Friday, April 3, 2015

If you thought Pacifica was not for Proffitt...


Considering the current majority on the vote-casting PNB, this may well turn out to have been a mistake, but it can't get any worse than it has been since the last coup. What do you think, Houston good guys?
UPDATE 4/5/15: AFTER MUCH SLINGING OF HASH AND DOMESTIC CAVIAR ON PACIFICARADIOWAVES, TRACY ROSENBERG ADDS HER SOBERING OBSERVATIONS:

Okay folks. I will endorse Kevin's point here as there is entirely too much "making shit up" going on around here. Nature apparently abhors a vacuum and when people don't know things, they fabricate things to fill the void. A lot of that going on. As with most things, there are good and bad aspects and the hiring of Mr. Proffitt is one of those things, so let's clear out the myths so we can be clear about what Pacifica is currently facing.

The first thing to say is that Mr. Proffitt assuredly was not the preferred ED candidate of the board majority. Not even close. They initially offered the job to another individual, labor writer Bill Fletcher Jr, who rejected the job offer. Mr Proffitt had virtually no support from the board majority at all. After the board majority's preferred candidate concluded he did not want the job, the board majority forcibly rejected the obvious conclusion that they should offer the job to the second place finisher, Mr Proffitt, going to a great deal of trouble to convene another entire selection process in order to try to garner enough support for "anybody but Proffitt". If the board majority wanted to hire Mr. Proffitt, they could have done so in January and they chose not to do so. The upshot of the delay is that the board majority was unable to build enough support for another candidate and was left with nobody but Mr. Proffitt. This is a defeat for them and not the outcome they wished.

There are good and bad aspects to Mr. Proffitt's hiring and I can speak to some of them by virtue of being on the 2013 ED search/Personnel committee and going through a hiring process where Mr. Proffitt was a candidate.

On the good side, I believe the skill set is reasonable for the job, and I don't believe the administrative and contractual aspects of the job, which are extensive, will be beyond Mr. Proffitt.  I also have some faith in his financial oversight skills, which are obviously very needed at Pacifica.

On the bad side, Mr. Proffitt as I pointed out in 2013, is a dyed in the wool NPR man, and if you wanted a better example of "the NPRization of Pacifica", as it was called in 1999, you could not find a clearer one. The hiring of John Hughes in DC, who had a similar NPR background, provides an illustration of what happens when career NPR folks take management positions at Pacifica. A big cultural collision. The KUHF/KUHA program schedules show straight up talk syndication and classical music, and do not demonstrate any meaningful experience with generating local unique public affairs, working with volunteer programmers or with musical genres other than classical, which are stations extremely different than those Pacifica operates. It does not surprise me that Proffitt had little to no interest in the maintenance of KTRU, as it was a very different kind of station than the kind he operated. The problem for us is that the Pacifica stations have more in common with KTRU than with KUHF. 

I am not going to say that a person cannot adjust, and I will agree with Mary Ann that it is unfair to make assumptions. However it is not an attack on someone to point out their history, and I can assure Kenya that no, the board of directors did not ask any questions about KTRU or PRC nor take that history into account, if they even knew much of anything about it other than that KTRU broadcasts in HD on KPFT's digital channels. 

My recollection of Mr. Proffitt's career trajectory (and this was more than a year ago) is that he did not see his occupancy of the position as a long-term likelihood and so my basic response to this appointment is that it is likely a placeholder-type appointment. My modest hopes are that Mr. Proffitt would clean up some financial chicanery and put in a little fundraising infrastructure at the national office and keep GM's and the CFO accountable for adequate job performance. If he can do these things, the situation will be less-bad than it currently is. The long-term transition of Pacifica to healthier organization probably lies in other hands.

14 comments:

  1. Just when you thought it was safe to turn on the radio....
    http://www.wbai.org/articles.php?article=2578

    KGT

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    1. Thank you, KGT. Your link leads to Murillo's latest posted message regarding program changes. I will post it on this blog tonight, opening the gate to what I hope will be many comments. One thing is clear, Mario Murillo is using WBAI to carry out his own narrow agenda, bringing in more one-sided programming, including an idiot named Bob Law, who has his own show elsewhere, but showed his true colors recently when he re-dubbed gentrification, calling it "genocide."

      Let's hope that this new squat at least gets rid of some of the worst, but I doubt it. If talent and substance mattered, Michael Hasking would be long gone.

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    2. All I know about Proffitt is what I have read online. What I am not seeing is what programming he instituted elsewhere, nor his business practices. In other words, I am not seeing a detailed track record of the man. Wait and see, I guess. If he has any belief that he will be running a radio network his way, he is in for a big surprise.

      Did you see the proposal to drop one representative to the PNB from each Pacifica station? Big deal, eh? I have a better idea: one representative only from each station, for a total of five station representative on the PNB. Awww... Will that limit the number of morons able to think they are hotshots, press telephone buttins during PNB meetings, turn on radios, have their dogs bark, masturbate to porn, etc.?

      I'll save my Murillo comments for your post on him.

      SDL

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  2. Bob Law is Mother Theresa compared to the would-be President of the U.S. Ron Daniels. Do you need Secret Service clearance to listen to him?

    KGT

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    1. If Ron Daniels is coming back, can Asiba Tupahache be far behind?

      KGT

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  3. Murillo is pushing the revolutionary left ideology, the raison d'etre he was put in place. Proffitt sounds like an ambitious politician, who keeps his voting record (or lack of it) in secret. Based on initial impressions, I like him, and the voting majority too, has picked a candidate that corresponds to their ideology. I don't think that the current faction in power will mess with the order of things at BAI, unless they decide to increase the BAI's ratings, at which point they may pressure the BAI GM and staff. Having said that, the current faction is more likely to take stets against the Reimers and Co, then the JUC faction, currently out of power. That he scheduled Bochan and the new Dharma Punx show for the graveyard hours, plus his choice of music programming shows his hopeless bias and possibly, even, arrogance. Compare the NPR music shows lineup for comparison. NPR has added far too many shows about up and coming musicians, tied to artist promotion dollars, I am guessing, but their music is diverse when compared with the WBAI.

    BTW, Just A Listener, I stand corrected, Expert Witness is a good show. Show is not perfect, but quite interesting. BAI apparently never aired any except one, I kept hearing over and over again.

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  4. He’s Michael G. Haskins:
    Cohosts everyday.
    Like crotch-rot and Herpes
    He just won’t go away.

    Brings a bus driver’s perspective
    To understand the world’s news.
    The black church and JUC politics
    Color his views.

    Chooses show’s background music:
    Hip-hop and rap.
    Even dimwitted Dancy
    Played less toxic crap.
    He’s torpid and tedious,
    Gregarious and gay,
    He cannot shut up
    But has nothing to say.

    He’s Michael G. Haskins
    He’s there everyday:
    Like religion and Herpes
    He won’t go away.
    Like viruses everywhere
    He spreads, reproduces,
    Resistant to all
    Pesticides and douches.


    TPM

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    1. Bravissimo!

      SDL

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    2. Thank you, SDL.


      TPM

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  5. It's pretty ridiculous reading Rosenberg, who is part of the Pacifica fiasco, assess Proffitt's abilities. It's like a failed Cub Scout critiquing an Army Ranger. In any event, Rosenberg's main objection is that he is a "dyed in the wool" NPR type and this could meant that Pacifica will be NPR-ized. To which I say: good! NPR actually has programs that are worth listening to. Some of them provide news. Others provide entertainment. Some provide both. When a show doesn't work, it gets cancelled. New people appear on the air. There are actually people under 65 years of age on NPR stations. Yes some veterans hang on for many years, but that is because they are popular and actually have an audience. There are no R Paul Martins and Bob Fass's mumbling on the air for 30 years at NPR and programming decisions aren't made by the subjective gut feelings of the GM or by factional warfare. So hopefully, Rosenberg's denunciation is accurate and Proffitt will quickly give us BBC-quality reportage and creative programming on the order of Serial.

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  6. Agreed. NPR has 65 and under crowd. POINT ! POINT !!! I disagree with the point Sarah Koenig makes and with her bias (even if Adnan is guilty, he was just a stupid 19 year old at the time and should be forgiven), and if you knew Asia's true identity, you'd see the fix is in, but it is an awesome show. Interesting how Amy Goodman is less an investigative journalist and more of an anchor for the radical Left. For instance, NPR's fresh air hosted Masha Gessen for an hour talking about the Boston bombers and the Chechens in Russia, not a mention of it (or her) on Pacifica.

    The difference, I believe, is that NPR is comprised of professional journalists, while Pacifica consists of activist hacks turned commentators.

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    1. The observation you make with your last line is on the money, as it were. Rank amateurism isn't so cute when it comes to news reporting.

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  7. I think that news reporting and journalism are two separate occupations with skill sets, that are a little different. This occurred to me, when I saw a news reporter covering a lecture I was attending, and he was doing a quick head count to see how many in the audience, and from the speed and skill, with which he did it, I realized that he had some practice doing that. He estimated (correctly) 75 people in about 8 seconds, while answering my question as to what he was doing, looking like a madman, as he looked all around him. Someone said a long time ago, that the mainstream commercial talk radio shows are NOT journalism, they are Op Ed commentaries. BAI fell in the same trap as the commercial mainstream.

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    1. Isn't that, basically, the difference between muckraking and census taking?

      I recall a time when TV anchor people occasionally injected their own thoughts on an issue and their employers protectively distanced themselves by identifying the expressed opinion as such. Sometimes, the news reader even turned his/her face toward another camera to visually indicate an aside.

      Part of my first DJ job at a commercial station was to tear a page or two from the AP Telex once an hour and read it on the air. A very recent immigrant, I had a tough—some thought, hilarious—time with the sports report. :)

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