Saturday, January 17, 2015

Pacifica in Exile newsletter Jan 17, 2015

January 17, 2014
For Immediate Release 
KPFA Threatens Staffer For Trying to Broadcast Oakland Climate Change Rally
Berkeley-Local management at KPFA has been under fire for their increasing reluctance to provide live coverage of community rallies and demonstrations, backpedaling on a denial of the "Block The Boat" broadcast from the Port of Oakland and acknowledging a tepid response to the Black Lives Matters protests that swept the station's Berkeley neighborhood in the first week of December. That reluctance has amplified, with staffer Frank Sterling in receipt of angry emails after submitting a proposal for a 90-minute special program for the March For Real Climate Change Leadership planned in Oakland for February 7th. 

Sterling, who works 8 hours a week and donates at least 3 times that much time as a co-coordinator of the station's Apprenticeship program which trains women and minorities in radio and multimedia production skills, found himself threatened after trying to pull together the broadcast as a volunteer. Program director Laura Prives accused Sterling of having "an unauthorized consultation" and demanding an apology from Sterling for "taking up her time". GM Quincy McCoy went her one better telling Sterling "it was the second time in six months he had stepped over the line and it would be his last".  Program host Kris Welch and others had already announced on-air that KPFA would be "at the rally on February 7th".

Sterling has issued the following statement:
I'm writing this because I feel like KPFA is choosing again to pass up on broadcasting live from another local event and really, I am growing tired of having to fight KPFA to convince them to do.. in my opinion.. the right thing.. I thought a long time before deciding to share this with the community, but in the end, I thought it was important for the people who actually own KPFA, which is the listeners, to know what decisions are being made with the money they provide. And how people are being treated for trying to do what they feel is right.

I worked hard to set up a live broadcast from the March for Real Climate Leadership, which will be held in Oakland on February 7th. I verbally communicated with management over 5 weeks in advance of the event, and followed that up with numerous emails expressing my intent to broadcast and my plans to do so as well.

In the end, for trying to plan this broadcast I feel like I was beaten down by KPFA and really shown a lack of cooperation to find any means to make this work. I feel the excuses for not wanting to do the 90-minute live radio broadcast are bogus. The only one that has any validity is that the fund drive will be happening. But I argue for what would be gained by doing this broadcast for the community.

The e-mail excerpts are some of the exchanges with KPFA management and Pacifica's Interim Executive Director..

After reading these, if you feel it's important for KPFA to be at one of the largest climate rallies in the nation, a  statewide convergence in Oakland to be broadcast live on the KPFA airwaves, please write to KPFA management Quincy McCoy ( also the newly hired Program Director Laura Prives ( and feel free to cc: Interim Executive Director Margy Wilkinson (
Thank you. . Franklin

The Saturday music program that would have been pre-empted for the 90-minute climate change special earned $1,289/hour per the last fund drive statistics posted on KPFA's website, an amount equal to 3/10 of a percent of the total $630,000 goal.

"KPFA all through its history has stood for reporting the community and the street incident I put on the air is what Pacifica is all about".

Sterling eventually received permission to live stream from the rally onto KPFA's website "on his own dime" on February 7th, although terrestrial radio coverage during the event ws vetoed.

In other programming news, Pacifica's Archives has handed over to Democracy Now the world premiere of a newly discovered audio recording of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr from 1964 recorded by Saul Bernstein when working for Pacifica and said to be found in a box in Pacifica's archive storage unit in Los Angeles.

The Pacifica network is actively promoting the DN broadcast and seems to have been unable to put together its own national broadcast to showcase the newly-discovered audio on MLK's birthday on Monday the 19th. The board of trustees was not notified of the decision to direct the audio premiere to the independent syndicated program until after it was announced. Sales of the audio will be handled by the Pacifica Archives, which hopes to get a revenue boost from the distribution of the audio on DVD.

Copyright has been a fraught issue at the community radio network, with concerns raised about the unauthorized duplication of copyrighted materials, usually for use as premiums for donors. Well-respected radio attorney John Crigler of Garvey, Schubert and Barer, drafted a policy guidance statement for the Pacifica stations for previous ED Reese, which was completed on March 13, 2014, hours before Reese was fired at midnight by the newly seated board of directors.

The document can be read here on an Internet blog maintained by former BAI manager Chris Albertson. The policy guidance by Crigler stated that "one cost-cutting policy that should not be used is the unauthorized duplicating of copyrighted material" and that Pacifica should "adopt and enforce a strict policy against copyright infringement. Enforcement of the policy should include education of staff, restrictions on the use of duplicating equipment, investigation of suspected violations of Pacifica's policy and strict sanctions against those who violate the policy".

Reese commented after forwarding the material to Albertson: "After reading your recent post on copyright compliance, I thought you might find this of interest. It is policy guidance I received after receiving complaints about and from multiple units about copyright infringement, illegal duplication and piracy. Two units, NY and Berkeley, have their own duplicating machines and probably still do. I distributed this memo to all GM's and the board. Under the circumstances, I was obviously not able to implement it as policy with enforcement provisions".

Pacifica has one month left to comply with the extensive correspondence audit by the Attorney General of California. The network remains delinquent on state filings in California, including the financial audit for the year ending 9-30-2013. Eight former board members, among what were reported to be many complaints to California's Attorney General, released a statement about the upcoming investigation that can be read here. The state investigation comes as Pacifica's finances take an especially disastrous turn with half a million dollars in staffing reductions ordered for the two California stations, KPFA and KPFK, a quarter million dollars each. The two unions, CWA and SAG-AFTRA have already received notices of layoffs, but the implementation details have not yet been disclosed.

The details on the cash crunch are few and far between (WBAI local treasurer R. Paul Martin stated in his monthly treasurer's report (in big red letters) that "since we have only verbal reports and no financial statements, it is impossible to be precise in terms of the magnitude of the cash flow crisis". Of the few reports that exist, the only income statement released during the 2014 calender year showed (admittedly with several noticeable errors and incomplete data) a year to date operating surplus of $106,000 as of 6-30-2014.

Various verbal presentations have pointed to KPFA's doubling of projected off-air donations in their current budget over last year's actual numbers, unauthorized spending at the LA station KPFK, donor fatigue in New York at WBAI due to the protracted length of the fund drives, and bad timing on the Archives fundraiser as the nominal causes of the crisis. The network also has lost about a million dollars in annual funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and has been declared ineligible for 2014-15  funding due to the failure to complete and submit a financial audit for the year ended 9-30-2013 by the deadline of June 30, 2014.

New York's general manager Berthold Reimers confirmed in a report to New York's local board that WBAI had withdrawn from the network's Great Plains/Microsoft Dynamics accounting system and was using the Quickbooks program for recordkeeping because GP/MD was "too complicated". This means an accounting staffer will now have to be paid to transfer all of WBAI's transactional data out of Quickbooks and recreate it in a GP/MD ledger before the network can issue an income statement from its accounting software, a time-consuming process.

The national board is mostly busy with trying to hire a new executive director (in their 2nd attempt to replace Wilkinson after initial hire Bernard Duncan resigned in less than 60 days), a process they are trying to ramrod through in the last two weeks before their term end, going so far as to schedule finalist interviews on a Sunday and scheduling 12 hours of meeting time between January 18th and January 22nd.

KPFA's Community Advisory Board (CAB) is holding an open  meeting at Berkeley's Public Library at 2090 Kittredge Street on February 22, from 1:30 to 3:30pm, to discuss strengthening community ties with the Berkeley radio station. The event is open to all and the CAB describes it as: "This event, sponsored by the KPFA Community Advisory Board is open to the public and is especially for individuals, community groups and social justice activists who want to be involved with KPFA’s  free speech radio-media network. We want to explore new possibilities for KPFA live streaming, outreach interviews, Twitter, and other radio-media resources. We want to support the dissemination of people’s stories, perspectives, and thinking to foster effective coverage about local events as well as our responses to national and global actions such as those we witness in Ferguson, New York and Cleveland.Join us in building a KPFA Community and Staff Network, addressing issues of democratization and justice in our lives, in our communities and for the planet".
A memorial/celebration of the life of long-time KPFA programmer and volunteer Mary Berg, whose A Musical Offering woke many Northern Californians on Sunday mornings will be held at the Fellowship Hall at 1924 Cedar Street in Berkeley on January 31st from 2-5pm. The Facebook event listing is here. 


  1. Since Reimers can do as he pleases on Pacifica's dime, he should buy himself a Lamborghini or Ferrari and send Pacifica the bill. The budget cuts at KPFA and KPFK will be enough to cover it. If he's a chubby chaser, an expensive car can get him some skin from those worthless tubs at WBAI.

    The PNB are such gutless cowards...


  2. Well I'm of mixed opinion. I was never a fan of the capture of Pacifica by the Far Left. On the other hand news is news, and needs to be covered...hopefully objectively. The latter an impossibility in the current network.

  3. I believe that Joe Cuomo could do a great job as Station Manager. Is he still in circulation?


    1. There are several Joe Cuomos. Which one do you have in mind, and why?

  4. Sounds like more of the same: Local activists trying to take over the asylum that is Pacifica. The management may be quite right about Sterling's desire to cover the rally. There is not enough information available about the rally itself and Sterling's role in the event. Here is a good article on limits on political campaigning imposed on 503(c) organizations:

    From what is available, that rally seems like an anti-Jerry Brown event among other things. E-mails indicate, that Sterling consulted someone connected the event, and Sterling is not denying it. In the final analysis, Sterling may have resigned to maintain his activism and remain within the confines of the law.

    This may be a good legal mechanism to get rid of the Far Left at BAI, if they cross that line and use BAI/Pacifica resources to help their organizations.

    Berthold Reimers, an accountant by profession unable to use Pacifica accounting software, because it is too complicated. I would have said that Reimers is posturing, had it not been for the fact that a cash-strapped BAI hired another professional staffer to transcribe the BAI income revenue statement into Pacifica accounting system.

    One thing, that will blow up Pacifica like a powder keg, is if there was a leakage of the Pacifica member dues into the coffers of any political organization, and the AG's audit uncovered this.

    1. The more comments I read coming from "Brooser Bear," the more convinced I become that this is not Paul Di Rienzo, but someone who does not mind being mis-tagged, because that throws another veil upon her/him.

      The key word here is JUC.

  5. Awesome post!

    I am not a fan of JUC, because I consider them to be the lunatic fringe of the left. They back Summer Reese, but she nowhere near any left wing activist, such as the one encountered at Pacifica.

    If you search the public records at the internet, you will find out that she is an entrepreneur from a family of entrepreneurs, who bear no resemblance to Gary Null or others hawking their wares at Pacifica. Her father, or another older family member, appears to be either running or owning a mid-sized energy services company called Beacon Energy Services, which deals with state and federal regulations, storage tanks, and pipe-lines. She has tried running several corporations in Las Vegas, NV, with people who appear to be family members, as partners.

    One company, Tensleep Enterprises, Inc, had its corporate charter permanently revoked in Nevada, case number C14688. This in itself is nothing derogatory, it is not easy to start or run a business from the ground up, but this is a far cry from claiming to be a street activist who does not use social security numbers for religious reasons, and for telling Margie Wilkerson and her staffers, that her father was a longshoreman and a union activist, so the activism runs in her family.

    The fact that none of the so-called progressive journalists in or outside of Pacifica have explored this information in a decent article shows either the atmosphere of intimidation surrounding the far-left at Pacifica, or gross incompetence.

  6. (JustAListener)
    So now the Pacifica factions are hiding behind "false flags"?!
    Can anyone come up with a chart like law enforcement used to do with the Mafia families?
    Nothing would surprise me regarding Reese, but I have to wonder if she is JUC why did Bernard White get his foot back into WBAI only after she was gone?

  7. I never said that Reese is JUC, however, if you look at the people, who voted for and supported Reese on local station and on national boards, JUC members, and other far-left members were disproportionately represented among them. Furthermore, there was an attempt made to purge out a non-Reese supporter from the Washington DC station based on a bogus claim that he held a political office, when the office he held was on a non-partisan community advisory board. Really dirty partisan politics, some of which existed before Reese got there, such as the sacking of Tiekert and his morning show.

    What drew my attention to the whole affair, was Reese's meteoric rise to the top and the absence of any biographic information about her. As far as I could tell, she had no prior involvement with any of the Pacifica stations either a producer or a show host, in an environment, where people spend years and decades working to get their content out. Against the backdrop of this, her rise seems to have taken all of 3 to 5 years

  8. Brooser Bear is from DC and therefore confused because DC's factions don't align with those of the national board. This is about the former DC manager John Hughes who was supported by the Tony Norman/Pete Tucker/Campbell Johnson on DC's local station board. Campbell Johnson by the way firmly affiliated with the JUC for his multiyear tenure on the national board. The anti-Hughes faction was a polyglot including Luzette King, Benito Diaz, Jane Zara, Katea Stitt and others. In 2013, the anti-hughes faction won 3/4 out of the DC seats and put heavy pressure on Reese to sack Hughes. In the meantime, they tried to remove Tony Norman, the only Hughes supporter, from the PNB. The 2013 board majority didn't go along. Eventually Hughes departure was negotiated, earning Reese Norman's unending loathing. So when the tables turned in 2014, Norman switched sides and exerted his revenge on Reese as well as Luzette King. The anti-Hughes group which had sued Pacifica in 2013 to try to force her to fire John Hughes, dispersed somewhat and lost control of the DC local station board in 2015. The 4 PNB reps they sent will be firmly in the JUC/SK camp this year.

  9. This Pacifica crap gets better every day. It's a big old soap opera, with all the twists and turns and cliff hangers.

    Next time on As The Left Crumbles... Will Mitchel Cohen's recorder malfunction..? Will Pacifica ever get CPB money again..? Will Bernard White become a regular on WBAI..? Will Susan get her premium...? Will we find out who called the police on Sidney Smith..? Is it possible to start a fire while zapping orgonite with a zapper..? Was J.R. really shot by shape shifting reprilians..? Is the average IQ of a WBAI listener lower than a chimp..? Will Berthold Reimers accidentally pick up the telephone..?


    1. You forgot:

      Will Haskins grow a brain?
      Will Mimi's complexion take to ManTan?
      Will the LSB find the Fountain of Youth?

      The suspense is killing me, SDL.

    2. Well, this one should finish the job:

      Will WBAI return next season..?


    3. Not even in reruns.

      Perhaps some of these bozos will do a Steve Post and write a book of lies. Nah... he didn't do well with his attempt. I guess the current clowns will be doing dishes.

    4. Chris, at least Steve Post had enough brains to write a boring book. Most of the WBAI bozos now were born and raised in this country and can't even speak proper English, let alone spell.


    5. Had it just been boring, I would have ignored it, but Steve presented as fact outrageous fabrications designed to further himself at the expense of people without whose help he would still be announcing lingerie sale at Korvette.

      He was a lowlife.

    6. Well, at least he held a job slightly more difficult than "doing dishes." It DID require basic reading, after all. No, doing a show on WBAI isn't having a job, it's doing a job, on the listeners these days. I must have been a rarity to simply walk away from a radio show. Guess my ego didn't need it.

      Check out the latest Twit Wit Radio for some fun. Can you tell I am really getting into this show? Really? For all the crap Pacifica rebroadcasts they do, WBAI can't run this?


    7. Enjoy it while you can. The board majority has the show in its reptilian eye. Wilkinson and Edwards-Tiekert will get rid of it as soon as they can.