Monday, January 26, 2015
Dingeman: Dump the Governance!
Jim Dingeman has been grumbling with and at us for a very long time, but his spurts of anger at the WBAI situation has often been somewhat diluted by interjected, well-meant but irrational solutions.
It is difficult for any rational observer of the current situation to disagree with the following thoughts, posted on Pacifica Radiowaves by Jim today. It's a bit late in the game, but many of us ignore that in our zeal to see the "bums" thrown out, as Jim puts it. A few years ago, when some of us first saw this coming, there was still time to get WBAI back on track—or so we thought—but the extent of the Pacifica National Board's damage turned out to be beyond our imagination. The underhanded maneuvers that put Margy Wilkinson in the iED seat was the reality check, but we continue to vent, not so much to affect restoration (now mission impossible) as to avoid seeing the abusers' power grab succeed.
The listening audience was way ahead of us when it decided to go elsewhere for the enlightenment Pacifica used to offer.
Here is what Jim Dingeman had to say. Most of it has been said before, by him and others, but—coming from the inside, without the excuses and rationalizations we have been fed by Mitchel Cohen and Berthold Reimers— I think it bears repeating here.
At the meeting of the WBAI CAB at 60 Wall Street today it became obvious that the lack of elections for the LSB in two years has had deleterious effects.
We have been stuck as participants to the grid lock of the LSB in terms of policy issues. It is my opinion that for 14 years the LSB's have NOT seriously questioned the problem of why the audience at all the stations continues to be pathetically small or slowly shrinking. The later, the JUC and their allies, are certainly more responsible for this situation than anybody else since particularly in NYC they dominated the tone and control of the airwave in various ways since the early nineties.
To me, this is due to the simple fact that the nature of the product, the content of the air, has not and will not be questioned or dealt with in any meaningful fashion by the present players of both the Independents and the JUC and their allies nationwide. Bringing back in NYC a updated version of the grid that existed in the nineties may offer a short term improvement but IMHO is not sweeping enough to create an audience large enough to permanently sustain a budget larger than currently in play. Far more creative and drastic measures are needed to turn this around.
This requires a immediate attention on all levels to why the current programming mix cannot grow an audience here in NYC to at least a weekly cume of 250,000 and even greater...500,000. The present number of 100-120,000 is simply inadequate and we all know that regardless of our clash of visions.
The last time the audience in NYC reached even close to 400,000 was after the Gulf war. That was a fleeting number that reflected the fact that at that time WBAI or any Pacifica station was still the alternative go to for many when a crisis erupted. That situation no longer exists.
With the growth of digital media, the decline in traditional media of all types and the perpetual lack of willingness on the national and local level since the overthrow of the old board to deal in any serious way with the gradual decline of audience this situation has simply slowly but surely tumbled downhill.
Any rational look from the perspective of folks in California at their state AG office will be a sobering look at the amalgamation of facts that they will assemble. For example, anybody running a fiscally starved non-profit would rightfully be taken to task for several years running not working hell bent to get money from the CPB.
At this point seeming stupidity moves into the sphere of calculated demolition. There is simply no excuse from any perspective for the possible loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue being rationally justified at this point in time. This goes for all those in management or governance positions who have willfully allowed this situation to come to pass.
The next step is to figure what additional practical actions are needed to solve this problem. It is clear to me that the leadership of both sides in the embittered governance structure need to be taken to task on this by the tens of thousands of people who have gladly and willingly supported the stations for years with their hard earned money. This needs to be a national outcry and campaign to simply throw the bums out. —Jim