Letters to the Editor


Fifth Estate # 19, December 1-15, 1966


To the Editor:

That Artists’ Workshop Public Notice in your last issue — Public Notice for more members — I found somewhat amusing [see FE #18, November 15-30, 1966]. Especially where it said “There is no hierarchy, no exclusiveness, no formal structure …”

Reminds me of the Holy Roman Empire — which was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.

If the Artists’ workshop would quit being what it claims it isn’t (a tiny clique), I’m sure it could get more members.


To the Editor:

In the second issue of The Fifth Estate for October [FE #16, October 16-31, 1966] a letter from Wendy Wilder of Birmingham in your letters column refers to WHFI and the new source of enlightenment it is supposed to become.

It is with great sadness that I must answer Miss Wilder’s letter by replying that this great event will not come to pass.

I was a volunteer for the Art Center Broadcasting Company, the group that attempted to purchase WHFI in Birmingham for the purpose of converting it into a non-profit, noncommercial FM radio station that would be able to disseminate all possible points of view. There would have been freedom to present artists of all nonconformist hues to a general public with no imposition of the restraints of commercialism that infect most of the stations in this country. It would have been a “source of enlightenment” in much the same way that the_ Pacifica Foundation stations are in California and in New York.

Despite the $90,000 we did manage to raise, the several encouraging newspaper articles, and the uncountable thousands of hours spent by our staff of volunteers to promote “the cause”, the general hypocrisy that permeates our entire social fabric was in the end more than we could overcome.

Lip-service was paid to our undertaking by a great many people in a great many advantageous places, but when we came down to the hard questions of how much cold cash and how much personal time, they begged off. A few did backup their word but too many when we started soliciting in earnest turned their backs on us. They were only interested in the end result not in working for something they said they believed in.

After two years of constant scratching around the Art Center Broadcasting Company quietly went out of business this summer, no longer able to sustain itself on empty promises.

Jerome J. Jacobs,