Sunday, June 26, 2016

Yoohoo, Berthold?

I am among those who have lost respect for Mitchel Cohen because of his seeming inability to tell things as he would like them to be rather than as they are. Too many contradictory "facts" and apologia for mis-management wiped away the integrity I once credited Mitchel with having.

Given that, I may be naïve, but I think the following e-mail, posted elsewhere, contains some pertinent facts regarding the growing internal disorder at WBAI. Read between the lines.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Gang That Couldn't Scheme Straight....

Exile Pacifica Update: When "free speech" isn't.


Berkeley- In an apparent overdose on the Kool-Aid, volunteer executive director Lydia Brazon, board chair Tony Norman and PNB treasurer Brian Edwards-Tiekert are trying to shut down an emergency board meeting scheduled for the evening of June 26th. The meeting was called to address warnings from chief financial officer Sam Agarwal that the network will not be able to meet payroll and employee benefit obligations within weeks, pay for the financial audit or fund the election of its board members and has no plans to cope with the oncoming catastrophe.

As Norman spoke, the telephone number at the network's NY station has been turned off and the network's insurance carrier is demanding to see the 2014 financial audit in order to continue providing insurance. 

Board chair Norman, board treasurer Edwards-Tiekert and interim director Brazon did not consent to a meeting of the body until July 14th, long after Agarwal has indicated he may not be able to meet upcoming payroll obligations including at Norman's own station, WPFW. Agarwal has stated to the board that Norman's station met payroll in May by looting a restricted fund reserved for capital expenses by donor restriction. The three officers further delayed the standing meeting of the board from the first Thursday of the month by another week.

LA listener rep Grace Aaron replied to Norman's meeting kibosh as follows:

In my opinion, delaying a meeting to address Pacifica's dire financial situation by over 2 weeks is not wise and I hope you will reconsider.  Even if a significant number of board members cannot attend the meeting that has been properly noticed for tomorrow night, it still could be productive. Also, scheduling a closed session on the same night as a meeting to discuss our dire financial situation is unwise.  We may never get to a discussion on finances. Therefore, I suggest that you reverse the order of the meetings on the 14th if you decide not to sanction the meeting for tomorrow night.

Enough directors expressed a desire to have a meeting specifically to address our financial crisis for tomorrow night.  For you unilaterally to cancel this meeting is, in my opinion, delaying a discussion that is extremely urgent and it is beyond your purview as chair.  You may be correct that you have the power to deny quorum for this meeting, but you do not have the authority to cancel it.  

Beyond this, your station, WPFW, is failing.  Are you or your LSB taking actions to reverse its very serious financial deficiencies?  If you are, please detail them for me and other concerned board members.  Are you aware of the rumors that it may be on the chopping block if we are forced into some sort of bankruptcy?  

Further, your disregard of our minority concerns belies any pretense on your part of collegiality and willingness to collaborate. I sincerely hope that you will respect our wishes and make some effort to accommodate them.

Board members associated with the Siegel/Brazon faction started up a new nonprofit in California to receive the broadcast licenses and real estate assets under the name "KPFA Foundation".

If you would like to support either or both of the legal complaints filed by Pacifica members, you can visit the Clean Up Pacifica Project for more information.

A timeline of the now two year old coup by the Siegel/Brazon faction can be seen here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

CFO Agarwal report: Time to get real.

Can Reimers, et al, continue pouring water in the Pacifica tank? Pacifica CFO, Sam Agarwal seems to think it's high time this game is decided.

Indigopirate's no-nonsense extract should be all you need to hear of the Tuesday, June 21, 2016 meeting of the PNB Finance Committee

His preamble, astute as always, reads as follows:

I’ve attempted to capture the tenor and the substance of the meeting – the substance, such as it is, provided primarily by the CFO. In attempting to do that I’ve pulled in at a number of points, and I’ve not used click-track to indicate edit points, relying on pacing to fulfill that function, and I’ve attempted to be fair in so doing.

All that said, it’s the usual and ongoing mishegas, complete with the mad wailing of Adriana Casanave. The woman’s intelligence appears to be substantially less than that of the typical eggplant, but she seems to attempt to compensate for this shortcoming by virtue of sheer volume and her level of perpetual hysteria and indignation that her preferred policies are invariably ignored or explicitly rejected.

BET as usual, focuses on the central issue though, of course, also as usual to little or no effect:

‘The real issue which this committee knows and we’ve been discussing since the last budgeting cycle is… We have structural deficits. We don’t have enough money coming in to pay the expenses we’re committed to. WBAI’s been operating at a perpetual loss. WPFW’s been operating at a loss for several years. The rest of the stations are hanging on by their fingertips. We have to have a conversation as an institution that involves hard choices. Some combination of cost cuts, financing, liquidating assets, or, inshallah, successful fund raising strategies – but it can’t be pie-in-the-sky wish lists. ’ – Points he’s made repeatedly for many months and which have of course been effectively ignored as trivia or process have long remained purposive drivers and determinants for these folks.

R. Paul Martin, to give credit where due, repeats his mantra that programming needs to be addressed, which, of course, in effective terms, it never is.

Gotta love these folks… well, then again, perhaps not.

Perhaps not.   —'indigopirate'

For the resolute completists among you—here is also a lengthy two-part audio of the full meeting. 

This time, you will not hear a frenetic score by Mozart, not even incidental music by the Beepers, but if you pay close attention, you should detect a game plan or two bubbling near the surface—that's Pacifica's creme de la scheme engaging in the Board's perpetual pingpong game of proposed, distracting redirects. Not participating in that game is CFO Sam Agarwal, a realist among dreamers, sounding a wakeup call that few of those present appear to hear.

The deflating ball of confusion bounces awkwardly towards a pit from which there is no return, no alternate path.

Part 1, Part 2

Monday, June 20, 2016

Ancient Chinese saying: Something not right...


Anyone who listens with modest regularity to the Gary Null Show over WBAI, soon may wonder how true his claims of overwhelming success are. Where does this inventor and purveyor of health supplements, documentary film maker, author, lecturer, radio huckster par exellence, etc. find the time to do all these things?

It does not take ultra perception nor even average intelligence to conclude that Mr. Null has a knack for embroidering facts regarding his entrepreneurial success. Again, the volume of work he boasts of simply could not be accomplished unless one stayed awake around the clock seven days a week, but that would seriously conflict with the healthy living Gary Null encourages and, indeed, personifies. To quote Willie the Bard, "There is something rotten in the state of Denmark"—it's not, I suspect, an aging veggieburger.

Besides broadcasting four days a week on WBAI, Mr. Null has his own on-line radio (Progressive Radio Network) going and, according to him, reaching hundreds of thousands of listeners. He also has a health food store in NYC, a health farm/resort in Florida, and brisk sales of products ranging from high-priced blenders to life-giving powders ("stuff") in a variety of colors.

Given all that, we now have to wonder why Mr. Null is putting up for auction his dining room table and chairs in a declared effort to keep his PRN going.  As forensic scientist, Dr. Henry Lee so famously put it when questioned about police work on the infamous O.J. Simpson case, "Something not right".

There have been signs of problems at PRN—dead air, faulty equipment, an iffy schedule, for example. One also questioned the schedule's inclusion of Kathy Davis as a weekly host—Mr. Null is a man of intelligence, so why would he give regular microphone access to this woman's inane psychobabble? One theory is that Davis serves as his conduit to WBAI's nominal manager, Berthold Reimers, which would indicate that he needs the Pacifica station more than he wants us to know. Frankly, when I heard about the table auction yesterday, I thought it was somebody's idea of a joke, but this link to Null's PRN website proves me wrong. The bidding starts at $499 (why not $500?) and that should be a piddling sum to the multitasking Mr. Null.

The PRN site also contains a link to an exhaustive 91-page report that more than summarizes Gary Null's Pacifica fundraising history. I suggest that you skim through it. 

Here is that lengthy report as updated June 7, 2016.