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Contact Katherine O'Sullivan
Listener Candidate for the WBAI Local Station Board
WBAI needs to engage more listeners. Its various parts should be more cohesively integrated and cross-supporting. The station could be less easy to pigeonhole as predictable. The station could also be brought more up to date in terms of how its content and the ability to find that content is reflected on the internet.
Bringing the station more technologically up to date would also afford opportunities for overflowing content; content could overflow to second-channel (or even third-channel) HD broadcast programming now possible with our still unused HD antenna; it could be coordinated with second- and third-channel streaming on the internet, and podcast and internet availability of content. Provision for such integrated content overflow (like Democracy Now’s “Web Exclusives”) would allow WBAI to better address local news, which does not unfold to scheduling constraints. It would allow development of new talent, concepts and approaches. It would be possible to avoid permanent banishment for important, sometimes beloved shows struggling with low ratings. It could be a haven for expansion of WBAI’s often lucrative music programming.
The station should regain its access to and receipt of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting funds.
There should be more event-connected solicitations. Thereby increasing our listener base as well as raising necessary funds.
On-the-street solicitation could have the benefit of raising awareness about the station and its programming. It also involves two-way conversations that would provide valuable feedback about the station’s possibilities and potential. Event-connected solicitations should be aimed at various different age groups, and they are often especially valued by younger cohorts. Those who especially appreciate live events are likely also to understand and more intuitively appreciate the value and community building aspects of real time live radio. We are living, breathing, real people living in real time and, there is always (as with plays vs. movies) a special magic and bond that comes from sharing and participating communally in live real time events: terrestrial real time radio and live events are two examples.
Increasingly our news sources are narrowing. Censorship is increasing, especially online. Many people remain unaware of the manipulation of their news. The stories covered become more homogenized, as corporations gain control of our collective narrative. Turn on any news broadcast, switch stations, but is there any difference? We need to protect all our independent news sources. WBAI still tells the stories of the diverse and underrepresented voices. We need to keep WBAI a democratically controlled on-air radio station.
I want to see WBAI grow and thrive as a listener accountable station, offering wide-ranging counter-narratives to what is destructively presented as “public discourse” in the mainstream corporate media. WBAI should provide the information and insight that the monied interests controlling the media and the internet are burying. I envision WBAI as a discovery porthole through which listeners can discover what they are unlikely to discover elsewhere so they can understand our world, its past, and our possible futures.

Answers to Candidate Questionnaire
1. What experience, connections, skills or traits would you bring to the local station board to advance the station's mission?
  I’ve been engaged in activism, among different groups both local and citywide. I am a leader of Save Inwood Library, Moving Forward Unidos, Inwood Preservation, Inwood Legal Action.and Alliance for a Human-Scale City. I believe I am level headed in difficult situations and able to understand and exercise good judgement. My principals and aspirations align consistently with WBAI’s mission. I am a performing artist and also work in accounting.
2. What do you appreciate and value in the station's current operations?
  I value when WBAI succeeds and stands out, with media literacy, and duly exercised scepticism, as being able to sidestep the narrative traps associated with the huge amount of government and corporate propaganda being pumped out that effectively targets so much of our unwitting population. That includes when WBAI avoids the way elite power is deliberately dividing the country, slicing and dicing us into factions preoccupied with irrelevant differences. We have an awful lot of good programming, a very dedicated staff and a huge number of show hosts and producers very dedicated and committed to producing their shows and dedicated to what it means in terms of the public hearing what they can broadcast.
3. What would you like to see improved or changed in the station's current operations?
  WBAI terrestrial radio, while it is doing its job, is a backstop against further and increasing internet censorship and manipulation. As we compete with the internet we must grapple (and we should do so creatively and with some consciousness) with our own programs appearing various places on the internet shifting the center of gravity away from WBAI and Pacifica and maybe even soliciting for funds to go in other directions.
We need to understand our relationship with the internet better and to be more conscious of it, and thereby be better able communicate more about that to listeners and potential listeners that will grow our audience and build listener loyalty as that listener base learns and better appreciates the distinctions that make WBAI terrestrial radio special..
4. Describe what you anticipate would be your top three priorities or areas of focus if you were elected to the local station board.
  1.) Building a better, bigger, broader financially-supporting listenership. We should do this by being as interesting to and reaching many people at the same time addressing what may be common interests that unite them, in what are possibly cross-educating beneficial ways. For instance, there are more than a score of top priority issues that super-majorities of the public are in favor of seeing addressed in certain ways (e.g. net neutrality, Medicare For All, taxing the rich, reduced military spending), where commercial broadcasting and its “public” broadcasting cousins have either abandoned the broad general public, or are actively working against the public.
2.) Being able to generate and get more content out, presumably of high quality, not only through additional internet streams, but also by adding the additional higher quality (especially for music) terrestrial broadcasting channels we can add via HD broadcasting. The value of HD will become ever more obvious as constraints on internet content tighten.
3.) Making the station (while running smoothly and being able to do so) into a more intriguing “must listen” “must talk about” destination based on the trenchant way producers tackle issues the 99.5% yearn to have addressed. We can’t afford to be dull or too repetitive.
5. Sustainability is an important part of any nonprofit operation. What are your thoughts on how the board can help to improve the station's financial footing?
  Management has been creative in many ways that have allowed the station to operate on a shoe string budget, but we need more revenue to operate better and achieve more. What we navigate around is that increasing revenues effectively is often an expenditure driven proposition. The skill and focus we need is to discern what to prioritize and in applying our scarce resources to build revenues in a virtuous cycle (which pretty much tracks with the need to build our audience.)
One of the lowest cost things we can do to always make our resources go further is to enhance the reputation of WBAI and Pacifica. Good board management and governance goes a long way in that regard.
6. Is there anything else you would like prospective voters to know?
  I want to see WBAI grow, strengthen and thrive to perform the role that only a truly listener supported and listener accountable public radio station like WBAI can If WBAI and Pacifica go under, cease their terrestrial broadcasting, or if they are taken over to become another “blue” broadcaster proffering narratives comfortable to the corporations, I fear we will see an even greater shutdown and curtailment of internet “free speech.” I endorse the following candidates,
• Priscilla Cancar
• Michael D. D. White
• Phil DePaolo
• M. Kay Williams
• Scottye Battle
• Jim Dingeman
• Matthew Reiss
• John Hoffman
• Joseph Graziose
• Bruce Greif
• Stephanie Byers
• Benjamin Garron-Caine
Please vote for them, like me high on your ranked choice voting list.
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