Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Back Rent Blues

Two current members of the WBAI Local Station Board sent a request to the elusive Berthold Reimers. They wanted to know what the money situation really is and where WBAI stands as the deadline nears. Here is their request and Reimers' answer. It doesn't look good, which is probably why the request for facts did not come from Frank LeFever or another of his apologists.

Dear Berthold,

Following are some questions from Sharonne Salaam and me about the station's operations and fiscal condition to which we would like written responses before or at tomorrow's Local Station Board meeting:

1. For each day since the targeted transmitter fund has been set up, how much had been pledged and contributed online, by phone and by mail to the transmitter fund and how much to premiums, favorite show, and other? Overall, how close is the station toward its transmitter goal?
Transmitter $148,360.00

2. Has the restricted transmitter bank account been set up? If so, as of what date and at what institution? Who has access to the account? In what way and how frequently will the LSB be kept informed of income to and spending from that account?
Yes. The iED did set it up but I have not had the information I need. The LSB will have to manage the account because as I said, it is too much work and it did not make any sense for me to set up another account.

3. Pacifica’s Interim Executive Director Summer Reese said on the air that $500K must be raised by the end of the month. What specific expenses are included in the $240K that has been added to the known transmitter arrears of $200K, $10K as 1 of 5 installments for March rent, plus the $50K in April rent that is being advertised as necessary by March 31, 2013?
November to April antenna - $300,000.00; $50,000.00 Silverstein; $100,000.00 payroll by March 31, 2013. + miscellaneous

4. How far short did the February pledge drive fall from its goal (prior to its extension and the inauguration of the Transmitter Fund)?
$408,411.15 instead of $850,000.00

5. Aside from the Empire State rent, what are the current monthly costs of payroll, City College rent, phones, and other operating expenses?
Payroll $100,000.00 per month; City College $5,000.00 per month; phones? ??

6. Where does WBAI currently stand in income/expenses as per the adopted budget for this fiscal year?
No time to do that analysis yet. National Office is working on cleaning up the general ledger so they can generate and help us generate reports.

7. What is the required payment schedule for rent at Empire State for the rest of this year? When does the next rent increase take effect and how much will it be?
$250,0000.00 by March 31, 2013 and $50,000.00 timely for the next 6 months (As you were told at last meeting, contract not yet finalized)

8. How much is owed in back rent to Silverstein for the former studio at 120 Wall Street, and what is the required schedule for repayment?

9. As of February 28, how much does WBAI owe to its other creditors?
No idea now. Since hurricane Sandy we have not kept up payments of our bills. However, I do not think it is more than $200,000.00. We have paid most of the Premiums we acquired. We have some outstanding premiums because of our situation.

10. How much is WBAI paying for the Call Center to take listener pledges/payments? Is this a union operation? Do any members of WBAI staff or LSB or their relatives have ownership or control of this business?
We paid $11,000.00 for the drive and we will have to pay per the minutes of calls. Yes, as we mentioned before, it is a union shop.

11, Broken down by fiscal year, what is currently owed to the Pacifica National Office? Be sure to include all amounts even if payment was not required in the recent budgets.
Not available yet. See previous response.

12. When will management provide the LSB with the long-requested balance sheets which would show financial position as of each statement date?
When management has a general ledger cleaned up – see response above.

13. Why has Verizon been unable to redirect calls made to the 212-209-XXXX administrative phone numbers or even set up a message that advises callers that there is a problem with the line and offers an alternative number?
I am copying my interim Operation Director

14. Why has management not arranged for on-air notices to listeners of the 347 number for members without email access to make contact about premiums, payments or change of addresses, etc.?
Because management is busting its derriere and has no time to think of and process every little detail that LSB members look for to make a point

15. What are the plans to raise money off air?
Management is looking forward to hear the ideas from LSB and producers that have been presented lately.

William Heerwagen and Sharonne Salaam


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