Friday, November 24, 2017

WBAI's uncivil civil war

You probably recall the honeymoon, that trip Randy Credico and Berthold Reimers made to Albany a few months ago. It culminated in a so-called "press conference" on the steps of New York's City Hall. The media was conspicuously absent from this press event, as were the station's listeners, but some WBAI producer/hosts and one or two minor politicians showed up. In short, it was another flop in this endless farce. A letter solicited from one politician was sent to the ESB legal people, but it failed to dissuade the judge, who ruled in King Kong's favor. It seems that nobody was buying the phonies up pleas of innocence. 

However, Reimers did give Credico a weekly time slot and there was a brief, ineffective story on the NY 1 channel, but WBAI and its "management" were, if anything, further ridiculed and subsequent fund raising efforts have yielded the most miserable results ever.

It is said that Tony Bates—who cajoled his way into a snug position at Reimers' bosom and is as widely despised in and around WBAI—deeply resented the effectiveness of Credico's elbows, so a seething internal battle surfaced and ended in Credico abruptly storming out.

Ended? Well, I guess not. We don't know the details yet, but Credico appears to be seething and bent on some form of revenge. This related but frivolous side act comes when the station and Pacifica are facing possible extinction, so be prepared.

A chronic protester, Credico obviously enjoys attention—Bates, not so much. So we know who fires the first shot. Apropos that, Credico posted the following publicly, yesterday. I have no hope left for a satisfactory solution to the Pacifica problem, but I think it is fair to surmise that Reimers is too cowardly to take either side. This is all so infantile—Bill Crosier should finally step in and dismiss them all. What do you think?

I will continue to fight I've got so much publicity coming to New Yorkers doing a profile on me this week I have New York one Newsweek to name a few I will not stop until this dictatorship by two dicks comes to an end thank you for your support let me add anyone that supports them should write me off of their list because I have no respect for anyone that has respect for Berthold and Tony Bates. —Randy Credico

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Mystery meeting acknowledged

Many are wondering if there was a PNB meeting yesterday and, if so, what happened. Pacifica iED Bill Crosier just posted the following response:

Yes, there was a PNB meeting last night, all in executive session.

No significant motions were approved - just minor ones like amending the agenda, approving minutes, and one other minor motion.

Sorry I can't give details - all exec. session.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

To be or not to be

Word has it that Pacifica's National Board will hold another emergency session tonight (Tuesday, November 21) and that this one will get down to the nitty gritty of reality. We'll see.

Heated discussions and warmed over opinions are taking place at and between all stations as everybody wait for the "big one", as Red Foxx used to say. If it doesn't come this week, it will pop out of the Pacifica cake very seen. Regardless of the Board's decision, it will heat up the babble and make a severely fractioned community even more so.

WBAI usually bears the brunt of accusations in this blame game, but mismanagement and incompetence is Foundation-wide.  In a letter posted today by a KPFA producer, Donald Goldmacher, he extols the virtues of his station—declaring it in perfect health—while more or less describing WBAI as a burden. Well, the truth they all so assiduously try to avoid belies Goldmacher's Reimeresque assertions—for example, KPFA's studio has a $250,000 lien on it.  The entire network of five stations is a model of nonfulfillment. A frivolous KPFA "report" recently regurgitated details of the neglect and abuse that has led to a network-wide mass exodus of listeners and general disrespect. 

Pacifica's national office is in as great a disarray as are the stations and I am sure WBAI is not the only station whose membership records and pledge commitments are outdated and incomplete.

As most of us know by now, WBAI has two factions, the Indy group and the JUCs. The latter is led by Cerene Roberts, a schemer whose second nature appears to be obstruction. A member of the station's LSB she also serves as a WBAI rep at PNB meetings and clearly gets her jollies from disrupting them to such an extent that nothing positive is accomplished. No, she is not the Patty McCormack variety of a bad seed, there is method in her abysmal behavior: a Machiavellian takeover of WBAI. 

This is so ludicrous that one almost blushes at the thought of it, but the JUCs—now in cahoots with a not so stellar West Coast Pacifica mob—are loosely aligned with a former WBAI person who runs a solidly financed Manhattan-based streaming organization and would love to add a powerful radio frequency to its channels. So, when Ms. Cerene feigns a love for WBAI and a desire to keep it with Pacifica, she is actually being her devious self. A West Coast group of Pacifica associates have long been working on a takeover of the Foundation, but that didn't pan out. It did, however, spark ideas in Cerene's circles—a group of self-serving street corner activists who had managed to gain sufficient control of WBAI to change its direction. Community radio was far too broad a tag, they thought, so they redefined the term to comprise only a small segment of the New York area community: themselves.

And who were they? The very same people one used to find preaching pap on the street corners of 125th Street and in the Village. Weak, racially motivated management had opened WBAI's microphones to intelligence defying individuals of actual and imagined black ancestry. When Pacifica's founding principles got in the way—as they increasingly did—they were simply disregarded. 

The quality and substance of WBAI's programs had already undergone severe dilution, but now—more and more—the focus was placed on "people of color", specifically the less enlightened. One of Pacifica's goals had been to offer listeners of all stripes an intelligent alternative to pedestrian commercial broadcast fare, but now its stations came close to counteracting rationality and knowledge. The lowered standard, lack of substance and general stagnation eventually took its toll and listenership began to decline.

Bills piled up, but none as high as the antenna hookup at the Empire State Building. That one had accumulated to a couple of million dollars when WBAI/Pacifica was sued for the arrears plus legal fees. It all seemed to play into the hands of the JUCs, who had worked diligently to bring the station down and make it ripe for acquisition. 

The LMA (Local Marketing Agreement) option is a deal where ownership is retained but the station is leased to another broadcaster. It was welcomed by many until word got around that LMAs have a history of ending as outright sales. Probably with that in mind, the JUCs have escalated and made more transparent their wish to have WBAI offered as a LMA. However, all their scheming is not likely to get them any closer to seeing a friendly takeover or the continuance of a New York station for passé race-based propaganda.

Here, in a letter posted yesterday, is Interim Executive Director Bill Crosier's explanation clarification:

From Bill Crosier

I am completely opposed to a PSOA (like an LMA except for nonprofits).
For nonprofit stations, the FCC does not allow a PSOA to provide any more money to the owner of the license (Pacifica, in this case) than is necessary to pay current operating expenses of the station (WBAI). A PSOA cannot legally be used to pay debt, and in fact the station would not be able to do additional fund raising while a PSOA is in place to pay off debt. The FCC has levied large fines on stations that have done that. Talk that I've heard from some in NY about "creative ways" of using a PSOA to pay future tower lease obligations to Pacifica in order to pay off debt makes no sense at all. The future tower lease obligation is owed to ESRT, not to Pacifica, so how would a PSOA help with that? It cannot help.
What we need more than anything else is money to pay off debt, including the ESRT judgment, additional legal expenses for the ESRT case, and additional unpaid tower lease payments that have not been made since May. We also have several millions of dollars of other debt, independent of the tower lease. A PSOA would make it impossible to (legally) use WBAI to help pay off any of that.
A PSOA would also be, in effect, like giving the station away at a bargain basement price - not a good move for either WBAI nor for the rest of Pacifica.
So, yes, you all are right to ask who would benefit from a PSOA. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Unvarnished Nov 15, 2017 drive pledge list...

Somewhat short of expectations, but every cent counts at this point. Here, in PDF format, is a breakdown of the pledges, as our fly registered it. The names of donors have been removed, to preserve a modicum of privacy, but the zip codes paint an interesting picture—not many responses from the East Coast.

What the fly saw at day's end.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

That fly on the wall...

November 13, the day of reckoning set by the court in the case of King Kong versus Pinocchio, has come and gone without any decisive action by either party.

In the wee hours of this morning, rumors mixed with dilettante radio to pollute the air from coast to coast with a network-wide fund raiser. Some of us wondered why this drive was aimed at supporting the Pacifica Audio Archive; not because that isn't a worthy cause, but the timing seemed odd since Pacifica itself is in a hopeless situation, facing the biggest financial crisis in its close to 70-year history.

The schedule became less perplexing as the Wednesday sun came up on the East Coast and Pacifica finally focused on the more immediate problem. There was little mention of the actual problem, and barely a hint of it being self-afflicted, but one again had to question the wisdom of Pacifica's National Board. How much money did the Foundation expect to raise by repeating the previous day's pitches and offering the same flash stick sampler? Remember, the listenership had already been reduced to its all-time low—did they expect to reach a different remnant of shoppers?

It is this sort of naïve, inexperienced dabbling that has Pacifica's demise tagged as a suicide mission.

The second day of imploring is still going on as I write this—same slightly skewed pitches, same games of tag with reality, same emphasis on black-oriented material. That little stick is a remarkable collection of sounds that reflect Pacifica's past, but it obviously has not occurred to the drive's dimwitted architects that nearly all the little stick's enduring, precious content stems from the earlier years, a time when honesty, integrity and intellect mattered to Pacifica's producers as well as its audience. 

They are attempting to sell exquisite vintage wine to Koolaid connoisseurs. They are not recognizing the fact that Pacifica abandoned loyal, appreciative listeners by lowering its standards beyond recognition and gnawing at credit cards instead of nourishing absorbent intellect.

So, how are they doing? Are the fish biting?

The PNB doors are still closed to the paying/listening public, so we don't know exactly what is going on. Last heard, bankruptcy and signal swaps were neck-to-neck options, but who know what else they might come up with? 

As for the current drive, there are flies on the wall and one of them gave us a little tally buzz.

From the looks of it—and here I have to be deliberately vague—the total pledged by 10 PM EST is close to $70,000. A small sum when one considers the 2 million owed the Empire State Building so far—Although this figure does not include KPFA, which probably uses volunteers instead of a phone service, this is not very encouraging.

The WBAI area calls have so far amounted to about a dozen out of 250 and the number of pledges reported by WPFW, Washington DC, can be counted on the fingers of one hand!

None of this is surprising.

Bear in mind that these are not net income figures: the memory sticks cost money, as does packaging and shipping.

There was not a lot of urgency in the few mentions I heard regarding the drive's raison d'etre, but here's how Brian Edwards-Tiekert put it as the second day began: