Thursday, March 23, 2017

Report from iED Crosier

If you scroll to the bottom of this page, you will find a link to the unexpurgated, unlistenable meeting that took place this evening.

Interim Executive Director Report to the PNB

Last week, I visited WBAI and WPFW, after having gone to KPFA, the National Office, and KPFK a few weeks ago.

It was very helpful to me to meet with management, other staff, and many LSB members plus other volunteers, and to hear their suggestions and concerns. I won't have time to reply to each person individually but I do appreciate all the information people shared with me.

Some of the reasons I made these visits was to see what people felt were problem areas at each station and what might be done about them, as well as to learn what is going well and what each station is doing that might be shared with other stations.  I have not finished writing up all my notes in a digestible form but will be doing that and sharing with management at each station.

Another reason for my visits was to emphasize to management at each station the urgency of the requests from the Registry of Charitable Trusts (an office of the California's Attorney General), and how we can help each other comply with those requests.  As I've told you previously, those include getting current audits, replenishing restricted funds that were used for other purposes (and/or getting permission from the donors to use the money for other purposes), and developing a financial stabilization plan that includes getting each station to sustainability.

With input from management of our stations, Sam Agarwal and I have prepared a draft Financial Stabilization Plan for Pacifica. I have shared the draft with all the GMs, and asked for additional input from them regarding specifics for their stations. Sam and I will be having conference calls with them individually, over the next few days. The draft will be revised after that and shared again with them and all of the PNB next week, then the final version will be sent to the Registry of Charitable Trusts before the end of March, which is the deadline they gave us. Of course, I will also be following up with management of each station afterwards, to see if there are problems implementing provisions of the plan, and to provide help where needed.

I have asked all of the managers to help each other, too, and one of the encouraging things I'm seeing is a wonderful sense of teamwork. This was exhibited in the Mar. 2 one-day special fund drive, which was organized in a very short amount of time but yet raised a quarter of a million dollars for the audits and audit-related compliance matters (which will include hiring a few additional staff to help with preparations for the audits).

Another encouraging item is that at each station I visited, I heard from people who told me there are many Pacifica supporters out there who will donate more if they know we have a viable plan to ensure that Pacifica and our stations survive and grow in order to better fulfill the Pacifica mission. In addition, it's very clear that supporters of each station want their station to be successful and will do more to make sure that happens. Of course, all that is exactly what I want, too, and what we are working towards.

Several stations are doing much better than last year with their fund drives, and staff morale at KPFK has greatly improved, so I'm encouraged by all of that, too.

Regarding audits, last week Grant Lam, our auditor with Armanino, told Sam and me that Armanino has decided not to do any more audits for Pacifica, citing problems getting information needed for the audits, among other matters. We told him we are determined to correct the problems related to getting all information needed before the next audit is started, but Mr. Lam said that Armanino had already decided not to do our next audit. He did say he would help with transition to a new auditor, though. Sam and I have already started a search for a new auditor in order to help minimize delays in getting the FY2015 audit started, but I also hope that the PNB and our LSBs can get the 2017 Audit Committee constituted and operational soon so they can be involved in this process. For the last several meetings, the PNB has not been able to elect (or begin election) of Directors to the national committees, including the Audit committee. I'm hoping that in the meeting tonight, the PNB can get business done, including those elections, so we can get the Audit Committee and other committees going for 2017.

In the meantime, I've stressed to each GM the importance of making sure their financial records are in order, with receipts for all expenses and details for each revenue item available to the National Office. Difficulty getting this information was one of the main reasons why the last two audits cost so much and took so much longer than any previous Pacifica audits. The delays in getting the FY2013 and FY2014 audits done (about a year and a half late for each of them) was in turn the main reason why the California AG sent Pacifica the warning letters last year about possible loss of our tax exemption.  So I am determined to do what is needed to make sure we do not have that problem again, and I will make sure each station has all of its accounting and paperwork ready to go in the next few weeks so we can start the FY2015 audit soon, get it completed this summer, and get the FY2016 audit going immediately afterwards.

We are also ensuring that each station complies with all CPB-required reporting. Assuming we get caught up with audits (for both FY2015 and FY2016) by this fall, I'm hoping we can re-qualify for CPB funding and get a substantial part of FY2018 CPB grant funds during our next fiscal year. Although future CPB funds are in jeopardy in Congress, those funds are appropriated two years in advance, so the FY2018 funds should be there and available for qualified stations.

After we provide our Financial Stabilization Plan to the AG, we plan to meet with the AG's representatives in April.

Another item that the AG wants is for us to restore restricted funds that were taken in the last couple of years to pay for other expenses. We are working on that as well, although we do not yet know if we will be able to restore all of those funds by the end of March.

Regarding the Empire State Bldg. lawsuit, while I was in NYC I met with Sam Himmelstein, our pro bono attorney, and discussed options for negotiations with that lawsuit. I asked him to please tell ESB that we cannot pay the full amount for which they are suing us, for unpaid tower rental ($1.3 million plus interest and legal expenses), that we will not be able to pay the (approx.) $2 million that our lease says we should pay for the next 3 years of the tower contract, and that we have to negotiate to get some reasonable agreement with ESB. He said the ESB people are still waiting on current audits to show them our financial condition, and I told him we will be able to provide current details (unaudited, though, of course) on our financial condition in April, after we get the information requested by California's AG and get preparations made for starting the FY2015 audit, as those are very high priorities. 

Then this week Mr. Himmelstein gave me a bit of good news - that ESB's attorney had requested a conference, rather than filing for summary judgement. We don't know yet what they want, but it's likely they want to see the financial documents that I mentioned that we can provide next month in lieu of current audits. Mr. Himmelstein said their request for a conference was a good sign.

Re: the March 2 fund drive for the audits, here's a total of what it has brought in, including some that came in after Mar. 2 (plus a few more pledges that have not yet been paid):
From telephone donations: there were 430 donors totaling $81,495.

For text to donate via Mobile Cause, there have been 199 donors so far, totaling $37,734, although a few more are continuing to trickle in.

There was also $86,000 from the estate of Jim Krivo for the audits, used as challenge matches to encourage other donations, plus another $25K contributed from KPFA.

So all of that totals over $230K and is still growing. Anyone who wants to contribute to the audit fund, and get a 64GB USB drive loaded with 1300 hours of historic audio recordings from Pacifica Radio Archives (if you donate $200 or more), can still do so by texting PACIFICA to 41444.

All of these funds will be used for paying our auditors plus other audit-related expenses such as hiring a few personnel to help get our records in order so the FY2015 and 2016 audits can proceed with minimal delays and extra expense.  The remainder due to Armanino for FY2015 has already been paid, plus one part-time person has been hired to help scan and copy paper records for WPFW. At least one more accountant will be hired for the National Office, and a part time clerical assistant will probably be hired for WBAI to help them with scanning and copying paper records needed for the audits.

Duplication of the 64GB USB drives from PRA was completed this week, and they are being shipped now to those who donated $200 or more.

Staff from all stations participated in an orientation this week on how to use the text-to-donate system for their individual stations' fund drives and in-person local events. If that works anything like the way it did for the March 2 fund drive, we should expect additional donations to come in that way, as it's an easy way to donate and some people prefer texting to making a phone pledge.

I could add more but I need to get this out today. I'll be glad to answer questions in the PNB meeting tonight.  —Bill
Bill Crosier
Interim Executive Director
Pacifica Foundation 
1925 Martin Luther King Jr Way
Berkeley CA 94704-1037


The April 23, 2017 open meeting of the PBS. As expected, it was disrupted throughout by Cerene Roberts and Adriana Casenave, so nothing was really accomplished before they switched over to "Executive" session. —CA

Thursday, March 16, 2017

PNB "Special" meeting: March 16, 2017

Cerene and that Uhuru guy played the race card, inane shouts converged telephonically, Cerene stuck that ever-pointing finger down her cavernous sandpaper-lined throat and spewed her garbage...

Sound frightfully familiar? It should, but hear these grating verbal scribbles for yourselves and don't overdose—just click anywhere along the line.

The following is the exciting play in its split entirety, captured before this august body retired for an "executive" meeting. 

PNB Exercise in futility (Part one)
PNB Exercise in futility (Part 2)

Report to the Listener: March 15, 2017

Yesterday, an almost secret Report to the Listener was aired on WBAI from 4 - 6 PM. The participants were Berthold Reimers, Tony Ryan, Tony Blake, Kathy Davis and a mysterious couple, Louis Songster and Aaron Green, who appeared to have been recruited by Davis and hired by Bates.

Who are they? That's a good question that they answered with convoluted verbosity. When an inquisitive caller wanted to know how much the duo was being paid, her question was totally ignored. She also wondered—as do I—why it was necessary to bring these guys aboard when they obviously had no fresh ideas for restoring WBAI. Let us know what you think.

Other than that, there was not much news dispensed with in the two hours—no preparation by "management" but a great deal of self-praise. Much talk about the success of the drive that was just completed, but here, too, they did not tell it like it is, for example that the healthy sum collected for that $200 voices-from-the-archives stick is for Pacifica, earmarked to pay for the audits that stand between receiving or not receiving the CPB grant.

Here, in two parts, is the complete "Report" as aired live. I have removed musical interludes and corrected audio balance. The caller mentioned above is heard towards the end of Part 2.

WBAI Report to the Listener - Part 1
WBAI Report to the Listener - Part 2

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

LSB Report broadcast-March 13, 2017

Yesterday afternoon, March 13, WBAI aired a 2-hour Local Station Board Report live from its Brooklyn closet. Here is the two parts, which were broadcast consecutively.

I have not made any changes in the statements, discussions or incoming phone calls, but I did remove the music, station promos, and Reggie's reiterations. I also balanced the volume, which would not have been necessary if the station hired more proficient board operators or, at least trained the one who are in place.

I was delighted to hear the LSB's Vice Chair, Michael Ochoa, address a core problem that most insiders skirt around. Here's what he said regarding that:

"Some people associate the word 'community' with ethnic communities, and that's not what I am talking about. I'm talking about geographical communities, people of different political persuasions, people of different artistic backgrounds.

There are 20 million people in this area and the programming needs to reach out to a greater share of those people in the tri-state area......Pacifica's mission is to educate and provide outlets for all communities in this area and to contribute to understanding between all members of the community—therefore, we need a grid that truly reflects this mission."

We are promised that this LSB Report will become a regular monthly feature of the station's schedule—let's hope so. Let's also hope that the two hours be well advertised and devoted to the designated topic, without time wasted on music and commercial-like promos. 

The first part.

With WBAI LSB Officers Bob Young, Michael Ochoa, Rebecca A. Naegele, and R. Paul Martin — moderator: Reggie Johnson.

The second part..
With WBAI LSB Directors Alex Steinberg, Ken Laufer, and Cerene Roberts (Kathy Davis was scheduled but could not make it) — moderator: Reggie Johnson.