Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Shallow Profundity and personal profit...

If amazingly few people have noticed the escalating  intellectual deterioration of WBAI's program content, it is because amazingly few people care, and even fewer are bothering to tune in.

If you tell that to the stagnant amateurs who spew the rubbish that litters the broadcast schedule, they will simply accuse you of having a death wish for the station. 

Besides the out and out racist attitude that colors what some pass off as "community" radio, the station airs an abundance of psychotic pitter patter aimed at those for whom attempts at serious thought are strenuous. The queen of this questionable genre is the curator of the Knight Mausoleum, Kathy Davis, who—from all indications—is part of a growing entrepreneurial trend that feeds on WBAI's free advertisement.

I plan to use this post as a board upon which to pin the occasional program fragment of interest. Normally, I will leave these soundbites intact, although possibly remove or render useless a phone number, but I did have some 'un with the following:

Although they would wish it to be a well-guarded secret, it does not take a PhD to detect that WBAI's host/producers count among them individuals who abuse their on-air privileges for personal profit. Granted, some of these deals don't amount to a hill of beans, but others do quite well, and there is the matter of law and principles.

Madame Davis is pretty transparent with her workshops, but she is by no means alone in offering off-the-air consultation—remember that numerologist guy? We also have to view Jeannie Hopper's parties and boat rides with a soupçon of suspicion, and let us not forget the hidden profits reaped through free radio advertising, or those that are woven into the complex "premium" patches.

I have long suspected Daulton Anderson's playlist to be an indication of money manna, a sort of heavenly payola. Why else would he play the same inferior recordings on every program, following each one up with an orgiastic "my, my my"? After all, there have been thousands of black gospel recordings made since Thomas A. Dorsey became a publisher of that genre. Anderson could stay on WBAI's air around the clock (perish the thought) and never have to repeat a single spin. Notice, too, that the recordings he pushes are not on known commercial labels, but rather products of the various pastors and churches his program regularly plugs. 

This morning, we heard Daulton Anderson give a rather heavy commercial push to The Glory of God Christian Center's upcoming church convention at the Nassau Coliseum. Tickets range from $55 to $130, but this exchange, which almost morphs into a comedy routine, only mentions where and how they can be obtained. There is, of course, method in AnderZon's madness, for he is one of this event's MCs. While I doubt that he is doing this sans a fee, bear in mind that WBAI does not get a penny out of it. So, you tell me if you don't think this unadulterated audio clip is another shameless commercial.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


R. Paul Martin has posted an addendum to his Treasurer's Report for Nov. 12. It contains interesting and clarifying information re the new "studio", etc. Go here for that. Then scroll to the bottom of Reimers' Pledge Revenue Form for further clarification by R. Paul.

Nov. 19: I recommend that you check out the most recent comments attached to this post.

If anyone brought up the outrageous banishment of Sidney Smith at the November 12 WBAI-LSB meeting, it was not included in Mitchel Cohen's recording, but it should have been. Sidney has posted another response to our exchange on this incident, which has yet to be dealt with properly. Berthold Reimers, ever the turkey with his head in the sand, not only owes Sidney an explanation and apology, he owes accountability to the listener-supporters of WBAI.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Beyond the ruins of WBAI...

It's always good to know what's going on across the street. If you cross at the green, don't be surprised if you run into some of WBAI's former faithful, people whose independent thought set them free to roam the ether. Here is a link to Matthew Caron's article about WFMU and the new documentary film it inspired. The trailer below is a good one. Note the segment that shows enthusiastic listeners taking fund raising calls—it captures a spirit that reigned at WBAI many moons ago, long before it was occupied by vandals who see their selfies as works of art.

"Sex and Broadcasting" is playing at IFC Center today, November 15, and on the 17th and 20th. It is a part of the documentary series, DOC-NYC.

Friday, November 14, 2014

November 12, 2014 LSB eavesdrop

If you listen to WBAI with any kind of regularity, you have undoubtedly heard their shameless self-description as the "Peace and Unity" station, where speech is ever so free but listening is not. Haskins will play "We are family" every weekday morning, having just told a handful of listener leftovers that he is very "excited," because the station is rising from the ashes, yes, the very ashes he previously had failed to see.

What most of us see is a once proud and significant radio station being reduced to a propaganda machine  that mostly addresses itself and the occasional like-minded dial drifter. The exceptions are also there, but they are few and mostly buried in what has to be the New York area's worst program grid. One might say that these programs are a sparse sprinkle of truffle on the Twinkie.

If you want to hear how the WBAI Local Station Board bozos, their management figureheads, and those whom they attract conduct themselves at family unions, thank Mitchel Cohen for bringing along his little recording device when he attended the LSB meeting of November 12, 2014.

Mitchell apparently recorded it all, but posted somewhat selectively. He does not hide that fact, but one wishes he had also made available an unexpurgated version. Still, there is enough damning dialogue/monologue here to illustrate WBAI's moral deficit and how it may even exceed the current financial one.

Before you listen to Mitchel's recording, you ought to read the preface he gave it when he posted it to the PacificaRadiowaves list. Mitchell has his own agenda and rose-colored glasses, but his naïvité is, I believe, just that—not of the deliberate devious variety. I think Mitchel could readily co-exist with people holding opposite viewpoints, but such "tolerance" has no place in the race-riddled agendas of the self-tagged "community" members. Black is beautiful, but it can also be given a darker meaning...

Here is Mitch Cohen's preamble:

"Here's a somewhat condensed version of the WBAI Local Station Board meeting of Nov. 13, 2014, as I recorded from the audience. 

Sitting next to me in the audience was a fellow named Ed Manfredonia, whom the police had removed from a local Finance Committee meeting last year and banned him from the building, and who has written numerous letters to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the IRS targeting WBAI's (and Pacifica's) funding. Fortunately, he's made (and continues to make) such wild accusations that even a government official would be hard pressed to give them any credence. You'll hear his comments near the beginning of the recording.

While I shortened a lot of the procedural discussion (dramatically speeding it up) I left the interim Program Director's and the General Manager's reports pretty much intact.

It's not suitable to be aired because of some of the vulgarities. (I removed a couple from the iPD's report, but I didn't get them all.)" 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The financial state of the disunion....

If one emptied Berthold Reimers' bulging bag of secrets onto the floor,  his next address  might well be  Rikers Island.

Here is a downloadable PDF file of the November 12, 2014 WBAI LSB Treasurer's Report. I think you will find it interesting and somewhat clarifying.

R.PAUL'S ADDENDA (posted to his BlueBoard)
a trusted source reports having heard the following at KPFA's LSB meeting:

 KPFA and KPFK met their goals
    WPFW did 72% of their goal
    KPFT did 85%
 Audit is almost complete says Margy—they have  met    with 3 creditors and set up payment plans rather than lawsuits.

 WPFW and KPFK are looking for GM. 
    Search for ED is ongoing.

 There is a total hiring freeze and any exceptions must be approved by Margy and CFO.

 PRA Archives will have two days of fundraising Nov 18 and 19 on all stations.

Here is a post-fund drive message from Berthold Reimers with his figures attached: 
Regarding the daily goal discrepancy...

During this long, stretched marathon, my calculations were based on the $18,000 figure originally posted in one of Berthold Reimers' pre-thon messages. Today, Nov. 17, R. Paul Martin posted some pertinent details:

Last year's budget set the daily tally goal as $18,820. This goal was mostly not made. This year Berthold Reimers again wanted that same daily tally budgeted. I refused, other members of the local Finance Committee also balked at this. I maintained that the tally trend for calendar year 2014, was something more than $11,000 a day. This became a big disagreement between the General Manager and the local Finance Committee.

A "compromise" was reached of a daily tally goal of $15,476 for the FY15 budget. From my calculations the recently concluded 'thon got something more than $11,000 a day. At the November 12, WBAI LSB meeting the General Manager reported that the daily tally was about $11,000+. So we are looking at a lot of pitching this year.

Part of the motion from the NFC recommending WBAI's FY15 budget is that, "5) that the PNB direct WBAI Management to extend any and all fund drives until they have met their budgeted goals, and to increase fund drive goals accordingly if WBAI falls short of budget in other revenue sources;" which means that WBAI should have continued its Fall 'thon, but the motion has not been brought to the PNB yet. Of course the constant 'thons are killing the audience. There is no longer any clearly good direction for WBAI to take in order to be able to pay its bills.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

More on the banishment. Did CCNY ask BAI to leave?

If your memory needs to be refreshed, here's a link to the original post on this outrageous banishment. And here is something posted to the dying BlueBoard this morning by Jim Dingeman.

One thing that aroused my curiosity is a reference to WHCR/CCNY asking WBAI to leave. Does anyone know if such a request has been made?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Houston, we have a proposal...

Yesterday, October 8, Dr. Stephen D. Cohen, who presumably lives in the Houston (KPFT) area, responded to Teresa J. Allen, a local Board member who had been helpful in his search for board meeting audio. Ms. Allen appears to be dedicated to the welfare of the station she serves (a rarity), and Dr. Cohen appreciates that. Here is his response to her, a preamble to his proposal (which you will find a download link to at the end of this post.).

I want to take the opportunity to give you some praise. You singular, and you plural.

 I've been a fan of Pacifica board and committee meetings for quite a while--initially the current ones and now I am slowly going through the audio from 2007 forward.  I admit, up front, that it is an acquired taste.

To me, it is one of the most amazing "serials" out there.  Like those reality TV shows.  Maybe we can call it "Things get so sticky on the Peanut Butter Board."  

I want to praise you for what shines through the audio signal about you:  your kindness, your faith, your commitment, your concern, your intelligence, your care for those less fortunate than all of us.  Every time you speak, my ears prick up--I know I am going to hear something intelligent, creative, thoughtful, concerned and committed to establishing a measure of equity in a world rocked by greed and self interest.

The most amazing, and gripping, feature of the audio, is that you are not alone.  I could say the same about every single voice I hear--and I really mean that.  This is what I hear, from each and every one of you, in these audios.  To a man/woman, every adjective I have used to describe you could be said about every single one of you--especially all of those who have been chewed up and spit out by the Pacifica Peanut grinder.

My respect for each and every one of you is profound.  I came to the party a lot more conservative than all of you, but, by listening to your struggle for Pacifica, and hearing the selfless ideals that guide each and every one of you, I have been moved to rethink many of my positions.

I used to purely relish in listening to the struggle of the board meetings because of the intelligence and strategic play by play action around the audio table. Like any good serial, I followed each of you in your individual and factional struggles. The audio delivers:   the most intense debates about nothing I have ever heard.  The most incredible ability to create complex arguments and strategizing between parties that are in full agreement that I have ever found.

But my feelings about that the meetings has also changed.  I also find I am now worried about you guys, and realize there is more to this than my entertainment at the debating skills of very, very bright people. 

While the meetings have been unbelievably interesting (along with some boring parts) as theater and debate, and the creation of gratuitous conflict, and incredible cloak and dagger street fighting, I now realize what is happening is more important than a game of Mouse Trap.   I am also sad and worried and struggle to understand the true meaning of your conflict.

Sad comes from the notion that vicious conflict among such fine people as those who occupy your PNB and your LSBs and the various committees threaten to bring everything down.  I don't agree with much of Pacifica radio content, but it is vital that your network exist.  Even if it is not the dominant voice in our culture, it is a vital one.  This country will truly suffer if all of you are silenced. Pacifica exists to bring what Paul Harvey (I love slipping in a right winger when you guys are not paying attention) called "the rest of the story."  And, in many, many cases, the most troubling, the most disturbing, the most thought provoking, and hence, the most important part of the story.

 It is critical that your antennas continue to work, that your transmitters continue to transmit (KPFT    at 2-3 %????!!!!!#####), that your experiment continues to bubble in the chemistry lab of ideas in our culture.

Worried comes because, while I find the debate and back and forth extremely interesting and gripping, I also recognize that, as you fight with each other, you are slowly moving to the edge of the cliff.  If your conflict with one another takes you over the edge, the loss, and the sadness of it, are enormous.

Struggle to understand comes from the cautionary tale that is  Pacifica, and the central question that is raised:  How could such bright , intelligent, caring, committed (in the correct direction) people make such a spaghetti out of Lew Hill's creation.  What does it say about us, the nature of human intelligence, human conflict etc.  

The radio content of Pacifica is fine--but it is, to me at least,  as predictable in its orthodoxy as listening to Limbaugh and his friends.  In the case of Pacifica, or Limbaugh, I can finish your sentences before you say them--I can predict you positions before you enunciate them.  I have suggested that you bring in both sides to debate the issues of the day--or have more call in shows.  That could be as exciting and vital as the debates between the two factions on your boards.  Alas, I've been told that the "other side" already rules the airwaves, and that Pacifica is not interesting in mixing it up with them, and debating ideas fairly and squarely.  Too bad you see it that way.  Maybe folks at Pacifica are as afraid of scrutiny and challenge to their ideas and Limbaugh--who will only allow "ditto heads" to get through on his show---boring!!

What makes the board meetings so vital is their intensity, their unpredictability, their spontaneity as some of the finest people I have never met find ways to fight to the death with one another, despite being in full agreement with each other.  To tear down fine edifices that they both built into rubble, pour in some water, and then get down and dirty in the ensuing mud of it all.

As Ambrose Lane used to ask, and I paraphrase--How is it that such intelligent, good hearted, eloquent, properly committed,  and passionate people cannot act toward one another other than to fight with each other, factionalize with each other, and threaten to destroy something so good?

I don't know Ambrose, and I suspect you never quite knew the answer to your question either.

I'd love to have somebody post the audio of the october 8th KPFT LSB meeting and future ones so I don't have to write these emails.  But once in a while, I try to write them and circulate them to you guys--hoping it might get through some very thick skulls.  At least I tried to help.  

But I understand when good hearted people get together and desire to behave in a destructive, hopeless kind of way.  At least in Mouse Trap, a mouse is caught.  The way you guys are going, I'm afraid when the cage comes down, all you will have caught within it is the air of conflict--an audio version of the bread of affliction.


Stephen Cohen MD

There have been more proposals submitted to Pacifica than the Reverend Moon's mass wedding committee ever arranged. As one might have predicted, the official ones from WBAI's dysfunctional LSB were self-serving rehashes as, from what I understand, is the Nouveau Pacifica norm. Here are the suggestions submitted by Stephen D. Cohen today via PacificaRadiowaves—advice more related to the real world—ready for download and perusal. Take a look.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Fall Fund Drive: The final count... $381,070 + 65 "Buddy" sales

The down arrow is merely a prediction...these are the realities (click on any image to enlarge it):

Well, it's finally over and if they ever release the real figures (i.e. the net) I don't think anyone will be in a celebratory mood. The pledge total came to $381,070, which is $266,930 short of the $648,000  ($18,000 daily) goal. Remember, too, that bills did not cease to accumulate during the extensions ordered by Berthol Reimers. Sixty-five "Buddy" memberships were sold, but. at $25 each, that only adds up to $1,625 and is subject to donors waking up feeling "This Buddy's not for me." WBAI is taking its time dying, but it won't be long before it is as dead as it sounds.

They are now saying that this marathon will end Sunday night, November 9. At $18,000 per day, which is the goal Reimers was talked down to, $630,000 would be the total expected by November 9.
So, as of November 5, they are $319,800 short, with four days to go. These are the same people who are now talking about building studios at the Atlantic Avenue location! There won't even be enough in the till for a used Mister Microphone.

Null's fear-mongering "Survival package" paid off on November 4th and Amy and Ali did well, but not so the rest of them, although Ifé crawled past Forlano's zero to register $25. Will there be another extension? Would Reimers dare? He's fool enough and Murillo is not doing such a great job. The On-Air Pitching Workshop he scheduled for a month ago does not seem to have made a whit of difference. One wonders how much they paid "pitching guru" Richard Gallagher for conducting the session. 

Null and Amy led the way to bring Thursday's total up, almost making the daily goal. Not so, Friday's numbers—they came in more than $10,000 short. So far, the drive has been stretched to November 6.

October 29th figures indicate a growing fear of Null's Solar-generated apocalypse.

Tuesday, Oct. 28 sees another dip; the drive is now $150,690 away from the goal, with less than a week to go. Bear in mind item #5 of the motion passed by the Pacifica NFC this week: 5) that the PNB direct WBAI Management to extend any and all fund drives until they have met their budgeted goals, and to increase fund drivegoals accordingly if WBAI falls short of budget in other revenue sources.

The results for Monday, Oct. 27, brings the total up to $238,130—which is $157,870 short of the amount projected for this day. 

Not a great week's end on the radio translates into dark clouds over tallyland. As I figure it, the drive has to raise $23,643 a day in order to reach the set goal by November 6. Do you see an extension on the horizon, or another false statement coming from under Berthold Reimer's desk?

On the 17th day, the pledge total finally reached the daily goal, with a slight dip on the 18th, but it still doesn't look good. The total should now be $324,000, but it is $123,066 behind. Gary Null's survival packages did exceedingly well on the 23rd, so I guess WBAI's fear mongering is effective!

Racism and other hate, as spewed by Prescod, did well; as did Dr. Ali, more honorably, and Building Bridges' Mimi sold 27 "history packs" at $125 each.

The wind of funds still appears to be favorable—at least, this week's gust has not died down—but the old mill is still not making the assigned goal. This time it is Dr. Ali who gives the boost, assisted by Null's Healthy Woman. Juliana and Ifé... well? If we go by Reimers' anticipated daily figure of $18,000, the total pledged as of Oct. 21 ought to have been $288,00, so it is short by $125,315. In the meantime, new bills are added to piles of overdue ones. Do the math.

A sorely needed boost, at last, but the Oct 20 total is still below the set goal. 

And so the plunge continues with the October 19 and 20 results. The drive is now $119,235 behind the goal Berthold Reimers announced. For all the artificial excitement Daulton Anderson generated, his flock seems to have different plans for their money. There wasn't a lot of sugar in the bowl this week but Max came through and Chris Whent did better than anyone. It's time to go back to the old drawing board.

The October 16 and 17 figures do not bode well. What will Reimers come up with now? That infamous water?
Figures slightly more favorable now, but still below announced daily goals. Did anyone catch the Monday, 10-13 tally sheet entry for Gary Null's 1PM slot? Check it out and tell the rest of us what you think it means. Just heard Janet Coleman, who teeters on the border of reality and WBAI-think. She is pitching Dr. Ali's various discs, "Reversing Diabetes," "Reversing Kidney Failure," etc. It made me wonder of the doctors couldn't come up with a disc to distribute free to WBAI's "management": "Reversing stupidity." 

The figures for Sunday, Oct. 12 are interesting. Are we to believe that Prescod's Ebola show only raised $50? That mean $25 to the medical charity. Simon Loekle and Ivan's opera program did very well, as did Max Schmed. Null's grapes were apparently not the right stuff, and nobody was interested in Daulton Anderson's grab bag.

The Saturday, Oct. 11 figures show $1,495.00 as collected for "Ebola charities." These are cash payments made directly to WBAI, not pledges. There are no premiums offered and no installments on credit cards. The question is whether this amount has enriched WBAI by $747.50 and, of course, whether the other half will actually go to the Ebola charity. 

Note that the October 9 figures show Margaret Prescod as having raised $6,315. There is no indication that 50% of that amount went to help in the current ebola situation, which was a major point made by her in her hysterical pitch. Berthold Reimers clearly owes the pledgers an explanation and breakdown while some believe this departure was actually law-breaking (see here).

This morning. WBAI's iPD, Mario Murillo, made no mention of the odd turn taken by Prescod (who screams at us from KPFK), but he did express his disappointment in the daily totals, which fall short of the $18,000 per day goal.

A further update:

This evening (Oct. 11), WBAI rebroadcast Prescod's program from Thursday, the 9th. It was to have been a WBAI fundraising hour, but she went right into the ebola situation, with audio clips that blamed the death of Thomas Duncan, two days earlier) on his being black. She, herself, did not say that, but neither did she contest it. The program was, of course outdated, but I believe this might have been the first of the charity switches, because she launches right into the ebola disaster and having been given the go-ahead by management and higher ups to skip the "thank-you gifts" and donate 50% of the money she raises to a charity that helps equip ebola medical crews.

Noble as that sounds, this could be read as WBAI raising money for a worthier charity and taking half of it for its own use. Would it not have been more in keeping with Pacifica's original intent to simply have a separate fundraiser for the ebola crisis? Prescod has laced her frantic pleas with a racist political thread and, even if money will actually be passed on to the ebola fighters, is this foaming-at-the-mouth woman not guilty of blatant opportunism?

Brown on White...

There has been a lot of talk about iPD Mario Murillo bringing back to WBAI one of its most controversial and despised alumnus, Bernard White. He has already been heard speaking from the rented WHCR studio at a recent tribute and it seems almost certain that he is among the "new" voices Murillo will use to bury Haskins.

I have had major differences with LSB member Steve Brown, a close friend and supporter of Gary Null, but I think his open letter regarding the re-emergence of Bernard White is important. It is also of near novella length, but it contains countless reasons why Mario Murillo's hiring as iPD needs to be re-evaluated. If he takes back White, he will have erased any positive decision he has made since he, himself, was re-hired.

As I said, it is a very long letter, so the link in the above paragraph will allow you to download it for perusal at your leisure. Much of it will either shock you or stir up unpleasant memories, but if you care at all about WBAI, you should read what Mr. Brown has to say.