
There's been ... there's been such a bullying going on that has gone on. Are we to forget that, to say that never happened? Does anyone remember Cassie? It would really be ... It would really be too easy to ask what was peoples' feelings around this station's past General Manager two years ago around this time? How did people feel about the General Manager then?
And this is the same person that has been injected into the middle of a struggle, a new one at the station, the people at the station to support this. We're talking about a individual that would take listeners' money to pay for an attorney to stop a man, two men, from getting unemployment, men who have put in more than ten, fifteen hears here. I'm not saying whether they was right or wrong. I'm saying that Pacifica has been here. And here's where I go into my I, I and me, me rant. I cannot speak to all the negative things that management has done but I can speak to the things that have effected me and the people that work with me and the people that work at the station who don't have a bigger mouth .. a mouth as big as mine, people who will not run around the station and say:
Look! this woman feels more about ...cares more about giving a staff member of the building a bonus than she does about giving four people that come to this station a minimum of five days a week volunteering not even a thank you. So for five or six years I've been running around with that chant. For five years, four years, I've heard people say well, if we don't have her, we don't know who we're going to get. And for three years I've been saying: because somebody's hanging me out the window by my testicles, because I know their name doesn't make it any better. And it hasn't.
If you look at the WBAI grid,--this is my I, I, me, me thing,--I have worked on more than twenty shows here at WBAI be it engineering, helping produce, assisting or training, whatever, for nothing. I had two positions that WBAI paid me for, that was engineering on Saturday. I have taken what I have gotten and given it up to other people, so much so that when I stopped working on all the programs that I was working on to prove a point, I couldn't prove the point because the people that were able to step in were the people that I had trained. whether you agree with everything they do or not, that's another issue. But this is what I did.
And for almost a year there were certain positions that I refused to
work because management chose to cut
those hours in half whenever somebody takes or fills in for someone. Principle, that what I felt like calling it, principled. I wanted to take a principled stand. No one whose voice made a difference, went into that corner office and said you can't do that. For close to a year no one was allowed to fill in for an ops person so the station went unmanned, accident waiting to happen. But because there's always been some people here who felt it was their responsibility to get behind the board and
engineer,-- the engineer didn't come in and nobody knew to show people how to do whatever, for four years some people thought I worked here. I have not worked at BAI on a regular basis in more than two years. I have not worked a marathon for more than two years and no one would say anything to our General manager about that. So, yes, there's quite a few things that
I take personally, you see, 'cause I lost my apartment. As little rent as I had to pay, I lost that because I wasn't allowed to work here. And on other issues I took principled .. principled stands. And now I'm told that I am one of the architects of this take over. Again I say it was child's play, child's work, bad leadership and I'm not going to make an excuse for that nor am I going to follow that. I ... (sighs)
I saw ... I saw a email the other day and this email went on to say
how much of a bad marathon this marathon has been , that it
was the longest marathon ever, and on and on and on. And what I want to know is is there anybody checking any of this information that is going out and saying: Hey, that's not necessarily so. No, that person is not necessarily with that, or this person's not--you know--they wouldn't do that. Everybody have become expendable. If we're not on the air dealing with this issue every day then we've been thrown into camps. Let me say again, first of all, I'm offended because I've got my own damned camp. Two, because people do not agree does not mean that hey automatically have accepted somebody else's position. And a lot--I'm talking about a lot of people--have been pushed there. I have gotten so upset because when we talk about co-and-protel, conspiracy .. conspiracy theories and ... and all ... and all of that, how much of it do we do to ourselves. I'm talking about people being called traitors and interlopers after you've worked with these people for years and years and
nobody says hey, stop that! We just allow that.
So we are now dividing ourselves up even more because I've seen people get killed for things like that. Yeah, killed. we're talking about giving some people false information, giving other people just part of the information, and people are running out making crazy death threats. What was it, December 22nd/December 23rd? When I walked downstairs I had somebody jump in my face and tell me "You're upstairs so you must e in that camp." This is the type of people that we're directing ... directing where? Remember,--this is .... I'm coming back to my I, I, me, me thing again,--I'll keep doing that and I'll ... because I want people to be clear when I'm ...when I'm talking about me and I and how I feel,- -remember, I did not come back into the station that weekend. I was feeding the homeless that weekend. all the food and the clothes that we had up there that weekend I did not use, did not come back to get. Again, talking about principled stands, I did not come back into the station until we had a staff meeting where we could talk about what happened. That's what I did. And for people to say that I was part of this architect .. this .. this crew that architect this take over, and nobody I know said anything different. I'm not putting that out there as a fact. I'm wondering now.
What happens here at WBAI, anyone in leadership here has to take
that exceptionally serious. Everyone that comes into the
Night Drum Collective I say to them: This is 99.5 F.M. in the middle of the F.M. dial in the largest market media in the world.
there is always someone listening. We have the ability to change the hears and minds f a lot of people. (a phrase is missing due to turn over of cassette) And what I meant by that is that leadership has to look out for the masses and it cannot be: Well, if it's not affecting me, then it's not happening. We have not not have ... had any training in this station for over five, six years. I was
part of the last training class here five and a half years ago. Has not been any. so when I hear that we're talking about lifting
up people because there was a seventy or eighty thousand dollar surplus, I say on the backs of who? I say by not filling in job
positions? Is that how we got a surplus? I say, a lack of respect for the people that do the bulk of the work? Is that how we got a surplus by forcing people to do scab labor? Is that how we got a surplus? Off the backs of who? No, I'm sorry. For five years I've felt like Pacifica has been here but it wasn't important then.
Again, when we make the people that have been here expendable because we're ready to feed them to the wolves now because they're not jumping up and dancing on the table and calling out names and ... and . and vilifying people and ostracizing people. I walked into a meeting and said that was wrong then and I'll say that it's wrong now. My position has been the same for four and a half years: let's protect the station but let's get that Manager out of here. But now we're to turnaround and after saying the same thing for four, five years, say oops, I'm sorry. I changed my mind. She was really not a bad person. I say again, do you remember Cassie? Did anybody have to go up on that twentieth floor and see how toxic that environment was? How many people have been ... How many god people have been chased away from this place? (sighs) And now I have people calling me saying things like "Don't you have any loyalty?" Were you part of the plan?"
Well, two things. I'm ... Sometime between December and ..and
this Marathon--this past Marathon-I've sat down with Utrice
Leid and I've said, "Utrice, me and you are not going to agree on the politics, on the who when, what why and how. But I will give you my word that I will work around the station, I will work the Marathon, to do whatever I can to keep this station going." And that's my bottom line. And I don't have to agree with her or anybody on everything. Should I have tried to do a bad marathon?
I'm sorry. That's just not me. I'm not going to do that.
That's not how I live. You all know it. Am I going to try to
of the positives that I've seen? It has been so easy to do some positive work around here it's pathetic. You want to know what ...what is happening right now? Well, in the last ... in .. in the six years that I have been here I have never seen a Marathon where in the middle of the marathon, people were getting their premiums. That's happening now. and I'm not saying it's because the present manager is so great. I'm saying it because the past management was so bad and we don't want to recognize that. I'm sorry. we have to deal with that issue. That's why we're here. That's why we're in this position because leadership left us so open, because we were so reactionary. So, yes, I've gotten offended last week when I was told .. when I was told that I was part of the architect that caused this. Well, I'm not going to make excuses for bad leadership. It was bad leadership then and I still see some negative things happening. Because you have to ... In leadership you have to stand up and take responsibility and you have to say: No. that's wrong. You know, part of the reason that I left the ..the Union, in terms of being a shop steward, was there was some contradictions that I had a problem dealing with. there were some people that I didn't feel like I could go and represent so I couldn't be in that position. and I understood that. I'm saying that leadership has to say: Hey! We made some bad calls but this is where we're going. And some of you may not think it's bad calls. Well, for me it has been bad calls.
It's 5:47 and I've got a couple of more minutes, and I .. and I just
want to deal with one other issue or another part of this
issue, racism. I think there's a lot less racism than people try to make out. What there is is white privilege, and, you know,
there's black privilege too. And there's just privilege. I've been down here ten, fifteen, twenty years so I know what's best.
I've ben down here five, ten, fifteen, twenty years so you got to listen to me. I've been down here five, ten, fifteen years and
I've allowed this place to continue to go in the same path without saying anything. Well, what I wanted to say to my ... my friends is I'm sorry that we don't necessarily agree on this particular issue and I'm sorry that you do not ... or I cannot continue to be your friend because I have had the same position for the last four and a half years. But, you se, I haven't changed. I've remained the same, same position. (sighs) The time now if 5:50 in the AM. this is WBAI, 99.5 F.M. in New York. the name of the program is Night Drum. My name is Brother Shine. and this morning I'm talking and, no, I'm not answering the phones. I see that there's quite a few of you who are calling in. This is my morning to vent, to rant and rave about this situation and bad leadership and now I'm not going to follow it no matter what. And I wouldn't ask anybody else to. This has been my position now and will continue to be my position.
Oh, and I've also gotten calls about what I say on the air. Now I have
to be careful ... I don't know what I was talking about,
do not ... can't even recall, but I recall ... but someone told me that I said that ... that we need to clean house sometimes. So
apparently people took that and said I was talking about everybody in here needed to be cleaned out. And that's that. Those of you who say you know me,--and I'm back on this I, I, me, me thing again,--does that seem like who I am?-who I have been? Have I been such a ... Have I been so much of my own person in the past that I've been irritable? I know I have because I don't take things quietly. So if that's being me, does it sound like I'm talking about: I don't want my friends ere any more? Well, (sighs) I'm sorry you didn't know me as well as I thought you wanted .. as I thought you knew me and as much as I was trying to ... I have always tried to let people know exactly how I felt about everything. But let me just put this out there one more time, and hopefully,hopefully people will take it with a .. a drop of salt. when you start to vilifying people, when you start to ostracizing people, when you start to making people expendable because they don't agree with you, that comes back to bite you on your ass. So this morning I say: This is Night drum. My name is Brother Shine, and I close out the same way I've closed out for the last four and a half years being Brother Shine: Have a good week.
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