Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Reimers' ad lib accounting.


Yesterday, Monday, October 19, 2015, the Finance Committee of Pacifica's National Board held a telephone meeting at which WBAI manager, Berthold Reimers was scheduled to report on the station's financial situation. The truth is that we probably know more about Judge Crater's fate than we do about WBAI's revenue and how it is spent.

This has been the case for several years, but never more so than under Reimers, who came to his position five years ago with a promise to straighten out a mess made by his predecessors, and a plan to double the station's income. Instead, he more than doubled the debt, scared off a very large percentage of the sponsoring listenership, brought the programming down to an even lower level, and almost saw it lose its transmitter.

That transmitter is currently playing a curious role as this long, drawn-out drama accelerates the curtain's drop. The attached audio reveals—perhaps inadvertently—what the real story is, but here is a pertinent brief exchange. You may recall that crony Mitchel Cohen (who replaced Frank Lefever as Apologist-in-Chief) attributed Reimers' invisibility to heavy negotiation regarding the ESB's monthly antenna rental fee. Month after month, that was the story we were asked to believe and there came a time when laurels seemed in order, for Reimers had talked the ESB rent down to a sixth of the asking price. Whatta guy!

Well, it would appear that the rent has not been reduced, only the monthly required payment—the rest, $43,000 is simply being accrued—giving the Empire State building full control over WBAI's destiny. That comes to $516,000 a year!! Certainly an important issue, which is why a member of the Finance Committee wanted to pursue it in greater detail. Reimers, forgetting that he had just recited the key figures, said that such a discussion ought to be held in "executive session." It's all too farcical for words.


Here is the full audio file of Reimers' appearance, as well as an abbreviated version for the less patient. When you have sampled enough of it, you might agree with observations made by our friend, 'indigopirate.'

"Hearing his intonation and delivery and presentation, it suddenly struck me… now bear in mind that I mean this literally, not simply as an insult:

He’s a data-entry clerk – a very poor one at that. How they came to hire a data-entry clerk – not a bookkeeper, not a business manager, not an accountant – I have no idea, but they hired a data-entry clerk to manage a radio station at the center of the FM dial in the New York market.

At this simple realization I was blinded and fell off my horse. I really can’t believe it. That’s what he is. I don’t know if he misrepresented his experience, or if he had been promoted above his level of experience and competence at his previous employer, but this is a data-entry clerk, trying to figure out how to make a budget and manage a radio station – and one with no real talent or promotability above the level of a simple data-entry clerk.

They’re paying a data-entry clerk $100,000 plus benefits to manage a radio station as a learning experience which he can’t handle – Quickbooks is all he can (barely) handle, and he’s so simple he thinks anything more sophisticated than Quickbooks is somehow inferior, since he can’t grasp it.

For this they’re paying him $100,000/yr plus benefits."

22 comments:

  1. I love many parts, but perhaps especially the part where Reimers says he’s really going to have to sit down with Pacifica’s people and explain to them why they need to sort out their methods of accounting to his liking.

    He clearly has absolutely no grasp of the overall picture, though he gets that it’s not good. He can only grasp tiny detail, anything beyond that is beyond his comprehension, so he wants to lecture other people about what he thinks *they* don’t understand. It’s an amusing irony.

    ReplyDelete
  2. These are some of the more salient points with respect to Reimers' presentation and his response to questions at this most recent Pacifica National Board Finance Committee meeting:

    Reimers’ position is that it’s Pacifica’s problem to construct WBAI’s budget.

    He continues to use his preferred Quickbooks software and continues to refuse to adopt Pacifica’s required standardized choice of Great Plains.

    It is pointed out that Reimers’ budget does not reflect the drop in listenership.

    The finance committee finds his expectation of an increase in listener support to be baseless.

    He says the ‘phone issue’ continues to exist and that he intends to ‘resolve’ it.

    Reimers acknowledges that the projected FY2015 budget makes no provision for any repayment of past due central services.

    The bulk of the tower rent is accrued, and is ‘big’. Actual rent is ~$55,000/month. Amount actually paid is $12,000/month.

    ‘The landlord could call due what we’re not paying at any point’ – Breain Edwards-Tiekert

    Present staff:
    General Manager – ft
    Program Director – p/t
    Development Director – ft
    Operations Director – 1
    Operations Staff – 3 ft/pt
    Weekend Operations Staff – 1 ft/pt
    Approximately 6 FTE

    Reimers complains that he used to be ‘very comfortable’ with the previous spreadsheet but is uncomfortable with the present spreadsheet numbers – says the bookkeeper is more familiar with the number of FTE employees than he would be.

    ‘Other Vendors’ premiums is $100,000+, whereas Pacifica Radio Archives appear to be little used or not reflected in the budget.

    Edwards-Tiekert points out that Reimers’ budget projects a very sharp increase in listener support, yet the budget anticipates a drop of $40,000 in outside premiums, which would seem difficult to reconcile. To this Reimers mumbles that his Actuals in this area [as in others] differ from the figures he’s provided Pacifica, which he attributes to shortcomings with Pacifica’s use of Great Plains accounting software.

    Reimers refers to his figures from Quickbooks as the ‘real actuals’ and insists on this reality. Edwards-Tiekert points out that in effect Reimers insists on keeping a separate set of books.

    Reimers has in this budget attributed an amount corresponding to the drop in listener support to web support.

    Bequests and grants in 2014 totaled $61,000. Reimers is unaware that bequests are to be entered as Major Donor items.

    Reimers says he’s going to have to ‘sit down’ with Pacifica’s National Office and tell them they need to ‘upgrade’ their use of Great Plains to meet his standards.

    Reimers’ budget assumes total revenues will increase $370,000 in the next year, which would still leave a $200,000 deficit. The actual trend, it’s noted, is that fundraising is rapidly decreasing, not increasing.

    Brian Edwards-Tiekert ‘I find it very… very troubling.’

    There also would appear to be nothing in the budget to deal with past undelivered premiums.

    Reimers says he can’t be expected to produce a revised budget in less than at least two weeks.

    ~ ‘indigopirate’

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An excellent summary. These players weave a tattered see-thru tapestry behind which they can no longer hide. They will go down together as they fight each other. There is a lesson in there, somewhere, but nothing will be learned.

      Delete
  3. I'll catch the Reimer's bullshit parade later today. However, for now, I will leave you with the ending clip of Ciclon, which is symbolically exactly Pacifica in action. Watch how the morons sink themselves. A few may survive, but most will be useful for the first time in their lives, as shark food.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2n7avQ4NIg

    SDL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting clip, but the déjà vu is unsettling. :)

      Delete
  4. (JustAListener)
    Too bad there's no video, I'd love to see everyone rolling their eyes as Reimers spoke.
    How much ya want to bet Reimers will find an excuse to skip the next meeting?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You may well be right in predicting his absence, but he is becoming the increasingly less artful dodger. His attempts to blame his own failings on his own inability to use the Great Plains software is ludicrous. So was his hiring... way back when.

      Delete
  5. anybody been listening to the linda perry news repeat for the last few days . All it is , is a commercial for the October raise up nonsense . Full of Furgeson , cornell west etc , This has to be a new low for radio in general , disguising a news slot to promote
    an event . Shameful . Only on bai folks They even mention "regular" white people . Whatever that is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right. This is not news in the informative, reporting sense, it's a deliberate message that expresses a viewpoint—it's propaganda. WBAI has no longer has a sense of responsibility—the "community" people like Haskins, Daniels, et al speak of when they solicit funds is their very own, small segment of New York's black (and now latino) population. They don't even grasp what Pacifica's original mission was—honest reporting that covers as many sides of an issue as possible does not fit into their narrow view of the world, and themselves.

      I know what Linda Perry was up against when she started reading the morning news, and how meager her resources were. Given that, I thought she did amazingly well, but Haskins' racism has really come to the fore on that show—it, and the inarticulate ignorance with which he injects himself fit snuggly into Murillo's narrow horizon. It is an embarrassment to intelligent people of all colors. Reimers' only objective seems to be not to get fired from his $100,000.00 a year job. He has nothing to contribute, but I sometimes wonder if he doesn't have something that he dangles over the PNB's head.

      Delete
    2. "but I sometimes wonder if he doesn't have something that he dangles over the PNB's head." I'm thinking more that he, like Radford, is doing the job they are supposed to be doing - wrecking crew. The Foundationalists (as I shall now call them) protect Reimers and Radford, as they are doing what Seigel, Wilkerson, Brazon need - financial destruction.

      As for Perry. she was always a whack job. In the late 70s/early 80s she was the "Cake" Davis of WBAI, with her Wiccan crap. Too bad Kathy O'Connell didn't sit on her... or Samori Marxman, for that matter.

      Want to do a decent newscast with no money? Go to the websites of the various state run shortwave stations (or former stations) and read the top few stories, with the differing viewpoints. Go to Sputnick and Ukraine for their views on the Ukrainian situation. France and Channel Africa (South Africa) is good for African stuff. Cuba, believe it or not, is good for Latin American news, etc. Should take you all of two hours to be able to throw together six or eight international news stories. I bet some college kid interning would love the chance to do it for FREE! OK, so buy him/her some Dr Pepper and a sandwich every day.

      Of course, you can just let Geoff Brady do the news. I'm sure it would prove to be the most entertaining thing in years on WBAI.

      SDL

      Delete
  6. I think some of the blame needs to go to the NFC for tolerating this for so long. Reimers' performance is not new. Nor is the ESB situation. Reimers' can't even be bothered to pretend he can put together a budget that makes sense. And the PNB can't even pretend they give a shit. The KPFK budget has over half a million dollars of fantasy revenue and they're looking the other way on it and making up fanciful prognostications none of which will be realized. It's the same as they did last year - create and approve KPFK's budget with a half a million deficit in it and KPFK ended the year with half a million+++ deficit. Stupid, evil - or both?

    ReplyDelete
  7. On a somewhat related topic: I have been listening to WNYC. As it happens, they're also in a fund drive. Yes, they offer premiums such as water bottles. But at least they're running the same old infomercials from folks like "Dr." Gwen Scott, Christine Blosdale, "Dr. Gary Null", Corinne Furnari and other frauds, airheads and pure-and-simple bores.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As usual, WNYC is absolutely crushing WBAI in both ratings and fundraising. It may have something to do with the fact that their anti-white rhetoric is somewhat subtler. Or maybe, just maybe, they have competent people running the show.

      Delete
    2. I think the most telling thing about WNYC is how their ratings are right up there with the two big commercial talk stations - WOR and WABC. I think that's a pretty good achievement for a non-commercial station. In fact, it's the achievement WBAI should have reached, if they weren't such fringe amateur junk.

      SDL

      Delete
    3. (JustAListener)
      Bit of a stretch to call WNYC "non-commercial" considering all the corporate commercials they run.
      (And I suspect those corporations have more power to influence WNYC/NPR content than that of major commercial networks)

      Delete
    4. I agree, but the line distinguishing WNYC's blatant commercial announcements from WBAI's under the counter sales (not to mention the infomercials) is difficult to see. So, I regard WBAI's "non-commercial" tag to be equally mis-applied. In fact, I regard it as more offensive, because at WBAI it comes coated in heavy layers of hypocrisy.

      As for the inherent outside influence, I believe both stations reflect that in their programming, with WBAI having the edge. Of course it doesn't have the listeners, and what is left of them tends to be petrified.

      Delete
  8. WBAI needs a Jon Taffer (Bar Rescue) to come in, take charge, read the riot act and rescue it.

    KGT

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With all respect, KGT, most people who visit this blog are probably not familiar with some of the names you bring up, so it would be helpful if you added details. Who are these people? Why do you believe WBAI "needs" them?

      Delete
    2. How about Bob Vila?

      KGT

      Delete
    3. gary's solution for bai .... forgot to mention the shitty and or racist programming .. just saying .

      Delete
    4. Thanks for pointing me to the Null comments. I missed the first part but what I have heard, so far—he is still talking—is more truth than WBAI has aired in months.... years. Reggie Harris is a better sounding board than Haskins, but I look forward to a time when the "free speech" tag is applied without caution.

      You are so right when you point to the omission of the sub-standard programming and a core WBAI problem: racism.

      Ignorant opportunists like Haskins, Daniels, Murillo, the Mumia fools and some of the night-time Jamaicans (Habte excluded) are definitely out to claim WBAI as a black station. They aim low when it comes to intellect, so they have succeeded to the extent that they have further diminished the listenership.

      These are absolute fools, unable to see that their dumbing down of program content is an insult to all thinking people, regardless of race. Im sure that Null knows this, but it is an important step that he won't take.

      Still, what he DOES say hits the nail on the head. Why he speaks the truth re the station's management and catastrophic financial situation is quite another matter. Making sure that paid-for "premiums" are received by the purchasers (some of whom are likely to have died waiting) is a good thing and I'm sure Null will not lie about it, like Mitchel and Reimers do, but this is not going to make any difference in the listenership. The infestation of greed, racism, ignorance, etc. has to be eliminated and real, honest radio must be practiced.

      Null did say that WBAI is dying—it has, in fact, died.

      Delete