Saturday, November 14, 2015

As the curtain drops: Pacifica in Exile newsletter - Nov. 2015

Here is the latest Pacifica in Exile newsletter with its perspective on the current WBAI mega-crisis. It is liberally sprayed with links and I am glad to see that it takes to task a hanger-on, Fred Nguyen, whose sophistry periodically pops up in the form of racist, anti-semitic amateur "journalism". 

Bankruptcy Is A Beginning

Berkeley-The Pacifica National Board had an informal "strategic planning" meeting Thursday night. In the hour-long meeting, KPFA director Jose-Luis Fuentes pushes for the Pacifica Foundation to move into voluntary bankruptcy, which is described as "a beginning" by PNB director George Reiter. The board indicates they wish to consult with their FCC attorney John Crigler about filing for reorganization, although Crigler is an FCC and copyright attorney, not a bankruptcy attorney.  Options on the table are described as a sale of Berkeley's national office building or a lease, sale or swap of WBAI's broadcasting license. PNB members Adriana Casenave and Tony Norman insist the board's discussions about selling real estate, leases, swaps or sales of broadcasting licenses or "debt reorganization" be held in executive session where the network's members cannot hear them, and discuss how these decisions are "political". The full meeting audio is here, a seven minute clip is here.  Fuentes seems to be taking instructions from KPFA radio host  Brian Edwards-Tiekert as he indicates at about 49 minutes into the meeting by saying "what more professional advice do you need than that of the chair of the finance committee?" Fuentes also says the board never authorized WBAI to move their broadcast tower from the Empire State Building (monthly rent $50,000) to 4 Times Square (monthly rent $14,000) which the board scolds him for divulging on a public stream.

The last time the board of directors considered a lease for WBAI operations, lead bidders considering taking on the project included WFMU's Ken Freedman who recently pioneered the Audio Engine project, and former Pacifica ED Dan Coughlin, who was just sued by Nuyurican poet Jesus Papleto Menendez and Paper Tiger Television co-founder Dee Dee Halleck for violations of First Amendment rights and operating a non-transparent publicly-funded facility.

Ironically, at about the same time national board member Fuentes is telling the board "where are you going to get enough money?", Fred Nguyen who describes himself as the co-founder of the Justice and Unity Caucus, the NY wing of the Siegel/Brazon faction, is rantingabout the "Zionist" and "corporatist" foundations that fund grassroots and progressive media.  Nguyen names the Bay Area's Zero Divide and the national Media Democracy Fund, funder to many, if not most, grassroots media organizations around the nation including: Prometheus Radio Project in Philly, the Center for Media Justice in Oakland, and national advocate Free Press as "Zionists". Nguyen's rants, which can be seen below, indicate the extent of Pacifica's alienation  from almost every possible source of funding for progressive and alternative media after the Siegel/Brazon coup, a big problem after the faction blew enough audit deadlines to lose Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding eligibility for the foreseeable future.

Fred Nguyen You can go on and check all these "foundations", most of which are funded by corporates and liberals, with plenty of Zionist money. The fact that X is paid by a 501c3 which is the way corporate and liberal foundations spread capitalist influence under the disguise of charity and education is properly disgusting. Here is another funder The Media and Democracy Fund: Take a look at the list of usual suspects: 

The problem, apart from Nguyen's hypocrisy which fails to take into account that factional colleague Lydia Brazon's nonprofit, the Humanitarian Law Center, was heavily funded by the Open Society Institute of George Soros, is that Pacifica Foundation is desperately in need of support from the progressive media funding sector, which is probably one of the few philanthropic possibilities for the debt-burdened network.

Nguyen then tilts over into straight-up anti-Semitism, finishing his rant on behalf of the Siegel/Brazon faction with "There is a large Jewish bourgeoisie in the US. On average, a Jewish family is 46% wealthier than the average American family", a mis-stating of statistics contained in a 2008 Pew study. 

The disarray at the managerial level, where the network lacks any paid national executive staff at all, manifested on the Internet when two of the network's five divisions crashed out their websites this week. went down for a few hours with a "switch problem" and vanished from the Internet Wednesday night at the stroke of midnight after GM Leslie Radford forgot to pay the server bill. The KPFK website remained down as of 10pm on Friday evening.

The KPFK website crash, the more serious of the two, incited rage in Radford's chief assistant/mentor/roommate Adam Rice, who took to the Internet to blame "psych-ops" for Radford's failure to pay the server bill. The station laid off its web director of more than a decade in August, the only layoff of a full-time employee imposed by Radford, who said she would take over the website job herself. In response to a question about when the website would be restored, Rice said:

"Good question. Most likely when you and your vicious pack of reactionary obstructionists realize that we are all aging out and you can't take it to the grave with you and that Pacifica is the birthright of the youth, especially the ones repeatedly characterized as "Skid Row gutter rats". When a true intergenerational, intercultural and interracial dialogue is developed and maintained, in line with the Pacifica mission, not to serve the Democratic party or the Church of Scientology, but to serve the people. So when you and your psych-ops pushing clique are driven back into obscurity. In other words, soon".

Soon has not yet come as the website remains down, and Rice's contributions to intercultural and interracial dialogue, which included calling Uprising host Sonali Kolhatkar a "dumb bitch" and threatening a female volunteer with "armed self-defense" probably haven't sped things up any. In the meantime, a fourth producer/host Melting Pot's Michael Barnes joined the exodus out of the LA station, saying off-air that "he was done with the place and how badly it was being managed". Barnes joins Global Village hosts Derek Rath, Betto Arcos and Yatrika Shah-Rais in departing in the wake of Radford's hire by former IED Margy Wilkinson, who was asked in writing by incoming ED John Proffitt not to proceed with the Radford hire before he got there. Wilkinson spurned his request and completed the hire of her board crony before Proffitt arrived  from Texas. He quit five months later.

In Berkeley, SEIU lawyer Sheila Sexton used a Pacifica Facebook page to saber-rattle at KPFA's Flashpoints for an "anti-union segment" interviewing journalist Arun Gupta, a founding editor for the Indypendent and Occupy Wall Street Journal and frequent contributor to the Nation, The Progressive and the UK Guardian, as well as Uprising. Gupta was mildly critical of the SEIU's Fight for $15 campaign, but after Sexton excitedly posted about "Dennis Bernstein's anti-union segment", former IED and Save KPFA-affiliated board member Margy Wilkinson encouraged her to file a complaint about the program, and another Save KPFA supporter jumped in to advocate for getting  rid of Bernstein altogether saying "I think Dennis Bernstein needs to move on, he’s used up his good will at KPFA".  After the full interview was publicly posted, the three reversed their positions saying they had "over-reacted". Pacifica in Exile commented about the episode: The exchange on Facebook reveals a poor understanding of current progressive discourse, intolerance for dissent, the instinct to censor prominent national journalists, and a reflex reaction to punish the Flashpoints program, even going so far as to say it should be eliminated on editorial grounds.

On Saturday, KPFA's local station board will finally get a look (albeit in closed session) at the 60 pages of secret documents that caused the national board to vote on October 29th that KPFA should refund a $400,000 bequest to the Pacifica Foundation that was deposited directly into KPFA's account as a restricted donation for the exclusive use of the Berkeley station. If Wilkinson can be taken at her word that "Pacifica’s management (herself) communicated with the estate", then it is strange the estate failed to issue a letter stating the donation was restricted for the Berkeley station.. If Pacifica management was unable to obtain a letter from the estate indicating the donation was restricted for KPFA's use, then the donation was not "unspecified" nor "ambiguous". It was quite specifically and unambiguously an unrestricted donation to the Pacifica Foundation. The Pacifica National Board has indicated no intention so far to release all or a part of the documentation publicly or to allow national or local board members to do so.

The board voted 11-5 that the bequest had been redirected incorrectly to KPFA's exclusive use. 

Slowly the network's ballots, sent by bulk mail, are starting to arrive at member residences. Pacifica in Exile's national endorsements for local station board seats at all four stations having elections can be found here. Berkeley members can access audio from this week's candidate debates here.

On November 8th, KPFA's satirical Twit Wit Radio once again hauled out the truth serum. You can listen here.

Pacifica in Exile readers may write to the board at

For readers who may wish to do more, any donor to a California-based not for profit organization like Pacifica may file a complaint to the open file at the Registry of Charitable Trusts at the Office of the CA Attorney General. Pacifica's case number is CT011303. The form and instructions for filing may be downloaded here.


  1. Funny how every time the Foundation or any station shoots itself in the foot, some of the culprits cry "conspiracy!"

    Really, even the best covert operations couldn't have done any better than what we're seeing now: race, generational and other factional fights are destroying whatever pure-and-simple mismanagement haven't.

    1. All the ingredients are there and Mr. Bankruptcy will probably soon make an entrance, arm in arm with Madame Finis, the proverbial "fat lady."

      Of course, WBAI has been MORALLY bankrupt for several years.

  2. No need to bother picking over any particular points, since they all lead to the same conclusion. Too many of these people simply have no understanding, or do but wish to avoid it, of the problems their playground is facing. They'd rather pretend it's the early 1970s and they are some tiny left wing group who are going to argue the finer points of a revolutionary doctrine, whose time has already come and gone. We really need a documentary film made of these nuts, so future generations can laugh at them. We don't have too much time remaining to get it on film, you know.


  3. Now asking for money for the archives, which most Pacifica listeners probably don't even understand what it is. I wonder when the next WBAI beg-a-thon is. I'm amazed they just don't do a network wide save Pacifica beg-a-thon. Drain the suckers for all you can get, right?


    1. I agree that a network-wide Pacifica fund drive would be a natural, yet I doubt if it will make more than a dent in this empty bucket.

      The clods in charge have warped priorities and suffer from proprietaryosis, each one laying clim to their own turf, whether tat be their local station or show. You are so right when you label this a foundation-wide problem.

      Better than having the five stations shake their tin cups locally would be well-coordinated effort headed by professionals. Leaving this task in he hands of Pacifica's amateurs simply cannot work. Real development directors would immediately see the value in the Pacifica stations' history of being a springboard for some very successful people. They are no longer interested, for reasons we all know, but a real professional endeavor, accompanied by strong signs of program improvement could attract the disenchanted.

      Momentum needs to be built up and the involvement of recognizable, respected people will automatically capture the interest of other media—is it once did.

      The money is out there, but who wants to support such pap as dominates WBAI's weekly schedule, for example. No one in their right mind.

  4. I hate to shit on bai's parade here but, very few people really want to hear slavery, what martin luther king said 60 years ago , reparations , jim crow , ferguson ,etc etc... IT'S FUCKING BORING and COMES OFF AS WHINING !
    Now i didn't say it never happened , mostly whites did it to blacks , lasted a long time , wasn't terrible, because it was .
    And if you don't believe me , Then why is there no listeners left . That is the number one reason this station SUCKS!
    They think they are going to attract young people with this stuff , think again . Most young people could give 2 shits about what happended 2 weeks ago , no less 50 years or 200 years ago . Get Real !

    1. Exactly. A few hours a week of it is fine, among other topics and programming, but not a continuous bludgeoning. When the Paris attacks happened, these nit wits couldn't even get into the modern world and do a break in on the slavery/reparations programming to tell their listeners of an important event, but that would have necessitated their educating the dummies that still listen as to where Paris is even located...


    2. They feel it's the same thing, that the ISIS Paris group were slaves to white western domination and that this was a righteous slave uprising and revolt, so continue with the slavery reparations schtick.


    3. I am more inclined to attribute their selective condemnation to the fact that all their twists and lies have neatly painted them into a corner.

  5. The archives... sounds like a begathon combined with a repeatathon .
    could it be a rebegarepeatathon or something like that . lol .

  6. It's a back-to-the-future thang. Wagner had his cycle, so did Lance, and so does Maytag, but Pacifica.tops them all. It's sometimes called déjåvucasting.

    Seriously, with all the many hours that are in the Pacifica Archive, one would think that they could come up with a couple of days without resorting to the looping that seems to be going on.

  7. Hysterically, the archives are the one thing worth preserving. If it weren't for Pacifica being involved, I may be inclined to send some dough. After all, the archives probably have lots of good old stuff in there.

    Oh, well. Getting my radio show in gear. I expect a January launch. I have a real professional doing up a bunch of very different sort of jingles (not the nice ones you're used to from commercial radio), I'm doing some audio editing of my intro and outro, mic and accessories are set up on the computer, learning Audacity, QSL cards at the graphic artists, etc. Soon to record the most aggressive, kick ass shows your ears will bleed to. As I like to say, at 49 years old I am too young to know better and too old to give a shit.