Monday, March 31, 2014

St. Patrick's Day re-entry: It was a Snap!


Better late than never... That wasn't a gun in Summer's hand, it was a heavy duty wire cutter. Here is the actual lock-breaking scene from "The Pacifica Parliamentary Follies." I think the green flowers are a nice touch.


Just when you think WBAI can take a breath...

Jim Dingeman just posted this to Nalini's list. If true, one has to wonder why nothing was said about this when Berthold Reimers made his unfortunate appearance on a Sunday morning show. He lives in his own world, where everything is always "swell" ... and so forth and so on.

Others better informed can perhaps lay out better information but I have a serious feeling that we have a immediate problem in the next two weeks here in NYC.

It seems a lot of money was paid out to handle the severance pay which had to be paid. As I understand it part of the money to cover the operating costs for April were to come from Pacifica..this amounts to tens of thousands of dollars since we are in between drives. There are literally hundreds of calls and other work that has to be completed in the pushing up of fulfillment rates for this drive.

But, we also have past bills due..This includes a deadline by mid April to pay past transmitter costs to ESB.

It seems to me that these kinds of fiscal issues were know to the PNB before the firing of Summer. This means that we are now in a IMMEDIATE crisis because the transmitter rent is behind due to the severance.

My recommendation is that if this is accurate we go next week to a IMMEDIATE transmitter fund mode from the listeners. All this fiscally needs to be explained and laid out to the listeners on air ASAP.

This assumes that I have my financial facts accurate..if they are inaccurate please correct me.

But this places the tumult of recent weeks in a different dimension..more menacing if this scenario is true.

Jim Dingeman
Chair, WBAI Community Advisory Board

A little crisis humor from KPFA




Thought y'all might enjoy a bit of pertinent levity. Berkeley has the humor that's lacking in New York.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

From the cyber wastebasket...

PLEASE NOTE: I have received and added missing minutes to the PNB BRAWL Meeting of March 27. 

Reimers' embarrassing confrontation with intelligent producers


Last year, Berthold Reimers told a Village Voice reporter that he did not answer his phone because there are too many crazy people out there. If you have ever tried to call this man, you probably know that he does, in fact, ignore phone calls. He also ignores e-mail, even from producers and hosts of the radio station he purportedly manages. Well, he does have cronies with busy tongues—they will go along with anything that comes to his little mind, so it's safe to speak to them.

One of WBAI's most useful programs used to be the weekly "Report to the Listener," a live hour that gave the manager and producers an opportunity to listen to and speak with the station's listener supporters. Much good came out of those live dialogues for not only did they give listeners direct input, it also allowed the Manager and staff to discuss new ideas and future program plans. Berthold Reimers never had a real program of that nature, he only made three or four cameo appearances on alleged listener reports that were conducted by his cronies. Communication is not something Berthold Reimers finds necessary.

One reason may be that he is clueless and inarticulate, a "manager" who has not the faintest idea of how to operate a radio station. If you think I am exaggerating, you have come to the right audio clip, but let me first give you a brief background.

Last week, word got out that Reimers had added a new 2-hour Sunday morning black gospel show to the schedule. It was not an original show, but rather one that is already running  on WHCR, the college station that, literally, is down the hall from WBAI's rented studio. Furthermore, this is an area of the country that has more black churches and gospel choirs than Seattle has Starbucks, but Reimers reaches out to a host who isn't even American—for a black gospel show? Idiotic.

He scheduled this borrowed show, High Praize," for a 5 to 7 AM slot, thus chopping an hour off "Through the Opera Glass," a popular program that is unique to our area and has developed its own loyal audience over many years. Apart from the fact that host Ivan Hametz has impressive knowledge and love for operatic music, he has just finished participating successfully in the latest fundraising marathon where his program and the station were the only premium. That is how it should be, but most of WBAI's producer/hosts have little or nothing of intellectual value, so they have to resort to gimmicks, phony cures, sloppily thrown together doomsday "documentaries," etc. Reimers should appreciate that the opera program—like Chris Whent's delightful "Here of a Sunday Morning," which follows it, have remained mission appropriate, but his mind remains in the sewer, where there's more money. Mr. Hametz felt a need to apologize to the supporters who sent in their money so that the program and station could stay on the air—that, of course, never occurred to Berthold Reimers; neither did the fact that a two hour time slot makes it impossible to air most operas in their totality.

This morning, Mr. Hametz did a farewell show, not knowing what was around the corner. He was never told of this change and none of his calls or e-mails to Reimers were acknowledged. There was a rumor that Chris Whent planned to quit in protest, and that Reimers would be coming to the studio for a discussion. Not having received any official word, Mr. Hametz announced last Sunday that this morning's program would be his last unless Reimers rescinded the rumored intention. Airtime came without any response, so Mr. Hametz did as he said he would, and delivered his last show.

Then we heard that Janet Coleman invited Hametz and Whent to appear on her 11 AM program, "The Next Hour," for a discussion of the station's arts programming.

They stayed around for that and had barely started when Reimers popped up. It was obvious that he had not intended to have a discussion on the air, but they cornered him. He tried several times to weasel out of it and go off the air, but he was outnumbered. Now I highly recommend that you listen to the program and hear how embarrassing this high-salaried :manager" is. There are a couple of phone calls at the end and one might say that they demonstrate the intellectual contrast that attracted a new audience to WBAI and sent the old one fleeing.

Please give us your thoughts on this.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bernard White responds to The Villager article...

ADDENDUM
Paul DiLorenzo's piece in The Villager has prompted a response from former WBAI PD, current LSB member, Bernard White, which you can access here.

Summer Reese speaks with a supporter-host—KPFK's Eben Rey



Eben Ray, who hosts KPFK's "Project Next" and has been with Pacifica for 14 years is not at all happy with the current state of disarray. Convinced that Pacifica is here to stay, she staunchly supports Summer Reese in the show Terry Goodman has dubbed The Pacifica Parliamentary Follies.

The following audio clip is from her March 27, 2014 show. Ms. Rey's frantic delivery is a breathless pro-Reese pitch that borders on a Blosdale infomercial, which could detract from its effectiveness, but the live phone interview with Summer Reese that follows might easily make up for that. It is the most persuasive argument against the Wilkinson faction's moves that I have heard to date.

If the few calls Ms. Rey takes at the end of the show are any indication, you will hear that KPFK listeners do not embrace Marty Wilkinson and her cohorts. 

You may not be a Reese cheerleader—as I certainly haven't been—but she makes it difficult to see this unfortunate dèjá vu moment in Pacifica's history as anything but another self-serving maneuver by a rogue group. As I have pointed out before, the Pacifica National Board meetings I used to attend were the antithesis of this mess. I recall vividly a group of mature professionals seated at a large table in an airy Santa Barbara conference room. There were occasional differences of opinion, but voices were not raised, and if any Board member had a personal agenda, it never surfaced. National Board and station managers (we numbered three at that time) had one interest in common: Lew Hill's original concept. I think that began to change in the Seventies and it certainly took a disastrous turn with the introduction of a fatal form of "democracy." 

As you will hear here, Rey and her cohost, Roy Tuckman (aka "Roy of Hollywood"), don't directly endorse the Blosdale/Null marketing efforts, but they seem to condone them and they blast those of us who don't. In fact, they suggest that any analogy made between these scams and snake oil huckstering is tantamount to slinging insults at and underestimating the listener-shopper!

I still fault Summer Reese for some of her decisions regarding WBAI, but the job she took over was almost mission impossible. It may now have become just that.

A technical note: I made one edit in this clip, removing the KTVU-TV (Berkeley Channel 2) report by Patti Lee, because I already posted it here in video form. If you wish to see it, this link will take you to that spot. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

PNB Meeting 3-27-14: Points of Disorder...


There really isn't anything I can add. Yesterday's phone meeting of the Pacifica National Board said it all... Please listen and comment... perhaps some of us missed a point.



BUT WAIT... THERE's MORE!


Over on Nalini's Pacifica Radiowaves list, there have been demands for the posting of missing minutes that were cut from the tail end of the previously posted, chaotic PNB phone meeting of March 27. Thanks to Bill Crosier of KPFT, we now have the following addendum.  Here is his accompanying text:

It starts with Adriana asking the chair for the floor, and Adriana talking.  Manijeh's discussion starts about 2 minutes into the recording, following Adriana, Kim, Benito, Cerene, Janet C, and Margy, and then finally Manijeh.  Kim, in particular, complained about the officers bringing the agenda to the PNB without motions that she had asked to be put on it.  Richard also tried valiantly to introduce a motion Thursday night about the vote to fire the ED, but the chair would not allow it to be put on the agenda and the majority backed up the chair.

In what I've uploaded, Kim pointed out that "we're still on the   stream".  Manijeh's speech (with some interruptions by Adriana and Cerene) starts about 2 minutes into the recording I'm providing.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

On again, off again water...

ONE OF THE PACIFICA BOARDS HAS WATER TURNED OFF BY THE OTHER... BUT ITS ON AGAIN

Berkeley-The Pacifica Board of Directors resorted to turning off the water tap on their national headquarters today, leaving the employees preparing the network's payroll disbursements unable to wash their faces or make a cup of tea until the water flow was restored. The desperate maneuver came from next door at KPFA, where the disputed chair of the board Margy Wilkinson has set up shop with the title of acting executive director once again. The Board of Directors of the radio network, which is under CPB enhanced attention for violating open meetings requirements, is delaying a financial audit, and is unable to re-license Houston station KPFT-FM at the FCC due to the inability to operate at full power, appears to be focused on a power struggle with the executive director and not the rapid collapse of their network.
A copy of a complaint filed with the CA Attorney General by 8 former members of the nBerkeley-The Pacifica Board of Directors resorted to turning off the water tap on their national headquarters today, leaving the employees preparing the network's payroll disbursements unable to wash their faces or make a cup of tea until the water flow was restored. The desperate maneuver came from next door at KPFA, where the disputed chair of the board Margy Wilkinson has set up shop with the title of acting executive director once again. The Board of Directors of the radio network, which is under CPB enhanced attention for violating open meetings requirements, is delaying a financial audit, and is unable to re-license Houston station KPFT-FM at the FCC due to the inability to operate at full power, appears to be focused on a power struggle with the executive director and not the rapid collapse of their network.
National board can be found here.
Staffers and volunteer programmers at the network's LA outlet, KPFK-FM, which just lost Community Service government funding for low listenership numbers in the nation's second largest media market, have petitioned for an election to remove their staff representative from the National Board. Their petition can be found here. 
An open letter to the Board signed by staffers, volunteers and listeners across the country can be found here
Wilkinson informed the Board on Wednesday that corporate counsel Terry Gross, of Gross Belsky Alonzo, a prominent and nationally-recognized attorney (his biography can be found here) has declined to represent the Board in any proceeding to assert the legality of the attempted firing or to remove the executive director from her workplace. Gross has not met with the full Board since early February. 
Wilkinson apparently plans to appoint an "interim corporate counsel" and claims to have secured representation for the Board from another attorney, although it would generally require both a vote of the full board and the participation of the current corporate counsel to allocate network resources to an outside law firm. The board can be contacted at pnb@pacifica.org with regard to the unauthorized use of donated funds. The network's insurance broker has warned the Board about the prospect of uninsurability if the rate of litigation does not significantly drop. 
The Board next meets on the evening of Thursday March 27th at 5:30pm pacific. The special meeting notices only the approval of minutes (the board has not approved nor issued any in 8 weeks) and changing bank signatorys as the subjects of discussion. 
Richard Uzzell, a national board member from KPFT-FM in Houston has offered the following motion to end the standoff between the Board and the Executive Director:
Whereas, Pacifica has been thrown into chaos by the actions of the board; and we are facing a complaint with the attorney general, possible multiple lawsuits and are perceived to be self-destructing in public, and;
Whereas, this will not help our upcoming fund drives.
Whereas, the board needs to put the organization above our factional fights, as just about everyone has told us, and make it clear that we will proceed in the future deliberately and with caution, following sound personnel procedures and with sufficient independent legal guidance.
Therefore be it Resolved, that in the interests of the welfare of Pacifica and our five stations,180 programming affiliates and our archival collections, the Pacifica National Board declares that the motion to fire Summer Reese as executive director is declared null and void; due to the lack of notice, lack of legal and HR consultation, no provision for continuing operations, increased financial risk to the network and confusion for network staff and volunteers.
And be it further Resolved, that the Pacifica National Board agrees to proceed with a system-wide performance evaluation for the executive director per the contract terms and agrees that duly-retained corporate counsel and independent human resources professionals shall be present for all executive personnel discussions going forward.
The Board of Directors is not expected to agree to entertain the motion put forward by Uzzell. 

National office employee Maria Gaite, who is working as the network controller, issued the enclosed statement about the "Shreddergate" confrontation on Monday March 24th, which ended with the Berkeley Police Department retreating after disproving assertions by Wilkinson of a gun possibly being in the corporate headquarters where a six-month old child was with her mother, a network administrative employee, at work.
Pacifica Foundation's uninspiring
storefront headquarters - Berkeley
"This is just a misunderstanding. As you know I just came back to work here in Pacifica on February 16th.The paper garbage for which shredding was ordered has been siting in the Pacifica National Office prior to Summer’s appointment  in July of 2012. Working paper drafts, extra copies of GL, and other items that we worked on for audit and needed to be shredded were not shredded. We were so busy complying with the auditors’ requests and making sure the last audit was done correctly and completely. I and my staff did not have time to shred them ourselves. I ordered a shredding pick-up way back July or August of 2013 but it was not taken care of. As I also left without prior notice, the staff including Tamika and Summer did not want to touch any documents that I left in my cubicle without talking to me first."
"I want to put this in the record. Summer had no idea that the shredding company was ordered to come by this morning and shred the documents that should have been shredded last year It was ordered by another colleague and I was aware of it. I am sure that had Summer known about it, she would not have allowed the shredding company to come by. It was a bad call on my part to allow it to be done in the middle of this chaos. But I assure you that while we were talking to Margy and her group this morning, we were open for them to look at the items in the shredding bin except for the old payroll documents. The old payroll documents had employees’ tax identification numbers that we cannot leak outside the office."
"In the end, the shredding bin were pulled in so as to end all these contentions about the shredding of these old unnecessary documents."
"I would like to assure you and any interested party that in IN GOOD FAITH, we are doing our best to correct the problems that were left by the former ED, the former CFO, and the former Controller (prior to Summer’s appointment). These include insufficient internal control systems in the company, failure to update the books on time, and making sure that revenues, donations, or grants received by the company are properly accounted for."
"Also, I want to put this in the record that we continue working in Pacifica National Office despite all these disagreements among PNB members. We are doing our best to go on with our day-to-day duties, to complete Fiscal Year 2013 audit, and provide assistance to the five radio stations (on top of KPFA’s lack of bank reconciliations since October 2012 – yes that is 18 months behind this end-March). It has been hard for all of us here in the National Office. The pressure has been mounting up. I apologize that Margy’s group had it this morning from one of our team but there is just too much pressure added on her by the requests from Margy’s end. I reiterate that it had been hard for all of us here in the National Office since this thing came down Monday of last week. I am sorry for my colleague who had enough this morning…". 
"I hope somehow this sheds light on the chaos."
Maria Gaite
Interim Controller

HERE IS A PERTINENT LETTER FROM THE SUMMER SIDE AND NOTICE OF A WEB-STREAMED PNB MEETING THAT IS SCEDULED FOR TONIGHT. THERE SEEM TO BE SOME OBSTACLES, HOWEVER...
         Subject: Fwd: [alliance] Turning Off The Water and Firing The Lawyer
Date: March 27, 2014 7:57:12 AM EDT


Dear Members of Pacifica Foundation:
The open meeting of the Pacifica National Board scheduled for tonight may be

 unilaterally cancelled by Margy Wilkinson, who evidently lied to the police telling

 them that Summer Reese may have had a gun (she does not) inside the National

 Office (there is none there), who turned off the water in the National Office, and

 who refused to follow the advice of counsel NOT to attempt to fire the Executive

 Director Summer Reese.  The cancellation of the meeting is evidently an attempt

to keep members and staff from hearing any discussion of these issues. 

One of the questions that is on the agenda for tonight's web streamed (open) meeting of the Pacifica National Board is why Wilkinson never noticed the board that Terry Gross, counsel to the board, had advised her personally while he was being kept from meeting with the entire board to deliver this message as well as his  advice about the legality of "hiring" someone to replace the Executive Director.  

Wilkinson and the majority faction (including Dan Siegel's employee Jose Funtes and illegally-seated Tony Norman) voted repeatedly to deny the board access to counsel and to HR advice from our insurers, with the result that the board may now be denied liability insurance and be forced to pay for a new attorney who is evidently being hired as Wilkinson's personal advisor.  The officers of this "majority faction" do not want to be questioned about their actions, including the failure to provide minutes of crucial meetings (Cerene Roberts, secretary), the illegal acts committed to get elected (Tony Norman, Vice Chair), and the illegal claiming of the right to the chair while refusing to hold a new, "clean" election for that position (Margy Wilkinson).  The members of Pacifica need to know the facts about these issues, among others.  
                                                                                                             Carolyn  Birden

An imaginary summit meeting...


Reuters took note of the drama and sent a camera person to PRG (The Pacifica Players Repertory Group). Thanks to an unidentified blog visitor for pointing this out, and thanks to Photoshop for helping me construe a double pose we are not likely to witness in person.

Here is a link to the Reuters piece and slideshow.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Inside the occupied zone.....


Click on the below link to see this TV report starring Summer, Mom, and Margy. What a way to promote a radio station!

Radio executive protests firing by occupying office

Everybody's talkin' 'bout it...

Local papers add to the press reports—one snaps a family photo.  Check this out!  ... and this one, too!

Yeah, we had Aida and Carmen, but let's make it real "community"!


As most of us know, one reason for WBAI's drastic drop in listenership is its failure to deliver good, listenable radio and a well-planned weekly schedule. There are many other grounds for divorce, but the programming is key to the success of any radio station. 

Several attempts have been made to make the offerings more palatable and intellectually stimulating, but cronyism and  brings these miserable programs on the air and moral bankruptcy helps to keep them there year after year. The criterium is never to remain faithful to the original Pacifica mission or to present intelligent original programming that make the station worth the listener support it relies on. The goal is to stay on the air and be personally rewarded in several ways, most of which are of no benefit to the listener.

Program Directors have come and gone at short intervals, but what the listener hears and flees from remains virtually unaltered. Well, actually, we have seen the station become more unlistenable as new attempts are made to emulate commercial radio and old programs are either removed, exiled, or allowed to stagnate. As I always say, there are still good people turning out good programs on WBAI, but tin-eared, tasteless dilettante management is chopping away at them.

The most recent such lunacy is Reimers' decision to borrow a current program, "High Praise," from WHCN and run it as "High Praize" from 5 to 7 on Sunday morning. That same program (minus the "z") will then continue on WHCR from 8 to 11 AM. The host is one Daulton Anderson (pictured above—click on illustration to enlarge it). If you can tell me what the point is, please do so. In protest, Ivan Hametz, host of the now truncated "Through the Opera Glass", and Chris Whent, the thoroughly professional and equally knowledgable producer/host of "Here of a Sunday Morning," say they will quit WBAI. I should mention that both programs do well during fund drives (without the help of "premiums") and neither has its equivalent on another NYC station.

Is it any wonder that 2014 will see the end of WBAI as a Pacifica station? Will anybody be surprised to see Pacifica itself disappear? These people are truly idiots.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The ongoing saga: Shred of evidence?



As WBAI finally ended its two-month serial of infomercials and Gary Null puffed himself up for another remarkable vent, the Pacifica drama continued to unfold in Berkeley and the farce that was became even farcier (I don't know how else to say it).

All this stuff—the rattling of the chains of command—takes place at KPFA and in the adjoining building, which houses the Pacifica National Office. There, holed up amid copiers, computers, air mattresses, and—one hopes—a sandwich or two, is the Summer Reese contingent. You may recall from an earlier episode that the took over (recaptured) the space from the Margy Wilkenson Gang—she's the white-haired KPFA-LSB Chair who did a selfie and morphed into Pacifica's Interim Executive Director.  Dark clouds covered the moon at that very moment, so we have to take the words of her small group of faithfuls for it. You probably saw the trailer, the one with her physical departure, and the somewhat moving scene where Pacifica office workers slip into the daylight, one by one, making it past an off-camera human barricade.

Next, there was an announced shout-out to California's Attorney General. Not an action scene, but one that portends an absorbing turn of events. 

This being a low-budget production, we will have to imagine what was going on next door, at the radio station. One rumor had it that Ms. Margy took over some choice real estate and turned it into a roomy executive office. Well, with all those microphones around the place, perhaps we'll get a soundbite before long. 

In the meantime, word spread that the Wilkinson settlers had summoned the Berkeley Police. Maybe, but probably not, and there was also talk of Summer being armed with a gun...really? WBAI's Mitchel Cohen, anti-factionalist, banned blueboarder and staunch advocate of keeping BAI alive, had his fill of wildly flying pixels, so he wrote to Ms. Margy in search of the truth. Had she called the precinct to report an armed "former" IED?  Had, as someone maintained, Summer ordered a huge shredder? Here's the answer Mitchel received from the pretender to the throne:


"I didn't do that. I told them that she had told one of the union 
stewards here at KPFA that she owned a gun and would bring it to work if necessary.

"Which it true.

"Here's what I said about the incident today to folks who have asked me.

"Greetings: This morning a huge shredding truck pulled up in front 

of Pacifica. I went to see what was going on. I waited outside the 
PNO for the employee of the shredding company to emerge. He did with 
a trash can about 3/4 full of paper. I asked him not to proceed. A 
member of the staff came out to talk to me. I asked her when the 
arrangements had been made for shredding -- she said last Friday. I 
asked her what was being shredded. She said old paper, documents 
from 2010, things that were "garbage." I told her that under 
Pacifica's document retention policy that there needed to be list of 
shredded documents. She said she didn't have time to make a list and 
I offered to do it for her. At some point she became very upset and 
started yelling. A motorcycle police officer going by in the street 
heard the commotion and stopped to check it out. He asked us to step 
away from the door and told the folks standing in the door way to go 
back into the PNO. The documents were returned to the PNO. I met 
with the police and will talk to them soon about how to move forward.
Shredding documents in the current situation seems to me to be an 
extremely provocative move.


I am happy to share this."

That, basically, is the story so far. It has become difficult to figure out who is on whose side in this developing drama. The plot raises more questions than it answers and, from where I sit, the villainy thrives on both sides of the fence. Somewhere in there lies the fate of WBAI, but this farce does give it a slight breather....or does it? Listen to what Gary Null told his listeners today... he is still not a happy camper, but, with all its faults, there is obviously something about Pacifica that tickles his fancy. Sorry about the audio quality, it has the Haskins earmark: 




Monday, March 24, 2014

Complaint submitted to CA Attorney General



March 24 2014
For Immediate Release
Shreddergate, Lawsuits and Missing People
Berkeley-Today's resumption of what passes for the work week at Pacifica Radio was chaotic. Here's our best summary of what ensued.
A link to the request for an investigation filed at the CA Attorney General by 8 former National Board members on March 23rd can be found here. (www.mediafire.com/download/dph6u4ov1woed9x/Attorney+General+Complaint+Non-Confidential.pdf)
Despite a March 20th Board of Directors vote to re-hire recently-resigned KPFK general manager Bernard Duncan into the interim executive director slot, alleged board chair Margy Wilkinson sent out this email today to network staffers:
"Greetings: I want to thank the staff of Pacifica and the staff at each of the five stations for their hard work to keep the Pacifica Foundation functioning and moving forward. The Pacifica National Board voted to release Summer Reese by majority vote. A vote of the majority is a vote of the board. At this point I am acting Executive Director of Pacifica. Moving forward the board is currently engaged in appointing an Interim Executive Director to provide stability to the organization"
The email seems to indicate a hitch in the hire of Duncan, whose name, although he was the only candidate presented to the Board of Directors on March 20th, has still not been released publicly by the Board. Board members have not been informed what the status is of the re-hire. A request to Wilkinson to clarify was not responded to. 
Board member Jose-Luis Fuentes, who works at the law firm Siegel and Yee, was on the telephone to Bank of America today seeking to change signature authority on network bank accounts. To change the authorized signatures on bank accounts is usually done formally via a vote of the full board. Fuentes was informed by Bank of America such a change would require a set of approved minutes recording a board resolution to change the authorized signatories marked with the corporate seal. The bank notified the national office of the request made and their denial. The Board has issued no minutes from any board meeting and has not filled the position of board treasurer in the past seven weeks.
Another request to strip alarm codes from the workers in national headquarters was also denied by the alarm company vendor, although it caused stress to national employees who described themselves as being "driven crazy" by their attempts to do their jobs with constant interference from the board and it's conflict with the executive director.
A legal pleading to uphold the signed employment contract is expected to be filed quite soon.
This morning's police incident pretty much fizzled into nothing, although early reports from inside the national office, where it was impossible for the occupants to hear what was going on outside, sounded potentially alarming. The basket of paper waste that started all the trouble is photographed here by Oakland photographer Scott Braley. Fortunately the verbal altercation between the alleged chair and foundation's administrative manager Tamika Miller over the shredding pick-up did not spiral out of control after it attracted the attention of a passing police officer. Officer Ceretti of the Berkeley PD spoke with both Wilkinson and Reese, ascertained that no weapons were on the premises, and appears to have merely filed a report.



March 23 2014
For Immediate Release
Former Board Members File Complaint With CA Attorney General
Berkeley-8 Former Pacifica National Board members from all 5 of the licensed station's signal areas across the country have filed a complaint with the California Attorney General today. The board members request the AG's assistance in investigating the chaotic board takeover of network, help to assure the integrity of the charity and to prevent further reckless actions by the board to destabilize the organization and/or cause the nation's first public radio network to collapse.

The complaint alleges "serious and substantial breaches of duty" by the newly-installed Board of Directors including creating liability, risking uninsurability, preventing access to counsel, and ignoring pending workplace harassment claims. The request for investigation comes from board members who served at various times between 2010 and 2013. The full text of the complaint will be available later today.

In the meantime, disputed board chair Margy Wilkinson confirmed to network employees that the Board of Directors is "having trouble producing minutes". The Board's Secretary has produced no minutes since the 2014 board convened 7 weeks ago. 25+ hours of closed meetings in that period of time remain totally undocumented.



9 sitting members of the Board of Directors issued the following memorandum Sunday evening to ease confusion among the network's employees, vendors and contractors who are unclear who to report to in the standoff between the executive director and a thin majority on the board.

MEMORANDUM
TO: All Pacifica Foundation Radio Employees, Vendors and Contractors
REGARDING: Business Operations
FROM: Pacifica National Board Members Listed Below
DATE: March 23, 2014

In order to minimize confusion and maintain the necessary operations of our network, we Pacifica Board Members (listed below) are writing this note to clarify the current state of affairs:

The Pacifica National Board of Directors has pursued an ill-advised and probably illegal course of action resulting in uncertainty in the direction of the day-to-day operations of the National Office.

The actions have been taken by a bare majority of the Board of Directors without required notice or independent legal input, despite our repeated request for legal and human resource advice. We believe these actions are not binding upon the Foundation.

We regret that the actions above have occurred, despite our strong opposition.

Corrective action will be taken shortly. In the meantime, it is imperative that operations continue as usual via the usual lines of authorization. We ask that you perform your functions as you would have done prior to March 13th in order to protect the assets of the network.

We deeply regret the behavior of some members of the Board of Directors and are concerned about the destructive impact on staff, vendors and the general public. We are committed to maintaining normal business operations and serving the public throughout this episode.

FROM PACIFICA NATIONAL BOARD MEMBERS: Carolyn Birden, Janet Coleman, Heather Gray, Kim Kaufman, Janet Kobren, Janis Lane-Ewart, George Reiter, Manijeh Saba and Richard Uzzell

A statement in opposition to the board's careless actions can be found here and is gathering signatures from board members, staffers and listeners.

The network's national headquarters remains occupied for the 7th consecutive day.

Ian Masters interview re Pacifica travesty



We have all heard WBAI identified, repeatedly, as "community radio"—it sounds good, but it just happens not to be the truth. Of course, there are different takes as to what constitutes "community" in New York. In the early years, we at WBAI regarded as our community the entire listening population, but we never felt a need to lump them into any particular category. Community was a generic term that embraced people of widely disparate origin, belief, and taste—in our case, we liked to assume that they all had in common a hunger for intelligent, honest enlightenment, and that is what we strove to offer at 99.5.

More recently, the station has been manned by people whose horizon is not so wide, people with narrow, self-serving agendas that they push without giving any thought to what such narrowcasting will do to the excluded listenership or, indeed, WBAI itself.

Ian Masters
Whether the aim was to become the voice for organized labor, a political belief, or one particular ethnic community, the result was inevitably damaging to the station. Listeners are WBAI's sponsors, but most of them found themselves   routinely ignored, even disdained, except when their money was needed. The majority had a simple, logical solution: they gave up on the station. Intelligent management would have noticed that early on, realized that what goes out over the air is what garners support; the logical conclusion would have been that the product is flawed, and the logical solution would have been to fix it.

Instead, station management, ensconced opportunists and  narcissists decided that WBAI had become the victim of everything from Obama, Sandy and Wall Street to ignorant listeners. Their answer was not to improve the flawed product but rather to immerse the station deeper and deeper into highly questionable, often downright fraudulent, and dishonest marketing. Several weeks out of every year were devoted to hour-long infomercials that gave free advertising and income to outside hucksters and sometimes brought in enough to pay WBAI's immediate bills.

This did not bring the audience back—it reduced it further. Those who took the bait and purchased over-priced junk were more or less passers-by who had little or no interest in keeping the station alive.

What makes all this worse is the fact that it is not a local attitude, but rather one that goes all the way to the top of the Pacifica Foundation. That pacifica has become a misnomer comes as no surprise to anyone who has followed the organizations fall from grace in recent years—the internal conflicts have a way of making it to the air from time to time, sometimes sending producers into obscure middle-of-the-night time slots, sometimes simply disappearing them. Over the years, there has been drama of the kind that no radio station wants on its air, police have been called in, a sledgehammer brought to a local board meeting, personal threats voiced, etc. Against such a background, desperate cronies will take to the air and talk about the "WBAI family." This one does not pray together, but it does not mind begging together.

There was a coup a few years back that got rather ugly, took the station off the air for several days, and might have resulted in its demise, but with so many of the participants focused on keeping a job no other station would give them, a semblance of unity was thrown together.

Now, as WBAI teeters on the precipice of extinction more precariously than ever, there is serious talk among battling Foundation members of either selling the station outright or swapping its highly desirable frequency for a weaker one.   This has fueled a nasty Foundation-level battle that threatens to take it all down. Whether that will be the end result, or not, the Pacifica Foundation has been forever stained.

Among the victims of all this are the real community stations—yes, they exist all over the country, and they aren't armed against each other. As a matter of fact, they have a country-wide alliance, The National Federation of Community Broadcasters, that looks after their interests. You will hear more about that in an interview Ian Master's had with NFCB's President and CEO, Sally Kane, last Wednesday. I hope you lend it an ear, and I thank one of our regulars, Brooser Bear, for bringing it to my attention.  

Friday, March 21, 2014

The power of Nulledge...


Well, those were not Mr. Null's exact words, but the following lengthy audio clip (captured in Thursday morning's "encore," was his lead-in to a pitch for his outrageously costly, eye-opening video warning—tens of thousands of dollars, over 12 months of exhaustive work went into the production, but the crusade for freedom can never be too expensive. Hey, you can't even ingest it! Nor will it cure cancer or prevent hangnail, but—between you and me and the lamp post—it might save you a web-surfing trip. Oh, yes, let us not forget that one reason Mr. Null is so amazingly generous is because he does not want WBAI to slip away from him—thar's gold in them thar Lew Hill stations! Sure, it took a long time to dumb down the listenership to a point where it accepted and, indeed, invested in the Gary Null business, but it is paying off.

Null also reveals that his undercover contacts say there are people working for Pacifica at this very moment who will soon be exposed as agents of the government. He can't tell us more right now, because this is all very hush-hush, but we will soon see that exposé, and it will knock our socks off. So, get ready to break out a bottle of the good red or green stuff, treat your hair to the "Heavenly" shampoo, and prepare for a purely organic Fuck the Fascists Feast!