Saturday, May 24, 2014

Reimers' Random Report: May 23. 2014

Yesterday, during the time slot usually occupied by Harry Allen's "Non Fiction" program, Berthold Reimers popped up with a surprise report to the listeners. Perhaps this had been announced, but I somehow missed it and I assume many of you also did. Frankly, unless you don't want people to hear it, I don't see any sense in airing a live report to the listeners at 2:20 PM on a Friday—especially not when it is the start of a holiday weekend.

So, here is the entire segment. It will be interesting to see what you think of it. Personally, I did not find it as encouraging as Reimers and co.  obviously intended it to be. He is still the rambling fool and the focus is still on getting the listeners to send in more money. Notice his remark—almost an aside—that the current drive is likely to be extended! I think we can bet on it. Again, we hear no mention of improving the station's programming, which, of course, should be a major topic. It never is.


  1. A few random points – and, yes, I mean ‘random’ in the pejorative sense as employed by the youthful age cohort they can’t grasp why they’re unable to reach, but figure more colorful flyers handed out as if for a church event will do the trick:

    The problem, as has long been the case is content – there is essentially no content on WBAI/Pacifica of any interest to anyone other than the present audience.

    Radio is by its nature, and has always been, what is now referred to as a viral medium. If what you’re airing is of interest, some of the people who happen to have come across it will mention it to other people, they’ll listen, they’ll mention it to other people, etc – it’s a cascading process. Advertising and promotion can help kick-start that process, can contribute to it a bit, but it’s essential organic, essentially viral.

    That fact applies even more in the age of the net. Present interesting programming, people will mention it to others on twitter, etc – same process as in the ancient past, but with higher velocity.

    The people presently running the sad little show that is WBAI/Pacifca, however, are true believers in belief structures of very little merit, and of very little interest to anyone other than themselves. As true believers they can’t grasp that simple truth, of course, and double-down, thinking the problem must be promotion. All true believers, whether secular or religious, whether right wing or left wing, do this. They conclude the ‘problem’ is not emphasizing the ‘obvious’ ‘truth’ of their ‘truth’, and in adequately promoting it. None of this is unique to WBAI/Pacifica.

    There is the perhaps particularly left-wing/academic tendency to ‘plan’ and ‘strategize’ and ‘prioritize’ things to death (as if they weren’t dead at conception): ‘Sustainability’ and ‘growth’ plans are presented by individuals, discussed at meetings, then argue, re-discussed, then consolidated, then the point is made that ‘execution’ is vital, so a plan is made to execute the plan, then a plan is made to execute the execution plan, all of which are debated, discussed, and consolidated. Meanwhile, the world spins on….

    There is a particularly academic/intellectual/leftist tendency to think that plans and structures are of infinite importance.

    Not to mention the fact that the ‘plans’ these folks produce, not being very bright, are a combination, a melange, an unholy mix of fairy-tale belief in magical numbers, hopes, dreams, and delusions of consequence.

    There is a reason the notion of Luftmenschen exists, and it’s nicely personified by these folks.

    They’re also rather simple. One thinks of the ‘This one goes to 11!’ bit in Spinal Tap.

    They’re also overwhelmingly mindless political drones. Mindless political drones make for media of no interest to anyone.

    There are also, as always, the clear signs of cluelessness: A local station advisory chair who while stressing the ‘vital’ importance of the transmitter has no clue as to either its actual radius or even its physical location.

    Quite remarkable, really.

    Inconsistent representations as to how much rent is actually still owed the ESB, and no consideration of the overall financial picture – which isn’t perhaps too surprising in that only a few nights ago the CFO indicated that there is a complete loss of financial control – no one actually knows, in any coherent way, who is owed what, and when.

    To listen is to laugh, though the laugh is hollow, and the smile is one of grim contempt.

    ~ ‘indigopirate’

    1. ps: A quick additional 'random' thought: How out of touch to discuss printing (at considerable cost) 200,000 physical flyers, 5x6 ('Just like churches do'), color, back-to-back, and having 1,000 'hard-core' listener-supporters distribute them, suggesting a few preferred programs, and that the flyer-recipients be urged to sample the programs, then consult the station's web-site and its programming grid to find what else they may want to sample. This is urged specifically to appeal to a ‘younger’ audience, who would then, it is hoped, listen on-air or via the webstream.

      Uhm… no.

      This age cohort is phone/tablet centric (is this news? to whom?). One would need an app, simple, elegant, well-organized, appealing, that would make it simple on one’s phone/tablet to browse and listen.

      Could this *possibly* be more obvious? -What on *earth* are physically-distributed church-flyers to do with it?

      Consider, for one thing, that those church-flyers are to be distributed by the already-devoted listeners to their notions of who might find WBAI of interest. A self-selected sample of the same narrow circle of lunatic-leftist-political amateur drones.

      Then, of course, there’s the minor detail that with the very rarest of exceptions there’s nothing broadcast of any interest to anyone not already listening.

      ‘Yes, but this one goes to 11!’


      ~ ‘indigopirate’

    2. Indigo,

      When you allude to the left, exactly to whom are you referring?
      To the faux left of WBAI, Democracy Now, and little rich girl, Katrina Vanden heuvel’s awful Nation magazine? To the clowns on the black left like Smiley and West?

      I read and take seriously Black Agenda Reports which calls itself a magazine on the black left. I think Glenn Ford, Bruce Dixon, and Margaret Kimberly are three of the best journalists around. Counter Punch also has some damn good writers like Danny Weill who writes on the Walmartization of education and Karl Grossman on the insanity of nuclear power, to mention just two of many.

      The concept of class struggle is germane--witness the war on unions and the working class globally. If you think referring to the American Empire is frivolous, listen more carefully to Victoria Nuland and her mistress, Hilary Clinton, or their ludicrous commander in chief. Putin, who has been incessantly characterized as a lunatic--as was Qaddafi and Hussein before him, scare me a lot less than the Clintons, Obama, Kerry, and Brzezinski

      In the twentieth century, more than half of the world’s population believe in Jehovah, Jesus, and Allah as they did in the Dark Ages.
      About two billion people take the Pope seriously.

      Teddy Bear, aka Paul Di Rienzo, and other crypto fascists yearn for a return of serfdom. They may yet get it.

      I can’t stand anyone at WBAI. But please don’t slander the left by identifying WBAI as representing us.

      Comrade TPM

  2. Oh my God.

    That will be all.

  3. Isn't the WBAI I-pad air giveaway an illegal lottery? It seems you have to make a donation to be entered, therefore consideration for a game of chance. Oops. NY AG and FTC violations? And are they complying with FCC rules on contest/giveaway disclosures? Oops.
    $10 K fine and up to a year in jail? Glad I'm not going to prison with a name that sounds like Butthole Reamer.

    1. It is indeed illegal, as conducted by WBAI, but what else is new? It was only one or two fund drives ago that the station offered donating listeners the weekly possibility of winning an Apple iPod Nano or laptop. That one not only broke the FCC rules, it was smoke and mirrors. When Andrea Katz asked Reimers what to do about these advertised lottery prizes, he told her that the station could not afford to buy them!

      With his annual salary of $100,000.00, he could have donated these items himself, but—like so many other things—this scam was swept under the rug.

      It's quite a lumpy rug by now.

  4. The link provided is wrong, but here's the FCC page. Nothing too dramatic, although obviosuly one should award the prize to the winner of the contest.

    Pacifica is a California corporation, so the relevant AG is Californias.

    1. Yeah, this FCC language suggests that a WBAI lottery is fine:

      "Advertisements or information about the following activities, however, are permitted:
      ... lotteries that are authorized or not otherwise prohibited by the state in which they are conducted, are conducted by a not-for-profit or governmental organization, or are conducted as a promotional activity by a by a commercial organization and are clearly occasional and ancillary to the primary business of that organization."

  5. I stand corrected. in Calif. it is AG. In NY
    And How is the Occupy KPFA Airwaves going? Your group likes risking Pacifica's licenses , eh? (Management loss of control of airwaves, I would think).

  6. Indigo, it really doesn't matter whether WBAI hands out fliers like it is 1982 or whether it creates an app. No young people are going to tune in to the station. Why would they? All they would hear is endless begging for money, day after day, week after week, month after month, 2/3 of the year. And if they were lucky enough to tune in during the 1/3 of the year when there isn't a fundraising drive, all they would hear is a bunch of poorly prepared, uninteresting shows, almost every single one of which is hosed by someone over 50, and most of which are hosted by someone over 65. I can't think of anything on WBAI that would appeal to anyone 18-30.

  7. LOL! I just listened to this. My god, how pathetic. Reimers is barely comprehensible. I think at one point he says that "it is our goal to achieve our goals and to look to the future, and we can say that now." WTF?

    Best part was when a woman calls in to praise the station but to complain that she hasn't received premiums that she ordered 8 or 9 months ago. This sets off a wave of stammering and excuse-making by Reimers, who assures her that he has a whole team of people working on it. Nevertheless, he tells her to stay on the line and leave her number and someone will get back to her "maybe on Monday." I guess his crack team couldn't get the damned item in an envelope and out the door to her that day; instead, they need 3 days just to maybe check back in with her about what she is waiting for.. Why it takes 9 months, a team of people, a premium manager, a separate office, and a hotline just to get some books and DVDs into the mail to a few thousand people is beyond me.

    1. What Reimers is saying is that the old days are behind us and the time has come when we should no longer kick the ball past the goal. People want to see it hit the net—he wants to see them increase it.

      And when that lady expressed a desire to find her purchased "thank-you gift" at her doorstep, Berthold simply went to pieces—he could barely utter a word that wasn't shredded by his fragile emotions. He knew that it would take at least 72 hours for him to collect himself and convince his team of its worthiness, but that's how it goes when you get a glimpse of the real world and realize that you might form a part of it.

      I am told that the voodoo ceremonies have been curtailed as Pacifica takes on the look of crumbled Presidential Palace and the tattered "GM for Life" banners snap into the Brooklyn night. Berthold firmly believes that the program is the premium, regardless of what you think you may have paid for. He may be right—how can you put a price on the Mimi monologues, the Kathy vibes, the Savage elevator music, or Michael Gee-whiz? You can't stuff that into an envelope as readily as you can fill your pockets with green presidential portraits.

    2. I'm reading through the commentaries and realizing that I'm probably one of thousands of listeners not to have received SEVERAL outstanding premiums dating back to February/March of 2013. Would it make a difference if I simply went to 388 Atlantic Avenue to pick them up?

    3. You can try that, but I would give them a call in advance (at 347-274-8144) and first see if they won't do the right thing and mail the products to you—after all, they have already charged you a shipping fee. This whole "premium" operation is a study in neglect and disorganization.

      Good luck!