Saturday, May 27, 2017

A game of desperation?

Saturday morning: Jim Dingeman has just posted a confirmation and updated the time. Please note that it is now set for 5 PM on Monday. Or is it?

A post by Alex Steinman on Nalini's listserv is casting some doubt regarding the veracity of the town hall meeting (see below). My source was a post by Jim Dingeman, whose growing frustration with WBAI and Pacifica is ever growing (and understandably so).

Alex Steinberg wrote:
This is a mistake. There is no meeting on Monday. I just confirmed with Bill Crosier and he knows nothing about this meeting.  Alex Steinberg

To which Jim Dingeman replied:

That is inaccurate
I set up this meeting many hours ago and mentioned that it would be a mass meeting

Unlike some 
I have had to for years when head of the cab chair meetings like this

Frankly it would be a positive event

If people have changed their mind
So be it

But there was no mistake
Is the fake news policy of WBAI now spreading to its genuine supporters? I leave it to you to interpret—Remember, Steinberg tends to be snarky and, as noted, Jim is teetering on the edge of exasperation. Will the fat lady sing to an empty house?

Friday, May 26, 2017

Important public meeting at WBAI

There will be a town hall meeting at 3:00 PM on Monday, May 29th. This will offer a rare opportunity to meet Pacifica's Interim Executive Director, Bill Cosier, in person and hear what is being done to get WBAI back on track as a meaningful station that serves the entire N.Y area community. All are welcomed to attend and participate in what promises to be an informative exchange of plans and suggestions.

The event will take place at WBAI Radio, 388 Atlantic Avenue, between Hoyt and Bond Street in downtown Brooklyn.

In the short time Mr. Crosier has held this position, he has made significant strides to repair the damage created by his predecessors—he deserves our support in attempting that well nigh impossible task. 

As I hope this blog has made obvious, my personal desire is to see WBAI regain its dignity and importance. That can not happen as long as the likes of Berthold Reimers, Tony Bates, and other self-serving incompetents continue to call the shots and bring the station down. At this late stage, it may not be possible to win back trusting listener-supporters, but let us at least try. 

Updates from iED Bill Crosier

Here's a summary of some of the things going on around Pacifica. I'll be glad to answer questions about these topics and more during the PNB meeting tonight.

* Empire State Building lawsuit (about unpaid tower rental for WBAI's transmitter) - We (Sam Agarwal, our attorney Sam Himmelstein, his associate Jesse Gribben, and I) met with ESB representatives on Tuesday. As we expected, we will have to wait for them to get back to us with a specific dollar amount they're willing to accept in settlement. The ESB people in the meeting included ESB's President, Chief Controller, Director of Broadcasting, and two attorneys for their side. Their attorneys did most of the talking for them, and they did their job by asking some tough questions but none that were unexpected, and we were prepared for all of the questions and I think we gave good answers. Himmelstein agreed. Sam Agarwal did most of the negotiating because this is basically a financial matter, and he did an excellent job presenting our case and answering financial questions. Besides the legal issues, I pointed out that ESB has not lost money on Pacifica, but in fact has made a lot of money from us, and is now charging over 4 times the market rate for the tower lease. I reminded them that we had kept up with even those payments from when the lease started in 2005 until 2014. I told them it was a mistake for Pacifica to have agreed to a 15 year contract with such large increases each year (7% annual plus an additional Cost of Living Adjustment on top of that). They did not disagree with anything I said about that. ESB's President was silent during almost all of the meeting and had only one question - if we settle, how soon can we pay and how will we come up with the money. So I think it's good that is what his major concern is - clearly they want to settle. But they did not indicate what dollar amount will be acceptable to them. We told them that the PNB had authorized us to look at mortgaging or selling the property in Berkeley next door to KPFA (where the National Office is) and that we are checking into that and expect that will be how we can provide the settlement funds, as all of the stations barely have enough funds for payroll, insurance, and other essential expenses. They asked for some additional information, which I sent them yesterday, and I expect we'll hear back from them in a week or two with a dollar amount they will accept. They did say that whatever amount it is would have to be approved by their Board, and I told them that our PNB would also have to approve whatever sale or mortgage would be required to generate the settlement funds. I'll be glad to answer more questions in the PNB meeting tonight.

* Tapes being sold on eBay - I've been in contact with the person who is selling the historic KPFA tapes on eBay, and he's willing to work something out. He says he has about 4000 analog tapes from KPFA, KPFK, WBAI, and other stations, along with folios, that came from a storage locker. Negotiations are in process. An inspection visit by soe of the California people will take place this weekend.

* National Office funding: All stations are making special contributions this month to the National Office to help pay for part of a backlog of debt that has accumulated over the last few years. We expect to get a total of $100K from the stations, in addition to current Central Services, and this will help a great deal. In addition, another national fund drive day is planned for June to raise funds for the N.O. The theme is tentatively planned to be about George Orwell's book 1984, and will feature readings from the PRA 64GB USB drive - a reading of that entire book by professional actors is on that USB drive.

* Audits: Preparations are almost complete for the FY2015 audit, and we expect to be able to start that next week. I want to thank the Audit Committee for their work in this, incljuding evaluating proposals from audit firms and making a recommendation in their meeting last night.

* SAG-AFTRA filed for arbitration at KPFK because we were not able to provide a schedule acceptable to them for funding the past-due pension payments. None have been made into our profit-sharing style plan since the beginning of 2015 for any of our stations, although the 403B retirement plan is fully funded. I want all stations to catch up with all pension funding, but we need some time to determine how long that will take. I hope this can be worked into the budgets for FY2018 and perhaps some stations can start catching up on those payments this year.


Bill Crosier
Interim Executive Director
Pacifica Foundation
1925 Martin Luther King Jr Way
Berkeley CA 94704-1037

The streamed portion of the PBS Meeting Bill Crosier refers to at the beginning of his update turned out to be yet another gathering of confused gathering of the confused, the disruptive and the disengaged. Let's hope that the closed session that followed accomplished something.Chris

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Playing the Trump card

Note from IED Bill Crosier to the Pacifica National Board.

I met with the GMs and PDs (by conference call) on Monday to discuss how we could collaborate on coverage of Trump-gate hearings, however it progressed, with Russia, Comey, etc. The consensus on Monday was that we should wait until Congress schedules hearings. There was a lot of interest in covering something like that. We'll probably have gavel-to-gavel coverage on and possibly on some stations, but probably each station can choose what parts to broadcast live and what to save or repeat for the daily news or other shows. And we can mix in interviews of people who don't appear on other broadcasters during breaks.

Now that they will have Comey testify, that sounds like something we'll all want to cover.

I'll talk with the GMs and PDs about it next week.

Anyone have a better name for such hearings than "Trump-gate"?


Twelve hour respite

Yesterday, WBAI suddenly went off the air and remained blessedly silent for about twelve hours.. It continued streaming, but a pitifully small listenership was reduced even further by this encore presentation of nothing.

If an explanation or apology was given via the stream, I didn't hear it. Around 3:30 Friday afternoon, it popped back in and we were assaulted by the hysteria of Margaret Prescod, the West Coast fantasist who is known to have spent a couple of months trying to unload a DVD set so rare that she was only able to get 15 copies. Well, this screeching hustler from Pacifica's cadre of repulsive fabulists is still peddling the same set.

Now, after a pause that refreshed, the scam was on again and, finally, an explanation was offered. Well, it came from Tony Bates, the program mismanager whose word is as good as styrofoam dinnerware. Suffering (thriving?) from a severe case of PP (Pacifica Paranoia), he is known to see a convenient dastardly plot in anything that might flicker his spotlight. Have you heard him twist African history? Has he offered you a bottle of the old Double Helix? 

Unable to speak the truth or come up with a plausible reason for WBAI missing 12 hours of fundraising time, Mr. Bates dusted off his finger and pointed it at Verizon. Reimers had used that one before and it seemed to work.

Here, with more holes in it than Bonnie and Clyde's Ford V8, is what Bates wants us to believe:  

Tony Bates "explains", or does he?

Was it :maintenance" or "repair"? Notice on WBAI's web site