New Interim General Manager Appointed at WBAI-FM

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Former Director of Medicaid programs at HIP promises to lead New York City’s legendary left-wing radio station into the digital era and double its listenership within 18 months

NEW YORK, June 25, 2010 – The Pacifica Foundation is pleased to announce that Berthold Reimers, former Director Of Medicaid and Child Health Plus programs at HIP of New York, has accepted the position of interim General Manager of Radio Station WBAI-FM (99.5), the Pacifica Network’s fifty-year-old progressive broadcasting outlet in New York City. He will assume his managerial duties at WBAI on July 19.

Mr Reimers, a longtime activist and participant in numerous social programs in the New York Metropolitan Area, has had an extensive and fruitful relationship with WBAI extending over more than a decade, and from 2003 to 2006 served as the chair of the station’s Local Governing Board. During the last 12 months he was the station’s “unofficial” financial advisor and budget director, and also took over the task of reorganizing the station’s listener database and fund-raising fulfillment operations.

“My first task as manager,” says Mr Reimers, “will be to stabilize the station’s finances.” Like many other non-profit organizations, WBAI has been hurt by the economic downturn of the last 3 years. To achieve his goal, Mr Reimers will soon unveil a plan to significantly increase listenership during the next 18 months. This is especially crucial to WBAI, since the station is listener supported – that is, almost entirely dependent on voluntary listener contributions for its survival. And unlike PBS or NPR – which also rely on listener contributions – WBAI is commercial free, and does not accept advertising or corporate funding.

Mr Reimer’s social and educational background well suits him to put WBAI on a solid financial footing /without compromising its founding mission/ – which is to promote understanding between peoples of all nations, races, creeds and colors, and to provide a vigorous forum for the exchange of information and ideas and voices too often banned or censored by corporate media.

Born in Haiti, Mr Reimers came to New York with his wife, Pascale (an artist and progressive radio broadcaster in Port-au-Prince), in 1980. After gaining his citizenship, he enrolled at Queens College/CUNY, from which he graduated in 1988 with a B.A. in Political Science. He then went on to earn two M.B.A.’s in finance from Baruch College / CUNY in 2003. His national origins and fluency in both French and Spanish are expected to be especially useful in outreach to New York’s large but under-represented Haitian, Latino, and African-American communities.

“The challenges at WBAI are great,” says Mr Reimers, “but the opportunities are even greater. I am delighted and proud to accept this chance to preserve and strengthen the spirit that has made WBAI a powerful voice for the voiceless for more than half a century.”

Contact: Ahmad Anderson (510) 849-2590
ahmad@pacifica.org