Tuesday, June 9, 2015

FOUND: Long Lost Wilkinson Note Pad

June 8, 2015
For Immediate Release 
Wilkinson's Note Pad

Berkeley- A note pad found on the floor at the Pacifica National Board meeting in November of 2013 and belonging to soon-to-be board chair and interim executive director Margy Wilkinson has been given to Pacifica In Exile. The note pad details strategic notes regarding the board's in-person meeting, as well as notes from a few KPFA local station board meetings of the same period. A full scanned copy of the contents will be made available in the future, but some highlights from the national board section are below.

At the national board meeting in November of 2013, the board was interviewing 3 candidates for the executive director position, among other tasks. The meeting concluded with a hire letter being issued to Summer Reese, who Wilkinson replaced in March of 2014 after taking over the board chair position in a disputed vote in February of 2014.

In the "US" category: Brian Edwards-Tiekert (KPFA), Wilkinson (KPFA), Dan Siegel (KPFA), Lydia Brazon (KPFK), Brenda Medina (KPFK) and Cerene Roberts (WBAI).

In the "THEM" category: Tracy Rosenberg (KPFA), Carolyn Birden (WBAI), Heather Gray (Affiliate), Teresa Allen (KPFT), Jessica Apollinar (KPFT), John Cromshow (KPFK), Richard Uzzell (KPFT) and Summer Reese (KPFK).

In the "WORKABLE" category are listed: Janet Coleman (WBAI), Janis Lane Ewart (Affiliate), Tony Norman (WPFW), Katea Stitt (WPFW), Luzette King (WPFW), Benito Diaz (WPFW), Nancy Hentschel (KPFT), and Manijeh Saba (WBAI).

A list labeled "tactics" follows including:

* "Get everyone on Google Chat for the meeting" (a violation of Brown Act standards for public meetings if this actually occurred),

* "Break up the seating" (presumably to prevent people from sitting where they pleased)

* "Don't fight WPFW"

* "Abstain more" (presumably to avoid angering "workables").

Notes follow citing Houston station KPFT: "It all depends on Theresa" and citing DC station WPFW: "Right now, both sides need Summer. Resolve that!"

The notebook suggests "one on ones" with certain board members and suggests what the topics might be. Everyone should be asked if they "care to be an officer of the board".

For WPFW staff rep (and now program director Katea Stitt), the note pad suggests "Do you think Summer {Reese} put him {GM John Hughes} up to it?" This refers to program changes at the DC station made by Hughes.

For WBAI staff rep Janet Coleman, the notebook suggests "What do you want to do re: Berthold {WBAI GM Berthold Reimers} and will Summer do it?".

For affiliate rep Janis Lane-Ewart, the suggested topic is "Say that you are worried about Summer and ask if  she is worried about Summer too".

A list of the meeting "goals" includes:

* "Summer out",

* "Efren back" (which refers to current controller Efren Llarinas),

* "Margy chair"

* "Tracy neutralized" (seems to be a reference to then-KPFA rep Tracy Rosenberg).

The misplaced note pad indicates a couple of things about the state of Pacifica Radio. The first is the noticeable lack of attention to any of the normal functions of nonprofit boards: strategic planning, Pacifica's place in the media landscape, development, financial analysis, maintenance of capital assets including buildings, licenses and equipment, and project and program opportunities.

The second noticeable aspect is the majority's perspective on their colleagues which appears to be akin to guinea pigs in a science experiment to be prodded and manipulated. Should they not succumb to being worked over, they would then be "neutralized".

This is antithetical to the establishment of respectful working relationships on an elected body entrusted with the preservation of valuable public assets.

The third thing the note pad establishes is that when Wilkinson and other members of the board majority testified in Alameda Superior Court under penalty of perjury and filed formal court filings in 2014, they were not telling the truth.  They testified the salient issues leading up to the coup in March of 2014 were related to background checks and a January 2014 contract.

The notes in the note pad were written before the contract was drafted, before the background check was performed, before the final interviews had occurred, and before the offer letter for employment was put out (as they said in a Siegel and Yee filing): "in good faith by the board of directors".

Pacifica has recently been notified that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has initiated a proceeding regarding employment discrimination against Reese.

Wilkinson's final act before ending her long tenure as interim executive director was to hire her factional crony, community college teacher Leslie Radford as LA station KPFK's general manager while new ED John Proffitt was driving across the country. The hire of the unqualified Radford has been unpopular with the station's employees, with all but one signing a letter objecting to the hire. The first week of Radford's tenure, with the station in the 4th week of the spring fund drive, raised a miserable $67K from June 1 to June 5. The fund drive, extended to a back-breaking 31 days, raised only $600,000, $150,000 less than the $750,000 budgetary projection. This returned the station to the six figure hole that prompted an April emergency fund drive to avoid shutting down. That April drive averaged over $30,000 a day under former GM Zuberi Fields.

Radford's special fund drive programming did not attract the station's listeners who largely limited their donations to the station's traditional money-raisers including Background Briefing, The Aware Show with Lisa Garr, Democracy Now and Sojourner Truth. Radford's innovations included cutting off Sonali Kolhatkar's Uprising half way through on June 1st (cutting off the show's pitch and raising only $125 for the entire 8-9 AM drive time hour)  and a 5:00am rap show called Music to Resist By, which you can hear a sample of here.  Music to Resist By was undoubtedly a surprise to the usual listeners of public affairs program Counterspin, produced by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). It woke everyone up with several audible profanities.

The Pacifica National Board will be meeting from June 12th-15th at the Aris and Carolyn Anagnos Center in Culver City, CA. 4 days prior to the meeting start date, no draft agenda has been provided at press time notifying the public of the subjects under discussion, when they can attend and the available times for the board to hear public comment. 

Pacifica in Exile readers may write to the board at pnb@pacifica.org.

This newsletter is written and distributed by 
Tracy Rosenberg. To subscribe, visit www.unitedforcommunityradio.org.


  1. One awaits confirmation via the scanned copy promised. That said...

    Absolutely Fucking Hilarious.




    Surprising yet in no way surprising.

    All the Little Progressives scheming and plotting petty-power-mad as if in an ancient long-lost long-imagined long-revered Zurich coffee house absent a Godot of a sealed train… or in a Monty Python routine.

    Wonder why they aren’t running the world yet….

    Perhaps in part because their ‘world’ consists of such pettily infantile schemes over coffee, seats at the table, attempts to comprehend even the simplest of procedures as to meeting order viewed as if a matter of major arcana – all accompanied by utter complete blinding incomprehension of anything actually involving funding or finance at any level, whether microscopic or macroscopic….

    Damn Fucking Hilarious.

    I think the world is at little risk of their assuming Power any time soon.

    ~ ‘indigopirate’

    1. Although I knew that this is just too unbelievable to be made up, I checked with Tracy before posting it. We are not dealing with smart people here, are we?

    2. I'll confess that at first I thought it might be a spoof. Then I realized that that applies to most of what Pacifica and WBAI are all about, really..

      As I said, at this point I think it's probably moved beyond sad or lamentable to just plain insane/ridiculous/absurd [choose one or add your own].

      It is to laugh.

      ~ 'indigo'