Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Eavesdropping...

NOTE: The next Pacifica National Board meeting will take place on Thursday, February 20, at 8:30 PM. You can listen to the stream at http://kpftx.org.

14 comments:

  1. And I’m sure they got a license to hold a raffle per either New York or California law, right?

    Consideration, chance= raffle=gambling.

    Whether you can promote raffles on the air is an FCC question if they aren’t legal. Wait , maybe if there is no prize, then it’s not a raffle??

    Whoever said clusterfuck had it right....

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    1. If there is no prize, it is indeed not a raffle, just a scam. How many would not have sent the station money if they knew the carrot was made of styrofoam? The whole thing was handled in a highly unorthodox manner. The prize was never described (color, model, capacity, etc.) and some of the hosts who pitched had to ask on the air what an iPod Nano is; the drawing was not intended to be public, and when the first Nano winner was not announced as advertised, a giggly excuse was given by Hennelly and Haskins (as I recall), and listeners were told that there just wasn’t enough time, so the announcement would be made “tomorrow.”

      Tomorrow never came, because—as we now learn—the prizes had not been purchased, "We have no money to by (sic) the ipad yet,” Reimers told Andrea. "We have to wait until the drive picks up.” He’s talking about the iPad! That was to have been awarded in an earlier drive—they have since, in their fantasy, moved on to a Mac laptop and weekly iPod Nanos. That they have already collected money for these raffle objects compounds the fraud.

      Does anybody think that the overdue severance money will be paid? Mitchel Cohen thinks WBAI is “climbing out of the financial doldrums” and just five days ago, Reimers said, "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.”

      Mitchel and Reimers have no real basis for their optimism.

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    2. Why do you believe that this is Berthold's baby? I'm not sure, but it smacks of Andrea Katz's aesthetic (or lack thereof), and Berthold telling her, finally, "No. Can't do that." But I'm not sure. I'll check with Berthold. You do jump to many conclusions that are not warranted.

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    3. Mitchel, I think reading the two messages clearly shows that Andrea Katz is turning to Berthold Reimers with her concerned over a possible legal problem. Unfortunately, it is the legal aspect of WBAI's failure to uphold its end of the raffle that worries Katz rather than the fact that the station is playing a con game on its listener-supporters. I see that as reflecting an entrenched attitude of disrespect for WBAI's listeners—an attitude Reimers conduct exemplifies.

      Berthold Reimers is the station's GM—the buck stops at his desk. If he did not authorize these raffles, he does not have his hands on the reins. If he did give the go-ahead, he is guilty of making an irresponsible decision. So, either way, the problem is not one Reimers can duck. Katz's √¶sthetics obviously need work, but here—for whatever reason—she demonstrates a moment of reasoned thinking, and turns to Reimers.

      I suspect that your becoming an apologist for Reimers is part of a strategy—as long as he holds that job (and you have lobbied Pacifica to prevent his firing from being carried out), the possibility of WBAI hiring a skillful manager is avoided. Skillful management would not tolerate the abuse that opportunists and inept programmers have heaped upon the station for several decades. Skillful, truly concerned management would clean the slate.

      Yes, this raffle situation may have been someone else's idea, but it is Berhold's "baby."

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  2. I was driving to work the other day and heard Haskins talking about a three hour premium on lynchings in the USA. I switched to WNYC. How many times can they mention Joy De Grue and harangue the listener to support them or else no more broadcasts from some guy on death row? Their core audience seems to be the civil rights activists from two generations ago. The core programming seems to be self-indulgent broadcasting aimed at them combined with upsetting news, when they are approached for donations to support BAI.

    I heard something interesting today, before I shut off the station. There are six potential claims to lease the transmitter. I have a feeling that BAI local management team got the go ahead to do what they have always done in an attempt to raise enough money to save the station. Phillips and Hennelly were imposed on the local managers by Pacifica and it was I Reimer's vested interest that they fail. I think that Summer Reese hired Hennelly.

    It now seems that Pacifica tried to make the programming more mainstream, while Reimers and his cronies are pushing for status quo. .At any rate, when the old programming returned on the air, the guy who broadcasts Non-Fiction seems alarmed and scared, Heard the beginnings of the Null show. He was droning on as if someone held a gun to his head. I guess there will be no expose on his part. What does Reimers and his team have over Pacifica?

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    1. I thought Gary Null's show today was very good. Lots of good health advice.
      As to the Sojourner Truth show's pitching of Joy LeGrue (sp?), she brought in around $5,000 for those 2 hours, so I guess quite a few listeners disagree with you. That was one of the show's that Hennelly had removed, and I fought to get it back on.

      Mitchel

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  3. Michael,

    I am glad that the core audience supports you, they might even pay your bills. Sojourner truth sounded like a 1930's political radical screaming on a street corner, when she was pitching for BAI, I turned BAI off. Problem is, I heard the message time and time again, there was no new content. This is COMFORT BROADCASTING for your core audience. There is a problem with it though: You are likely losing younger audience of black listeners and the demographics of your listeners don't expand. With Joy LeGrue broadcasting you are in a very similar position as was Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the guy who wrote the GULAG Archipelago. Stalinist oppression and the slavery of the Soviet labor camps were all the rage in the USSR and among expats in the 1970's, Glastnost came in 1985, USSR passed on in 1992, the country became unrecognizable. In the early 2000's, shortly after taking charge, Putin brought Solzhenitsyn back to Russia, to be the "Conscience of Russia" during the post-soviet period. Despite the active backing of the Russian state-backed media resources, which put the Russia's equivalent of BAI archives on the Internet for all to see and hear for FREE (we talking bigger size than BBC, never mind Pacifica), Solzhenitsyn was a flop. The reprints of his books did not sell, when he made the rounds of the talk shows, Russian people merely shrugged - this is a different era, we are not sure how he is relevant today.

    The same can be said about the type of broadcasting that you promote. It excludes listeners by its parochialism, and with its constant repetition of the same simple message, it borders on propaganda. BAI/Pacifica is supposed to be a progressive and educational organization, and instead you have adopted a very basic, exploitative model of broadcasting, where you sell the programming to the listener directly and make the shows compete with each other in terms of money they raise. You are doomed to fail, as your audience shrinks. The quality of your broadcasting has been lower and become less and less informative since when I first started listening to it.

    I am not a black American, and yet I knew a lot of black history that you broadcast before I heard it on your radio, because I read a lot and make an effort to stay informed. I read more about Martin Luther King Assassination, than Earl Caldwell has broadcast on his show, for instance, a while back, I came across the allegations that there was involvement by the elements of the US Army intelligence in the MLK assassination. The evidence was credible enough to convince an American jury in Court, and yet, I heard nothing on BAI on the subject, for all its fringe broadcasting and paranoid conspiracy theories. I never heard Earl Caldwell talk about it. You broadcasters wouldn't be afraid to talk about it, so it must be that they are uniformed. Face it, Mitchel, NPR is doing better job than you guys.

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  4. Well here we go again! I actual had a good feeling about Hennely. I raelly didn’t know anything about this Hennely before he came on but under his guidance things seemed to be moving in a better, if not completely right, way. No more infomercials, no more Blosdale and best of all no more Null, plus, in my case, Hennely’s labor ties and background were a big plus. In fact the only thing that held me back from contributing was the nagging thought that I might be throwing good money after bad. Well, if wishes were horses as they say, Hennley was dumped like Phillips before him, Blosdale, Null and the infomercials are back and sure enough one of the first things I heard after Hennely’s demise was somebody plugging some premium concerning the miracle cancer cures that, of course, the “medical establishment” doesn’t want us to know about. Who knows maybe there is a big audience for quack medicine, spiritualism and conspiracy theories but that audience does not include me. Anyway, it seems to me a weak defense to say that these things have to be tolerated because they make money. In that case why not put on Rev. Ike or whoever is the current bible thumping millionaire.
    On another note I have seen a few comments here about Marksman. In my opinion the stations downward spiral really begin with his unfortunate early demise. There was just nobody else of that stature to carry on in his absence. I don’t make any claim to know what Marksman thought but I do know that he seemed to be able to keep the quacks and loonies, who were around even back then, under control.

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    1. I share your dismay/disgust regarding the predictable return to an attitude that has in very large measure helped to propel WBAI along its downward course. You describe as a "weak defense" the notion that "things have to be tolerated because they make money." That is an unhealthy attitude on the part of WBAI, one that inherently also says, "to hell with the listener!"

      People who pay the station's outrageous prices for bogus "cures", doomsday DVDs, and irresponsible biased rhetoric are not people who come to WBAI in search of unvarnished reportage and intelligent enlightenment—they do not make up the kind of loyal audience that once upon a time kept the station on the air. Inferior, dishonest programming has over the years dumbed down the listenership, reducing it to a nomadic few.

      Management remains clueless even when the problem is spelled out to it in flashing red neon. They were not drawn to WBAI by Lewis Hill's ageless principles, but by an opportunity to feed heir vanity or wallet.

      Besides listeners like you, their misguided motives make victims of the few hosts/producers who—even in the hostile atmosphere of WBAI—still manage to deliver good, honest alternative radio.

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  5. KPFK programming is higher quality than BAI's. I chanced to hear Haskins on is own. He was counting donations coming in on the phone lines. His normal tone of voice is obsequious to Null, Hennelly or whoever shares the mike with him. When Haskins was talking to himself, he sounded unusually smug and self-satisfied as he was checking out the donations coming in. Lie a cat watching a caged canary. Unpleasant and disconcerting. I get my tax return, I will send $250.00 to NYC/NPR. Premium not necessary. Programming is the premium. BTW, NYC has a show called the Union Hour. I caught it by a chance, they were discussing the consequences of raising the minimum wage to $10.10. The discussion involved two guests, one pro and one con, one was irritating me, and then I realized that they were doing a balanced coverage, and I appreciated it. Why is it that I never seen BAI/Pacifica do a balanced coverage of any issue?

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    1. They only want you to hear one side, their own. They don't seem to realize that preaching to the choir is meaningless, but you will hear them go after Fox for being one-sided.

      I find Haskins to be embarrassing. So was Null today—he not only came back, but he did so playing the game according to Reimers' rules. He obviously needs WBAI for his business (and ego) and it is clear that his ability to raise money more or less gives him carte blanche, so one has to ask why he does not use that power to demand changes in programming. He often suggests that WBAI's schedule needs serious revision, yet he accepts the status quo. Null is slicker, more glib that the other quacks and loonies, but he is just as revolting.

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    2. Haskins is a product of the late Valerie Van Isler and the late Dred Scott Keyes - they brought him to the station because they knew he was flawed. Samori was not pleased with him or Robert Knight, but Samori had a stroke and was not able to function for months before he died

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    3. Dred Scott Keyes, who—I believe—used to be Jesse—is very much still around. He is a good producer, but I gather that he is not very well liked. His knee was apparently one of the many puppet Haskins has occupied over the years.

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