'Nuff Said! needs your help.
'Nuff Said! got your help!
I received a lot of cc's of what listeners sent to Bernard White, WBAI's Program Director, the man who took 'Nuff Said! off the air due to what he called it's "narrow focus." Some of the e-mails were short and sweet; others made a number of eloquent points, from a variety of viewpoints. I asked each person for permission to put those responses here on www.comicbookradioshow.com and everyone said yes.
I am not including e-mail addresses due to privacy considerations, unless you specifically mentioned including it when you gave me your permission. They can always be added later if you want me to. The e-mails themselves are placed here based on the order I received the permission to reprint. Many of the requests for permission were returned, so I didn't reprint every e-mail. Nor did I receive a cc (how ironic that the abbreviation for "carbon copy" is the accepted term for a copy of an e-mail) of every message that was sent to Bernard. Again, they can always be added. So if you find your e-mail missing, let me know so I can include you.
Thanks again. You folks are wonderful.
Ken Gale, NYC, September, 2002
July 3, 2002
Dear Mr. White;
I am writing to express my disappointment and displeasure at the cancellation of the long-running Tuesday evening comic book show "Nuff Said".
For nine years, "Nuff Said" has provided a public forum for discussion and celebration of a creative endeavor that is too often maligned and marginalized and yet is frequently cited as one of the few truly "American" art forms. "Nuff Said" has captured the voices and opinions of many great practitioners of comic art, among them innumerable figures from the early years of the media, many of whom have since passed away. As a service to art history, "Nuff Said"'s contribution has been invaluable.
"Nuff Said" has touched on an enormous range of issues important to WBAI's audience via the subject of comic books; most recently the war in Afghanistan in discussion with cartoonist Ted Rall (author of "To Afghanistan and Back"). In an era of increasing media homogenization, "Nuff Said" has brought a thriving alternative comics scene to the attention of an audience sensitive to this dispiriting trend.
Its many other topics have included issues of gender and sexuality; the impact of race in both the profession and the characters of comic books; theology, spirituality and the rise of Abstract Expressionist painting in mid-century New York; the world-wide web and its potential applications to comic books; as well as continual examinations of popular culture and the role of comics in contemporary society.
Ken Gale is an exceptionally well-informed and engaging host, enthusiastic about his topic and an insightful historian and critic of this media. There is no one more well connected to the artists and writers who create comic books, both past and present. Few would work harder to search out engaging guests in order to ensure an exceptional hour of radio broadcasting.
Comic Books remain a misunderstood artistic media, and the common portrayal of their wildly diverse audience is unfortunate. Many, many artists, myself among them, have first found their way into art by way of comics. Comics is a populist art form frequently created by artists and writers of underprivileged backgrounds initially disenfranchised from official "museum culture," characteristics shared by many in their audience. The "low art/ high art" debate surrounding any discussion of comic books has its origins in distinctions of race and class. This is a subject that fits well within the mission of WBAI and is deserving of the station's attention.
For those interested in the visual arts, "Nuff Said" is not only informative but frequently inspiring, a quality to which I can personally attest. At a difficult period in my career, "Nuff Said" gave me the will and the information necessary to produce my own comic book and distribute it to comic book shops. "Nuff Said" introduced me to an alternative way of making art and to an entire community of artists, writers and fans.
There are too few explorations of the visual arts on broadcast media and as far as I am aware ,"Nuff Said" is WBAI's only such program. The visual arts play an important role in any agenda for societal change. The medium of comics - marginalized, misunderstood, yet both populist and home to a vital alternative movement; is an exemplar of progressive ideals. I strongly urge you to reconsider the cancellation of "Nuff Said" and to bring the program back, if not on Tuesday evenings then in its former time slot on Sunday evenings at 11 pm.
Thank you for your consideration of this issue.
Dear Mr. White,
I am a longtime listener of WBAI, and I greatly enjoy the variety of programming on the station. I think that your station provides a valuable service -- it is an excellent source of intelligent and critical opinions and information.
However, I was greatly saddened and disappointed to find out about the cancellation of 'Nuff Said. Although the topic of comic books may seem limited, it is in fact far more broad than it seems. 'Nuff Said covers an impressive variety of topics, ranging from political issues, to war, to free speech and censorship, and host of other issues. Comics are a form of media like any other, and can be used to express the same variety of opinion. Sadly, this form of media is not discussed enough.
To my knowledge, 'Nuff Said is unique. I do not know of any other shows where comics and the issues surrounding them are discussed with such depth and passion. 'Nuff Said has a wide listener base, and is especially popular among your younger audience members.
I strongly urge you to reconsider the cancellation of 'Nuff Said. Cancelling the show would be doing a great disservice to WBAI's many listeners.
I consider the cancellation of the Nuff Said show to be a grievious error. Nuff Said is one of the few shows on WBAI that does not focus on a narrow, niche audience. Nuff Said catered to an audience of no particular age, sex, race or political preference- but rather to anyone with an interest in art and literature.
When I try to introduce WBAI to friends and relatives, the most common reaction is, "The shows are so shrill and politicized." But Nuff Said always receives a warm reaction. Everyone enjoys comics, and Nuff Said serves as a foot in the door to the rest of WBAI's programming. To cancel Nuff Said is a serious blow to my efforts to recruit new listeners to WBAI, and the station will no doubt lose many casual listeners as a result.
I hope you will return Nuff Said to the air. My support of the station during the next fund drive will be considerably reduced in light of the show's cancellation.
Dear Mr. White,
I speak to you as a long time listener of WBAI and as an activist who spent energy and time helping to win back OUR radio station (including your job).
I enjoy the work that you do, but I question your recent decision to cancel Nuff Said.
It has been a favorite program of mine, offering intelligent conversation and a progressive perspective of our human society seen through comic books and those who produce them, read them and promote them. Especially now, where our foreign and national policy is determined by distortionists who speak in terms of "Evil Doers" and "terrists" [sic] - Nuff Said shows us that such "comic book reality" is more fictional than what supposedly appears in "dang funny books." It is a revealing counterpoint and commentary. I look forward to listening to it every week.
It is indeed a shame that you plan to cancel the show.
peace and strength,
'Nuff Said! is a great show. Comics are great potential for expression, check out black comic strips. 'Nuff Said! helps us to see comics as an art form. The host of this show has all the right WBAI values. It's not narrow at all. It's broad and yet entertaining. Politics must be balanced with the arts. Why do you want to get rid of it? It's not fair.
Pioneering Cartoonists of Color
Dear Mr. White,
Like so many people who have e-mailed and called you since the news of Nuff Said's cancellation got out, I would like to voice my opinion as well. I'm not happy with the decision made and as a contributing member, living outside of the New York market (I live in Phoenix), I'd like to tell you why.
WBAI is a fantastic station, one whose principles and tenets fly in the face of conventional corporate radio. I discovered it as a 2600 fan and have come to appreciate many of your programs a great deal. Besides Nuff Said and Off The Hook, I listen to Democracy Now and other shows that play during the afternoon drive.
Since I live outside the New York area, I have to go through some trouble just to listen. Listening via streaming audio means that I can't enjoy WBAI on the road or when I'm away from the house. Nuff Said makes this effort worth the trouble. I can't say I'm an enormous comic book fan, I read them from time to time and have a favorite or two, but I'm mostly a casual listener who considers Nuff Said a show that compliments the overall WBAI line up.
I can't help but think that by removing Nuff Said, harm is being done to the station's overall image. WBAI is anything but typical, daring to take unconventional subject matters and broadcasting them for the public interest. It's philosophy inspires me in other areas of my life. I like the idea of WBAI, and while I may not donate money to WBAI during the Nuff Said time slot I do indeed donate. And so do my friends.
Nuff Said is one of my life's "sinful" pleasures. For one hour out of my week, I put the world on hold to listen to Ken and Mercy's take on things, be it the war in Afghanistan, creator rights across entertainment mediums, or an animator's philosophy on the value of money. Removing Nuff Said is just one more loss in a world of relentless commercialism, SUVs, and corporate corruption. I fear what WBAI may be turning into, removing this show is a sign of bad things to come. Please reconsider.
Like many other WBAI members I have heard on Tuesday, I am taken by surprise at the sudden re-arrangement of programs on WBAI. But also rather dismayed to hear that Nuff Said - the comic book show - is scheduled to disappear. :(
Not only has it been a stalwart for 9 years on WBAI (which should be enough to show there is some interest in it...), but where else than BAI is there such a program on such a topic?
Since there are, apparently, still a number of time slots un-allocated, I'm urging you to reconsider and use one of them to keep this heritage program. I realize that the 24 hour day presents a finite limitation on what can be broadcast, but I urge you to favor programs and topics which are not found on other stations - and as far as I know, the comic book show - the 2600 show - and the computer show all fit that category.
As for shuffling the time slots around, I wonder if you realize how many devoted (in my case, nearly 20 years) BAI listeners have established their weekly life routine around the schedule of programs they look forward to hearing each week? Not only does a sudden upheaval of the program schedule throw off the 'ritual' of those folks, it quite likely puts some of their favorite programs (for which they have supported BAI with m o n e y ) at times they might no longer be able to listen.
I can't believe that 'Nuff Said! (Tuesdays at 10:00 PM) has been cancelled! 'Nuff Said! is one of the most interesting shows on WBAI. Perhaps you are not familiar with comics, but they are as much an art form as cinema -- just as with movies, some comics are childish or silly, but many are powerful works of art.
'Nuff Said! is the ONLY radio show about the comics medium that offers in-depth interviews with the creators of comics and dares to discuss how comics reflect real world issues -- social, political, economic and even ecological!
In recent shows, 'Nuff Said! had in-depth interviews with a political cartoonist who had just returned from Afghanistan; contributors to an alternative comic called "World War III Illustrated"; a feminist comics historian whose third book on "Women in Comics" had just been published; artists and writers who were publishing comics about their reactions to 9-11....
Bernard, the scope of 'Nuff Said! is very broad, because there are a vast variety of comics being published today, many by independent publishers. Ken Gale, the host of 'Nuff Said!, doesn't just cover the top-sellers, but delves into this variety. I really think you should reconsider your decision to cancel this show, as it is exactly the kind of radio that WBAI should be providing.
Erich A. Heinemann
I'm Tim O'Shea, comics interviewer/reviewer/columnist for www.orcafresh.net (a website with more than 300,000 hits in May 2002) and www.digitalwebbing.com/cbem (a newsletter with more than 1,200 e-subscribers)
I realize you're a very busy person trying to run a major NY public radio station, so I won't take much of your time. As a resident of Atlanta, I'm unable to listen to WBAI on a regular basis, so I also do not command the same level of attention a listener/client is afforded.
I recently wrote in my small online column, Stream of Babbling (http://www.orcafresh.net/Shea/sh61702.html), about the programming changes at WBAI as it affected 'Nuff Said, Ken Gale's show.
Public radio, I completely understand (particularly in a down economy), must think of what is most beneficial in terms of fund raising. That is why I partially assume (combined with an interest to offer more environmentally minded/political programming) the decision was made to take 'Nuff Said off of the air.
I won't send you the whole column, just a pertinent idea I had: "Ken’s a great comics journalist that many new folks like myself could stand to learn a great deal from. I’m sure many of my readers are like myself and have never had the opportunity to listen to ‘Nuff Said for various reasons (namely we all don’t live in New York). And that’s where an idea of mine comes to mind. I’ve not run this by Ken, and no parties involved may be interested in exploring the option, due to legal or financial hurdles that may have to be addressed. But what if WBAI and/or Ken could make a best of CD of the interviews that were done over the nine years? Looking over the guest list, I see at least 10 interviews I’d love to have in my CD library. Given how many fans out already buy great magazines like THE COMICS JOURNAL and the many periodicals of TwoMorrows Publishing, I think there would be a market for The Best of ‘Nuff Said. If it sold well, rather than having to do a fund drive for that portion of programming, ‘Nuff Said could literally pay for its own slot."
I don't know if this is a feasible idea or not, Mr. White. There is of course precedent for radio shows selling "Best of" collections. You are a radio veteran, so I of course defer to your expertise, but please realize, a great many people will miss Ken's show.
I hope the e-mails from Ken's various fans will help convince you what a valuable show WBAI has taken off the airwaves.
Good luck with making WBAI a greater success and I hope 'Nuff Said can again be part of that success down the road.
We'll keep it short and simple. Not only was 'Nuff Said not properly informed before cancellation, but it's a wonderful show. I've heard it passingly in the past and liked it, but since hearing the OTH/Nuff Said [cross-over show with "Off the Hook"] I tuned in tonight expecting to become a new regular listener of 'Nuff Said. You've ruined that. WBAI has a terrible problem with having way too many shows that basicly don't have a point. It's just people sitting around talking about every day stuff and playing music. Frankly.. it gets monotonous and boring. Shows like Off The Hook, Weaponry, and 'Nuff Said actually have a topic to spawn the broader issues from. To get rid of the few shows that actualy have a focus and purpose is deeply insulting. If these shows are threatened, don't expect any donations from me.
I recently contributed $75 during WBAI's last pledge drive, and although I am currently unemployed and could have renewed my WBAI membership for a lesser amount, I felt I should give a little extra back to the station for the many hours of pleasure the station gives me each week. Now I learn that at least one of those hours has been taken away from me and other listeners.
It is unfortunate that any given listener can only pledge during one particular show. I would guess that most people who find the station valuable enough to deserve their pledges probably have multiple favorite programs. (Of course, those who have only one favorite program should also be members!) I happened NOT to choose to pledge during Nuff Said's air time, and that is only because I (mistakenly?) guessed that another program that I enjoyed might be more endangered. (For the record, it was Max Schmid's Jean Shepherd rebroadcasts.) I had thought that Nuff Said, judging by its bustling call-in segment, had a vibrant audience.
There might be many similar stories to my own, where fans of one show happened to contribute during someone else's air time, and if you factor in the last minute rescheduling of Nuff Said's big fundraising night, the final fundraising figures probably greatly understated the strength of Ken and Mercy's listenership.
But even apart from the size of Nuff Said's listenership, I have to say that the program, when it was at its best, was some of the best radio that I have heard on any station, anywhere. I have to confess that I am a relative latecomer to the program, having only been listening for the last year or two. Like many folks, I probably had a lot of preconceptions about a "comic book show," mainly that it would be geared toward certain teens and pre-teens who might be better advised to "get a life." (I haven't been a teen for 30 years, although I still am urged to get a life from time to time.) Eventually (and in my case, it helped that the show was before midnight lately) I gave Nuff Said a listen and found it to be nothing short of an inspiration.
I learned that the show was as much about comic books as Off The Hook was about esoteric hacking. Like Emmanuel Goldstein, Ken Gale puts any topic he covers firmly in the context of political and economic realities. After years of experiencing firsthand the ways that one workplace after another can frustrate one's creative potential, I was absolutely fascinated by Nuff Said's investigation into the lives of various artists and writers who have been successful in producing tangible popular art. Whether through biographical sketches or direct interviews (some of which have been extremely in-depth), Nuff Said has provided some fascinating views into the lives of comic book creators, whether famous or underrated. In many cases Ken Gale and Mercy Van Vlack were finally bringing some deserved recognition to artists who have long been unknown to the general public.
I hope WBAI will reconsider and restore Nuff Said to a prominent place in its schedule. When the show was on, I always had this sense that whoever was calling the programming shots must have been pretty enlightened to give a weekly evening time-slot to this show, which on first glance was just a niche player, but which on second glance was so much more than just a "comic book show." Who knows, one of these days we might look around and discover that comic books, especially the independent sort, have become one of the last art forms where an artist does not have to align him- or herself with a corporation in order to create.
Hopefully nuff said.
Dear Mr. White,
I was hoping you could tell me when Ken Gale and Mercy Van Vlack's superbly-crafted radio program "Nuff Said" would be back on the air. I have been a LONG-TIME listener to this unique program devoted to the comic book medium and I am really missing the viewpoints expressed on "Nuff Said"!
I'm still puzzled as to why the show was ever taken off. I've been following this program for almost 10 years, and I've always been amazed at the amount of energy this program generates from the hosts and the guests and the listeners. It's a genuinely fun, informative, AND entertaining program....
Please let me know when "Nuff Said" will be returning!
Dear Mr. White :
I just heard that one of my very favorite shows on WBAI-FM, 'Nuff Said!, the comic book show, is being cancelled. I hope you will reconsider. It has been a fixture on WBAI-FM for several years, and has addressed not only the creative milieu of a very fecund art form, but also a wealth of social and political issues as viewed through the imaginative lenses of an inventive cadre of creators. Please keep 'Nuff Said! on your schedule. If you do, I'll even renew my membership in WBAI-FM (I let it lapse during the Pacifica board controversy that temporarily kicked you off the air)!
Thank you for your consideration.
Talbot Michael Katz, NYC
Just a note to say that I’d like to see a place on the schedule for “’Nuff Said”. To me, the informational programs are the bread and butter ones —how to find the demonstration, the real story behind the news, truthful political analysis, etc. But the art and cultural programs tend to nourish the spirit. Ken Gale has always managed to make comics (a subject that seemed completely unlikely to me) into something important and useful. He finds ways to offer insight into people, politics and economics often not communicated elsewhere. I think the show has inspired some very serious activists and also made them feel good. It’s impressively creative to build a long-standing radio program on a visual art form. Sounds to me like something special that should have a home at WBAI.
Dear Mr. White-
I am a relatively new listener to WBAI, as I've been listening for about a year. I fell in love with this station right away. The topics discussed were many and varied, and unlike any other station that I've ever heard (and keep in mind that this was during the "coup"!), and non corporate to boot! I became a member of the station during the fall fundraiser. The reason that I first listened to this station was "Nuff Said".
I am a comic book artist and an art student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. I have loved comics all my life, and have, in the last few years, become more politically aware. My friend, a semi-regular listener to WBAI, told me about "Nuff Said", and as soon as I listened to it, it literally changed my life. To have a radio show about comics, and not just mainstream comics, but independent and political, hooked me from the start, and as I listened to Nuff Said every week, I soon started listening to more and more of WBAI's programming. Tuesday nights soon became my "WBAI night", as I start my night listening with Expert Witness, then Off the Hook, Takrir, Nuff Said, the news, and finally the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade.
I listen to WBAI as much as I can, and if it wasn't for Ken Gale and Mercy Van Vlack's "Nuff Said", I would have never discovered this station which means so much to me now.
Mr. White, I ask you to please reconsider the cancellation of "Nuff Said". It's the only show focusing on the comic book community, and cancelling the show will silence this community's voice. Isn't WBAI about giving a voice to those who don't have one?
Dear Mr. White:
It has come to our station's attention that your show "Nuff Said" has been taken off the schedule. Since our DSL service was down last week for maintenance, we were not able to hear the full story, but several of our associate producers and students were able to listen to it at home.
While it is certainly your station's decision to set its schedule (which I understand varies greatly from the programming of our cable access station here in Atlanta), I thought perhaps I would pass along a few facts why we are particularly upset about the cancellation of this, and other recent shows.
People TV Atlanta has a night of its shows created and produced for a younger audience (15-24) that we have named the Youth Channel. Many of these students of the program came to the station with much enthusiasm but frankly a loss of just what to do or create that would not be "just like regular TV." That was when we discovered the very diverse programming available at WBAI, which encouraged these students to "think outside the box." Our Youth Channel shows no longer resembled an MTV spin-off, shows about tolerance, student violence, automotive advice for women ("Chicks Can Fix Cars, Too"), world affairs and such began to be produced by the students. And yes, one student has begun a show on his great love, comic books.
Now of course I don't equate the two programs as being the same show, but it was WBAI's wide range of diverse programming that encouraged the students to get excited with a "You mean I can do a show about ..." The ironic part of this is that one of the episodes of this series ("Giant Size Comic Book Show") scheduled to air next month actually features Ken Gale and Mercy Van Vlack, taped while they were in Atlanta a few months ago, about the wide range of comic books for all demographic groups. There's even a couple of mentions of how Atlanta residents are now able to log onto the web and listen to the "Nuff Said" show.
From insider e-lists, I had received many "alerts" earlier this year regarding some shake-up at the Pacifica-owned station where it appeared the station might be moving toward a homogenized, bland one-point-of-view schedule. Fortunately, our structure at People TV Atlanta (by our very charter) wouldn't allow that to happen, so it's sad to see it apparently happening at WBAI.
I have no idea if your plan is to have "Nuff Said" and other shows on a temporary hiatus or not, but in the spirit of diversity of programming not available on mainstream media, I would appreciate you reconsidering your decision.
Thank you for your time.
I am distressed that WBAI's "'Nuff Said" radio program is no longer on the air. That's ironic, considering that the awareness of comics and their influence (and the contributions that comic book artists and writers have had on our culture) are at an all time high. Comic books are like jazz; an indigenous artform that's been unjustly overlooked and underestimated for years . WBAI had the only regular program devoted to comics and its creators.
I hope you are aware of the wide cultural appeal comics have; there are more women, people of color and people of alternative lifestyles producing AND buying comic books now than at any time in the industry's history. Are you even aware of Ho Che Anderson's KING, the Hernandez Brothers's LOVE & ROCKETS, Howard Cruse's STUCK RUBBER BABY or Carla McNeil's FINDER? And that is BARELY scratching the surface! Indeed, comic books are probably the most egalitarian of the popular arts.
I urge you to reconsider your decision by actually checking out what the comic book medium has to offer. The public NEEDS a show like "'Nuff Said" to instruct, to enlighten and to entertain them on a great American artform.
I'm truly upset to hear that 'Nuff Said - the Comic Book radio show on WBAI is being cancelled. It is a show that combines rebel, truly "people's" culture with insightful analysis from a multicultural, feminist, alternative, another-world-is-possible point of view. It is one of WBAI's most creative endeavors.
Now that WBAI is over its awful coup, I was hoping to be able to support it again! Please don't take away this critical reason why I want to!
When I first started listening to BAI, I was charmed by the combination of hard politics and community access-style special interest shows. Perhaps the best of the latter is 'Nuff Said!, and I was saddened to learn that it is to be unceremoniously booted off the air. I know where you're coming from; when I first stumbled across 'Nuff Said! I thought that all comics were about super heroes and big-busted women, and that the people that read them were all acne-ridden hormonally overactive twelve-year-old boys.
But experience has demonstrated that is simply not the case - comics address just about every socio-political issue that exists - often from groundbreaking and, dare I say it, radical perspectives. And comic book readers encompass every kind of person imaginable.
You could, I suppose, make the argument that "we don't need 'Nuff Said because very few people, overall, read comics." Fine, but I must point out that very few people, overall, have any interest in East Timor, and very few people, overall, care if Mumia Abu Jamal lives or dies. BAI is supposed to be about people with tastes and beliefs outside of the mainstream.
BAI is always going on about how it needs a younger audience. Well, I'm young (24), and speaking for a large segment of my generation: we love our pop culture. And, while I thoroughly enjoy BAI's political and social programs, I really appreciated the fascinating look into an unfamiliar (to me) genre that 'Nuff Said! provided. Can't you find room for any cultural programming in between yet another show on dark governmental conspiracies or the December 12th movement? Or is BAI going to continue to become more and more joyless as time goes on, containing only political invective and the occasional imported, slick DJ? If BAI is community radio, as it claims to be, it should try to incorporate as many aspects of the community experience as possible - and I'll tell you something about my community - it's got community centers, firehouses, schools, unions, churches, temples and mosques, but it also has a comic book shop.
I am extremely disappointed with your decision to cancel the 'Nuff Said! radio show. If WBAI does not have a place for such an intelligent and entertaining show, then it has no room for me as a listener. I will not donate any more money to WBAI until 'Nuff Said! returns to the airwaves.
Dear Bernard --
Ever since I started listening to WBAI in the early 1970s, the station has always been there for me. Which is why I'm disappointed by some of the cancellations you've made in the new (very confusing!) schedule.
Paul Wunder's "Soundtracks" was an award-winning show on 'BAI. Mike Sargant had big shoes to step into, and anyone would suffer in comparison to Paul, but Mike was doing a yeoman job, and I really miss "Soundtracks." I've noticed that Prairie and some of his other co-hosts are doing movie-review sound bites on "Wake-Up Call" and other arts shows. Better than nothing, but I still miss "Soundtracks."
My biggest disappointment is the cancellation of "'Nuff Said!" I've known Ken, and Mercy, and even Ed Menje, for years in the comics-fan community. I've been told you feel the show is narrowly-focussed. 'Tain't so! "'Nuff Said!" has gathered a considerable listenership amongst non-comics-fans, from people who appreciate a well-produced and interesting program. Ken has gotten praise from numerous other 'BAI producers who love his show (including Sidney Smith, Emmanuel Goldstein, Toni Short, and Bill Weinberg); he's been contacted by major movie production companies (like Industrial Light and Magic) who are adapting comic book characters to other media and want the exposure his show can give them.
I don't think there's another comics-oriented radio show in the USA. Isn't one of the purposes of Pacifica to make available interesting, unusual programs that listeners can't hear on mainstream commercial radio?
Every time I've pledged to WBAI in recent years, it's been to "'Nuff Said!" Last winter I pledged a full price subscription (even though I'm handicapped and on a limited budget) instead of my usual $25 limited funds pledge. I can assure you that next winter, when it comes time to renew, I'll be much less inclined to pledge again if "'Nuff Said!" is still off the air.
-- Len Rosenberg
Dear Mr. White,
As a long-time listener/supporter (joint membership with John Gillen) of WBAI, I am extremely UPSET to hear of the cancellation of 3 of my favorite programs: 'Nuff Said!, Circle of Red Nations and Soundtracks. Having survived a year-long attempt to destroy the station and joyfully returning to fold after the "coup" ended, now this???
I love WBAI BECAUSE of the above-mentioned shows! They are unique; they offer information and entertainment that exists nowhere else; they are the primary reason I support WBAI!! Please return these programs to a regularly scheduled hour-long weekly slot or John and I will cancel our subscription in WBAI. I know I am not a rarity among the listeners. Many others love these programs, too and wish to see them continue. As a so-called listener-supported radio station, please heed the voices of your audience!
Thank you very much.
"If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of this revolution."
I think the above is a fair quote of [political activist] Emma Goldman and I think she was right to demur from being part of any political movement or organization that cast a cold eye on the arts. I think your decision to cancel 'Nuff Said is a serious mistake. This either/or split between "serious" political programming and the arts is a false dichotomy. The arts -- including comic book art -- are serious. William Carlos Williams said "the news is hard to find in poems, but people regularly die from lack of what is found there." Far from being a program of narrow focus, my experience of 'Nuff Said has been of a program that looks at a wide range of human experience through the lens of comic book art.
Comics long ago ceased to be only for kids -- see R. Crumb's raunchy virtuosity or Art Spiegelman's masterwork "Maus." Comic book art is folk art; it's of and for the folk. Because it depends largely on the visual image for its impact, it has transcended national borders and linguistic barriers. The Italians have their "fumetti" and the Japanese their "manga." All over Latin and South America stories relaying political and social information as well as good ole romance are transmitted to sizeable and, not uncommonly, illiterate populations via visual novels. Perhaps, you've noticed those comic book-style ads on the subway promoting AIDS awareness.
On a purely practical level, I believe 'Nuff Said also attracts a young, energetic constituency (as well as burned out boomers like me) and serves as a conduit for them into the rest of 'BAI programming. An important consideration, for a program director, I would imagine. Political education and information is important, but democracy has to be practiced -- now -- and not just talked about. I'm voting with this e-mail for the return of 'Nuff Said. True democracy requires a multiplicity of vision and voices. Every week, 'Nuff Said represented such a robust democratic mix.
Until the debacle of the past year, I actually gave money to support the station. Now, just as I've recovered enough to think about contributing once more, sh*t happens -- again. Consider this my first salvo in support of ALL the arts programming on 'BAI. We need more such stuff, not less.
I know that with the new programming changes you will be getting quite a bit of feedback, positive and negative, but I hope that you will consider listener comments (even if, with all your duties, you have someone else sort through them).
I was unaware that such radical changes were pending, until producers began to give their new time slots. Although I don't quite see the reason for the mass-shifting just yet (you may have a worthwhile purpose in mind), if it does concern demographics and ratings, I'm a bit confused. As WBAI is listener-sponsored and the support has been good during the last couple of fundraisers (I myself am a member of the station), I'm not quite sure what the usefulness would be in shifting programs around - this would seem to be in response to competition with other radio stations. For long-standing programs, such a change could cost producers listeners that have been gathered over the years. I didn't get to listen to all of your Report this morning, but I'm sure you will clarify your plans in time.
However, last night, I listened to presumably the last episode of "'Nuff Said!". Ken Gale, the show's host for many years, announced his cancellation, which surprised me, since I got the impression that the schedule was simply being rearranged, from comments made by other producers recently. Obviously I've only heard Mr Gale's side of the story, but his comments have me concerned. "'Nuff Said!" has been on the air for many years (7 - 9, I believe), so it's 'probationary' time has long since passed. I happened to find it accidentally, about a year and a half ago; and though was initially skeptical about a 'comic book' show, given that comic books are stereotypically a visual medium, I did give it a chance -- and found that I was drawn in. The subject matter, as Mr Gale enumerated last night, is quite varied, comic books, in many instances, serving only as the nucleus for worldly discussions (as evidenced recently by an excellent interview with Ted Rall on his experiences in Central Asia).
I understand that there's an emphasis to expose WBAI to the largest possible audience (to enhance the bottom line, so that the station will be around for years to come - very reasonable); but there are some shows that need to be somewhat 'protected' from a simple reference to monies received during fundraisers, when it comes to programming appraisals. I believe "'Nuff Said!" is one of these shows (although Mr Gale attests to some successful fund-drives in past marathons, so the show does have a fair amount of devotion). Other shows that *need* equal consideration (only seem to have small purviews, but experience disagrees) are "The Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade" and "Off The Hook" (and there are others, I'm sure - not only on Tuesday). While these shows nominally fall into genres of specific appeal (every book has a title, for better or worse), their producers do not, being some of the most educated and worldly people I've heard in the media (WBAI generally consists of such people, to your credit). As a rider, the forementioned shows also demonstrated solidarity with the listener, and concern for the fired and banned, during the "corporate takeover," putting themselves at great risk during a critical stretch of time - which may be a sentimental consideration, but one nevertheless.
I realize your job is not easy (especially with your on-air duties), but I hope you will consult with as much of the listener community as possible (if you haven't done so), when making programming decisions. I realize that shows can't 'own' time-slots forever; that switches need to be made occasionally to help other shows gain exposure. I'm not sure if a 'programming committee' exists, but perhaps one should be put in place (to be opened to listener comment) - since the freedom that WBAI pledges is in large part expressed by the programming it airs.
Last, I hope that Mr Gale's short notice in learning about his cancellation will not be repeated with other ill-fated producers (if there are more).
If my information or assumptions are wrong, and have led me to incorrect conclusions, I apologize in advance.
Thanks for your time.
I'm a big supporter of the WBAI-FM "'Nuff Said!" radio show, and I am really disappointed to hear that the show might be cancelled. If there's any way to keep it on the air, I would greatly appreciate it.
Ken Gale has been an excellent promotor of the whole medium of comics, and I'd hate to not have his voice on the airwaves any more.
Keep 'Nuff Said! alive.
Your friend thru comics,
Dear Mr. White:
When I heard about the cancellation of the comic book talk radio show, "Nuff Said", I was shocked to find out that it was due to its so-called "narrow focus". Comic books are anything else but narrow, let alone super-heroes.
This medium has been unfairly demonized, ever since that fraud of a psychiatrist, Dr. Frederic Wertham, wrote "Seduction Of The Innoccent" (1954), a book that treated comic books as the incubators of juvenile deliquency in the 1950s. Under pressure from the government, parent-teacher groups and the clergy, the industry was forced to regulate themselves with the Comics Code Authority, enforcing rules of morality. The code is now meaningless, due to the changing social atmosphere; comic books are more than just muscle-bound, costumed warriors.
The venue has approached the subjects of sex, politics, history, race, religion, personal experience and others. In fact, comic books were the first entertainment venue that responded to the 9/11 attacks. There were no comic books like Superman vs. Osama Bin Laden; there were books that contained feelings of sadness, pain and hope, within one panel or more. Also, the literary world has accepted comic books as being bonafide, with artist Art Spiegelman winning the Pultizer Prize in 1987 for "Maus", an vivid account of the Holocaust that was experienced by the author's parents. Plus, Michael Chabon earned the same prize for his novel, "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay," a tale of two comic book creators who, despite personal and professional obstacles, manage to accomplish the Great American Dream.
Being the program director of a progressive thinking radio station, I would implore that you reconsider your decision to end "Nuff Said". Having no mainstream counterpart, it's an important audio haven for the comic book industry which has no mainstream counterpart.
Bernard White, Program Manager
Dear Mr. White:
My letter is to express my extreme disappointment in the canceling of my favorite WBAI show, ‘Nuff Said!, hosted by Ken Gale.
I’ve been a regular listener to this program every week since 1996 when I first discovered it. Since that time as well, I’ve also been a member of WBAI, pledging my support to the station through this program every year, except 2001. I recently renewed my 2002 membership during the February membership drive. I felt great to be able to confidently pledge again. Now, though, what do I have for my money?
'Nuff Said! was my introduction to the WBAI radio station. By listening to it and following ‘Nuff Said! to its various timeslots, I also discovered other wonderful WBAI programs, like Back of the Book, Carrier Wave, Soundtracks, and Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade. All of these are unlike anything else that can be found on the radio.
Comic books and their creations cover a wide variety of subjects. Where else but on ‘Nuff Said! can you hear and learn about the creative process and creators' rights, free speech, politics, art, romance, action, communication, independent and corporate companies and their policies, history, current events, entertainment, etc.
Please reconsider your decision and re-schedule ‘Nuff Said! on WBAI.
Robert A. Abbatomarco
Hello, Mr. White,
I writing you today to express my concern over the cancellation of my favorite show on WBAI, "Nuff Said". I have listened to the show for its entire run and miss it very much. I called you a month ago about this and you told me that the show was not canceled, but a check of your station web site does not show it on the schedule.
I remember when you were "removed" from the station last year and listened one Saturday morning when you described how you were delivered papers telling you that you were not part of the station anymore. This moved me to want to contribute when the station was in trouble and I have continued to do so. Last year I gave the station over $200 and this year I have given over $100 already.
Now that "Nuff Said" is gone, I don't listen to the station that much and it makes me not want to contribute any time soon. That is sad, because I was led to believe over the past year that WBAI was the "listener's station" and what the listeners thought counted for something. Well that can't be true, because I have written and spoken with you on the phone and still my favorite show is off the air.
Personally, my political leanings are not what most of the people on WBAI are, but I felt and still do feel that the station made a difference and what it said should be heard, especially today with so many stations part of larger media companies. The New York radio dial is pretty dull and shows like "Nuff Said" with Ken Gale and Mercy Van Vlack on WBAI showed that this station had a very diverse group of people on the air. The most diverse in NYC. Not anymore.
Please reconsider the cancellation of "Nuff Said" and bring it back as some as possible,
To Bernard White:
I am writing you this letter concerning the canceling of the excellent WBAI program "Nuff Said".
Many people try to pigeonhole the medium as a vacuous juvenile affair, and just dismiss it. However, the slim corporate focus does not detract from the thousands of independent creative people who utilize the medium in new and important ways. There is a wide range of important social, and political topics covered in the work in a more personal way than most other media.
About six years ago I discovered WBAI through accidentally hearing Nuff Said. I had long lost most interest in comics, believing the ideas of its detractors, until the show helped me to see the broader perspective. As an artist, it encouraged me to make the switch from fine art, to this more populist medium. Rather than speaking to the few, generally upper class viewers, I am able to communicate more widely to people like myself. I realized, through Nuff Said, that much bigger aspirations other than escapist fantasy could be explored. Comics have always been the gateway for lower class kids to discover the worlds of Art, politics, and social justice. Without it, I don't know where my interests, or lifestyle, would lie today.
Nuff Said is far from a narrow show. Their guests have included female artists, people of color, the elderly, librarians, social activists, and many of the unjustly ignored and obscure. Nuff Said is a place for them to receive their long overdue exposure. If I would have heard Nuff Said as a boy, I might have realized sooner that there was a place in the world for me, other than some menial labor, or whatever direction I was preplanned to take, due to my class status. On the show you learn how comics is the only medium with room for everyone. It is truly populist, hence no respect. Nuff Said is utterly unique in the world and WBAI is the only place something like this can exist. The Political shows certainly have great value, but why must they exist to the exclusion of Nuff Said?
Throughout the crisis of last year only two shows, Nuff Said and Off The Hook, were brave enough to cover the conflict and still remain on the air, and it is unfortunate that this is how the show is repaid. There is a glut of radical politics and new age inspired health and narrowly political shows on WBAI, and while every episode is generally the same, Nuff Said is always different, exploring every topic of social criticism imaginable for the benefit if all people, rather than the interests of certain ethnic groups, or classes. Nuff Said does not beat the dead horse, nor preach to the converted, and has made a big difference in my life. To see the show cancelled like this pains me in a way I could not anticipate. The station is becoming a one note song, and while some may see the liberation of WBAI as a success, I see it as a dismal failure, just more of the same, stamping out the wonderful and unique in favor of the tired and same.
Nuff Said introduced me to WBAI, and I while I definitely enjoy the other programs and see their value, the constant irritation of seeing people I have grown to care about treated like corporate flunkies, leads me to believe that WBAI is becoming more like the things that disgust me, than the inspiration it used to be. I feel insulted personally and wonder why I even protested for the station in the first place. Believe me, if this continues, in the future, I will not. I am tired of defending things of importance to people who give lip service to diversity, and really only care about their own narrow interests. WBAI is supposed to be radio for the people, not just some people.
Thank you for your time,
Just registering my opinion -
I am not a comics reader, but I enjoy the comics show very much. Listen almost every week and I am a paid-up BAI listener. I will be very sad to see the show go.
I find that the show is a solid unpretentious exploration of art and culture. And come to think of it, law and politics also.
I mean, I know from the outside it doesn't sound as though the show would be of very wide interest, but I think that it ends up covering a lot of ground.
That's my two cents.
I imagine that it ain't easy guiding the evolution of the schedule. Please do consider finding a place for Nuff Said in the rotation.
I know that you're a busy fellow, so I'll be brief:
I urge you to reconsider the removal of "Nuff Said" from the regular weekly program schedule. Frankly, I'm not even much of a comic book fan myself--but I've become a regular listener to the show (and a subscriber to BAI) because of its' lively content--the show touches every aspect of society: politcs, youth, race, sexuality....
It's good radio, and good for the station and the community it serves. I hope that you'll reinstate the show.
Dear Ken Gale,
I'm a student at the School of Visual Arts. I am majoring in illustration and I am basically a painter not a cartoonist, but I am a big fan of comic books. I have been listening to your show for 3 years almost every Tuesday; I also supported your show in the fund drives whenever I could. When I heard your show tonight I was so shocked and now I am so angry and depressed that I may not be able to hear 'Nuff Said! anymore.
Your show was really important to me personally as an artist because hearing about all the underground stuff and artists getting work out there made me feel like it was really possible for me, too. Also, some of the interviews were brilliant and I learned a lot and felt totally inspired. Your show was my absolute favorite and that Tuesday night line up is the best- Off the Hook, you and the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade. Honestly, lately those are the only shows I listen to now because I got sick of all the politics.
I can't believe they are getting rid of an art show rather than one of those over-abundant political shows. Anyway, me and my boyfriend were getting teary-eyed tonight listening to you, even though I never met you or talked to you I feel like I'm going to be losing a friend (I guess that's the power of good radio).
I wanted you to know that I'll be there to support and fight for your show however I can. I wrote Bernard an e-mail and a letter and I plan to call and even come down to the station if that is what it takes. I can't believe he can just take your show away like that. I was thinking I know you supported my school on your show so maybe the school could help, but I don't know how-I would be happy to try contacting somebody there and of course I'll tell all my friends, too (too bad it's summer vacation though).
I hope we can all save 'Nuff Said! on Tuesday night and make sure it is safe from now on. I feel really betrayed because after the station was won back I was celebrating and donating more money and then they are the ones who start screwing with the programs. Anyway, good luck; let me know any way I can help and I'll hope to hear you next Tuesday.
Why did you cancel "Nuffsaid?" Ken Gale covered every social issue imaginable (and he's a swell guy to boot!).
Marcy J. Gordon
On Tuesday, May 21st, I spent over an hour trying to get through to the subscriber line so I could become a new member specially to support Nuff Said. I was very disappointed when I found two weeks later that the show was suddenly being cancelled with only one day's notice.
Today, I received in the mail the confirmation that I am now a new member with my support listed as being for Nuff Said. I find it VERY insulting that all my membership information clearly lists as Nuff Said supported and the show is now cancelled. I am angry enough that I would be cancelling my new membership if such a thing was possible.
I do not have a mailing address for the General Manager, Valerie van Isler. I would appreciate it if this e-mail was shared with her as well.
Dear Mr. White:
I heard the troubling news about "Nuff Said" going on hiatus, and wanted to add my voice, as a long-time WBAI listener (who applauds recent moves towards the return of sanity to the station with the reinstatement of Amy Goodman and "Democracy Now!"), in the hopes that WBAI sees fit to restore this valuable one-of-a-kind program at the earliest time possible.
I am currently president of the New York chapter of Friends of Lulu, a feminist comics organization whose goal is to get more girls and women involved in comics as creators, readers, retailers, etc., in every aspect of the industry. "Nuff Said" has been an invaluable supporter of Friends of Lulu and has been instrumental in getting the word out about the New York chapter's local activities, particularly this year as we've inaugurated our "Women and Comics" discussion series at Bluestockings women's bookstore and cafe (the only women's bookstore left in New York City!).
Losing this resource, just at the point when women are making great strides in American comics (we have yet to achieve the level of Japan's Rumiko Takahashi, recently listed as the highest-paid manga (Japanese comic book) creator in that country, but I'd like to think we're well on our way!), would be a significant setback for the cause of diversity within the comic book community. I urge you to reconsider the decision to put "Nuff Said" on hiatus.
I look forward to hearing from you at your convenience.
'Nuff Said! should not have been cancelled. There are only two native Euro-American art forms, jazz and comic books. Jazz has gotten plenty of air time on WBAI. Comics should be afforded the same respect as jazz. They are an original US art form that has influenced the world and continues to do so. They have crossed over into the world of so-called "serious" art via modern artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Liechtenstein, and have been represented in nearly every high-circulation periodical and newspaper in the US, not only as strips but in journalism, including that of The New York TIMES. They have been the basis for some of the most successful movies of the past 50 years, including SUPERMAN and SPIDERMAN, and have kept television series alive after their airtime, such as the original STAR TREK. Comics are an art that influences both the young and old to produce and appreciate art.
Additionally, 'NUFF SAID! has reached and influenced a wide audience of listeners who have been given a greater appreciation of comics as an art form thanks to its in-depth interviews with artists and writers.
Taking 'NUFF SAID! off the air appears to have been another sad victory for censorship, something which WBAI (of all stations on the air) ought to be above. I strongly urge you to reconsider keeping 'NUFF SAID off the air. It will be missed by many listeners.
More letters to come? Here's another.