Petition to WBAI Management to Return Eco-Logic to WBAI's Airwaves
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We, the undersigned, urge the immediate reinstatement of Eco-Logic, a much respected 18-year old program at WBAI, and that no punitive action be taken against the show or its hosts.
Given the multi-factorial nature of the spread of Covid-19 and the many factors operating simultaneously in March at WBAI, we reject as inappropriate any "blame game" of WBAI staff and its volunteers. All producers and listeners need to be concerned about this.
Eco-Logic was suspended indefinitely and employment of the founding co-host, who had worked as a per diem engineer at the station for 11 years, was terminated and he was told he would never work for pay at WBAI again. These actions were based on management's belief that one of the co-hosts knew she was infected with Covid-19 when she came to the station to do the show on March 10. The co-host did not have any knowledge she was infected at that point and she did not test positive until March 18. She did not come to the station after the 10th and therefore posed no danger. Moreover, no guideline was issued by the station until a statement from management on March 12, regarding reporting health situations to management. The second reason given for canceling the program was that the founding co-host did not immediately tell management of his co-host's illness. At the time, there were no clear guidelines issued on this kind of health reporting and who should take responsibility for doing this.
Covid-19 is spread by many factors and most infected people show no symptoms in the first several days after exposure, if at all. Therefore, it would not have been possible to keep the virus out of the station simply by focusing on only those who were "not feeling well." Furthermore, at a time when many institutions were already shutting down (after March 12), so as to ensure that the virus could not spread on their premises, WBAI did not go to remote broadcasting until March 22. In addition, complete clear guidelines and a chain of responsibility for disinfecting all station surfaces were not delineated during the weeks the station was operating with full staff capacity, before staff was asked not to come in and broadcasting went remote. Also, no mechanism for training all staff and documenting the training was outlined.
Under pressure, management recently emailed Eco-Logic that they may be reinstated, but not for “at least three months" adding "I will see about reinstating the show after the suspension, but this would be after I received assurances that as hosts you will work cooperatively with management in the future”. In our opinion, this remains a misplaced and punitive response. Eco-Logic should simply be reinstated immediately.
We urge that in the future, WBAI management go forward with decisions that affect the health of the entire station in a way that is transparent, inclusive of input from staff and in consultation with experts who have up-to-the moment knowledge of the many ways in which Covid-19, or any other infectious disease, can e spread.