About Us

WBAI is listener-supported radio. As a member of the Pacifica chain of radio stations, it provides a vast array of original programming to listeners in the Metropolitan New York City region.

History

The Pacifica Foundation was launched by pacifist Lew Hill in 1949 with the first ever listener-funded radio station – KPFA, Berkeley. The Pacifica Mission called for radio that would:

“foster understanding amongst nations and individuals, encourage creativity, and promote innovative, uncensored distribution of news.”

WBAI began as WABF in 1941 and moved to 99.5 FM in 1948. The station took a respite from broadcasting in 1953, and came back on the air as part of World Broadcast Associates, Inc (WBAI) in 1955. On January 10, 1960, WBAI joined Pacifica when philanthropist Louis Schweitzer gave the station to the network. Pacifica now has 5 radio stations (the other four are in Berkeley, Los Angeles, Houston, and Washington, DC) and more than 50 affiliate stations across the U.S.

Programming

Headed by General Manager Berthold Reimers, the station continues that tradition by offering world-class radio in the following broad categories:

News
Public Affairs
Music
Arts
Health
Science + Ecology
As our Program Director Chris Hatzis, wrote recently in his welcome message to the new WBAI Web site:

“From a programming standpoint, WBAI is definitely not easy-listening. We all know what this means. We are charged with the responsibility to provide radio that informs, educates and entertains New York with a critical approach to politics, art, music, literature, health, and culture. We are not radio that is just on in the background. We require a commitment from our listeners; we actively challenge you, but we engage you. You are part of the process, the most important part of the broadcasting equation. ”

WBAI provides a truly unique voice to New York City and its environs – and now, live online.

Membership

A station dedicated to and sponsored by its listeners, WBAI also offers exceptional participation in its governance, policies and directions through its Local Station Board and its Community Advisory board.

Any listener who donates $25 or more becomes a member of WBAI, eligible to vote in the Local Station Board elections. Members of the Local Station Board are also represented on the Pacifica Foundation Board.

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