Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Yummy!! Mario lunches a broadcast...

CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE IT


Here is the official staff notification from under Reimers' desk. A "fully equipped studio within the next 3 months" does not sound realistic, but when was the last time Reimers actually told anything the way it is?

Mario Murillo will lunch the first broadcast from Atlantic Avenue — I hope y'all are hungry!



Tuesday, April 28, 2015

As we ho and hum...


A frivolous, admittedly low priority atmospheric glimpse, this exchange typifies feelings that prevail as WBAI and Paifica sink to new depths. This is here because we are experiencing little news as we wait for the California AG’s decision and WBAI’s next physical move.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

The noose tightens...

This letter from WBAI LSB member Steve Brown to former Pacifica iED Margy Wilkinson was posted by him last night.


Shameless plug...

READ THE BOOK, WATCH THE FILM
...preferably in that order.


Available at Amazon.com in paperback, Audiobook and Kindle formats.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Pacifica in Exile News 4-18-2015


Here is Tracy Rosenberg's latest Exile News Letter. It's long, but interesting and full of good links.

Shutting Down While Breaking Even

Berkeley-On a sad note, long-time KPFA board operator and music host Wesley Burton was killed in an automobile accident in the early hours of the morning on Saturday April 18th driving home after hosting Sideshow Radio, a late night hip-hop show that ends at 2:00am. Burton leaves a wife and several children.

The board majority had a propaganda mismatch last weekend as the Save KPFA faction sent out an email crowing about what they perceived to be positive financial results. PNB treasurer Brian Edwards-Tiekert: "the figures for FY 2015 show Pacifica as a whole on a break-even trajectory after 5 months. If we get CPB funds reinstated this spring, we should post a healthy surplus." The Save KPFA faction, apparently tired of being quoted, have stopped publicly posting their email blasts at savekpfa.orgso use this link if you want to verify.
Within a day, not having gotten the memo, KPFK-Los Angeles's interim GM Zuberi Fields announced a one week emergency April fund drive because the LA station, the financial powerhouse of the network for the past 5 years, "was faced with the possibility of having to shut down as it faces $300,000 in outstanding debt". This was followed a week earlier by a memo to KPFK members apologizing for not sending premium gifts. The station has been beseiged with 30+  chargeback/cancellations from disgruntled members every month, per their bank statements.

Fields added in a supplementary email to staff:  "Some board members are supporting corporate underwriting and/or selling off of some of the (Eastern) stations, but we fervently hope to avoid these plans." Fields did not specify which board members were supporting selling off some of the Eastern stations or where he received this information, but his statement is contradictory to those of board majority members who continue to categorically deny in public that there has even been a flicker of discussion about selling stations.

The premise of the KPFK emergency fund drive was to try to sign up monthly sustaining members (a la WBAI's BAI buddy program). KPFK appears to have had some success doing that, but  sustainer money ($10-20/month) does not come in all at once, so KPFK will end up with less than a 1/3 of its "outstanding debt" resolved, which was the nominal cause of the emergency fund drive. The reason for the latest financial crisis in LA might stem from the information in this report from the second call center service hired (after Tea-Party-connected Comnet was sent packing). Telerep's report for the disappointing February fund drive shows them answering about 4,500 out of 5,800 calls during the drive. Both California stations continue to report severe membership dives, with KPFA dropping from 18,200 members in the summer of 2012 to 15,700 by the summer of 2014 (a loss of 15%) and KPFK dropping at a similar ratesover the past two years.

The mismatch was not only rhetorical. The CFO accidentally sent a financial statement to the finance committee on April 14th that had network services payments (transfers between divisons) double-counted. For FY 2013. The year that just got audited and supposedly has closed books. Both Salvador and auditor Armanino are still refusing board member requests for a list of accounts payables and accrued expenses after review indicated that expenses had been double-recorded in multiple fiscal years.

Salvador's CFO report indicated that he and the Pacifica National Office still could not log into the Corporation for Public Broadcasting online reporting system and six weeks after the completion of the 2013 audit was finally done, have still not submitted the numbers to CPB. Ironically, this means Pacifica has not reported the 2013 numbers by the deadline for the 2014 numbers, which passed on April 17th. The rogue board's audit follies have now led to the loss of $2.2 million dollars in funding (an amount that would pay all of Pacifica's non-Democracy-Now bills).

Pacifica has not signed a letter of engagement with an auditing firm for the fiscal year 2014, which ended over six months ago. It also appears doubtful Pacifica will meet the 6-30-2014 deadline for state filing of the 2014 audit, placing their nonprofit status in jeopardy with serial violations of the Nonprofit Integrity Act. Pacifica is currently under investigation by the CA Attorney General Charitable Trusts Division.

Requests for cash flow reports continue to be ignored, with the CFO writing to the finance committee that he would not produce cash flow reports because "a cash flow projection report is a management tool that should be prepared by the local station/unit management since they have the information on what they expect to receive and when they expect it.  They also have knowledge of what expenses or costs have been actually committed and payable".  This seems to impy that Pacifica's CFO does not have knowledge of the amount of money that can be expected to come in or what costs have been committed to.

At New York's WBAI, it has come to light  the station still has no lease in place for its office in Brooklyn. The proposed lease came to the national board twice in December of 2013, but both times was postponed by LA board member Lydia Brazon. The Brooklyn lease was never brought back to the national board for the entire year and a half duration of the rogue board under Wilkinson. During that time, WBAI borrowed tens of thousands of dollars from its Brooklyn landlord, a loan that was paid back in 2014 and was not reported to CA's attorney general.

Last fall, Pacifica's board majority played fast and loose with FCC rules on 3rd party fundraising, soliciting on-air pledges for health organization Partners in Health for an Ebola clinic in West Africa. The fundraising effort, which was initiated at KPFK on the Sojourner Truth show and repeated in several LA time slots as well as NY's WBAI and DC's WPFW, raised about $70,000 for Partners in Health. Pledgers were motivated by promises that 50 cents of each dollar pledged to Pacifica stations would be sent to Africa to fight Ebola via Partners in Health. The fundraising effort was initiated without first obtaining a waiver from the FCC. 

Now the NY Times has reported that Partners In Health's ebola effort was deeply troubled with international health officials describing "a pattern of safety lapses". The Port Loko clinic was closed after two clinicians came down with Ebola (one American and one Sierra Leonean) and 17 PIH staffers were medically evacuated. Medevac evacuations from the Ebola hot zone back to the US are estimated to cost $75,000 each. The Sierra Leone government quarantined 2.5 million people in Western Sierra Leone for three days March 27-29 in an emergency lockdown shortly after the PIH workers were evacuated. NY Times reporter Sherri Fink used the PIH infections and evacuations as an example of the treatment discrepancies for foreign and African medical workers throughout the Ebola epidemic.

At the time, many Pacifica listeners were befuddled by the radio network choosing to support the virgin Ebola relief efforts of a group that had never worked in Africa before, rather than supporting veteran field medics Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). The independent intiative from one programmer received limited, if any, vetting from management or the local and national boards, who were not informed prior to the decision to raise and then donate the Ebola funds.

Pacifica finally has a new executive director, after a year with none. The choice is former KUHF CEO John Proffitt, an NPR veteran who led the University of Houston's radio station for 26 years. Proffitt was not the first choice of the board's majority faction who did not support his candidacy and instead offered the job to labor writer Bill Fletcher Jr, who declined. When the board majority was told to offer the position to the 2nd most highly ranked candidate, Proffiitt in January, they balked and refused, instead insisting that the entire board redo its selection process, in hopes of securing majority support for another candidate. After a two month delay, they proved unable to do that and have reluctantly gone ahead and offered the job to Proffitt, who accepted.

Proffitt's first big decision will be the selection of a new permanent general manager for LA station KPFK, which has not had permanent management since January of 2014. A pool of five or six candidates selected by the Los Angeles local station board will be made available for him to interview shortly after he begins the job on May 11th.

This story is still developing, but Los Angeles' KPFK is dealing with a hate speech issue after the Latino community was up in arms over some of the station's evening Spanish language programs, which were accused of slandering rape and molestation victims and defending a guest who has been accused of sexual predation. The programs are in the process of being translated from Spanish for review. Board majority member Rodrigo Argueta, who the KPFK staff attempted to recall from the national boad in 2014 before being stopped by attorney Alan Yee, hosted one of the programs that caused the uproar. Here's a sampling of listener comments posted to the KPFK website:

15 April
I am extremely disappointed that Insurgencia Femenina (mind you a space for women) was used as a platform by Rodrigo Argueta to not only slander the names of long standing community organizers and at the same time minimize and berate a survivor of child molestation who called in to confirm she was molested by the man they spend two hours (Voces de Libertad/ & Insurgencia Femenina) defending. What kind of sensationalist unbiased slanderous programming is being allowed to be programmed at KPFK. We demand the immediate removal of Rodrigo Argueta from further programming. All this during Sexual Assault Awareness Month - what a damn shame. -joel

15 April
Shame on Voces de Libertad and Insurgencia Feminina for allowing Rodrigo and Cuco to spread their propaganda and rhetoric regarding a RAPE AND SEXUAL MOLESTATION VICTIM who called in last night! Shame on those two men for defending a known Sexual Predator and shame on them for re-victimizing the women who have came forward with these allegations. Patriarchy is alive and well! KPFK is an awesome amazing much needed service to our greater community. I would love to see Cuco and Rodrigo removed from your station, their words and tones are inexcusable.

The PNB will finally hold an in-person meeting, 16 months after the last one, in Los Angeles from June 12-15. No location has been disclosed.

The last national board meeting on April 9th was fairly uneventful, but had a few humorous intervals. Former Siegel and Yee lawyer Jose-Luis Fuentes apparently misplaced a board majority memo and nominated DC's Tony Norman as the new board chair (WIlkinson is stepping down as chair less than two months after running for re-election) instead of LA's Lydia Brazon, who he was apparently instructed to nominate (as is observable from the pregnant pause in this sound snippet).

When Wilkinson was confronted with a motion by KPFA UCR-affiliated listener rep Janet Kobren seeking to instruct her to make sure successor ED John Proffitt receives a complete set of transition documents, she had a bit of a fit, taking personal offense and pointing out that she is not being paid a salary. Kobren did not withdraw the motion, but the board majority voted it down, leaving Proffitt to make due with whatever he gets.

Finally, an attempt by the personnel committee to establish regular hiring policies across the five-station network, a fairly obvious need given the stratospheric toll of employment lawsuits, was foiled by what appeared to be an inter-board majority spat. KPFA programmer and PNB treasurer Brian Edwards-Tiekert took umbrage with the motion shepherded by personnel committee chair and likely incoming chair Lydia Brazon. Edwards-Tiekert objected to hiring policies being standardized saying that should be left up to "staff" to decide. It should be noted that KPFA's current Indiegogo campaign, underway since April 2nd, has not yet raised as much money as the station recently paid out for the last EEOC claim caused by staff hiring mistakes.

KPFA's Community Advisory Board (CAB), a CPB-mandated advisory body created a big storm at KPFA's local station board meeting when they reported on a February 22nd community meeting they sponsored and UCR board member Andrea Prichett put forward  a comprehensive motion to encourage more local community news coverage at the Berkeley station, which removed five hours of AM local coverage in May of 2014 and replaced it with a syndicated program from Los Angeles. The CAB's outreach effort reported requests for more local news and the restoration of a program council were the most consistent responses from listeners. 

On a similiar note, KPFK's local station board was slated to discuss a similiar motion from their local governance committee, but since the meeting audio is not yet posted, the outcome of the discussion is unknown. Here is the motion: Motion from Governance (passed December 15, 2014, 3-1-1) "Whereas strip programming on KPFK occupies most of the drive time (peak) programming, the LSB and station management shall replace these strip programs with non-strip programs in order to open up the airwaves to many other voices and analyses. This shall be implemented within 60 days". 

At KPFA, news reporter Ann Garrison wrote this article puzzling about the actual meaning of the oft-quoted mantra of "local control". 

The Berkeley station, whose dependence on bequests from deceased donors already led it to the brink of a quarter million dollars in personnel cuts in January of 2015, was saved from disaster by mortality as two members of the legacy circle passed on in March of 2015, dropping about $900,000 on the station. While this sounds like an amazing windfall, the station may blow thrugh much of the money rather quickly as $100K was already gone when the bequests were announced on April 11th, the station has another $62K in past due bills to pay, a semi-monthly payroll of $75K at the end of the month, and looks to have to cover substantial shortfalls against budget in the next month as the station canceled a one-day on-air fundraiser slated to raise $50K on April 15th and has a monumental goal for its May fund drive of $733K. (The station's February fund drive raised $544K). The station was also recently quoted $70,000 to repair its elevator and has to do some structural work to fight mold from the creek that runs under the station's foundation and has agreed to loan Texas station KPFT $100,000 to replace its damaged transmitter.


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

Friday, April 17, 2015

WBAI: Drifter Radio in New York


When the Pacifica National Board's Finance Committee met last Tuesday, they did so with rare civility. Perhaps the gravity of the current financial situation had something to do with it, perhaps it was the realization that figures reflected in spreadsheets are often at variance with each other. We have long known that Berthold Reimers and reality don't get along, but what often is generously written off as "optimism" on his part is, in fact, chronic lying. The man got the job under false pretenses around 2009 and he has somehow managed to maintain the absurd charade of having skills that never manifested themselves. 

Figures speak louder than words. As Reimers and his lackeys continued to paint a false picture of prosperity being just around the bend, the location situation grew ever shakier and the bills piled up. If you have been following the stories circulated regarding the Atlantic Avenue property, you may recall that Reimers led the staff to believe that WBAI was purchasing the building at 388 and would be renting out parts of it. That sounded great and it was assumed that something was being done to come up with the down payment. No longer having to pay the high rent at Wall Street, that saving alone would make the purchase easier. In the meantime, there was this kind offer from CCNY's WHCR: they would rent WBAI a studio for $5,000 a month. Great, that arrangement would assure WBAI a broadcasting location for two, perhaps 3 months—WHCR had plans to use the space for an expansion.

Well, three months passed, then four, five, six.... and still no sign of WBAI moving. Quiet as it was kept, Reimers had put WBAI's rent in arrears at CCNY as well as at Atlantic Avenue and the Empire State Building. All this while telling the staff that things were swell—he even had Mitchel Cohen believing that the New York station would probably end up supporting the rest of Pacifica. The farce took another turn when Reimers had the NYPD called to the NYCC campus to arrest Sidney Smith on some unproven charge. The cops came, decided that there were no grounds for arrest, and left. Reimburse then ordered his sledgehammer man, Tony Ryan, to confiscate Sidney's campus pass and escort him off the premises, "banned for life." To this day, Reimers has never contacted Sidney to explain his bizarre firing, but the head of CUNY decided that the WBAI charade had crossed the line, so he ordered WBAI to abandon the space by March 31. With no place to go, Reimers did not comply, so—as R. Paul Martin puts it, WBAI became a "squatter". Word was now put out that an architect and designer had been hired to turn space at Atlantic Avenue into a studio. Tony Ryan announced on the air that he was personally putting together a studio there, at his own cost. As you will hear on the following audio, that is just another stall. How long will CCNY put up with Reimers? How long will it be before WBAI is forever silenced?

Here is R. Paul Martin's report to the Committee on WBAI's situation.



And here is more of the meeting. The first clip leads up to R. Paul's report. The second is what followed it.



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Reparations: Give us what they had...


These days, it isn't often one hears WBAI hosts or their carefully selected guests speak frankly on a subject, especially when it comes to politics and race. Air time had become a nearly unthreatened tenure for those who played the game right, but a management/Foundation vacuum is shifting the focus. We now see air time becoming a tentative allowance for some, its "ownership" predicated upon their obedience to either of two equally misguided management forces: The Reimers strain, which has neither esthetic sense nor principle, and whose only objective is to preserve the GM's job; and the Murillio strain, which readily sacrifices talent for anything that coddles the Latin American interests of the iPD and furthers racial segregation.

Of course, both motives are anathema to the original mission given Pacifica by founder Lewis Hill; both repel the respect and support WBAI once had, and neither could survive six months without the shameless marketing of questionable products and services aired with agonizing frequency through hour-long, circle jerks of infomercials. Whether a host/producer keeps his airtime relies less on broadcasting skill and substance than on his/her adherence to the station's increasingly in-doctrinaire talking points. A few years back, a handful of opportunists set the stage for a new WBAI, one that placed the interest of its staff over that of the listeners. As new GMs and PDs took the reins, the objective vacillated somewhat, but the intellect was on a steady downward course and black discussion turned to black rhetoric. Like Kenyan airport art and dashikis made in China, WBAI was not the real thing... not the real anything.

With the arrival of Mario Murillo (i.e. the man who came to dinner), hope was once again ignited, but his agenda soon became clear as he picked up on the festering racism and went to town with it. Lightweights like Haskins and Kathy Davis were jubilant—the station at which they had spent so much time churning out crap, was coming down to their level and they felt a sense of belonging. This was "community radio," and the community was black. Well, there were those Latinos... they had not always gotten along with the American blacks, but the opportunists needed them, so they dubbed them "brown" and kneaded a Crayola ball of Hex codes 000000 and B4674D (with a dash of A5694F thrown in) to come up with the generic "black and brown" population to target. What they did not consider in their equation was the fact that complexion and intellect are not one and the same, so they ended up with an audience that sure enough was dark of hue, but ignorant, too. In other words, the listeners these bozos chased away were people of all colors—including their own.


If you listened to last weekend's Reparations circus, you know what I am talking about. What you heard was yet another attempt to accomplish what a Jamaican named Marcus Garvey failed to about a hundred years ago. He made a big show out of it, complete with 19th century costumes, parades, and an old, barely seaworthy tub that was to return black Americans to the continent of their ancestors. The KKK loved the idea and even had a meeting with Garvey in Atlanta, but there was about the whole thing a veneer of flimflam. 

That's also the aura given off by this latest attempt, which was done in partnership with WBAI. We heard Jesse Jackson—an early opportunist and current has-been—give a passionate but shallow keynote speech that fairly dripped with hypocrisy. Daddy's words about black pride has a hollow ring when one thinks of how he has conducted himself and that greed ported his son from the U.S. Congress to a jail term. The Reparation show featured several other speakers, some of whom were disciples of the late John Henrik Clark, who rewrote black history to suit his own fantasies and become "legendary" among people in need of idols. On WBAI's side of the microphone, we heard Dred Scott Keyes and Bernard White, two not so upstanding characters, the latter having cost the station a great deal of money when he initiated a frivolous lawsuit.

With the sorry condition of WBAI and the Reparation farce in mind, I found it refreshing when Malachy McCourt last week reacted against Amy Goodman's deification of Maya Angelou and gave sincere praise to a lady who has done more to make us all proud than all those opportunists put together. See if you agree: 




Friday, April 10, 2015

Lemon pulp fiction


Frank Lefever, the perennial WBAI Board member who loved to tell us that he had played a major role in the selection and hiring of Berthold Reimers, lowered his own profile when it became clear that the complaints against this high-priced do-nothing GM were all too legitimate. For a while, Lefever defended his "discovery," but he eventually found it prudent to all but disappear himself.

He would, however, occasionally post somebody's press release and he submitted a plan for the rescue of WBAI a year or so back. It was based on his insane theory that WBAI could win its listenership back if only people knew of the station's existence. Attempts were made to inform him that distributing "come on down!" leaflets from the rooftops, could never work as long as the program schedule remained a mish-mash of medical quackery, street corner propaganda rants, deranged doomsaying, shallow chit-chat, inferior rap, twisted "news," and months of stale, often fraudulent infomercials. Lefever's na├»ve theory apparently hasn't changed, despite all its failures. He still appears to believe that the first order of business is to get people to tune in and pay the fee, then you improve the programming—it's an odd kind of reverse bait and switch that isn't suddenly going to work.

Yesterday, as he prepared to man his big annual Left Forum exhibit table, he was at it again, calling upon volunteers to drown the place in WBAI leaflets. He still doesn't get it. He does not seem to grasp the fundamental fact that people don't willingly purchase rejected merchandise, so he sells them a bill of goods and crosses his fingers. When the purchaser figures that out, WBAI has lost any chance of adding him or her to a new core audience.

The only thing this madness has going for it is its consistency, but therein also lies the rub.

Here is what Lefever posted in various places yesterday. After you have read it, I urge you to savor the response that follows and which I have shamelessly lifted to bring you. It is by a Pat Metheny follower who has an eye for anyone. He has the insight and wit needed to fully appreciate this long absurd act by the Pacifica Players.

Frank Lefever wrote:

Millions of people in the NYC area do not know that WBAI exists.  WBAI's survival depends on telling potential listeners that there is a radio station called WBAI (FM 99.5.FM in NYC and streaming world-wide on the web).

We can NOT wait for Management or the LSB to do this.  (I know, I am on the LSB, and I have also harangued Management about this for years).

There are MANY ways to advertise WBAI, some dirt cheap and some entirely free of charge.

However, right now we need to PLAN ahead for a big push on the weekend of May 29=31, when Left Forum has THOUSANDS of counter-culture activists and supporters of progressive causes coming from all over the NYC and from other cities for its BIG annual conference.

We know from past experience that "manning a table" in the exhibit space is not sufficient -- damn few people will pass it and few who do pass it will slow down to pick up a brochure.

That is why I and others have used an exhibit table as a place where our volunteers can pick up small bundles of brochures, flyers, etc. to hand out to people ALL OVER THE FORUM.

Besides the Plenary Sessions with Big Names speaking, there will be dozens of smaller Panels meeting simultaneously between the Big Name evening sessions.  There will be people resting their feet and informally networking in various places, or just wandering in the halls.  OUR JOB IS TO REACH AS MANY OF THEM AS WE CAN.

In previous yearsw, we have had perhaps a dozen volunteers across the weekend, some just for 3 or 4 hours, others for more than one day -- but that is not enough.

I am collaborating with CAB people (CAB - Community Advisory Board) to recruit a much larger number.

YOU CAN HELP BY PUBLICIZING OUR CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS.  Do it via Yahoo Groups, via Facebook, via Twitter, or via your own address book.

We need to start collecting names NOW so we can get people registered for admission to the conference before mid-May.

And here's the response that I wish I had written:

Hi Mr LeFever,

I don't think it is so much that folks don't know bai "exists."  It is, after all, a (former) iconic spot on the radio, with a list of guests, alumni etc. that reads like a who's who of the "best minds of my generation."

Bai's alumni and those who were at the station are something for which it should feel quite proud.

Once you are an icon (like the MOMA,or the Met) you don't have to engage in big ad campaigns.  You established your iconicity long ago, and, because you deliver a product today that is as good or better--the reputation carries the museum along.

When a child asks mom--"where should i go to see some art"--he/she/genderneutralartenthusiast is told by mom--"MOMA or Met, honey." (with or without the "honey" part).

When a child asks mom--"where should I tune the dial to hear radio that challenges my mind from the liberal perspective, mom?"--mother doesn't mention bai--either because she's been insulted as an evil white person one time too many, or has heard garbage programming every time she tunes in, and is still waiting for her premium from her donation in the year 1675.

No amount of advertising can restore a station to greatness that took its laurel wreath off its head and hosed it down with DDT, stomped on it, burned it, neglected it and turned people away.  You can advertise all you want--those who know the station will say "been there, done that--where is my damn premium" or will listen once to some of the hate whitey, hate america, whitey is to blame for your grandmother's lumbago, whitey is no damn good, america is the source of every evil in the world, the repubs and dems caused mount saint helens to blow up, and they and america are no damn good, never will be no damn good, and all we do on this station is whine, whine, and more whine about how no damn good the listener and the country is--please call 1-800-u-r-anasshole to donate by the way--you damn freeloader, cheapskate you.

Now, one way to help financially is to make sure that people have left everything in their will to pacifica and then send them poison water to make them die--that will be a lose-win for everybody.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

WBAI Treasurer's Report for April 2015


Here's the April 8, 2015 WBAI Treasurer's Report by R. Paul Martin. Not surprisingly, it does not paint a comforting picture of the station's financial state. In fact, it seems to confirm the ongoing cosmetic manipulation of income that has come to characterize Berthold Reimers. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

As Mario stacks the race cards...


As Pacifica argues away the time, eagerly awaiting results of California AG audit, WBAI turns darker and darker as it slowly sinks deeper into the red, weighed down by irrelevant personal agendas and gross mismanagement.

Mario Murillo's temporary rescue mission seems to have been another bait and switch mis-operation, for there is, so far, no indication of his crawling back into his hole. So, what has he "accomplished" so far? 

People who did WBAI great harm in the past are trickling back; shamefully bad, often fraudulent programs are still in place; paid-for so-called "premiums" remain unshipped; fund drives never reach their goals, even after being extended; lack of maintenance and unskilled "engineering" have made dead air and technical breakdowns  commonplace; religious worship has seeped as a desperate Reimers' goes for that church money; lies and coverups stream left and right with greater reliability than the station's signal; a cardboard box studio is not a farfetched vision as Pacifica non grata becomes unwanted on the NYCC campus, thanks to a major mis-call by Reimers. 

These items only skim the surface and few people will be surprised to see scattering vermin when someone finally lifts that rock and lets the daylight in.

As an assortment of discarded staffers and volunteers join Murillo's Marauders and slither back into place at the station, the sinking morale can barely keep up with the rapid ebb of intellect that has brought this once significant radio station to a dead end.

New York City has had black radio stations, but never one as lacking in spirit and talent as the current, moribund WBAI. How can a city pulsating with original thought and creativity harbor a station whose own pulse stopped beating many years ago? This could not possibly be a radio station in the country's largest, most ethnically diverse market; a station without commercial ties, broadcasting at 50,000 watts from atop the Empire State building—a station whose  free form schedule and accessible microphones was set up to be the voice of enlightenment, the voice of truth, the voice you could trust to get you started on your own explorations.

It could not be, but it is.

Now compound the mystery by factoring in the reality that WBAI is run and its air dominated by people whose creativity and spirit has influenced, worldwide, virtually every field of artistic endeavor, shaped lifestyles, dictated fashions, enriched literature, and inspired thought.

In other words, Berthold's bozos and Murillo's marauders seem to have accomplished the impossible.  

Bear in mind that an accurate description of the large audience they have alienated should not be measured in mere hues but rather on a scale of intellect. They have dumbed down a very smart radio station.

Here—taken off the air this morning—is an example of the depth to which WBAI has been sunk. You will hear Linda Perry read yesterday's most negative black news, totally ignoring several more illuminating fresh items (other stations carried them); there will be the obligatory audio glimpse of Cornell West doing his most recent act, and Pinocchio Haskins will stick his nose in to make sure that you get the race angle. As always, the show also had its usual parade of news twisters, but I cut all that nonsense out—you have either heard these cartoon characters or you can catch up with them on tomorrow's strip.



You may have noticed that there was no mention of Pacifica having hired a new Interim Executive Director. I guess Mikie G. feels confident that Mario or Berthold will get rid of him, if he acts right.

Apropos the new iED, here's an item from today's Houston Chronicle:

Houston radio executive John Proffitt, who was general manager of public radio station KUHF (88.7 FM) for 25 years, will become executive director in May of Pacifica Foundation Radio, which owns five noncommercial radio stations, including Houston's KPFT (90.1 FM).
Proffitt will move from Houston to Berkeley, Calif., the foundation's headquarters, for the daunting task of attempting to shore up Pacifica Radio's troubled finances and to reshape a governance structure that has been, by design, loosely organized for decades.
In Houston, for example, KPFT is operating at one-half of its listed power of 100,000 watts while the station struggles to raise $200,000 to replace its transmitter, which was damaged in 2012.
Proffitt, who left KUHF after the University of Houston-owned radio station and television station KUHT (Channel 8) were reorganized in 2011 with a single general manager, has been working for two years as a volunteer with KPFT, co-hosting a program and helping with fund raising.
Margy Wilkinson, who chairs the Pacifica national board, said the foundation "still faces significant challenges, (but) I'm confident that John can see us through them and put our network back on a path of growth."
Proffitt said Pacifica's fund-raising efforts have not rebounded fully from the 2008 recession, and one of his first duties will be to work on a financial restructuring plan for the foundation.
"Pacifica is fixable in theory, but in practice, it's very complicated," he said. "There is a diffuse governance structure. It truly is community radio. There are divergent interests at work, and that is part of the problem, and the executive director has in many respects somewhat limited authority by his or her accountability to a very diverse board."
Duane Bradley, general manager of KPFT in Houston, said he was pleased with Proffitt's appointment.
"I'm somewhat hopeful and optimistic as opposed to otherwise, which is the more prevalent sense I've had of Pacifica in recent years," he said. "It's a welcome change for a hoped-for better Pacifica tomorrow."
Bradley said the station has commitments of $52,000 toward buying a new transmitter for KPFT.