Thursday, May 8, 2014

Spring drive 2014: grim end resukts


  1. All's fine as long as Bertie's paychecks keep clearing the bank....

  2. If their figures are correct, the biggest breadwinner is that awful Natalie wit "Dr." Gwen Scott. That's the one they have been running repeatedly, ad nausea, for several marathons. The woman with the traumatic slavery syndrome gimmick may be a close second.

  3. Last I heard was they were three months behind on rent at Empire. At this rate for fundraising what bills can they cover? Maybe bring Empire current, pay for Gary Null premiums, postage to mail. Oh no, that may not leave enough for Bertie's paycheck! And what about Verizon, Atlantic Ave, BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, ConEd, ? Never mind buying premiums, have to pay for Bertie's condo rental in Florida. Wait, I know, let's just have KPFA and KPFK send us all their money.

    1. This is the slo-mo dawn of reality, Some of them will now admit that the situation is "dire," but Reimers still hasn't built up the courage to face the listeners. He will undoubtedly alter the ratio between programs and commercials, in favor of the latter, and press that "anything-goes" button. What is going is, of course, WBAI... the delusional hangers-on slipping further into the gutter until we see only the tips of their extended noses.

      The PNB situation may have reached the end of Summer, but the coup deposited no angels, only another faction of incompetents. If anything, this group will drive the nails deeper into Pacifica;s coffin.

  4. I am a little confused and am hoping you could clarify a few things. Is Reimers saying that his goal for each day is $48,000 - in other words, $2K/hour for 24 hours/day, for every day of the marathon? Or was he just expecting that in the first week, or what?

    Also, how would you value a "sustaining membership"? When you say that on a particular day, the station got $X plus 3 sustaining members, is there a fair way to put a present value on the 3 memberships?

    All in all, it appears to be a huge failure. If they go for a full month, they will come out at less than $400K. Which means they will probably do what hey have done previously, which is make it 2 months. Which would mean that by the end of June, 4 out of 6 months will be dedicated to fundraising, not including the reminders and special 1-day fundraisers that pollute the airtime even in the other 2 months. Essentially, WBAI is a station that exists to raise money in order to keep itself broadcasting, in order to raise money.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't WBAI's drives used to go for 2 weeks and raise $1 million? Then it took 3 weeks to raise a million and then by the time of the Xmas coup, it took a full month. So that would be 1/3 of the year lost to fundraising, but at least the station would make $4 million. Then a month only brought in 700 or 800K and drives sort of bled into a fifth week. Now this year we crossed over into a full 2-month drive and they won't even make $1 million at the end of it. And then presumably they will come back for another marathon in August.

    1. The length of my response requires that it be split into two posts, of which this is PART I.

      It is always difficult to understand what Berthold Reimers is actually saying—he tends to fantasize and obscure. That said, here's my interpretation:

      In return for not having their show pre-empted, host/producers have to raise $2,000 per hour. If they fail to reach that amount, they either risk or can count on being pre-empted by something else. That—as we have seen—means either giving the time over to another producer's "special" or, more often, re-running for the umpteenth time a previously successful infomercial such as the Natalie/Gwen Scott perennial or something by Blosdale, Null, et al. Reimers knows that he is dealing with hugely oversized egos, so there is no more effective threat than one that could take them off the air.

      A sustaining membership is the awkwardly-named "BAI Buddy" system. It can be entered at $10, 20 or 30, depending on who the hawker is, and gives WBAI permission to extract a monthly amount from your bank account. The "member" can cancel the arrangement at any time, so there is no guarantee that the station will receive anything beyond the initial extraction. This, as I see it, makes it unrealistic to project future income from a "buddy" with any certainty. A bird in hand, etc. Of course, pledges are just that—they have to be followed up with actual payment before they can truly be considered as income. Then, too, there is the cost involved on WBAI's side: the product (premium) has to be purchased by the station and shipping paid for. The latter became an extra charge to the listener a year or so ago, but—as is Reimers' way—that fee, although earmarked for one purpose, is often used on another and the "handling," for which a charge has also been collected, is done by volunteers. The products were also often not received by the station, for lack of payment, so the backlog is a perpetual and often staggering problem. Null has been given priority for his products, because he put the pressure on Reimers.

      You correctly label these marathons as failures. No thought is given to the reasons for listeners abandoning WBAI in droves—the schedule, in the main, plods on as usual and comprises stagnant "shows" that not only lose listeners, but also obscure whatever good radio remains at 99.5.

      This response continues below:

    2. PART II of my 2-part response re marathons:

      In the mid-Sixties, when we launched the marathon system, it was an impulsive desperation move. We were in critical need of $25,000, so we ceased all regular programming until that money was raised. Our goal was determined by our actual need and we held to our promise of returning to our normal schedule the minute it was achieved. It was a matter of days. The "premium" we offered was WBAI's continued existence—what more could the listeners want? They responded beyond our expectations and we realized an intake that exceeded the pledged amount. We were later told that 75% would have been enough to declare the effort a success.

      One can only operate as we did and get that kind of result if one is honest with the listener and has a program schedule worth preserving. Neither has been the case at WBAI for a very long time. This is a fundamental reason why the time spent on fundraising keeps escalating. It sounded good to dig up the old "program is the premium" approach, but it had become a bad joke over the years. WBAI's excellence and value as a voice in the wilderness is no longer obvious, it is a dishonest claim that dishonest people make whenever the piled up bills threaten to put an end to their charade. These days, when WBAI's on-air offerings are unique, it is usually a distinction made by their failure to meet even the least demanding level of acceptance. Most of them are simply not worthy of support.

      As you more or less suggest, WBAI has become an insignificant radio station whose stagnant, shallow programs cannot sustain it, so it has morphed itself into an unprincipled marketing place where cash is valued over content and extreme ideology over intellect and fresh ideas.

      I believe the end of that greed-driven suicidal path is not too far ahead and that the real mourners will be the many opportunists who contributed to the slow, agonizing demise.

  5. There is no comparison between the WBAI you talk about Chris and today's WBAI, as has been pointed out a million times. There is no way they would raise $1 based on the programming alone, they have to offer conspiracy theories, cancer cures, magical water, etc. The only part I don't get is how have they raised $186,000?! That is amazing. I know I would not part with one penny for their "premiums" but then again I am one of the sheeple, unlike those people that pay for the cures/magic products. Those are obviously savvy consumers.

  6. I think the total for 6/4 is only 6,995.
    Which is scary. I see that 6/5 did rebound to 13K.