Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Reimers' Black and Tan Fantasy....

Remember the PNB Finance Committee meeting of November 4th? They sought to decipher the WBAI books, so the author—station GM Berthold Reimers—was there to let it all hang out. Well, sort of... but, to no one's surprise, he came ill prepared to bare anything. He mumbled and stumbled, arousing nothing more than curiosity, so—it's wishes unfulfilled—the Committee requested an encore two weeks hence.

Yesterday, a month before Christmas Eve, Saint Reimers de Port Au Prince, stood before them again. The Fall fundraiser was now over and—it having been aptly named—WBAI Treasurer, R. Paul Martin, was armed with a new set of front office tallies and a few questions.

The next WBAI fundraiser is already around the corner and the visionary Mr. Reimers is importing two West Coast pitchers to do what his own crew apparently can't. He seems blissfully unaware of the fact that the West Coast is having its own pecuniary problems, as KPFK Treasurer José Luis Fuentes indicated to the Audit Committee earlier

Once again, we thank 'indigopirate' for putting Morpheus on hold as he listened and listened and listened into the night before plucking these audio clips.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Trailer trash radio in New York City...

In case you are not among the handful who take in this steady diet of morning racism, here's a distillation of the 6 to 7 am portion of lifetime amateur Michael Haskins' November 23rd slop. This audio concentrate may well be the most embarrassing radio show in the New York City area. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

And down came the spider... (Pacifica Radio in Exile newsletter)

I post this newsletter regularly FYI. Other than formatting and image, the content is unaltered. —CA

System Breakdown 

Berkeley-The Pacifica Foundation, 19 months into a coup by the Siegel/Brazon faction, is starting to project its internal demolition onto on-air operations. In the past two weeks, LA station KPFK's website has collapsed at least three times, once for 4 entire days and the station fell off terrestrial broadcast, the website at went dark, the website at went dark, WBAI-FM aired the Progressive Radio Network's internet stream having misplaced its own programs, and the LA archives failed, storing only 15 of the last 132 hours of programming since 6:00am on Monday November 16th.

The network's financial audit for the year ending 9-30-2014 remains un-started, 14 months after the end of the fiscal year and 5 months after audited financial statements were due to the Registry of Charitable Trusts at the CA Attorney General. As of November 18th, the network's national finance committee was told the following schedules had still not been provided by 4 of the 6 units in order to start the overdue audit:

WBAI: a) Prepaid Expenses; b) Premiums Inventory; c) Accrued Expenses; d) Accrued Rent; e) Tower Rent Expense; and f) Office Rent.

KPFA:   a) Advances to Employees; b) Prepaid Expenses; c) Accrued Expenses Payables; and d) Accrued Vacation.

WPFW: a) Advances to Employees; b) Prepaid Expenses; c) Accrued Expenses Payables; and d) Accrued Vacation.

KPFK:  a) Account reconciliations for Main Checking Account, Restricted Cash, KPFK Video Project, Programming and Saving Accounts b) Prepaid Expenses; c) Advances to Employees; and d) Accrued Expenses.

After the Pacifica National Board voted on October 29th in executive session that a $400,000 bequest to the Pacifica Foundation had been diverted to KPFA's bank account, the Berkeley wing of the Siegel/Brazon faction (Save KPFFA) took to the Internet, newspapers and social media. They went so far as to accuse national board member Janet Kobren of "costing KPFA $400,000" in a widely circulated anonymous hit piece. The piece characterized Kobren's request for documents that supported the claim the gift was a restricted donation as "dirty politics". Local station board member and KPFA staffer Frank Sterling strongly objected to the vicious hit piece here. ED Margy Wilkinson can be heard defending her actions (including a verbal slip-up) here

Pacifica in Exile has made available a limited number of the 60+ pages of documentation available to board members. They demonstrate the will language and the check document mandate an unrestricted bequest to the Pacifica Foundation, and that KPFA's general manager signed estate documents instead of Pacifica's chief financial officer.

Another email exchange can be found here.  In it, dated March 23rd, the CFO, 19 days after his initial attempt to find out the amount of the bequest, is still trying to find out the amount of the check, and is told by KPFA's business manager she had booked it as an accounts receivable to KPFA on February 12th. This is 6 weeks prior to the deposit of the check, 26 days prior to the issuance of the check which is dated March 10th, and 2 weeks prior to the sign off on the distribution by KPFA's general manager as an officer of Pacifica Foundation. It also makes clear the vast amount of time available to instruct the estate attorney in how to write out the payee name for a restricted donation to KPFA as "Pacifica Foundation for the benefit of KPFA" or "Pacifica Foundation doing business as KPFA". The estate attorney made the  payment payable to the entity described in the will language exactly and precisely (Pacifica Foundation Radio) and KPFA staff added a "DBA KPFA" in pen to the name of the payee on the check to enable deposit.

At the time, the KPFA unit was experiencing serious cash flow difficulties and GM McCoy stated that payroll for April 2015 was "dicey".

In the local station board meeting held in Berkeley to discuss the decision about the bequest. Siegel/Brazonite Jose Luis Fuentes tried to frighten KPFA board members and any subscribers/staffers who may have been listening that "they" were going to sell of Pacifica's assets including the Berkeley property that houses KPFA and Pacifica's national office. The problem is that Fuentes himself, two days earlier, had been *insisting* that the national board pursue debt reorganization and the sale of assets. (The whole meeting, including the negative reaction to his proposal from board members in other signal areas, can be heard here).

So by *they*, Fuentes apparently meant *me*.

Fuentes' old boss Dan Siegel and ED Wilkinson set up a new California nonprofit foundation called the KPFA Foundation using Pacifica's 70 year old mission statement to re-house KPFA and Pacifica's assets under their sole control should the Pacifica Foundation file for bankruptcy or sell off assets.

In LA, Background Briefing host Ian Masters, one of the LA station's perennial money makers, declared his intent to take his program independent of KPFK. Masters says he has set up a nonprofit to support the program called the Full Disclosure Media Foundation and called current executive director Lydia Brazon and GM Leslie Radford, who was appointed by Margy Wilkinson, "incompetent ideologues". Masters says he needs to get away from KPFK "before it slides into bankruptcy". In 2013, KPFK had the highest listener support numbers in the five-station network at $2.775 million annually.

Masters mentioned "the deliberate and stated strategy of the "grassroots" faction to purge popular broadcasters off the air." (Grassroots KPFK is the LA wing of the Siegel/Brazon faction that took the board majority in 2014). His theory received evidentiary support from the last local station board meeting when Siegel/Brazonite Chuck Anderson characterized Masters, Uprising host Sonali Kolhatkar, and overnight institution Roy of Hollywood as racists, and suggested "unplugging them," in this snippet caught on Youtube.

In other LA news, GM Radford, who was appointed  by Margy Wilkinson on her last day, announced yet another board crony appointment, setting up local station board member Doug Barnett as the "volunteer operations manager". Barnett's Linked in profile reveals no radio, media or operational experience and the only work experience listed is as a clerk for 28 years. The station's chief engineer flatly declared Barnett was "not qualified" for such a position.

As the biggest labor crisis in Pacifica for fifteen years edges towards arbitration, the Siegel/Brazon leadership is awkwardly attempting to get out from under the 20+ grievances filed against them since Margy Wilkinson appointed community college instructor and board crony Leslie Radford, the manager of the LA station. Unpaid pension deposits that were due June 30, 2014 for the fiscal year ending 9-30-2013 were suddenly mailed to LA SAG-AFTRA members a week ago. The checks, which are no longer tax-shielded for retirement, arrived with no explanation of what they were, no indication if or how much in taxes was taken out, and were sent to just the union employees although the station's non-union employees are also entitled to the payments per California law.

KPFK's bank account was reported to be at $134K on November 16th,  10 days after the end of a fund drive that booked $607K in pledges. External accounts payables were still in excess of $160,000 and about $350,000 was overdue in interdivisional network services payments that are 9 months in default.

The troubled board election process, which has seen duplicate ballots, insecure online voting codes and ballots that have still not come to many a month after being mailed, took another turn when it was announced LA's election supervisor had disappeared a month ago, apparently continuing to receive paychecks. The case of the missing election supervisor was kept concealed, with the disappearance unannounced in reports to the board on the state of the elections. 

If you are a member and have not recieved a ballot, the replacement ballot form can be found here. Pacifica in Exile's candidate endorsements for all the signal areas across the country can be found here.

On November 8th, KPFA's satirical Twit Wit Radio once again hauled out the truth serum. You can listen here.

Pacifica in Exile readers may write to the board at

For readers who may wish to do more, any donor to a California-based not for profit organization like Pacifica may file a complaint to the open file at the Registry of Charitable Trusts at the Office of the CA Attorney General. Pacifica's case number is CT011303. The form and instructions for filing may be downloaded here.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Kicking the can... kicking the gong?

A Cold Open... or A Cold Close?

A concentrate to set the mood.

A coda, a code, or a never-ending epitaph…?

Death agonies have been long-studied – Nelson’s for example, prior to that temporary interment in the rum-barrel of legend.

WBAI’s, and Pacifica’s, are likely to be rather less long-remembered.

A long slow decline. Episodes of ugliness. Refuge in cant, ideology, and racist errancy – above all, refuge in mindlessness and irrelevance.

A bit of delusion in the mix – ‘formal accounting’ v Pacifica’s private realities, largely confined to ‘executive session’ – a child’s chickenshit version of Star Chamber, albeit, unlike Star Chamber, impotent and absent so much as a single star.

A fact or two:

WBAI is out of control and bankrupt.

Pacifica is out of control and bankrupt.

For the senescent spirit of progressive regression, however, facts, as always, as the wider world itself, are beyond comprehension – which lack of comprehension is self-cast as ‘idealism’.

May the heavens forfend… and, indeed, it seems they have, albeit on the same slow schedule as a station manager who spends his time ‘terribly busy’ with his feet up, shoeless at his desk, sipping a beer as he works his outside scam hustles of ‘multi-level financing’.

Of course. Of course.

Pickled long before final pickling, final plucking, as reality slowly, slowly, ever-so-slowly, sets in…

At WBAI, Empire State is owed well-north of $600,000+, mounting fast, $43,000 per month $516,000 per annum fast.

No worries.

A minor fret or two from the chair of the finance committee, shut down swiftly by an executive director sitting in for an executive director who fled the sinking ship after five months replacing in turn however briefly an executive director tossed out in yet another of the endless coups that constitute executive authority at Pacifica.

Ah, Pacifica…

An ideal as so many squandered, shattered, spat and shat upon.

Nothing new, slowly twisting in the winds of reality.

As listenership collapses, financial support collapses…

A dreary death watch if ever there were…

Their own voices speak all-too-clearly if only one listens… but why, really, trouble to lend an ear?

Only morbid curiosity remains.

Only gloom and despair, rancor and spite, spittle and venom.

Nothing else.
~ ‘indigopirate’

With only minor internal editing (extraneous noises, routine roll and vote calls) here is the full relevant session of the November 18 PFC meeting. If you wish to hear the entire session, this is the address to Pacifica Archives, where it rests in one piece.

My thanks to indigopirate for the audio clips and poetic frame. — CA

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Scraping the bottom: November 16th 2015 Candidates Forum.

There may have been more, but I have only caught two, so far. I am talking about Candidates Forums, live Q and A programs designed to give voters a more personal glimpse of individuals seeking to become members of the Local Station Board. These get-to-know-them sessions are not given much attention by WBAI—it's as if they were stuck into the schedule at random. The first one I happened upon was a contentious two hours that included a dramatic entrance by JUCista Cerene Roberts, whose atrocious behavior on previous occasions got her barred from ever putting as much as a toe onto an official WBAI locale, such as the studio. We later found out that permission was granted by Berthold Reimers on orders from KPFK's Lydia Brazon, who Chairs the Pacifica National Board and is sometimes referred to as "the wicked witch of the West."  

This one is a yawn stretched to the extreme, but I thought it ought to be made available, because it is a taste of things to come. You can always spot check to get that imitation KoolAid flavor. The three candidates on this program are, Carl Makower, Pauline Park and Dacio Quintana—the latter two belong to the JUC faction, which has already been warned by Local Election Supervisor Gene A. Johnson that they violated a Pacifica Fair Campaign provision. These people probably mean well, they have a vague idea of what is wrong and why the audience has dropped out, but the solutions they offer don't raise much hope, should they be elected. They seem aware of the poor programming and, being seated in it, they must find the makeshift "studio" arrangement laughable, but they just don't seem to have grasped the core of WBAI's present crisis. Now, more than ever, people want to hear what new candidates propose as a path out of WBAI's worst financial crisis in 55 years, but the proposals they make are not inspiring. With that, I leave you to listen to this forum and hope that you post your comment when you wake up.