Saturday, January 19, 2019

Yonder faction finagles

The following link will bring you a summary/insight posted by Dr. Stephen Cohen January 18, 2019. I strongly urge you to read it for much that is disturbing and related to WBAI is currently unfolding in the distant corners and crannies of Pacifica.

Here, Dr. Cohen puts his considerable wit aside and takes a good look at the mess incompetence and greed have generated.

How Dr. Cohen sees it.

Here is a pertinent attachment.

And here is the disFaction's amended/expanded letter of complaint as filed with the California AG.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Firstly, as recently available context, consider this:
As recently reported in, KPFA's numbers as to actuals and projected revenue have no relation to realities: Actual revenues are half a million less than reported earlier, and projected revenues proved to be $1.3m optimistic. Current projected operating losses are therefore ~$300,000 pa.

KPFA's treasurer declined to comment.

There is every reason to believe it's as bad or worse throughout Pacifica.

They prefer, after all, to live in their own reality and Just Make Stuff Up.

That's who they are, that's what they do.

Last evening [January 15, 2019] the PNB Strategic Planning Committee met to discuss its perceptions and plans as to Pacifica's Realities. [The above is an excerpt. The full meeting is hiding behind this link.]

They were positive. They were optimistic. They were also even more positive. They were also even more optimistic. Sure sure sure, they acknowledged a few minor challenges but envisioned a Bright Future, with Pacifica Influencing Progressive Politics at the National Level.

(There was of course no mention nor discussion of Pacifica's long-abandoned original principles and goals. These are advocates. They have no interest in that Bourgeois Nonsense. Not for Many Many Many Years.)

There were two principal themes, both translating as All is Well, and All Will Be Even Better:

1) Grace Aaron informed the Planning Committee that there was no need to be concerned with respect to the FJC $3.2m+ loan. As it's secured by real estate, no dysfunction or underperformance can have any negative impact on Pacifica because it's 'secured by real estate' and can therefore simply be rolled over or refinanced. This is of course contrary to some of the actual leaked language from the secret loan agreement, and contrary to some reports we've had, particularly from Jara Handala, with respect to FJC's stated and actual practices.

Thus her recommendations that if Pacifica simply follows Standard Business Practices programming will improve as if in a Left/Progressive version of the Magic of the Marketplace and All Will Be Well & Swell & Just Fine 😺

Ms Aaron's claim to authority re finance and loan considerations and questions is straightforward: She's expert in this area, since her husband was involved in the sub-prime mortgage game.

Yup, you heard me rightly on that one. The sub-prime mortgage game. Predatory lending ending in catastrophe.

Trust Grace Aaron. She knows her stuff. Trust her.

Want a good deal on a bridge or a bridge loan?

2) Maxie III, aka Maxie Maxie Maxie, noted real progress had been made by outsourcing a great deal, perhaps most, of Pacifica's financial accounting and HR needs to NETA. From what we know, this is both true, and a very real positive. Credit where due.

On the other hand, accurate accounting will in no way change Pacifica's actual numbers and actual performance which have continued their long decline (cf above re KPFA), with no credible hint of change with respect to the reality of the overwhelmingly clear trend-lines.

Ah, but there is Very Real Reason for Optimism!

Hope! Positive Thinking! Progressive Positive Thinking!

It's all about Maxie's Push for Best Practices!

If only, you see, Pacifica can be persuaded to structure its programming to mimic that of others, things will be better.

Note that there is no emphasis on Talent. On the contrary, Maxie explicitly despises or at best tolerates the 'ego' of Talent, whether on-air or as producers, their task being to subsume their egos to the overall Greater Whole, the Pacifica Mission!

Try not to get too excited reading those words. It's a true Vision, you see!

Maxie knows that talent needs to know its place. Yes, in his catchy little saying, talent needs to learn that 'We're not trying to feed an ego system, we're trying to contribute to an eco-system.'

Clever isn't it? Reflects the man's insight, understanding, and the foundations of his success over the years.

Then again...

That Vision got him dead-ass-fuck-fired from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters for its clear catastrophic failures and the internal staff chaos associated with his time in charge. Fortunately, after a period of turmoil, new management set things on a successful path forward, abandoning Maxie's as worse than a dead end.

Similarly, it would seem, his two years at WETA, in which he abandoned classical music, replacing it with news and public affairs, was, uh uhm, less than a success. After Maxie 'moved on', Classical replaced his transformational brilliance.

His other achievements are it would seem comparable. That is, nothing to speak of, or clear failure.

Recall, if you will that Pacifica was able to find only a handful of marginally 'qualified' applicants for the ED position, and that the first choice in this stellar field chose to bail after actually listening to a PNB Meeting. Maxie was the second choice.

So Maxie won 🙀

The man does love his management buzzwords, though, you have to give him that. He has quite a stock of them, all effectively meaningless or near-meaningless, as most buzzwords are. His very very favorite, though, is Best Practices.

If he repeats Best Practices often enough, and hopes and plans to copy the successful efforts of people who, unlike himself, actually succeed at the media game, he should Succeed too, right?

It hasn't happened yet, and there's precious little sign this will be the first time, but Hope Springs Eternal.

Hold your breath. Exhale. Then inhale. Then repeat, endlessly... Best Practices. Best Practices. Best Practices. Niche Markets. Data-Driven Insights. Metrics. Niche Markets. Surveys. Analytics. Best Practices... Best Practices... Best Practices... 

You've Got It !!!

Producers don't matter. Talent doesn't matter. Only 'data-driven market focus' matters.

It can, of course, sometimes.

It hasn't, though, not for Maxie, not yet in his career.

Just keep hoping. Just keep believing. Have Faith.

Pacifica will rise from the dead. Soon now. Real soon now. Real real soon now. Very Soon Now.

Believe! Believe!

(Wanna buy a Bridge?)

~ 'indigopirate'

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Pacifica's foundation-wide piggybank mystery

I highly recommend Dick and Sharon's LA Progressive. Published and edited by them, it is a well-informed, literally diverse, insightful and greatly illustrated source of information. Apart from the fact that their scope is, by nature, well beyond Pacifica, their work puts to shame my own shoestring effort, but we are all riding the same train.   

Sharon and Dick
Dick and Sharon welcome literary input as well as they do a widening readership. They can be reached at: 

Included among the wide variety of journalists and thinkers who  regularly contribute to Dick and Sharon's publications is Michael Novick, a seasoned, often contentious Pacifica broadcaster and National Board member. They have distinct but related problems at our other stations as you will see when you read Novick's update on the ongoing (worsening) financial mess. 
LA Progressive article

The following comment and clarification was submitted by Kim Kaufman, a Pacifican with whose love affair with the truth is often in evidence here and elsewhere. Rather than see Kim's response linger offstage, as it were, I bring it up here.

Novick’s concern about financial malfeasance is warranted – but, unfortunately, he has no credibility in making it. A little over three years ago I wrote “KPFK and Pacifica: A Quiet Coup” which L.A. Progressive also published. You can find it here. Novick and his faction was then in the majority and in charge. 

Novick’s group is merely making additional complaints to the AG. The complaints started in 2014 when his faction took control of the national board and KPFK and which caused the AG to open an investigation on Pacifica which is still open. I can assure everyone reading this, the AG is very familiar with the damage done during Novick’s faction’s majority. 

Novick errs in saying the Auditor advised against the loan. The auditor did not weigh in or offer any advice as to procuring the loan. An auditor’s job is to report on the financial state of the organization. Period. 

Several in Novick’s group have the loan documents. Why don’t they release them to the public? 

Novick’s complaints to the AG about Pacifica’s election show a lack of understanding of what they do since the AG website states they do not get involved in internal elections. Of course, Novick’s faction didn’t bother with election violations – they simply didn’t have elections for two years in a row. 

I’m not going to comment on his programming issues except to say I’m totally tired of hearing all these crackpot board members trying to micromanage programming into their own vision – from Novick’s “more radical than thou” version (which totally crashed KPFK’s listener support under the gatekeeping of his chosen GM, Leslie Radford) to Grace Aaron’s Scientology model of “we need celebrities on the air to attract listeners.” 

Lastly, Novick claims to be a “long-time anti-racist and trade union activist.” Novick totally supported the union busting by Radford against KPFK’s SAG-AFTRA union staff when he was Treasurer and on the national board. KPFK lost every claim in arbitration and had to pay a fine for management’s malfeasance, which of course came out of listener support. 

“The way to change institutions is to change the people in positions of influence within them.”—Yves Smith. I have come to the conclusion that both factions are completely inadequate for the task of sitting on the board of Pacifica or its stations. Each side has caused irreversible damage. 

- Kim Kaufman

A CORRECTION - Jan. 19, 2019

I have said many times I have a long history of being right – but occasionally I do make mistakes. When that happens, I promptly acknowledge it. So here goes. This paragraph: 

"Novick errs in saying the Auditor advised against the loan. The auditor did not weigh in or offer any advice as to procuring the loan. An auditor’s job is to report on the financial state of the organization. Period."

is wrong. I was not aware of the auditor’s letter which I have now seen. The auditor not only reported on the state of Pacifica's finances, which is appropriate, but advosed for a solution. 

I agree with everything the auditor appropriately said regarding the financial realities of Pacifica that, among other things, indicated a loan was a poor choice for the board to make. However, his recommendation for the sale or swap of WBAI as the only solution, I find seriously problematic.  

At any rate, I was wrong, I made an incorrect statement and I apologize. 
- Kim

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Call it Auditto Pacifico?

Audit, Audit, Who's Seen The Audit ?
(FY 2017 Edition of the Eternal Audit/Financial Saga of Pacifica)

The Pacifica National Board Finance Committee Meeting, which had been scheduled for Tuesday, 8 January, was Cancelled. Lack of interest or the need to Walk the Cat. Or... Lawsuits Lawsuits Lawsuits & ELECTIONS ELECTIONS ELECTIONS!!!

You know, Truly Important Shit. Fuck money. Fuck Finances.

Pacifica will not Deign to address such Trivia!

Fuck It!

There are lawsuits to file and to fight, bylaws to ignore, regulations to ignore, and Elections to Hold!

Okay... so there was, however, an archived audio of the PNB Audit Committee Meeting from Monday ever-so-graciously and kindly made available to the ever-in-awe-and-often-agape Public (those very very few, that is, aware of Pacifica's existence... somehow or other)

~50% of the materials necessary for the FY2017 Audit are now in hand. ~80% of those materials ought be in hand before beginning the audit process.

The audit process is nonetheless now about to begin, in the hope and expectation that the remaining necessary materials will soon be in hand.

The audit is expected to take ~ three weeks.

It's 'Really been difficult just getting statements.'

Cash accounts have been discovered where nothing had ever been recorded, or reconciled.

Many omissions are material and affect other accounts.

In a number of areas there continues to be resistance from stations/units.

The auditors nonetheless feel they are 'making good progress'.

A number of records, however, 'simply don't exist'.

A number of reports remain unobtainable.

PNB and Finance Committee Minutes are to date available to the auditors only through 25 January 2018.

[There is therefore an absence of such Minutes available to the auditors which would cover the period from Tom Livingston's arrival at Pacifica as iED through the securing/approval of the Loan Package of $3+ million.]

Present hope is for the FY2017 audit to be completed some time in March of this year.

Your mileage may vary,

~ 'indigopirate'

Monday, January 7, 2019

What's it all about, Maxie?

Madness Takes Its Toll, or: 
Maxie Tries Not To Burst Into Flames

The corrosive madness which is Pacifica appears to be having an effect on Maxie Jackson.

'At the end of the day...'

'What is this about...?'

'What is this all about...?'

Well... it's about Pacifica. What it is. What it isn't. Decades ago Samori Marksman said, on the record, that Pacifica 'Isn't what people think it is.'

Though the details, the particulars, have varied over time, that characterization, negative in form, applies to all of Pacifica.

Negative in form.

Negative in effect.

A corrosive cluster of systemic failure, talentless, directionless, snarling and squabbling, struggling to no end.

That, children, is Pacifica's Mission Statement.

~ 'indigopirate'

ps: I've provided a fairly representative bit of 'discussion' preceding Maxie's thoughts and reactions. Here is the longer extract. If you prefer to cut to the core of his thoughts re the madness, which are much shorter, dive in here (at ~19:09)