Off The Hook Farewell
Air Date: 23OCT2001
Intended Air Date: 17OCT2001
Emmanuel played the recording in its entirety tonight at about
21:15EDT. I thank him for doing so. It having been played, this
chapter is closed. It's been interesting.
I had prepared a CD for Emmanuel to play at the end of the program
this evening. It was recorded in a quick take during the 1800-1900
off-air window in the master broadcast studio at WBAI. The track itself
lasts 10'11" and is entirely self contained. There are a couple of
most bothersome audio glitches present from the original DAT
recording before it was burned to CD. The MP3 here does nothing to
repair them. When I have the time, I shall pull them out. I felt it
important to get the recording online sooner than later.
The following is the script to my farewell statement, intended to be
broadcast on this evening's program. I mentioned to Emmanuel upon
his late arrival that this was to be the last program I was doing, and
that I would like the last 10 minutes to play a recording of the
farewell. I was told that the show was already packed. I'm not sure
if fifteen minutes of taking calls is evidence for or against this
claim. At any rate, he'd agreed to play it on next week's program.
Considering that this was sprung upon him with such little notice, I
agreed. It bothers me a little, though, that I didn't take the
opportunity to say a goodbye live.
Lady and Gentleman listeners,
Good evening. I'm taking this time to advise you of a decision which,
though long in the making, has finally been made. This will be my last
broadcast as a regular commentator here on "Off The Hook."
I am sure that there is a part of the audience cheering now. I've been
told that there may be a small segment of the audience weeping. I'm much
more interested, and always have been, in you, those that are listening.
You are no doubt asking yourself, "Why?"
In the interest of becoming a better Boolean being, I'll first address "not
I am not leaving because of any policy, or change thereof, at WBAI. I have
never been involved in those decisions and reserve any opinion I may have
I am not leaving due to an unresolved financial situation with the
station. Though it is strongly indicative of the serious issues I have
with remaining on the air here, I am not so petty as to allow this to
impact my decision making. Any legal action taken related to this
nonpayment for services rendered are, likewise, irrelevant.
I am not leaving because of any personal mistreatment I have received at
the station. Those persons I have had contact with have been nothing but
pleasant, and I shall miss the regular opportunities to chat with them.
I am not leaving because Emmanuel has asked or told me to do so. He has
never made such a request, nor do I believe that he would ever make such a
request. In fact, despite whatever on-air clashing you've borne witness to
each week, outside the program we are cordial and friendly.
Finally, I am certainly not leaving because of calls made and emails sent
by audience members that wish this voice to be silenced. I have no regard
for their tedious malignment. The only exception to this is that their
absence would be an indication to me that I'm doing something wrong.
That said, I'll attempt to address the, "Why?"
To do this, I'd like to play for you a song. It was written by an artist
whose body of work can be called "Waking to Reason." Or perhaps it is more
appropriately self-titled, "Chasing Down the Dawn." Ms. Jewel Kilcher has
earned my admiration and respect, and I hope one day to have the honour of
sharing even an hour with her in philosophical conversation.
I'd like to play a track from her album, "Spirit," entitled "Life
Uncommon." I encourage you "listeners" to practice your skill on the
<< MUSIC >>
It is mildly shocking and amusing to me when I contemplate that I have been
a regular part of this program for the past four years. Shocking that so
much time has past, and amusing that I didn't notice it go.
I came to "Off The Hook" following the BeyondHOPE conference in 1997. I
saw my role chiefly as bringing technical expertise to the table. Over the
years, I hope that I've successfully shed some light onto the dark nooks
and crannies of the complex systems we find ourselves surrounded by in the
As time passed, though, I've found the program gradually shifting its
focus. I initially came to be part of a program about hacking: concerned
with technology, how it worked, how it can work, and its role in our
lives. As time passed, the program moved to being less about "hacking" and
more about "hackers:" their goals, their lives, their problems. It is on
this last aspect that the focus has drifted still further: away from
technology itself and toward the problems with policy surrounding
technology. In this latest form, the program seems to concentrate on the
general impact of policy that vaguely connects with technology.
As this change was taking place, I and my role evolved. As we moved toward
hackers, I provided the perspectives of a hacker. As we moved toward
policy, I brought the counterpoint to the popular argument.
All the while, though, the technology marched on and was being ignored. I
felt quiet frustration that important developments and events were not
being recognised due to "running out of time." I found myself, especially
in the most recent weeks, accomplishing nothing more than justifying a
sagacious position for the hour. While I am able to do so quite well, I
walked away each time with not only the knowledge that the technology was
still being ignored, but also that little progress was made in any
direction. That my strength was being tapped not to build, but to merely
defend that which should not require defense.
I found that I was not alone in this feeling. There are those that had
found me to vent their frustration. I encouraged them not to listen to the
program if it bothers them so. And this had taken a heavy toll on me. It
was a terrible violation of my integrity, both as man and broadcaster, to
turn people away from the work of which I should be proud.
The transgressions did not end there, though. I found myself ashamed to be
associated with the station and its regular programming. I'd recently had
the misfortune of tuning-in at various times to hear some of the most vile,
vitriolic anti-American speech I'd ever encountered. It is not so much
that the voices from the ether were unintelligently presenting
controversial viewpoints, but that they were so adamantly defending the
This personal situation required resolution, and I have done so by leaving
this program. I doubt that this will be the last you hear from me on the
air. You couldn't keep me out of radio if you tried. This is truly the
greatest of broadcast media, and I have hope that a program better suited
to the interests of both you and myself will come to be.
If you have want to contact me for whatever reason, you are more than
welcome to do so via email:
Or by post:
PO Box 770574
Woodside, NY 11377-0574
Thank you for listening. Good night and God bless.