Friday, May 30, 2014

WBAI is on the rocks—is it time for more D-Helix water?


The Spring Fund Drive is limping into summer, but not to the promised conclusion. Ergo, it should not come as any surprise that Berthold Reimers—despite his mumbled rosy predictions—extended the agony. But wait!!! He's giving us an encore—this thing has more extensions than Tina Turner's hair!!! So now he has added another week, which will take us to June 15th!  Here is the program schedule for the current extended week, and here, again with unrealistic goals, is the new extension (June 9 - 15). By the time this drive grinds to a halt, they will be offering the shocking true story of Santa Claus and Little Bo Peep—a 13-disk DVD set with bonus tracks by Alton Maddox and the Mumia Mummers of South Broad Street.

Scammy Night, 2012. Overcome with emotion, Kathy Davis thanks WBAI
management and assorted spirits for awarding her the coveted Double Helix
Water tap trophy. 
This means that half of 2014 probably qualifies as a Guinness record for the longest begging spree in broadcast history. They have already dug deep into their premiums gutter to come up with  horrors from the Wall Street period, so expect them to dig even deeper and pull up the old Kathy Davis/Tony Bates scam de deux that comes in a small bottle, fresh from somebody's tap. I think Kathy was awarded the coveted tap trophy for that one in 2012, but a homeless angel swooped down and swiped it. 

To get an idea of what undercooked figures may look like, here, again, are R. Paul's presumably uncensored sobering figures for your perusal.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Gary Null's semi-secret monologue...

Last Monday, on his PRN FM online podcast station, Gary Null devoted over two hours on an assessment of the current WBAI/Pacifica crisis, the events that led the Foundation and its stations to this nadir, and possible solutions. He clearly agrees that any solution will require major changes in personnel and rules, but while he urged people to continue supporting WBAI, he also bared enough outrageous management collusion and chicanery to discourage any prospective donor. Null also knows that we will never see Lew Hill's concept completely restored, but he seems to feel that a semblance of the old, dedicated Pacifica might emerge. I seriously doubt it, and I suspect that—deep inside—so does Null.

Mr. Null decided not to archive his live monologue, but his PD said it was alright to post it if we could find it. As it turns out, Nalini captured the entire podcast as she worked in her kitchen, so we owe her our thanks for making it available. That brief background noise near the beginning is Nalini making a latte, but you can still hear what Null has to say. I think you might want to listen to the entire two-hour speech. However, the first part is familiar Null stuff (of the verbal kind), so, if the thought of two hours overwhelms you, you can move forward to about 23:45, which is where he specifically addresses the Pacifica situation. You will come away from it with new knowledge as well as supported, if not confirmed, suspicions. 

I look forward to reading your comments.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Morning Mix nix brings Uprising

Richard Pirodsky, the iGM of KPFA and KPFK is confronted by angry protesters in front of KPFA. The dispute is over the overnight, unannounced cancellation of "Morning Mix". This appears to be yet another move in the Siegel takeover. The change in morning programs was justified by a claimed surge in support. Guess what? Dan Siegel donated $1,000. Pacifica is fucked up!  Stay tuned....

Sunday, May 25, 2014

1968 Memorial Day Special

There was so much happening back in '68. The parade even came to 30 East 39th Street, where our doors and microphones were always open to those who loved peace or lived in constant fear of it. Armed with my razor blade and splicing block, I did my best to comfort both groups.

My thanks to John Lightning for preserving this montage.

As we almost were?

Back in the mid-Sixties, before I became WBAI's Manager (we left the "General" out in those days). Robert Potts, our News Director, and I did the morning show. We powered the station on (it slept at night) and delivered "Music and News with Albertson and Potts." Sometimes we pre-recorded little bits like this clip, where we made fun of our beloved radio station:

My deepest thanks to John Lightning, who salvaged this and other bits of nostalgia.

Playing jeopardy?

And here (courtesy of an anonymous visitor) is the FCC rule broken by Reimers and his Gang this time around. Here, too is a link provided by Tracy Rosenberg.

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.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Spring Fund Drive final bar chart

The Spring Fund Drive is finally over. You can find the daily totals and more comments by clicking here.  The not so grand total is:
The "Buddies" total came to 154. 

Now we have to see how much of this money is actually received. It would not be unreasonable to also expect an accounting as to how it was spent—but don't hold your breath.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The end of..... what?

An interesting first-hand account of the scene when the clock ran out for Pacifica in Exile.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The way we were...

Here's a Village Voice article that gives a good impression of the way we were almost a half century ago, before the  opportunists found us and wiggled their way in.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Truth or consequences...

Before you listen to this clip, which aired today, Sunday May 11, 2014, bear in mind the following:

It is canned—i.e. what your selfie guide, Michael G. Haskins, likes to call an "encore presentation." Nobody mentioned that fact this morning, but one didn't have to be Sherlock to quickly figure it out. 

Entering on a bleached chorus of Edwin Starr's "I'm so happy..." the Green Stuff Guru mellifluously oozes out his standard greeting and begins to paint a picture of the resurrection. No, not the carpenter's comeback, but rather one that shows the rising of a dead Pacifica station from the ashes of greed and avarice. 

Obvious clues date this pitch, such as our knowledge that Summer Reese is holed up in a Berkley office, Robert Knight is no longer among the living, and Berthold Reimers is fingering his iPhone in Florida. To announce the original air date of this "special" or perform a digital edit would have been appropriate and professional, but Michael G is still learning, so we have to live with that. Not as acceptable is the delusional carrot Mr. Null dangles in his effort to have customers crack their piggybanks, open their wallets or purses, or swipe those credit cards.

He knows that WBAI has long been intellectually, morally and artistically bankrupt, so he needs to fire up the imagination before any bills are peeled off the wad or that change out there loosens up. Listen to his fantasy and ask yourself if he really believes his own words. Ask yourself the same question when you hear him talk about his products, or how he spent years roaming the world in search of the holy grain. If you haven't heard that one, I have included a version in a second audio clip. 

Predictably, the current fund drive is not making it, which makes Null's promises of a few months back all the more embarrassing. He must be cursing the digital boomerang that brought all this back, but he should have known better than to trust anything Berthold Reimers' told him. But then again, they all avoid the truth and even the mass exodus of listeners—which Null acknowledged recently—hasn't curbed the lying.

The outlook for WBAI is only favorable if you have a fertile imagination, take Berthold Reimers seriously, or lived in a soundproof box. Gary Null asks, "How do you face the truth, if you're afraid of the truth?" This is a bunch of very afraid people. Here's the rosy picture...

Here's Null recalling his triumphant discovery of the holy grain...

Friday, May 9, 2014

Will sex sell to people Arbitron can't see?

Sorry for the tabloid-like heading, but Gary Null is offering WBAI's small group of listeners a DVD portal to sexual fulfillment and, knowing how unfulfilled shoppers at WBAIMART have been lately, he is once again promising to take matters into his own hands.

During a pitch, he made another aside to express his concern for the station's future. The outlook, he says, is not good—in fact, this may likely be WBAI's last fundraiser. Note that Michael Haskins seems to agree, which points to his oft-demonstrated insincerity—he is a member of the Reimers crony team, the painters of rosy pictures that hang only in their minds.

Reimers himself? Well, he has crawled out of the shadows of allusion and now finds himself in Florida—did he bring a tin cup? 

News from the Exile side of the fence...

Berkeley- Former chief financial officer Raul Salvador has reportedly so upset payroll vendor Paychex Inc with daily harassing phone calls and emails, that the East Bay payroll processing firm has pulled the plug on Pacifica's payroll account and is currently refusing to issue payroll checks for the upcoming payroll on May 15th. 
The failure of the payroll processing company to issue checks opens up a cascading series of disasters, as the firm automatically processes a variety of deductions and additions, including federal and state taxes, garnishments, union dues, seniority bonuses and pension payments. At least 3 of the 5 Pacifica stations have no full-time bookkeeper on site, even if one person could manually calculate and issue all of the required checks. Payroll failure can be expected to result in new National Labor Relations Board grievances at all 4 unionized units as well as greatly distressing 161 employees who expect to be paid and paid on time. 
Salvador's attacks on the payroll vendor follow a series of letters issued on law firm Siegel and Yee's letterhead, first by board member Jose Luis Fuentes and then by Oakland mayoral candidate Dan Siegel, both letters implying that the firm was serving as Pacifica's general counsel, although they have not been appointed to that position and have no authority to send letters to the firm's vendors instructing them to do anything. Pacifica has had no general counsel since the resignation of Terry Gross of Gross, Belsky and Alonzo at the end of March. 
The ongoing reckless behavior of the board majority, in addition to causing distress and confusion to vendors and employees, who may be faced with delayed compensation from these latest stunts, points to a pattern of risking institutional failure in the pursuit of an agenda of dissolution and the forced sale of one or more units to endow the rest. 
A FAQ about the events of the last 90 days can be found here. 
The CFO position reports directly to the executive director and to the board of directors. Several PDGG directors tried repeatedly to discuss the possible failure to issue the payroll at the May 8th national board meeting and the ex-CFO and the Siegel law firm's destructive actions, but were not allowed to by the board majority. 
Little was accomplished at the 4 hour national board meeting, which largely consisted of another shutdown by the board majority of any meaningful discussion. To briefly summarize: (the open session audio is available here and the closed session audio is not available): 
A continuing breach of order point regarding the occupation of the chair position by Margy Wilkinson and refusal to draw lots by the board majority despite the 11-11 tied vote for board chair since February of 2014 was voted down again. KPFA staff rep Brian Edwards-Tiekert attempted to argue that the purported chair's ruling that the point was "dilatory" could not even be discussed. Documents emerging that vice-chair of the board Tony Norman certified falsely that he held no elected public office and was ineligible for Pacifica board service from December of 2010 to March of 2014 were ignored by the board majority. 
A motion to compel the distribution to the full board of the certified workplace investigation report on the numerous complaints against the former CFO was moved to closed session, where it was never discussed. Wilkinson hijacked the report on March 17th and has not disclosed its contents to the board of directors nor to the 5 staffers who filed the complaints. 
Requests to provide the board with the letter of retainer between the law firm Siegel and Yee and the Pacifica Foundation were refused. Requests to provide the board with any contractual documents signed with a contractor to run the 2014 delegates election were refused. 
In the closed session of the board meeting, which again proceeded with no agenda in violation of open meeting requirements, two incorrectly reported motions were corrected in 2-month old meeting minutes and then further corrections were shouted down and the remaining errors in the March 6, 2014 minutes were passed into the record. No other work was conducted. 
Surely, the other faction has its own spin on this—neither side is bias-immune—so expect to see that here when I find it. 
Here is one quick reaction, from an unexpected source...

... and, posted May 9, 2014:

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Spring drive 2014: grim end resukts

As WBAI sinks: If you're not Null, you're void...

The truth is that the station is probably deeper in debt and closer to the edge of an abyss than it ever has been. When he was hired as Interim General Manager, in 2010, Berthold Reimers was given a mandate to work the financial magic his resumé suggests he is equipped to handle. He had barely warmed the seat of his desk chair when he told a reporter that his first task would be to "stabilize the station's finances," and to achieve this, he would "soon unveil a plan to significantly increase listenership during the next 18 months." That was four years ago and the listenership never went up—instead, it has dropped down to the lowest count in WBAI's 54-year history. Reimers also said that he would bring the station into the digital era—listen to the audio quality and you will note that it, too, has never been worse.

He all but disappeared from view for the first two years, but they removed the "i" from his title and he is reportedly paid $100,000 a year for..... well, that's the big question.

When asked what he had done in the first two years, his cronies were quick to say that he had spent that time in the premium room, straightening out the mess he had inherited. When he finally emerged, briefly, Reimers confirmed that and added that the premium situation was almost back to normal. That, of course was not true.

Then, conveniently, Hurricane Sandy hit lower Manhattan, including the building that housed WBAI. The station was already a frightful mess, its economic status, the stagnant programming, and staff morale, but Reimers and his apologists blamed it all on Sandy—it was a first: retroactive hurricane damage.

Not until Summer Reese hit town was it revealed that $150,000 was owed in transmitter room rent—that had been kept a secret, but now there was imminent danger of the plug being pulled by the Empire State Building, so an emergency fund drive was started. The urgency, which was real, barely could be heard above the monotonous din of bad hiphop, racist rhetoric and the WBAI matket's hucksters. Cures were sold in bottles and CD cases, fear was promoted in various forms, and the reduced but now gullible WBAI audience coughed up the money. It was all swell, Reimers texted on his iPhone, but that was another lie. The Empire State Building was paid enough money to keep those wolves away for a spell, but 19 paid staff members were "laid off." That was also a lie, in a way, for they had actually been fired, and that included the entire news department—a station asset.

Things have continued to go downhill since then, WBAI is operating out of a small, inadequate rented studio in Harlem while its offices are in a rented space in Brooklyn. We recently heard from Gary Null that the rent is in serious arrears in both places, and the transmitter room bill is three months behind. The telephone was recently disconnected for non-payment, but a backlog of premiums is being mailed out. Well, that turns out to be Gary Null's products—he threatened to stop pitching unless his products were processed, and so they were.

Unfortunately, the rest of the premiums are gathering dust in Brooklyn, if they are even there. As you will hear a related horror story on the audio clip below. This is but one of many areas where lies are being told and business is not being taken care of. As one of the hosts says on the excerpt from this last night's "Off the Hook" program, This is no way to run a radio station.  

A big note of thanks is due Justine Valinotti for bringing this latest on-air complaint to my attention. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Pixel pie fight continues as we await decision...

The following is the Reese side's press release for today, May 7, 2014.  Here is a link to Nalini's Pacifica Radio Waves list.

Berkeley-Various aspects of the PDGG vs. Pacifica lawsuit package (now expanded with a Siegel and Yee restraining order request and cross-complaint) were heard in Alameda Superior Court on the morning of May 6th. In a lengthy hearing, 5 witnesses testified. KPFA programmer Brian Edwards-Tiekert was the only witness for the Siegel and Yee side, and told a couple whoppers on the witness stand, including misquoting bylaws about telephonic meetings and asserting board member service at Pacifica is compensated when it is not. There were 4 witnesses for the PDGG side including 2013-2014 board member Richard Uzzell, Reese, national office senior accountant Joyce Black and 2013 PNB member Tracy Rosenberg.
The hearing largely revolved around issues of meeting notices, contracts/offer letters and the issue of Reese's lack of a social security number, which is the stated reason for the motion to fire her from Siegel and Yee associate Jose Luis Fuentes. 
The judge agreed to review all of the pleadings and issue her decision as quickly as possible.  Nothing was released on the court's website at press time.
For those who want to take a look at all of the legal filings to date: here is a cheat sheet. 

Here is the Siegel faction's account by Mark Hernandez of SaveKPFA

Generalized recap of today's courtroom events: 

The court put both cases together into a single hearing and apparently ignored the motion to remove Siegel & Yee as counsel for Pacifica. Witnesses were called up for cross examination; when Brian Edwards-Tiekert was testifying, the attorney for PDGG/Reese was unable to make any form of coherent line of questioning, as verified by several spectators in the courtroom.

The court broke for lunch and returned at 1:30P when Richard Uzzell, Joyce Black, Janet Kobern, Tracy Rosenberg and Summer Reese were on tap to testify.

Uzzell, a PDGG plaintiff, admitted on the stand that the contract for Reese was not authorized by the PNB. During Uzzell's testimony, it was reported that the judge halted the hearing and castigated Rosenberg to act properly or be ejected from the courtroom.

Black, an accountant in the Pacifica National Office, testified that Pacifica cannot run without Reese, then apparently indicated that she would refuse to work with anyone else.

Rosenberg provided testimony of dubious content, the nature of which came out during cross examination.

Reese's testimony was punctuated by the judge's admonishment for Reese to answer the questions she was asked, and not to ramble on and on about irrelevant matters.

Spectators comments consistently pointed out that the PDGG and Reese attorneys had to be schooled repeatedly on basic and routine legal matters by the judge from the bench in order to keep the hearing moving.

The judge is reported as stating that the PDGG motion for injunction could not be granted, due to its poor construction. The other motion from the Pacifica Foundation was not addressed, but the judge indicated that she would rule on the merits of the filing later. Under California court rules, this generally means up to 90 days for the judge to issue a ruling.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Siegel, Summer, or same ol'...: What will tomorrow bring?

Tomorrow, May 6th, a preliminary junction hearing is scheduled in the case of PDGG vs Pacifica. As you probably know, Dan Siegel, speaking as the Pacifica Foundation's alleged representative, sought a temporary restraining order against Summer Reese's continued occupation of Pacifica's offices. That request was put on hold by Judge Petrou, who obviously was not convinced by the Siegel group's argument. We are told that the judge will address and rule on this question after tomorrow's hearing.

Let's hope the details emerge and that the questions of legality regarding Summer's covert ouster are answered. The ongoing feud between the two factions is helping to destroy Pacifica and its stations. That, in some people's mind, may be the intent—we know only one thing: Pacifica and its listener-supporters has been put on the back burner by a bunch of people who seem to have been blinded by their hatred for each other. They are all dispensable—Pacifica isn't.

Don't root for any of these combatants—root for the restoration of Pacifica Radio. 

In the meantime, WBAI's latest parade of infomercials began this morning with two reruns: Blosdale's WATTS happenin' and Amy's pitches for a race-baiting gimmick book and $2000 dinners. This will continue throughout the month of May. Can "cures" and carrots be far behind?

Friday, May 2, 2014

I read the news today, oh boy!

I have known Bob Fass since the day he came to my office at WBAI a half century ago, in hopes of getting his show back. I am not sure why my predecessor and former boss, Joe Binns put the lid on Radio Unnameable, but I think he found it too unpredictable for a station that was becoming a bit too pretentious. In my first Report to the Listener, I said just that and made a promise to loosen things up and air less Mozart and Busoni, more Miles and station produced documentaries. Bob saw that as a door reopened, and he was right.

I loved the show and the timing could not have been better, but we know all that. Now, I am not as enthusiastic. Times have changed, the love generation has long since cut its hair and stepped into three-piece suits, and unorthodoxy has many new and handier outlets. Personally, I think Bob himself should have put the lid on a few years back—while he was still ahead and in good health—and written a book about himself and that extraordinary show. The material was certainly there and you couldn't easily top the cast of characters.

Well, he decided to hold on and I wonder if he still thinks that was a good idea. Besides falling apart at the seams and becoming outdated content-wise, the current mis-management has so brought down WBAI that it is a technical nightmare with the smallest listenership in the station's 54-year history.

That was brought home by a caller this morning. I don't know who she is, but she appears to have good inside information and she obviously has genuine interest in WBAI's welfare. In this brief audio clip, you hear her mention some facts and figures that may take you by surprise. These contradict the routinely cited optimism we have grown accustomed to hearing from Berthold Reimers and his inner circle. Bob listens to the  caller, but when she suggests that Reimers resign and becomes a volunteer, he declares an end to her free speech quota. Reality is only partly faced at WBAI, but selective acceptance of it becomes increasingly difficult for those who feel compelled to protect their turf. It is precisely this head-in-the-sand attitude that now is bringing WBAI into its final lap. 

The caller continues to be gracious as Bob orders her silenced. What a sad situation this is.

And here, sans much talk by Null about his film, is what the lady referred to when she called Bob Fass.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Go and get Rush Limbaugh!!!

I just turned my browser to, which should pop the station’s website onto my screen. Instead, I get a slick menu of choices that include “Rush Limbaugh Radio", “Conservative Radio” and “Michael Savage Radio.”

Oh, WBAI is also an option, but it doesn’t take one to the site.
Click on the image to enlarge it.

Live jazz from New Orleans

When Berthold Reimers announced that he was adding a gospel music program to WBAI's schedule, some of you were delighted. The program, we were told, was a Sunday morning church hop. How wonderful, live, soulful music from some of our area's many black churches.

Well, what did we get? A bad DJ show with pseudo gospel, pop, and biblical blather.

Now, Reimers is bringing jazz to WBAI, live from the cradle! The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.... on WBAI!

Will someone please hand me that large bowl of crow? 
When I posted that you should not expect to hear jazz, I based it upon the acts originally listed, but I am pleased to now telling you that what has been broadcast, so far, is indeed what one should expect to hear at a New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. 

I don't know why they posted the pop music menu, but we should all be happy that it was misinformation. It is not often that WBAI gets it right nowadays, but this one such time. At least 45 minutes into it, but there are technical problems over which I should—in all fairness—add, WBAI has no control. I'll keep listening and post more on this as it progresses

Having now listened to both days of this N.O. feed, I feel that it went very well and contained much good music. I don't wear one, but my virtual hat is off to whoever suggested that WBAI carry this.

Traditional New Orleans jazz has always formed a big part of my listening habit and the most memorable experience I had as a record producer was two weeks spent recording in New Orleans 53 years ago. Amazingly, 13 albums came out of that trip, all made in a 19th-century fraternity hall on North Robertson Street. Here is one of the results: