Monday, February 2, 2015

No premature signing by Pacifica's auditor


Here, for your information, is another release from Tracy Rosenberg.

Pacifica's Auditor Declines To 
Sign 2014 Engagement Letter

Berkeley-As another month ticks by without a completed audit for the fiscal year that ended September 20, 2013, Pacifica's audit committee reported in writing that auditor Armanino LLC had declined to sign an engagement letter for Pacifica's next audit (for the year that ended in September of 2014).  The report stated: (you can read the full public version here):

The PNB should be advised that, based on available information, it does not appear feasible to meet the regular March 31 due date for the FY2014 audit for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The issue at hand is that this work cannot begin until the FY2013 audit is completed, nor can we even engage Armanino to commit to this work, as approved by the PNB at the December 3 meeting.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting's block grant programs, Community Service Grants (CSG) and National Program Acquisition Grants (NPPAG) require public radio stations with more than $300,000 in annual revenues to submit audited financial reports (AFRS) by 5 months after the close of the fiscal year, with brief extensions available. Full guidelines can be found here.

Enterprising Pacifica hosts used the organization's failure to file required financial reports as a fundraising pitch, re-arranging reality to accuse the agency of "playing hardball" and "punishing Pacifica" while never mentioning the organization hasn't fulfilled basic requirements to submit audited financial reports all other public radio stations comply with. The on-air whining violates most nonprofit development advice which discourages public statements of anger at funders who have provided millions of dollars in past support . The host went so far as to blame CPB publicly for a union vote underway at the Berkeley unit to increase health insurance copayments from $10 to $20 per doctor visit.

The auditor's decision not to expedite the 2014 audit means almost $2 million dollars in 2014-2015 CPB public funding will be forfeited by the board majority which allowed the entire year to go by without taking corrective action. Pacifica filed annual audits for the 30 previous years. The system failure has also precipitated an investigation by the California Attorney General due to Pacifica's failure to submit the audit to the state by June 30, 2014 as required by the California Nonprofit Integrity Act.

The Attorney General investigation did spur the release of the first income statements in six months from Pacifica's National Office, actually they spurred the release of two different income statements, one released to Pacifica's finance committee on Tuesday Janary 27th and another one released to the full board on Thursday January 29th. In the interval between Tuesday's financial statement and Thursday's financial statement, the financial position, primarily at Berkeley's KPFA, worsened by almost a quarter million dollars. No explanation was provided for why $215,000 in new expenses were suddenly found at KPFA in two days that had not been recorded in the previous four months since the fiscal year ended on 9-30-2014.

The overall financial position was pretty much unchanged from the previous year except for a few significant markers: 1) the end of the 2007-2012 Democracy Now contract ending the $650,000 a year expense for the program to Pacifica's national office 2) savings of $800,000 a year in payroll at WBAI from the July 2013 layoffs carried out by former ED Summer Reese, which left NY station WBAI showing the smallest annual operating loss of the network's five stations at $-36,000, followed by KPFT at $-51,000, KPFK at -$285,000 and WPFW at -$393,000.

The largest operating loss of the five stations was at Berkeley's KPFA, the home station of IED Wilkinson and PNB treasurer Brian Edwards-Tiekert which posted a 2014 operating deficit of $-491,00, the highest for the station in five years. The operating deficit sprung up in the last quarter of the year (July to September of 2014) where despite claims of surpassing fund drive goals, the station came up short by almost a quarter million dollars in listener support payments, meaning a huge amount of booked pledges seem not to have been paid following the May and July/August fund drives. During that period of time, the station made a controversial AM change, bringing in a syndicated program from LA to wipe the AM strip of locally generated programming on the premise of increasing income. However, the advertised jump in "pledges" didn't pan out in real life as listener support funds came up way short in the 4th quarter by hundreds of thousands of dollars, netting at $401,000 although the number should have been around $662,000 using the station's regular pledge fulfillment rate.


Pacifica's wait-wait-hurry up process to fill the vacant executive director position ground to a halt after the outgoing board convened an 8 hour phone call on a Sunday to interview candidates and then hurriedly voted less than a week before the end of their terms. The process had already been described as corrupt.  No hire has been announced and rumors are flying that the board majority's choice declined to take the job. The second consecutive blown-up ED hire process poses questions about the board majority's sincerity about finding qualified leadership as despite spending no less than 20 of the last 24 months in executive search mode, the board continues to allow the organization to be lead by a retired clerical worker who describes herself as unqualified for the job after orchestrating the removal of the previous executive director.

In New York, WBAI continues in an apparently endless (now 6+ months) negotiation to secure accomodations for its transmitter and escape a crushingly high contract at the Empire State Building, now costing over half a million dollars a year.  At WBAI's local station board meeting, GM Reimers disclosed that he and CFO Salvador were the current negotating team and that an attorney who was assisting had been sidelined and was just consulting. The negotiations appear to be somewhat problematic as Reimer's last financial statements showed that WBAI paid $163K to Empire in October and November of 2014, or half the entire the gross receipts of their month long fall fund drive. Asked for paper back-up about the status of the negotiations, Reimers apparently responded "trust me" to his local board. WBAI has a standing offer from competing transmitter site 4 Times Square to relocate for $14,000 a month rent, a savings of at least $25,000 month, but has been scared to leave Empire in fear of being sued for the $3 million dollars+ remaining on the lease signed by a Siegel/Brazon-faction dominated Pacifica National Board in 2006. 

The new board got things underway on Thursday the 29th sounding a lot like the old board. Despite noticing no business in advance but seating newly elected members, they carried on with all sorts of business with inadequate notification to the public. Rather than electing new permanent or temporary officers, they just "agreed" the officers left from last year's board should carry on for several more weeks. The new board members pointed out they had not been added to the board's email list. A motion by Houston rep George Reiter to discuss holding an in-person board meeting was referred to a committee that hasn't met in 8+ months, and the question and answer session for Pacifica's CFO was cut off despite a huge amount of board members trying to inquire about the financial chaos.

31 comments:

  1. Always saves money when you do a beg-a-thon, hawk items, get paid and don't send out the hawked items. I'd love to see a Dollar total of what was donated for all the unsent premiums. I'll bet it's in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    SDL

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    1. You are probably right and whatever that sum is, it's compounded by the unconscionable markup.

      Did you perchance hear Kathy Davis's rambling, nonsensical pitch today? I'll have to capture it for sharing. I recall when she, a long time ago, came across this slick doggone African and recorded him in a noisy place that had kids screaming in the background. I am probably not spelling "doggone" correctly, but that's how it sounds. Kathy wants a lot of money for a stick of stuff that she downloaded from the Internet. It is almost impossible to get all this knowledge today, she claims, because it's all gone from the net. She also has proof that white people either don't exist or serve no purpose. At least, that's the gist of it... even the Greek writers and philosophers took everything from black people. It is every bit as loony as the stuff Brady misinforms listeners with. What an amazing station WBAI is! :)

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    2. Yeah, heard Davis mumbling for a couple of minutes while tuning around the radio. It's all a conspiracy, you know. It's funny how this style of conspiracy mentality has now permeated the left. This sort of stuff was common in extreme right wing circles for decades, but now the left has joined in. The funniest thing will be when people call to ask where their premiums are and she has to say the same thing the OTH guys do: "WBAI hasn't sent us the flash drives yet." Yeah, for the 20th beg-a-thon in a row!

      Brady should offer an empty jar and tell people it contains trapped orgone. The loons that listen to his crap will go for it, indeed. Hey, the Crofts could make money selling zappers to WBAI as a premium. Bet those would blow out! No, Chris. I mean it. Seriously...

      SDL

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    3. Still waiting for them to publish the tallies. Simon Loekle—a reliable source--mentioned yesterday that his Saturday morning show raised at least $1,000. Good for him!

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  2. Tuning around the radio a little after 10:00PM, I went by WBAI. Was I ever surprised to hear what I thought was Twit Wit Radio. Well, boy was I disappointed when I discovered it was only Twit Radio, without the Wit. No idea what the self-congratulatory crap was, but it was even worse than Geoff Brady's circus.

    About an hour later I tuned around some more and, when I got to WBAI, heard some sort of cancer cure nonsense. The host sounded like a preacher hawking a prayer blanket, or some such junk, on an old Mexican border blaster.

    I guess I shouldn't be surprised for the contempt WBAI management has for its listeners, having heard them call into the station.

    How could I not laugh knowing that the Spanish pirate stations on 99.3FM and 99.7FM probably have more listeners?

    SDL

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    1. I think the first thing you heard was Chris Howard, the guy who comes here to conduct classes in how to make tons of money. He was interviewing a woman who apparently chases animals and does all kinds of tumbles on various TV shows, but came here from Poland several years back, penniless. Not once was there a phone number or plug given. That show did a few hiccups and disappeared, followed by an old extended plug for a cancer cure quack ("Cancer: The Forbidden Cure") done by Earl Caldwell, with assist from Haskins. The inventor of this "cure" was a guy named Max Gershon and the gimmick is that his cure works so well that people who talk about it have been killed by their local hospital-or something like that. Anyway, Wikipedia has the story and even gives you a count of the many patients his cure has killed! His daughter started a clinic in Mexico when this quackery was, in fact, forbidden in the U.S.

      Caldwell's sister had died of cancer when he recorded his shameless plug. This is another case of WBAI being totally irresponsible as it robs its listeners and, apparently, "transitions" them. Disgusting!!

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    2. I just read the Wikipedia entry. Gerson makes Wilhelm Reich seem honest, almost.

      A couple of notes.

      Eating freshly carved out raw animal livers was something body builders and pro wrestlers used to do in the pre-steroid days.

      From the Steve McQueen entry on Wikipedia:

      "Controversy arose over McQueen's Mexican trip, because McQueen sought a non-traditional cancer treatment called the Gerson Therapy that used coffee enemas, frequent washing with shampoos, daily injections of fluid containing live cells from cows and sheep, massage and laetrile, an ineffective anti-cancer drug available in Mexico."

      WBAI has NO shame to speak of.

      SDL

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    3. That is true but the cancer that Steve McQueen had, mesothelioma, had no effective treatment, let alone cure and still has a bleak prognosis 35 years later. It gave him a little bit of hope (false) for a parting of some of his money. You can't take it with you.

      KGT

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  3. These past two days I have been sitting here working (lots of stock trading) all morning and day, so radio becomes my friend. That said so you understand where I'm coming from.

    Every time I tune by WBAI, all I hear is the cancer cure show or the forth Stooge, "Chirpy" Howard. Is this where WBAI is laying its hopes in this beg-a-thon? Seriously? May as well bring back Zeitgeist and double helix water.

    Jeez, not even the more sane Dr Ali? He did pretty well last time around. Not even a replay of the OTH show with Steven Rambak? That did very well last time, also. No Boku? Does Null dislike a competing powder on his station? After all, at least Boku hasn't poisoned anyone AND is responsible enough to do a recall of just a suspected tainted lot. Not proven tainted, just suspected. I call that responsible, Gary...

    It seems like WBAI is just going deeper into the sewer these days. I guess that is what the simpletons called listeners want, eh? Have to play to your audience, no matter how moronic.

    At least I can listen to Mitch Jesserich on KPFA's website.

    SDL

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  4. Had they played to the audience that used to be, the bird brains who now tune in wouldn't.

    Heard the outrageous Caldwell death pitch again, and "Dr." Gwen Scott is back with that horrid "doesn't-get-better-than-this" woman. The station is being run by idiots.

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    1. Once upon a time, there was one main premium (or whatever you want to call it), Folio, which you received for donating a certain minimum once per year, and becoming a station member. People were happy to receive it, and receive it they did. There were a couple of interruptions over many years when the station was strapped for cash and stopped sending it out (happened once during Josephson's reign, if I am correct), but those were short term.

      Imagine trying to get these morons to donate for a WBAI publication these days? They probably can't even read! Why do you think they want DVDs?

      What is really upsetting is hawking "health" and "medical" sucker bait to probably needy, infirmed people, and then never sending those items out. Maybe that's for the better, since some of these items are probably injurious Stuff anyway. Know what I mean, Gary?

      What really gets me is how WBAI is supposed to be a political and arts oriented station and mostly hawks non-political and non-arts premiums because it can't make money on politics and art. DUH...

      SDL

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    2. In my time, and prior to that, we never missed a Folio mailing.

      These days, when one brings up the Folio, the WBAI dumbos are quick to tell you that they are old-fashioned and unnecessary, because the schedule is accessible on the station's web site, 24/7. What they seem to forget is:

      1. That schedule is never up-to-date.
      2. The schedule only gives you the name of the program and host, and even that is often wrong.

      Compare, for example, a current listing that reads: And You Don't Stop - Host: Chuck Dee
      to one from March 30, 1966.

      The Idea of Race: Contemporary Forms of the Idea of Race. - Third in a series of lectures by the noted scholar and writer, Ashley Montagu, tracing the origin and development of the concept of race, in the various forms it has taken in different cultures, and concluding with a critical anatomy of both the social and biological concepts of race. The lectures were recorded at the New School for Social Research. April 1.

      The date at the end told the subscriber when the program was scheduled for re-broadcast.

      Not only is the web schedule randomly out of date, but even new changes often do not correspond to what is actually aired, and that can be a complete surprise. Add to that the fact that WBAI's announcers have a chronic problem with reading, so listeners find themselves having to guess what they are being fed.

      Add in the misinformation, hypocrisy, deplorable audio quality, etc. and you probably have the epitome of amateur broadcasting. Why should anyone donate money to perpetuate crap like that? Why should anyone listen? Thousands of listeners seem to have asked themselves those questions and responded intelligently by moving on.

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    3. Eh, I just think it's sad that Kane can't do a multi-pack sample grab bag of Native American cigs as a premium. No, Chris, hear me out. I have a logic to this.

      WBAI doesn't care if it kills its listeners, agreed?
      Cigs are a risk but not a guarantee of death, agreed?
      Many premiums sold on WBAI are probably riskier than cigs, agreed?
      Many of these risky premiums just go to making the producer/supplier richer, but do nothing for anyone else, agreed?
      Hawking Native American cigs would actually go to helping Native Americans financially, and to get some revenge on paleface, agreed?

      Ergo, if it were legal for Kane to hawk cigs on WBAI, it wouldn't be as risky as some premiums hawked, it would benefit the single poorest group in the USA, it would give some comeuppance to the imperialist, genocidal occupational forces of the Native American lands (even if they didn't believe in land ownership as a concept), etc.

      Sounds good to me...

      SDL

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  5. Forgot to ask if the daily tallies are coming in yet. You know how much I love them.

    Anyway. You really have to love how "Chirpy" Howard shows up the true nature of all these "progressives" and other left wing categorizations. For all their lip service, they are still money grubbing capitalists at heart. Know what? I haven't seen anyone criticize the money making infomercials based purely on socialist selfless ideology. Maybe I just missed it.

    It sucks getting older if you are an intelligent, critical person. Your ever building experience causes you to see through it all and realize that the world is 99% bullshit.

    Well, as I often joke: At least animals are honest. They love you or want to eat you.

    SDL

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    1. The spot where I used to get the tallies now requires e-mail address and password, so I can't get in. I am not surprised, because this whole money-grubbing grab is a covert operation, for reasons we all can surmise with a degree of accuracy.

      If I find the key, I'll post whatever info they release.

      Yes the transparency increases with age, but I think the Reimers gang is a clear see-thru.

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  6. Where are Barbara Nimry Aziz and Phyllis Bennis and why are they silent?

    KGT

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    1. Barbara Nimry Aziz is a Canadian-Americn Arab who did programming on "Radio Tahrir" show on WBAI and excused all the wrongdoing of all Arab and other non-Arab Islamic militants and Islamic fascists. Phyllis Bennis is a Jewish-American who is friendly with Palestinians and a personal friend of Hanan Ashrawi and is 100% against everything Israel has ever done. She had a show on WBAI in the 1990s during the week and works at a Washington Middle-east think tank. She is a far better person than Aziz in my book. I can disagree with her without animosity which is more than I could say about Aziz.

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  7. Having tuned by WBAI several times today, I can see that Mario Murillo's attempt to get rid of the quack and conspiracy infomercials can now be considered an absolute failure. It was a valiant effort, but doomed from the start, I suppose. I guess Reimers is in full charge of this beg-a-thon. I'm still waiting for the no money down real estate course.

    Wasn't Murillo's tenure as iPD supposed to be for six months only? It's more than that now. Makes you wonder...

    SDL

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    1. Murillo must be on the verge of departing.

      You are right about the fund drive, it must be tanking, otherwise Reimers wouldn't be returning to serial reruns of these old infomercials. I wonder if the listeners aren't confused when they hear that the phones are ringing off the hook for Caldwell, then, an hour later, it's a very different story, because—unbeknownst to them—it is actually more like an hour and a year or two later.

      Just heard Blosdale talking about WBAI balancing precariously on the edge of oblivion, which is the opposite of what we hear from Reimers and Mitchel. I haven't heard any talk of archive-filled flash drives. This is an unbelievably disorganized catch-as-catch-can mess. Wish someone would drop a key to the data sheets.

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    2. Doing the phones ringing sound effects, telling how many people are calling, etc. always makes something seem fake, especially when the program is repeated. That kind of crap is better off with the visuals on PBS, but not on radio. I still say the Caldwell thing sounds like huckster audio clips I have heard from the 1960s of old border blasters, even the audio quality sounds like AM rather than FM.

      From my poking around, Blosdale sounds like nothing more than a saleswoman influenced by late night TV infomercials. I wouldn't take anything she says seriously. She's out to hawk a product, and is using the big threat modus operandi to do it.

      I have no idea how the beg-a-thon is going, but wouldn't be surprised if some of the usual donating listeners aren't giving anymore, since they still haven't received the often multiple premiums due them. Add to that the credit card grab back thing from people cancelling payments for items unreceived. Even the near dumbest eventually learn their lessons.

      Remember, as much as I would hate to give WBAI money, I was going to go for the OTH and TPCS premiums last time. The ONLY thing that stopped me was that I knew I wouldn't get the items. I really didn't want to spend a night or two in small claims court. Believe me, I am someone who would drag WBAI into court. Well, I was right, as we see people still complaining about not getting the items.

      Yes, this beg-a-thon just seems disorganized and made up of throwing anything and everything out there to see what sticks/makes dough. Wreaks of desperation. However, it is probably what sells, since Ife Dancy sure as hell doesn't make money playing 1970s disco DJ with her coward friend. At least she had the guts to debate before he disabled comments on the youtube page. Forlano seems to have left youtube once I showed her up for the liar she really is.

      SDL

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  8. Hay-tie succeeded in making my head spin, which isn't easy. Tired of hearing the same crap repeated on CNBC (the bane of my job), I tuned on the radio to hear the idiot and a guest hawking personal work out sessions. OK, sounds fine, but - BUT - why should you go for this premium? Because "Working out is a revolutionary act..." Huh? Yes, forget about just working out when you have "Revolutionary fitness."

    This beg-a-thon is actually getting to be the best crap WBAI has done in ages. I can't even imagine the junk they will be hawking out of desperation in another week. Used Mimi Rosenberg tampons?

    SDL

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    1. I heard that nonsense, too, and will be posting some of it, with hopes of attracting comments. This morning, Haskins was at his worst, and that's saying something.

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    2. What is Mimi Rosenberg's sexual orientation? Marital Status? Kids?
      I already know Utrice Leid's- thank you.

      KGT

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    3. I have no idea, nor should it matter. All I know is that she is what Mezz Mezzrow used to refer to himself as--a "voluntary Negro." :)

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    4. As I said a while back, Mimi should be married to Mitch Cohen. I swear every time I read his fictions I think he is more and more out of touch with reality. Now, in response to you, he makes comments about how HE is going get rid of an infomercial, if you can prove the treatment is banned in the USA. Who put him in charge of WBAI's beg-a-thon? Oh, I forgot. Hawking cancer crackpot cures is a "debate" on the issue. Yeah, OK, Mitch. However you want to rationalize it.

      I guess I missed his appointment at WBAI as Minister of Propaganda.

      SDL

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    5. You bring up an interesting contradiction when you mention Mitchel's vow to get the Caldwell cancer cure off the air. Mitchel often downplays his ability to communicate with Reimers, so he will just say whatever is expedient.

      With Reimers operating from behind that green curtain, the self-appointments come easy. Reimburse obviously knows that he needs some visible lackeys out front, and who better than Mitchel, now that Frank Lefever has to hide.

      Could this be turned into a board or video game? Monotony? Grand Theft Pacifica? Scramble?

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  9. Voluntary Negro? Don't forget "Sister" Sally O'Brien.

    KGT

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    1. I wasn't sure if she qualified or used Nadinola™. :)

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    2. She ODs on scones.
      KGT

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    3. Soul Scones, no doubt.

      I like scones.

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