"Hello, everyone..." In case you missed the February 27th Gary Null Show, or its encore this morning, you might be interested in hearing the following excerpt.
BTW - The bad cut in the intro is not mine.
Dear all, I would like to keep you informed regarding plans for the next 4 weeks of Fund Drive. Because of the time restraint, we have not solidified the schedule for next week but we have accommodated a few shows based on circumstances. However, I can't promise to accommodate all. You will receive an e-mail from me this Sunday as I meet with staff members to finalize the schedule for next week. There will no doubt be lots of re-broadcast. Christine Blosdale will be in New York to help with the pitching for one week.
Pre-emptions during this coming month do not necessarily affect programming decisions after the drive. I will call all producers affected and I will try to set up a meeting immediately after the drive at City College. During this drive, we have to make the equivalent of at least $20,000.00 per day for 25 to 30 days in order to honor our severance obligations and to catch up on all our bills (excluding back debts to the National Office) for Central Services. These past two weeks we have increased our BAI Buddy by about $1,500.00 which is a great step towards eventually reducing on-air Fund Drive. Thanks, Berthold Reimers General Manager
Didn't we tell you? —Chris
Good morning, listeners. This is Berthold Reimers, General Manager of your station. I am here with you this morning to report on the situation at WBAI. There are lots of rumors afloat, and many people are understandably confused about what’s true and what’s not. The first thing that needs to be clarified is the question of the LMAs, or Lease Management Agreements by which WBAI would be handed over to an outside programmer. On Sunday, our former Program Director told a reporter that if the situation were not turned around in “just a couple days,” Pacifica would sell the license for the station or lease its airwaves.” That is absolutely not true. In fact, the Pacifica National Board this past weekend voted to put off any consideration of LMAs for 60 days in order to give WBAI time to work out a realistic alternative. Second, it has been repeated on air numerous times these past two weeks that we could not offer premiums because we could not afford to buy them. The former Program Director also told a reporter this week that the reason we had to conduct a fund-drive without premiums is that we have none. That is not true. WBAI and Pacifica have a deep reservoir of fabulous programs on CD. We also have a substantial inventory of books and DVDs. And starting next week we will return to pitching premiums. Even NPR does not conduct fund-drives without premiums. Members of the WBAI community don’t agree about much, but there is ONE THING we all agree on: everybody wants to move away from so much on-air fundraising. Diversifying revenue streams is a high priority, and there is a team working on a plan to increase the share of funds raised online, in the community, and via traditional non-profit strategies. The plan includes a carefully timed transition, steadily reducing on-air fund-drives as the new revenue sources emerge and stabilize. It is just common sense that we cannot jettison overnight a method that has kept us alive for the past 60 years. And that is what we did this month. It was a big mistake. In fact, we are now in much bigger trouble than we were two weeks ago. As most of you are aware, neither WBAI nor Pacifica has a cash reserve. Pacifica can no longer bail us out when we are short of cash. So we need to raise money fast. The good news is that with a successful fund-drive, we can definitely break even during the current quarter. Our monthly expenses are down to about $125,000, half what they were a year ago. In fact we nearly broke even during the last three months of 2013 in terms of operating expenses. But we still had debt: for120 Wall Street, moving expenses, and we had to pay back money we had borrowed from WPFW. We have left only one significant external debt, and that is the severance pay. It is a big problem because even if we dedicate the entire Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant to it, we still need an additional $90,000 to pay the full severance. But think about it: IF this fund-drive is successful, we may for the first time in a long time make it through a quarter without depending on Pacifica to bail us out. AND we will have no external debt! Of course we need to do much more than break even. But breaking even is important: it will stabilize us and give all of us new hope. The last two weeks have set us back, and we need to catch up quickly. But we have the possibility, with this fund-drive, of turning a corner. After a very long fifteen months since Superstorm Sandy, we are close to getting back on an even keel. BUT ONLY IF THIS FUND-DRIVE IS SUCCESSFUL. You the listeners are the ones who have made it possible for WBAI to survive all the turmoil over these past fifteen months: · losing our offices and studio; · moving to new locations; · producing radio with makeshift studios; · trying out several new program directors. It has been one helluva year. But all along, we have been getting closer to financial stability AND deeper community. The Community Advisory Board has been working for months on a plan to diversify revenue streams and will be implementing it in the coming weeks. We have more volunteers taking up the slack, dedicating countless hours to getting out premiums faster than ever before. And we are creating new partnerships and alliances. For example, we are working on an arrangement with the Brecht Forum where we will record some of their outstanding programs to share with our listeners. We CAN turn a corner if you the listeners will stand by us once again. Our expenses are much more realistic now, but our position is still precarious. Please, we have come a long way, but we still must get over this final hurdle. Berthold Reimers General Manager WBAI 99.5 FM Radio 120 Wall Street - 10th Floor New York, NY 10005 (212) 209-2820
Dear WBAI Family, I have a few announcements to make: First, Bob Hennelly is no longer a member of WBAI management's team. Second, as most of you no doubt have observed, the Winter Fund-Drive has been disastrous so far. The experiment launched on Monday, "The program is the premium," is simply not working. This concept does not work for NPR, and it it dd not work for us. Of course, we all want to get away from WBAI's undue reliance on premiums. Diversifying revenue streams is a high priority, and thee is a team working on a plan to increase the share of funds raised online, in the community, and via traditional non-profit strategies. This plan necessarily includes a carefully timed transition, steadily reducing on-air fund-drives as the new revenue sources emerge and stabilize. We cannot jut jettison overnight the method that kept us alive for the past 20 years. And that is what we did these past 2 weeks. We are resilient, however. Starting next week, on Monday, February 17, we will return to pitching premiums. I assuming that you are not ready to pitch a premium since management did not ask you to prepare for this. Therefore all programs for next week are pre-empted pending my speaking with each producer. I want to give you enough time to prepare a premium that you can pitch starting the week after next, beginning Monday, February 24. Of course, all producers who already have a premium are welcome to do so (please call me). Also, I ant to encourage producers to consider pitching to their listeners in-house premiums (ones we don't have to buy) that are offered by other producers. Perhaps, your listeners might like something a bit different? (Contrary to rumor, I DO welcome experimentation.) Please e-mail me before you register or send premiums to Andrea Katz. What are you going to say to your listeners next week? Share with them, please, my message here to you. Let them know that the last two weeks were an experiment that set us back, and that we need to catch up quickly. But also let them know that we have the possibility, with this drive of turning the corner. IF this fund-drive is successful, we may for the first time in a long time be very close to making it through a quarter without depending on Pacifica to bail us out. Let our listeners know that, after a very long fifteen months since Superstorm Sandy, we are close to getting back on an even keel. BUT ONLY IF THIS FUND-DRIVE IS SUCCESSFUL. We need to do much more than break even, BUT breaking even is important: it will stabilize us and give all of us new hope. THAT is the message to share with your listeners. Remind your listeners that they are the ones who have made it possible for WBAI to survive all the turmoil over these past fifteen months: losing our offices and studio; moving to new locations;n producing radio with makeshift studios; trying out several new program directors. It has been one helluva year. But all along, we have been getting closer to financial stability AND deeper community. We have more volunteers taking up the slack, dedicating countless hours to getting out premiums faster than ever before And we also have many more New Yorkers, not that involved in the past, who are merging to help us. We CAN tun the corner if our listeners will understand that. Third and finally, the recent drastic program changes are reversed. We are going back to the programming grid from three weeks ago. Finally, I welcome your calls. I know that all of this change must be disconcerting. There are hundreds of you, however. Please give me time to get back to you. Of course, you could come visit me in our Brooklyn offices. But if you cannot make the trip, I WILL get back to you. Thanks, Berthold WBAI Radio 99.5 FM Gene Manager