Saturday, September 27, 2014

The two sides of R. Paul...


You may have read earlier posts wherein I severely criticize R. Paul Martin for his mishandling of the infamous WBAI Listener forum (AKA the Blue Board), and I am not bringing that up now to express any regrets. With his handling of that board—which he volunteered to inherit—Martin has indeed proven himself to be a peripheral Pacifican jerk. An online forum's purpose is, in large part, to encourage subject specific exchanges of opinion. That requires the exercise of free speech, which does not mean that every submitted comment must be posted, because we all know that the anonymity option inevitably encourages frivolous personal attacks and the kind of senseless disruptive behavior that we have come to know as "trolling." This is not to be confused with spamming, an often bot-based attempt to inject advertising or divert visitors to another site.

I think every blog is targeted by such intrusions, which is why most of us find it necessary to exercise an intercept option. This blog receives its share of spam, but has largely been spared the trolling. Unfortunately, I find it necessary to check each submitted comment before posting it, but the poster's name is usually all I need to see. Whether I agree with a submitted opinion, or not, is immaterial.

I bring this up, because R. Paul Martin's administration of the blue board has prevented any meaningful dialogue from taking place there. He not only selectively bars certain people from posting a comment, he sets the software to reject any submission that contains the barred person's name or handle. I am one of those people, as are Carolyn Birden and Mitchel Cohen. There are probably others, but Martin keeps his list secret. This approach is probably a major reason why that forum has stagnated.

So much for the Fascist tendencies exhibited by Mr. Martin. There is also another side to him, one that warrants applause. We heard it this morning on his "Back of the Book" show: the reading of a listener letter that is well-founded and highly critical of WBAI. R. Paul Martin not only shares the letter on the air, but makes it clear that he agrees with the criticism. This is not the first time he has done this, but I bring it up to point out the puzzling inconsistency. Here's what he aired this morning—what do you think?



One of many questions that this brought to my mind is: How can you charge many times its worth for a product, add a fee for shipping and handling, collect the money, and then not have enough money to pay the postage?

19 comments:

  1. If people are finally getting their premiums, that's good for them. The sad part is CAB and not WBAI sending them out. It's WBAI's responsibility.

    WBAI gets one of those non-profit postage rates, I would imagine.

    Anyway, I don't want to talk about Martin beyond I'm not a fan of his.

    SDL

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    1. From what I understand, not everybody is getting what they paid for. Not too long ago, someone in that group mentioned that there were 5 thousand items unmailed, someone else noted that many of these products were not even on hand, because the money to purchase them wasn't there, and didn't we just hear that these things are taking up much of the room at Atlantic Ave.?

      We know that hundreds of un-processed/unsold? books were "remaindered" for $1. It's still a mess and we still cannot rely on these tales from the crypt that was supposed to have become studios a long time ago.

      Michael of East Harlem (certainly not the Haskins guy) brought up the transmitter site issue. Remember that one? Remember how it pushed people's optimism button? Now, like most other glimmers of hope from the Reimers/Cohen corner, it has faded to black. They keep rewriting the script in order to stall the building disgust.

      I wonder if Kathy is the one Martin is talking about as he finishes the message from Michael and gets tongue-tied? She is embarrassing as he reruns programs by a dead host, featuring calls from dead callers, talking about dead issues. I guess people who used to be described as having "transitioned" are now "away on assignment."

      BTW, the question of bulk mail rates came up a couple of years ago and the answer from WBAI was that the premiums shipments do not qualify for that discount.

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    2. That's a lot of unmailed premiums. I wonder how many of the older unpurchased premiums are no longer even available for WBAI to purchase. If/when they get to those invoices, they will have to offer a replacement or refund. I still wonder how many are health powders that have not been kept in proper temperature and/or may have expired.

      I wonder if the new transmitter site deal has collapsed. WBAI has a bad history of late payments, so maybe the landlord didn't want them. I sure wouldn't. Just not worth the hassle. Of course, WBAI could have over-estimated how far negotiations had come and thought it was a done deal when it was really just still an idea. At this point, I don't see a move.

      The Robert Knight rebroadcast thing is simply obnoxious at this point. They really can't give the slot to a living person? Or, alternatively, play tapes of people from throughout the history of WBAI? The latter could be interesting. We could hear a good old broadcast of Radio Unnameable from pre-dementia days.

      Not to be morbid, but as the WBAI audience ages, you have to wonder if some of those premiums are owed to people who are "away on assignment."

      As for Kathy "I don't listen to the news" Davis. I really wonder if she has some good blackmail material on people at WBAI. There is simply no - NO - reason for her to be at the station. She's a loon and belongs at a cult compound, not a radio station.She spends too much time there not to pull a salary. I wonder what she makes.

      Anyway, I wonder what the next beg-a-thon will be like. I still like my idea of running one infomercial in the afternoon (during non-pledge times) every day to try to pull in $1,000 or so. During weekdays you have dead air from 6:00PM-7:00PM, so why not use it to make some money?

      SDL

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    3. Kathy may be receiving some form of regular pay,; she might also very well be making something from the sessions she conducts off the air.

      Yeah, that transmitter "move" is very fishy—everything these people announce in the way of round-the-corner progress comes to nought. Null has been rather quiet lately, or have I missed something? I wonder if he will attend the upcoming pitching workshop.

      In the meantime, I gather from the exchanges now taking place at Pacifica Radiowaves that substantial amount of money is missing. Both factions seem to agree on that, but each blames the other.

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  2. Can you give us a summary of or even a few quotes from the exchanges on PR about the "substantial amount of money" missing? I can't bear to read all the insanity on that list, but I am curious about the missing funds.

    I've long suspected that the utter accounting chaos was a smokescreen for embezzlement of some sort. It's just too tempting, with these impoverished producers handling hundreds of thousands of dollars without any oversight.

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    1. I wish I had the time, but I still work for a living and, to be perfectly honest, find it just as unbearable (make that, depressing) as you seem to.

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  3. Also, I think you should change your policy so that comments are added automatically, but you reserve the right to remove anything that you consider inappropriate. Then at least there wouldn't be this gauntlet of approval (which is the opposite of free).

    To be frank, this board seems even less "free speech"-ey than the blue board, since you only publish the comments you approve of. That's your prerogative, of course, but I don't think this blog is any better than Martin's when it comes to free speech.

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    1. I am happy to say that your assumptions are wrong. I have not stopped a single submission because I disagreed with the expressed opinion. I and others cannot post comments to the blue board, but neither R. Paul nor anyone else will ever have a problem posting their opinions here.

      Your conclusions have no basis in fact.

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    2. @who: Can you show me one instance of Chris censoring something or someone? You forget that censorship happens moreso after the fact than before.

      @Chris: It's funny how every time I see you accused of something, I never see any evidence to back-up said accusation(s). I am not taking any sides here, just stating the obvious.

      SDL

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    3. Thank you, SDL. I guess it goes with the territory.

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  4. For the person who wants a summary:

    http://www.unitedforcommunityradio.org/?p=1718

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    1. FYI, the submitted link takes you to the latest "KPFA in Exile" press release. Interesting, but you should know that it only gives one faction's side of this issue—that of the Reese supporters.

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    2. Thank you for your disclosure, Chris. Although the group makes a more grandiose claim than mere "KPFA in Exile." It claims to represent "PACIFICA in Exile." In the interests of accuracy. Some of us view the group as being willing to destroy the organization if it can't run it.

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    3. True, but both sides claim to speak for Pacifica, don't they?

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    4. It's a mistake to ask such a softball question of someone pernicketty with language, Chris. I'd say, both sides claim to be speaking for/from the Mission Statement, but the Board members refer to themselves, on the one side, as Board members; or, in the case of PDGG and its supporters, as "Pacifica in Exile," while those who disagree with them are referred to as "the rogue majority," or "the rogue Board."

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    5. Kate, you have a mixture of current and former Board members who have alliance to one of the factions. These factions seem to be represented either by "SaveKPFA" or "Pacifica in Exile," at least I see some sort of tug of war going on between the two. I also see people who seem to lack a clear direction, so there is a great deal of confusion, shifting alliances, etc. nothing appears to be clearcut in this mess, which is probably why it will never be resolved. The personal animosity and sandbox behavior of certain people (on both sides) is contributing to what I see as Pacifica's inevitable demise. That is very sad and it could have been avoided if petty dabblers had been kept out. Like the majority of listeners, I have lost all hope.

      Some will say that my stance is an unhealthy negative one, but I think it reflects sad reality... an ingredient that has been missing at Pacifica for several decades.

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    6. I am not a member of the Pollyanna Brigade, either, Chris. I take the problems very seriously, and especially the political struggle for control of an institution that I value very highly. Given how dire the situation is, making "my side wins, your side loses" the focus is pretty unforgivable. I don't know if all is lost yet, but my lens is not WBAI; it is KPFA, where we have dynamic staff, a robust speakers' series of many years' standing, and strong listener support-- because we have a lot of excellent programming, in many sectors.

      Of course, if you rely on the PiE bulletins for information, you wouldn't know there was any strength to draw on. For me, it raises questions: one side is trying to get what is necessary done; and the other side does nothing but denigrate their efforts, the stations individually, the Foundation collectively-- since that side lost the majority. To me, that looks like a distinct difference.

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    7. Any way you look at it, Kate, the line is very thin and the animosity devastating. I don't think we are talking about saints vs. sinners, for one has but to read these exchanges to conclude that there are no winners.

      That said, even from here, it is clear that the West Coast is farther from the edge than WBAI. Some of the better programs we get in NY come from the Coast, but I still think the whole thing needs to be revamped and those Boards given a thorough cleanup.

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  5. You'll get no argument from me on the radical overhaul being necessary! Nor on what a completely overwhelming prospect that presents. The bylaws and established practice are a Gordian knot begging for a sword.

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