An unvarnished blog that dips into the past and comments
on the present of WBAI-FM, a once significant, intelligent New York
radio station that for years has suffered chronic abuse from within and now
nears extinction. Your comments are welcomed and will not be censored.
Posted by Bill Crosier 12:57 PM Monday, December 11, 2017
It's time that reasonable people in Pacifica agree to stand up to the bullying, harassment, intimidation, sabotage of meetings, and neglect of fiduciary responsibilities on the part of the PNB and KPFT's LSB. I have personal knowledge of what's going on there, but I'd like to hear from those of you from other stations who may want to talk about similar problems with your LSBs.
Pacifica is facing its biggest crisis ever, caused by years of financial neglect and the failure to get our deficits under control and take effective action to reverse the decline in listeners and members and revenue, so that we can pay our bills and keep Pacifica alive. Our mission is seriously threatened by our financial problems and our failure to get the boards to do what's needed to correct the problems. Management, both nationally and at each station, are trying, but we need help if Pacifica and its mission are going to survive.
Empire State Realty Trust has a judgment against us, our debt to them keeps increasing every month, we have other creditors who may take us to court to get similar judgments (and some already have - those have been for substantial but smaller amounts), we have several years of unfunded pension liabilities, and we have no PNB-approved plan for how to pay for any of this.
Some PNB Directors are trying to help us find a way to pay ESRT, but we can't ignore our other serious financial obligations. Getting a loan may be necessary in the short term, both for paying the ESRT judgment and some of the other immediate financial needs, but we MUST identify a way of paying off the loan. It can't come from regular operations - we don't have the cash flow to do that. We've obtained appraisals of all of our buildings - showing that they are worth less than many had hoped - and it's clear that selling them would not be enough to take care of our financial crisis.
But in spite of all this, and the clear need for our boards to work together to come up with plans to get more listeners and members and donors, and to pay our debts, we are paralyzed by dysfunction on our boards.
In almost every PNB meeting this year, it's taken an hour or more just to get through approval of the agenda and minutes from the last meeting. Some times we can't even do that in an hour and a half. Objections brought up often have nothing to do with the agenda or minutes or whatever else happens to be on the floor. Some Directors repeatedly talk without being recognized, interrupt, and often yell so that their voice is so loud and distorted that no one can understand what anyone is saying. Because of this, it took over two months this spring just to get members chosen for national committees, including the Audit committee which urgently needed to get the auditor chosen (they did). The PNB started using a different conferencing system this year, that allows the chair to mute people who disrupt meetings. He does so only after repeated disruptions and warnings, and he does not eject them from meetings even though Roberts Rules allows this. They are also allowed to vote on all motions. Yet they repeatedly make points of order about using an "illegal" conference system and play the victim role, claiming that their right to disrupt meetings is equivalent to censorship.
In last week's meeting, as in the one before, the PNB never even got to discuss nor vote on any of the proposed Bylaws amendments. Some of those amendments, if approved, would have helped make our LSBs and PNBs less dysfunctional. None of them would discriminate against one faction in favor of another. But it was clear that a very vocal minority of the PNB was determined to not allow those amendments to even be discussed.
The bullying behavior from certain Directors has made PNB meetings this year even worse than in the past. While we have a majority of Directors who do want our financial problems addressed, and who want more functional boards, a determined minority has made that impossible. This is contrary to what our members want, and it's contrary to the interests of Pacifica. It's also a serious failure of fiduciary duty on the part of some of the PNB Directors.
KPFT's LSB has accomplished nothing this year other than raise the level of anger, hate, and frustration to unprecedented levels. I realize some people are unhappy that I replaced the previous interim GM with someone else, but the finances of the station have improved substantially, and KPFT has been paying Central Services and transmitter loan payments every month since August. But even before that, the LSB there was doing little more than frustrating LSB members who wanted to get things done to help the station.
This year, KPFT's LSB has experienced intense levels of bullying, harassment, false accusations, personal attacks, minor incidents turned into major ones, multiple improperly called meetings, and more. One week, KPFT's LSB had three meetings and a Town Hall Meeting in which LSB members were asked to come - all in a period of six days. A number of KPFT LSB members have resigned this year because of the time wasting, lack of accomplishments, and the harassment and intimidation that has occurred during and between meetings. Others have privately told me they had felt physically ill to the point of nausea in some of the meetings, because of the way they were conducted, and because the insults and harassment and efforts of intimidation were encouraged rather than discouraged. One KPFT LSB member who missed two of the improperly-called LSB meetings was removed due to excessive absences, and the LSB chair would not allow me or another LSB member to make motions to excuse his absences, calling our motions "out of order" and "dilatory". Yet the chair asked the LSB to excuse a friend of his (Adriana Casanave), who had missed the same meetings, and they did so.
This is no way to run a so-called democratic governance, and is a great disservice to our members and to the Pacifica mission. Remember, we're supposed to be for peace, right?
I realize some of our board members don't like the results of last year's Delegate elections, but you need to live with that instead of circumventing the clear wishes of the membership - to get our finances under control - by driving off board members you don't like and ignoring the Bylaws, and making it almost impossible to get work done in our board meetings.
I appreciate all of you who have stayed on our boards and who are trying to help at your station and to make our boards work, but I realize it's somewhat like being in an abusive family. I hope you stay on and not let the bullies prevail, as they have too often already.
Let's all stand up to the bullies and concentrate on working to save Pacifica.
Over at Pacifica Radio Waves, the discussion rages on. Opinions and bits of factual information are intermingled and tossed out there to build up or smash dreams and fabrications. Everybody seems to have a solution to the ESB crisis—some are sincere, some not. The Cereneistas are still on the rampage, fiercely determined to place WBAI on the MNN death row while a mixed breeze blows in from the West Coast.
People on both Coasts seem to think that the money so desperately needed can be had by taking out a loan or liquidating assets—a station here, a station there, California buildings, etc. Of course, all this is taking place in the looming shadow of the mighty NY Ape.
Our local businessman, Nullite marketeer, Steve Brown has suggested selling Pacifica property that is worth millions, Mitchel Cohen thinks a loan is the way to go, etc. Mitchel—still levitating above reality—is reluctant to take into account the potentially high added interest required of a shaky borrower, and remember that we are talking about paying off a multi-million dollar debt. Selling property is more realistic, but businessman Steve Brown's assessment is apparently also dusted with a handful of make-believe. A couple of hours ago, Pacifica iED Bill Crosier, who apparently keeps up with the posted to and fros, decided to issue a reality check with the following note addressed to Steve Brown:
Steve, I think you are going by some very over-optimistic assumptions that some people had made about what our buildings are worth.
We've had all of our buildings converted. That building in Berkeley next door to KPFT, which houses the Pacifica National Office and a storage area (which you are correct used to be a Thai restaurant and which is indeed not in good condition) appraised for only $770,000 - not the "millions" that some people had assumed.
The KPFT building, which some of us had also hoped would be worth "millions", appraised at $1.2 million.
Both of the appraisals were based on sales of comparable properties, adjusted for size of the building, etc.
So both of them together are only worth about $2 million. And we can't just turn them out onto the street - it would cost money to relocate KPFT and the National Office (and storage).
We also owe a lot more than $1.8 million already to ESRT. The judgment included that, plus interest and attorney's fees (not determined yet but undoubtedly substantial). And it only covers the time until ESRT filed for summary judgment (in April if I remember correctly). We also owe for the tower lease since May (plus interest on that, too). And the lease payments, which WBAI has paid nothing on since June, go up from about $60K to about $65K next month. The amount we owe them goes up every month. —Bill
Tuesday is here and, as far as I know, the big Credico threat has gone past its shelf time. But here's an email note that was sent about a month ago to Tony Bates and Berthold Reimers by John Pilger.
Mr. Pilger, an accomplished, highly lauded journalist and film maker, is someone WBAI should be happy to have on its air. It is to Randy Credico's credit that he managed to arrange that, but it apparently did not sit well with Tony Bates, who has disgraced even the existing remnant of WBAI with his fund raising scams and disrespect for the listener-sponsors. Whatever we think of Credico—who has done some good work on his show—it is clear that his vengeance binge has gotten the best of him. Still, I am beginning to understand why he is so embittered—he may be out to elbow a path for himself, but I'll take his on air approach over any of the crap Bates delivers with a nod from Reimers.
Bates has made many enemies inside WBAI, but they put up with it because they don't want to be shown the door. Now we see that the utter and deserved disrespect Bates gets also comes from outside people whom the station can ill afford to alienate. Read about Pilger here and check out the note he sent to WBAI's destructive "management":
Last night, Sunday, December 3, 2017, Randy Credico responded to a seemingly endless, typically muddled, finger-pointing back-and-forth on what Pacifica and/or WBAI and/or individual heroes/villains have done, ought to do, or might do.
He did it with another teaser, claiming once again to be a smokin' gun-totin' BAI Bandito. Never one to let an opportunity for attention go by, his ammo is in keeping with the tenor of the day.
Just another puff of smoke? We'll see. Here's da latest from da Randy:
You're all whistling past the grave . both Bates and Reimers are going down for not only corruption and no-show jobs but for sexual harassment... you can all stay in denial but this is happening and the Attorney General New York will be involved in this and I have a Smoking Gun... those at the Pacifica national board who are supporters are well aware of these charges and they are part of the problem these three members need to be kicked off... I will mention their names tomorrow
I don't know what all this has done to Randy Credico's mind, but it seems to have gone astray—at least in the following, which he posted at 12:50am (Friday, Dec. 1, 2017) under the heading PNB allows sexism at WBAI.
In an era are sexual harassment and sexism in the workplace may she media he's being exposed and cleaned up only WBAI remains free from this kind of house cleaning.. every producer is awarr of the rank culture of sexual harassment and sexism at the station... you have to be goes on more to come trust me yes I will right now
Credico is still at it!
The following was added by Credico ay 10:18PM, Saturday, Nov. 2. I have reproduced his text as he posted it:
Sex harrassment charges vs. berthold
Ithis is from a female former employee
This person will be going public in the coming days what will you be doing about it
"I was harassed by berthold by the way..sexual harrassment"