Sunday, April 14, 2013

A petition that does not go far enough...

UPDATE: I have added two astute observations/suggestions at the bottom of this post. Chris

The following petition was presented to Berthold Reimers and the assembled staff and volunteers at a staff meeting that took place Thursday, April 11, 20013. It is signed by 39 producer/hosts, but the signatures become most interesting when one notices who didn't  take pen in hand.

That said, I have mixed feelings about this open letter, because the financial crisis is far from solved and it is going to get worse as listeners once again become subjected to endless on-air pitches in the next couple of months. Most listeners have, as we know, already abandoned WBAI, but there are a few left who helped Reimers get past the last hurdle he created with his negligence.  As I have said before, the wolves are still out there and their hunger has not been satisfied, but if Reimers and his cronies  think that the listeners are ready to continue their support, they are in for an unpleasant surprise.

So far, WBAI has been lucky—against all logic, some people continued to send in their money to pay for unearned salaries, sub-standard, stale programs and lightweight pop music. I predict that this will stop and WBAI will become the fatal victim of greed, ego, and general mismanagement. Everybody loses. 

Some of us have tried hard to get Reimers and his group to understand that there is no hope for WBAI's future unless there is a drastic change in what is being broadcast. Reimers finally seems to get the message, but only up to a point—bringing James Irsay back was a good move, but it is also a futile move unless several hours of WBAI's currently scheduled programs are dropped. Not phased out, dropped!

This process should have been started three years ago when Reimers was hired, so it may well be too late now, but every day that these embarrassing programs continue to air brings the station closer to extinction.

Getting back to the open letter. It is signed by many of WBAI's worthy producer/hosts, but I think they make a big mistake by asking that program changes be put on hold until there is a Program Director—the station can't wait, change must come right now. It takes Pacifica forever to hire people to such positions, because all the damn committees and boards get in the way of expediency. It only takes one unpaid transmitter room bill to put the final nail in this Pacifica-made coffin.

The letter should, in my strong opinion, demand the resignation of Reimers and his gang, and an expedited search for a real Program Director. They are out there and the right person can be in place rather quickly if the process is allowed to take place without egos and bureaucracy getting in the way. This can only happen if there is a thorough weeding out of the useless opportunists.

It will not be an easy task, because these people will not go away without a fight. There is already great internal animosity among the staff and volunteers. Thursday, when this letter was presented, Tony Ryan, one of Reimers; flunkies, grabbed it, crumpled it up and threw it against a wall. Had he read it thoroughly, he might have seen that it is more a request for time than for change—it is, ironically, a petition that favors the station's ingrown dross, at least for the time being.

What do you think?

Here is a response addressed to the signatories of that open letter by Sidney Smith (Uncle Sid) and posted to the BlueBoard. Sidney has a wonderful way of cutting through the crap and getting to the core of the matter. That's what he does here:

Well, here we go again.
Putting aside if or not the Manager has authority to do any program changing this action you guys are doing is profoundly unwise.

Comrades we don't own our time slots. You don't I don't we don't. We also don't have a 'birthright' to be on the air. 
I always felt that this notion of entitlement was 'the' core dysfunction around here.You me the whole crowd we own 'nothing' here. It's 'all' in trust.

Hey pretty much everybody on this list is a pal. Some seriously good pals, but I have to disagree with ya on this one.

I don't know what to do to save the station. I don't know what changes should happen. I just know change needs to happen. Serious Radical Sweeping Change!

Change that may not include all of us. Change that may see some, maybe most of us being altered or outright removed.

This turf fight that seems to be brewing I see as a move to keep the local status quo going into eternity. This static comes at the worse possible time as well.

What the hell are we thinking?!
Our programs 'more' important than the actual station it broadcast on?
Folks you do know that WBAI may not make it? A realistic bookie would give us 40% odds tops. You do get that right?
We're 'still' very much in the most critical, and potentially deadly crisis of our entire history.

...and we do this?

We start what could be yet another internal conflict? Yeah I can already hear it..."my show"..."my show"..."my show" ..."democracy procedure"..."who are you to say shit" blah blah...

Angels weep.

Here's a litmus test.
Would you give up your regular slot for the good of the station? If it would help this place live?

Yeah, I love doing my show too. However, does it outweigh the institution? I think we all need to seriously think about and confront this question.

This petition to me is just more of the same 'ol same 'ol of this place. It's how we always react to anyone poking the anthill. I even noticed some of the warring factions are getting together for this.

Nice, swell. At least finally we have something in common. We all want to be on the air forever. Good grief.

I'm on the verge of saying fuck this. Fuck all of it.
Enough enough enough!
Bleep this I'm going home to bed.
                                                      —Uncle Sidney

The following suggestion was posted to the BlueBoard in response to a request from Jim Dingeman that Paul Fischer attend a staff meeting and voice his suggestions for a solution. Mr. Fischer spent five years as WBAI's News Director and about a year at KPFA in that same capacity. He also worked at CBS news for 31 years, and is the producer-host of "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" a series occasionally aired by WBAI.  Mr. Fischer's impressive broadcasting experience gives him insight to Berthold Reimers' incompetence. Here is what he suggests: 

1 comment:

  1. “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.