A New York State Supreme Court judge has signed a temporary restraining order blocking the shutdown of WBAI, the radical freeform radio station that was abruptly taken off air this week by its parent company after six decades of broadcasting.

The ruling was handed down by Judge Frank Nervo late Monday. Hours earlier, the station's longtime owner, Pacifica Foundation, fired most of the WBAI staff, changed the locks on the doors, and replaced local programming with shows produced by Pacifica's other stations. Staff members and volunteers for WBAI said they were stunned by the sudden takeover.

Their request for injunction accuses Pacifica's newly-hired executive director, John Vernile, of sending agents into the station's Brooklyn studios for a pre-dawn coup. "Nothing in the Pacifica Bylaws allows such a takeover by its Executive Director, who acted without even debate or a vote by Pacifica's Board of Directors," alleged attorney Arthur Schwartz, who also produces a show on the station.

A hearing on the issue is now scheduled for October 18th. In the meantime, Pacifica is prohibited from seizing equipment, terminating employees, or preventing WBAI from broadcasting.

But according to Schwartz, Pacifica had not yet complied with the injunction. "They're still controlling the signal for Times Square and the website," he told Gothamist on Tuesday morning. "They have an inside person giving them passwords."

He added that staff members arrived at the Brooklyn offices on Monday night following the ruling and broke the locks on the doors. They found their computers disconnected and papers haphazardly scattered.

As of 10:30 a.m., WBAI was playing nationally-syndicated content. An unsigned message, apparently posted by the parent company, greets visitors on the website. It reads in part:

As a network we hold each other together, we act in the spirit of solidarity and fiduciary responsibility. The WBAI staff has tried for several years to mitigate a ballooning debt and has been unable to do so. WBAI has accumulated $4 million debt to the Pacifica Central Services - a weight our stations, Archives, and National Office have had to carry. Additionally, we as a network of stations must secure $3.2 million to repay a loan that is due in full in 2021.

On Monday, October 7th the Pacifica Foundation had to suspend most of the local NY operations. We were necessitated to act in the most responsible way we saw in order to stabilize and secure the future of 99.5fm WBAI and the network. While this decision was abrupt it was after careful examination of all possibilities.

WBAI has long struggled financially, and has been plagued in recent years by management turnover, layoffs, and a now-settled lawsuit with its former landlord, the Empire State Building.

Attorneys for the station, however, allege that the true impetus for the seizure was a recent promotional piece, in which longtime producer Mimi Rosenberg says the words "Stop Trump." Pacifica executives allegedly cautioned that the language threatened the station's FCC license, and demanded Rosenberg's show be pre-taped and reviewed for content.

After WBAI station manager Berthold Reimers refused, Vernile penned a letter on September 27th putting the station on notice. "As a result of your unacceptable performance, this letter represents a written warning," reads the note, included in court documents.

Pacifica staff, including Vernile, did not respond to Gothamist's inquiries. In a statement immediately following the shutdown, the network vowed to "relaunch WBAI, once we are able to create a sustainable financial structure station." It's unclear what that structure would look like, and employees for the station say they've been given no clarity from executives.

"It's because they don't like the content," Schwartz told Gothamist. "It's ironic that WBAI would get taken off the air by a progressive foundation for saying 'Stop Trump.'"

Producers for the station plan to meet tonight. A local station board meeting will be open to the public on Wednesday.