Project BAIT begins its 40th Year
by David Rambeau
Usually when an organization starts on its 40th year it will look back on its accomplishments of the past. We in Project BAIT would rather focus on our current activities, our present, and our plans for the future. This is a time for us to redouble our efforts rather than to sing our own praises. It is a time of need and necessity; a time of maturation and humility. It is the best of times; it is the worst of times. Last year we suffered two burglaries at our studio (we believe it was an inside setup). The homies cleaned us out. Welcome to the big city.
What do we do? First, we have a training program. On each of our programs we invite people who are interested in learning media to join our organization. We ask them to present a resume', have transportation and a positive attitude. When they come to the studio they must bring a spiral notebook and a pen. We never ask for a fee or tuition. Our program is so intense we could hardly expect students to pay a fee, though they have to invest in themselves, in their own supplies. We don't have any passengers. Everybody who comes on board is expected to help row the Project BAIT boat.
We went on air at Channel 50 WKBD-TV Sunday, 6 December 1970, a lifetime ago. We're still there. We also have done stints at several other media outlets. At each of our stops we had our internship program as an integral part of production, not just as a side show; we believe in work-study. From our process folk went on to work in other venues or into their own separate projects.
Along the way we published For My People in the print media, as well as other publications. Today, our print media expression is the Urban Theater Magazine, at this point on an annual basis which we hope to evolve into a nation-wide, quarterly, black theater magazine. For it we need free-lance writers, sales-people, and advertisers. What we don't need is investors. We past that stage with our first edition.
To complement the Urban Theater Magazine, we have dbtcaf.com on the Internet. This website grew out of a black theater festival we organized. The initials stand for detroit black theater conference and festival. For dbtcaf.com we're seeking black theater announcements to post on the site. Along with placing theater announcements on our websites, we do an email distribution and promotion service for theater groups to help them access potential patrons for their productions.
One of our newest projects is the African-American/Afro-Brazilian Connection, a development project designed to connect peer groups in the U. S. with their counterparts in Brazil. Mark Wells, who does our Afro-Brazilian Report on For My People, is the lead person for this undertaking. Mark has traveled to Brazil for the past ten years and speaks fluent Portuguese. Working with BAIT alerted him to the possibilities. We're looking for adventurers (students, business-people, organizations, travelers, media people, etc.) who want a piece of the action. It's going to be a journey, not a job. All too often people come to us looking for a job. We have to tell them BAIT doesn't provide jobs; we provide opportunities. Most recruits can't handle that scenario. They just don't get it.
Another new venture for us is on youtube.com - projectbaitdet (in search box). Check us out. With youtube.com viewers can access our program 24/7. No longer do we have to explain why we're on early morning or late night. With youtube.com we're on all the time. Now we're world-wide. Psychologically and productively it's made a world of difference.
As with many 40th anniversaries, we're going to produce some merchandise to commemorate the year. Will Amos (firstname.lastname@example.org) is handling our t-shirts, sweat-shirts and tote bags; I'm developing our BAIT coffee mugs, and Dottie King is working on our FMP Cookies. You can special order any of these products.
As our focus moves from UHF television and cable to the Internet, we're looking at starting two more specialty or niche websites. Since they're in process we can't divulge what they're about just yet. Look for them in the spring when items usually come into bloom.
This article, among many we produce, is part of our literary support for the print media, including the Detroit Black Pages, TimBookTu.com and the Metro Business Information Guide. Print is still a viable media, if you have the right business plan and we intend to continue to be involved with it.
The Internet, because of its ubiquity and relatively free access, has made weekly BAIT conference calls possible. Now we don't have to call meetings and have everybody come to a site, we simply have George Hicks, our conference call coordinator, set us up. All those who want to join in, can. Transportation and time costs have been eliminated. We enthusiastically recommend you explore Internet conference calls for your group sessions. It takes some discipline, but it's worth the effort. In time we expect to add video to our calls, and then reach out to the diaspora. We're in a technological age that's here to explore.
In sum, the Project BAIT goals are to communicate and to educate our community throughout the diaspora, through media production, editing, distribution and sales. Won't you join us? For more information, call 313-871-3333. That's 871-3333.