Monday, August 5, 2013

Payrolls Beyond Recall

With all the talk about the salaries Berthold Reimers and others at WBAI are/were receiving, and not earning,  the question of old payrolls came up. Here are a couple of examples.  (Click on images to enlarge them)

KPFK 1966

 WBAI 1967


  1. Okay… tossing these numbers for WBAI quickly into a SS and assuming 20hrs/we for the two part-timers @ $2.50 for the first, and $3.00 for the second, I get a total the following numbers:

    Average Salary = $107.66
    Average Annual Salary (52 wks) = $5598.13
    Total Payroll = $2583.75
    Annual Total Payroll = $134,355.00

    The relevant CPI adjustment for 1967>2013 = 6.9911

    Applying that CPI adjustment, then, we get, in 2013 Dollars:

    Average Salary = $752.64
    Average Annual Salary = $39,137.05
    Total Payroll = $18,063.26
    Annual Total Payroll = $939,289.24

    This would indeed seem to suggest very considerable growth in total payroll expenditures from 1967>2013.

    Note: I threw this together quickly, please feel free to correct any errors.

    ~ Indigo Pirate

    1. When I was looking for these lists, I came across a letter written by me wherein I—among other issues—express my concern over Millspaugh having raised the payroll beyond reasonable budget.

  2. I can offer a few fairly objective comparisons with respect to the average salary:

    Circa 1967, WBAI’s average salary is greater than a well-paid clerk on Wall Street (I’m speaking of a well-paid back-office clerk with experience and with significant financial and also management responsibility, not the salary paid to a clerrk/bank teller – and, no, I’m not knocking bank tellers, just pointing out they were and are paid far, far less.)

    Converted to 2013 dollars we can see it’s significantly more than, say, the average salary of a secretary/assistant editor in publishing.

    I don’t begrudge people being paid well for their work. I’m simply noting that you can’t afford what you can’t afford.

    ~ Indigo Pirate

  3. Indigo Pirate’s comment and the other comments on your blog are interesting. One issue that is not stressed is one I’ve raised repeatedly because of having encountered the same problem when I worked as a part time instructor in colleges and universities: dividing employees who do the same work into different tiers—paid and unpaid.
    What this does is create a privileged group of workers that identifies with management and, indeed are in many instances obliged to perform some administrative duties. At places like Temple University—where for a while I was one of five privileged full time employees, there were an equal number of “part timers” whose employment was not guaranteed from semester to semester and who enjoyed no benefits.
    At Community College of Philadelphia and Union College of New Jersey, the situation was even more egregious. At these institutions the full timers were represented by a union, had job security, and benefit packages. The majority of employees—perhaps as many as fifty people at CCP and twenty at UC, enjoyed no benefits and had no guarantee of employment from semester to semester.
    Why should relative newcomers like Esther Armah and Hugh Hamilton ear $600 a week when Peter Bochan, Bob Fass, and Ibrahim Gonzalez were not even given an allowance to cover their travel expenses? Why was the dysfunctional Robert Knight given a salaried position at five p.m. that replaced four popular shows by non-black hosts that had occupied that time site? Race seems to be the principal criterion for determining who gets managerial positions and salaried positions as producers. What qualifies Kathy Davis to be Public Affairs Director or Haskins to be Chief Announcer—whatever the hell that means.
    And how the hell did a vulgar used car salesman like Tony Bates get to be Program Director?
    If we could answer these questions, we will have taken a big step to understanding WBAI’s malaise and demise.


  4. TPM,

    I agree with your comparison to a similar problem in academia. Indeed, there’s been an evolution in academia roughly similar to the evolution of the staffing problem at WBAI. In ancient times there were professors (with their little hierarchies) and there were teaching assistants. It was actually a fairly clear division, with ta’s handling sections which supplemented the professor’s lectures, those ta’s being in very nearly all cases graduate students. Since then, with the enormous expansion of higher education, one of the many problems has been the far-less-than-ideal evolution of this system to one in which a great deal of what had previously been full-time PhD-requisite teaching has now been parceled out to a mix of graduate students and others with full PhD’s unable to find full-time work because much of that work has been divvied up amongst them – the same problem we’ve seen evolve in the economy generally.

    Once again, I emphasize that I’m only spitballing here, and claim no unique insight or expertise – I’m simply offering a few thoughts for what little they may be worth:

    One possibility might be to have a policy where *no one* who has the coveted-and-fought-over precious commodity of air time is to be compensated for that. No one. Period. No exceptions. The moment you allow exceptions they will grow on you and you’ll wind up where you are now in that respect.

    Once again, please don’t hear me wrong: If there were adequate funds to adequately compensate everyone on air with a living wage and benefits that would be a wonderful thing, and I would advocate for it. If, however, you simply don’t have that level of resources the critical thing, I think, is to avoid having favored status for some at the expense of others.

    Core admin/executive functions would have to be compensated, fortunately or unfortunately, but they should be held to truly minimum levels of – I’d guess – no more than perhaps a dozen or thereabouts, and the compensation should be modest.

    You don’t want people making an indefinite career of these things – you just don’t.

    At least not in my opinion.

    ~ Indigo Pirate

  5. TPM and Indigo--You guys beat me to the comparison I was going to make. However, I can extend the comparison to the situation at WBAI/Pacifica: The gap between high-salaried full-time administrators and professors, and between senior professors, junior full-time professors and adjuncts has grown almost exponentially. Graduate student teaching assistants and adjuncts no longer live in genteel poverty: They live in the real thing. And administrators with ever-increasing salaries and pretentious titles very often do little more than to build monuments to themselves rather than to improve the quality of research or education in their institutions.

    Such administrators--like Reimers and other high-level BAI/Pacifica executives--see themselves as CEOs or Vice Presidents (when they would never be considered for such jobs in the "real"world) rather than broadcasters or educators who just happened to move into supervisory positions.

  6. "One possibility might be to have a policy where *no one* who has the coveted-and-fought-over precious commodity of air time is to be compensated for that. No one. Period. No exceptions. The moment you allow exceptions they will grow on you and you’ll wind up where you are now in that respect."

    I agree.

    I once posited that perhaps listeners who donated money could stipulate that 10% of their donation go to their favorite producers, but I guess that opens a whole other can of worms.

    I also agree with your suggestions about management.


  7. Justine and TPM,

    I completely and wholeheartedly agree on all points.

    ~ Indigo Pirate

  8. There's a piece of possible interest on this and other themes at Radio Survivor:

    ~ Indigo Pirate

    1. Thank you, Indigo. The author of that piece, Andrew Leslie Phillips, is currently on "administrative leave," which means that he made Summer Reese and the pathetic Pacifica hierarchy most uncomfortable.

      I have placed the url in the header, at the very top of this blog, because I think it contains much that is important to know about Pacifica's laudable-turned-shameful history.

  9. Very interesting article. Thank you, Indigo Pirate.
    Just sent the link to Ms.Tessa Stuart of THE VILLAGE VOICE who is writing a story about WBAI.