A Conversation with Utrice:
A listener interrogates Utrice Leid on the internal dissension within WBAI.

Aired Thursday, December 21 on Talkback!
Utrice: For me the issue is how do we operate as a unified system. You're right that there was a concerted effort that began some years ago to "homogenize" the airwaves, but I don't know - I haven't had the time to investigate the other stations, but in the years I've been here I haven't seen it. I haven't seen an effort to ram anything down our throats. It could be that it was because we had a strong Program Director. But as to the allegation that they're trying to water us down, the evidence is not there to fully support that charge, and I think it is self-serving by some to make that allegation.

Listener: If what you say is so, then this is a grave matter, a very, very grave matter, that some of the staff are collectively creating a fantasy to fill some other need!

Utrice: I agree it's serious, and I believe a lot of things should occur first before we call it a crisis. In my view, a crisis has not been established.

Personal concerns have been woven into a story line that have come across the air as a crisis. What I see is not a crisis but I see the manufacturing of a crisis, and what's being said is due to personal interest.

This has not been handled properly. The mature way would have been to take care of it inhouse. Instead, individuals have taken it upon themselves to fire the salvo, without giving an internal mechanism a chance to work, so that the tough questions could be asked internally, which of course would have been embarassing to many.

Listener: The only dissenting thing I've heard about - the only thing I heard - was "I don't like the manager", things like that. I heard there was a lot of this at the Christmas party last night. But only hints are dropped, and it's as if the whole story isn't being let out. It's confusing, and it's almost as if the gag rule is operating.

Utrice: Absolutely not, there's no gag rule. I publicly say that I do not agree. I AM a dissenter.This is NOT a crisis, it's a manufactured crisis. Because there are some individuals who have a reason to do that. Their actions are irresponsible and immature.

This is one of the difficulties with left, or progressive communities - an unwillingness to admit that sometimes they're wrong. We can indentify the outside enemy readily, but can't admit when we're wrong (internally).

I believe that it's our own contradicitons that we must deal with and resolve. We have to be mature. We have to be responsible. We have to be courageous enough to deal with our internal contradictions.

People are being asked to man the ramparts but with no particular cause! I believed that people are being flim-flammed. I believe the honesty quotient is coming up a little bit short. This is why I call it "Listener Abuse".

Listener: But you're only saying this alone. I'm sure even people you have a high regard for are perpetuating this.

Utrice: Absolutely true. But I say what I believe.