Saturday, January 9, 2016

New CFO or new same-o?


New CFO From State Department Funded NGO

Berkeley- Pacifica has installed a new chief financial officer by the name of Sam Agarwal. The board moved quickly, making Agarwal the signatory for all bank accounts and vendor relationships within days of his arrival. Agarwal's last full-time CFO position was with San Francisco's Equal Access, a nonprofit that sets up media projects in developing countries. Equal Access, according to their 2014 annual report, was funded by the US Embassies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the US AID - Office of Transition Initiatives, The US Department of State - Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, The US Department of State - Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, The US Department of State - Middle East Partnership Initiative, The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

To take just one of these funders, US AID's Office of Transition Initiatives, the organization states its purpose is "In support of US foreign policy, OTI seizes emerging windows of opportunity in the political landscape to promote stability, peace, and democracy by catalyzing local initiatives through adaptive and agile programming". In U.S. government parlance, this is usually referred to as regime change. Pacifica's programmers often refer to it as imperialism or colonialism or when they get really excited, the suppression of people's movements for liberation around the globe.

Agarwal's first report to the board was somewhat uneventful, but he confirmed that 2014 audit schedules were still not complete and that the audit process for 2014 has still not begun. The 2014 audit is 7 months past its due date and the 2015 audit is due to CPB and the State of California  in 5 months.

At LA's KPFK, GM Radford;s marching orders for program change have taken down Pacifica's most successful overnight program, Roy of Hollywood's venerable Something's Happening, a much-loved Los Angeles institution which monetized the deep overnight hours for KPFK, a challenge no other network program has achieved. Despite a huge uproar and obvious negative financial implications for the struggling station, Radford proceded to knock off the midnight to 3am portion of the program (the most-listened to part - with Arbitrons often the highest of ANY KPFK program) and handed the time over to unproven new programs including that of her roommate Adam Rice. Radford left untouched the Friday to Sunday overnights, one of KPFK's financially weakest times, when the station often can't raise a penny during fund drives, preferring to replace a perceived "political enemy". 

The new programs, apart from Rice's DJ efforts, which can be heard here: will apparently be hosted by student graduates of Radford's People's School of Broadcasting. The curriculum for the 16-week training, which is heavy on advocacy training and light on radio production, can be found here.

Pacifica's board elections concluded on January 4th. LA's KPFK, which had been short of quorum, had an extraordinary upsurge on the last day of voting with over 250 people voting online and 30+ staffers, putting them well over the participation requirements. Houston's KPFT hit their quorum mark earlier and New York's WBAI is waiting on a count of mail-in ballots that has not been provided by election vendor Simply Voting, which closed-up shop between December 18th and January 4th. 

The Pacifica National Board was expecting an election report from supervisor L. Joy Williams at their January 7th meeting, but didn't receive one, supposedly because the election supervisor was in flight home from California to New York during the meeting. This proved to be not quite the truth as L. Joy's Twitter account announced her flight date as January 8th, the day after the meeting, with tweets announcing her departure from San Francisco and arrival in NYC on Friday January 8th.

Pacifica's latest board chair/IED Lydia Brazon has become the president of the Southern California chapter of Americans for Democratic Action, a Democratic party PAC. The liberal group puts out an annual report card for Democratic party politicians and gave California's neoliberal Senator Dianne Feinstein a 90% approval rating on their 2014 report card. Brazon's LA slate for Pacifica's board (GCRC) consistently and somewhat bizarrely accused their opponents of being "Democrats" and "Liberals". 


Pacific's mobile application for smartphones and tablets, one of the network's first tentative steps into 21st century broadcasting, has gone defunct with the network failing to pay for it.This means current users (more than 10,000 people downloaded the app) will be stalled with no more updates and the app has been removed from the iPhone and Google Play app stores. 

The increasingly bedraggled KPFK website now announces upcoming programming as "undefined" due to the breakdown of the Copyright Confessor/Sound Exchange reporting system which will make mandatory copyright reports due to SoundExchange at the end of the month difficult for the station to produce. This latest systemic breakdown follows sustained periods of time when the station lost its Internet stream and its program archives. 

At WBAI, LSB treasurer and early morning host R. Paul Martin indulged in an AM rant on New Year's Day reporting similiar copyright reporting problems in New York, election shenanigans and stating "the number of people associated with this radio station who know nothing about radio is huge". You can hear his comments here. 

Court filings from LA Superior Court have revealed the board majority's conflicted attorney Dan Siegel was hit with $1,920 in court sanctions in December of 2007 for failure to provide evidence during discovery proceedings in Paige vs. Pacifica, the sexual harassment case filed against former KPFK GM Eva Georgia, who resigned in August of 2007 after complaints were filed by four female employees: Molly Paige, Sheri Epstein, Maria Armoudian and Esther Manilla. Three more requests for sanctions against Siegel were filed by Paige's lawyer for willful violation of court order, refusing to submit to deposition, and obstructing the deposition of a Pacifica employee before Siegel withdrew from the case and Pacifica abuptly settled it in June of 2008 for an undisclosed amount. 

Siegel incorporated the "KPFA Foundation" for former board chair Margy Wilkinson in secret in the fall of 2013 and did not disclose it to Pacifica's board when retained as the foundation's attorney afterwards as required by the California Bar Association's Rules of Professional Conduct (3310(c)).

The Siegel/Brazon board majority still hasn't backed down on their contention that affiliate directors need not be nominated by affiliated stations and asserting both new directors chosen for the 2016 board should be seated despite the process flouting the bylaws in almost every imaginable way: one of their appointees was not nominated by a nonprofit, one was nominated by a station that does not broadcast or distribute Pacifica-produced content, neither has a written affiliation agreement in place, one hasn't for several years, 30 days advance notice was not provided, no ballots were used, single transferable voting was not used and two were not elected at the same time. The only remedy appears to be a court injunction which can be sought prior to the new board's projected seating date on January 28th. 

Pacifica's bylaws have this to say about the process:

Any Foundation "affiliate station" (as defined below) or any association of affiliate stations may nominate one or more candidates for the two Affiliate Director positions on the Board. 

For purposes of this Section, an "affiliate station" shall be defined as any non-profit non-commercial broadcaster that broadcasts programming provided or distributed by the Foundation  pursuant to a written agreement with the Foundation, including, for example, community radio stations, internet broadcasters or digital broadcasters, as such technology may be developed. 

As the first order of business, and given 30 days advance notice, at a Board meeting in December each year, the Directors present and voting (excluding any then current Affiliate or At-Large Directors from the vote) shall establish a protocol for balloting  using the Single Transferable Voting method.and shall elect two (2) Affiliate Representative Directors from the nominees submitted by affiliate stations.

42 comments:

  1. Pacifica is just so irrelevant to anything anymore, be it politics or arts. The exposes are now about Pacifica, and not about things like the Vietnam Tapes or SLA messages. Pacifica is irrelevant.

    SDL

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    1. I'm afraid so... kinda like a Null threat, eh? His zero hour has come and gone. :)

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    2. What did I tell you? Do I, at least, get a "You were right, SDL"?

      SDL

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    3. Let's make it, you were right again, SDL.

      Did you listen to the numerologist audio? The guy said just the right thing, albeit inadvertently. :)

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    4. First, understand that Null, rightly or wrongly, sees WBAI as an important part of his business. He isn't going to mess that up with a lawsuit and get taken off the air indefinitely. No matter what, Null is a capitalist, albeit in "progressive" clothing. In fact, that's really all "progressives" are - bourgeois capitalists feigning left wing principles, until it starts to eat into their wallets.

      Yes, I heard the numbers man. I really just have to laugh at it for two reasons. One is to put crap like that on the air, but also to not put it on during beg-a-thon time. That's the sort of stuff people would probably dump more money on than other Stuff.

      Maybe during the beg-a-thon next month, Bates can turn off the studio phone lines for three days and then come on and tell us how "they" cut the phones so WBAI's message couldn't get out?

      Wait, I know! They could do a remake of Orson Welles' War of the Worlds broadcast, with the roles played by Daniels, Haskins, Diaz, Jordan, etc. Instead of UFOs, it could be the police attacking the ghettos. It should cause panic among their few listeners.

      Hey, whatever became of Utrice Leid? I haven't heard anything in a while, but I haven't looked for any news on her and Null curing her, either.

      SDL

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    5. Yes, Null obviously needs WBAI as much as they need him.

      Your drama scenario and cast is interesting. They might also do Rip Van Winkle with Fass in the tile role.

      I think Utrice is still heard on Null's Internet station, along with the profound philosophy of Kathy Davis, who now is taking her act to The Commons with a live audience. Her climb from double helix splasher to spiritual leader is nothing short of phenomenal. I expect to see her in colorful, glittery robes soon.

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    6. One day, Rip Van Fass, deciding not to work, since he knew he would one day be considered a radio legend by a few people, went walking about. From a place not too far, a hippie looking fellow called him to help him carry some protest signs and join in the protest march. Good old Rip Van Fass was more than eager to attend the protest against The Vietnam War and the draft, so surely he obliged, all to eager to chant his favorite chant, "Hell no, we won't go, we won't fight for Texaco..!" When the enjoyable democratic day of civic revolutionary labor was finished, the hippie brought Rip Van Fass back to his commune to meet some friends and join in a party of hallucinogenic delights. Oh, Rip indulged and enjoyed, so much so that after flying through the outer limits of space and time, he fell asleep, as sound and stoned out of his mind as could be.

      Yes, year after year faded into obscurity, but Rip Van Fass never awoke. In fact, Rip steadfassly refused to leave The Summer of Love and advance into the modern world. Yes, not even three hours a week of radio and five or six phone callers can shake him of his socio-political somnambulism. When Rip signs on radio, few recall who he was, even with a small time documentary having been made of his accomplishments, of which few remember. Oh, poor Rip, still stuck in an idealistic time/space conundrum of his own making.

      SDL

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    7. "that's really all "progressives" are - bourgeois capitalists feigning left wing principles, until it starts to eat into their wallets. "

      Ouch! Trigger warning! Trigger Warning!:)
      Where's my safe space?

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  2. Nice Turbo Tax commercial featuring Michio Kaku on TV.

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    1. This the one you mean? Kind of funny, actually.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WNlWyFgLCg

      SDL

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    2. I love it. Michio Kaku is a Capitalist. Socialism is great, but you can't beat the old moolah for paying your bills. Right, Michio?

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  3. The elections ended on the fourth and yet there is no update from Pacifica or the member stations. I didn't expect results right away (although it really should be done by now) but I was looking for word on reaching quorum. There was a post on Pacifica that said WBAI was 85 votes short on the listener side and made quorum on staff side(60 staff votes? That must be a lot of 'unpaid' staff) not counting ballots sent to the vendor.
    Perhaps there is hope at KPFK. The late surge in voting and the large number of people who ran or at least considered running shows there are still some people engaged. I'm not surprised by KPFT. My sense is they're relatively OK now that they got their transmitter working. I heard the founders only went with Pacifica to smooth the process of getting a license. Any truth to that?
    Another thing I have yet to see on Pacifica.org is the word about the CFO. You would think they would want to publicize that. It makes me wonder about the sourcing for this article.
    Its not that I don't believe this article but I wonder why there is no official word.

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    1. Not shouting from the rooftops about the new CFO is very likely a veiled admission that this was yet another underhanded move on the part of a corrupt PNB majority.

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  4. I know Siegel is a jerk but I must admit to being amazed at his audacity. Fixing elections, setting up dummy foundations in case the group you're representing goes under, getting your employee on the national board where he is insisting on mortgaging or selling properties, replying to court orders when he feels like it...truly amazing. Truth really is stranger than fiction.

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    1. I guess we can call it misinterpreted "democracy." :)

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    2. Classic case of when someone keeps getting away with something they become more and more brazen, or is that Brazon..?

      SDL

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  5. I think that the CFO is very appropriate to Pacifica, just think about it - he had to stroke the Loya Jirga in Afghanistan, the corrupt local politics in Pakistan and in Africa, and now - the local and national station boards of Pacifica. Where else can we get political experience like that? USAID touch! I love it. Awesome pix - Democracy coming to you! Ha Ha Ha!

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  6. Did anyone hear the caller this morning, around 6:30, who said WBAI would be over soon. The gist of his argument was that when something is about to fail, whether it be city or federal gov't or a business, a "black face" is put on it so they can be scapegoated. He thinks this is what happened to the station. Hogwash to be sure, but at least he was insightful enough to know not all is well at WBAI.

    Chris in NJ

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    1. Yes, Chris, the hogwash is intensifying at WBAI. On another program, I heard someone blame the gang rape in the par on Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome! That's the gimmick Joy DeGruy came up with and lives on... sort of a black "affluence" alibi.

      If it doesn't render them speechless, it will be interesting to hear how the Mumianistas explain away the total demolition that's up ahead.

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    2. Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome? They have "The Black Rage Defense" a la Bill Kunt-stler.

      KGT

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  7. Chris: I have a very introspective question for you. Are there days wherein you say to yourself, "Why the hell did I ever leave Iceland"? "What the hell am I doing here"?

    KGT

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    1. I have never said that in regard to Iceland. It is a beautiful, largely pristine country that I love to visit, but my heart has never been there—perhaps, in part, because my Icelandic family were strangers to me: an old grandmother who wore traditional dress and a father who lived in Italy (I was 10 when we met). Besides, I had spent time with my Danish grandparents and loved them as well as Denmark. 2 1/2 wartime years w. my father in New York did not endear him to me.

      In 1945 (the Nazis were still around, but as prisoners) I went to live with my Danish grandparents, had to go to school in Canterbury (UK) because my half-assed American (PS 101) English was better than my Icelandic, and I had just begun to re-learn Danish. Back in Denmark as a teenager, I heard jazz on the radio and made up my mind to immigrate as soon as I could get enough money and a visa. That took a long time, but I made it to New York in October of 57.

      I had my Danish language back and I never regretted the move, although I have missed Danish food and Danish Christmas. Less and less, though... they don't even eat much of what I grew up with... it's not healthy!

      You asked me a yes or no question and I went on, rambling like a Fass! Sorry :)

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    2. Like Fass? No, your memories are interesting... and in chronological order.

      J.

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    3. That was all very interesting, actually, unlike errr.... ummm... Fass. Feel free to share more whenever you have the time. Probably, needless to say, I'd love to read more about your radio experiences, WBAI and other stations.

      You and I kind of share something. My father is American (Italian/German) and my mother from Spain (insert joke about how I can fight The Spanish Civil War all by myself). I was born here, but my first words were Spanish, soon followed by English, which made me bilingual.

      At some point when I was four or five years old, I ended up in Spain for about a year with my mother, where I totally forgot my English. I was never given a straight answer, but I think my parents split and got back together after a year, so I came back here. Anyway, I had to start learning English all over again, in time for starting American schooling.

      SDL

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    4. So you know what I'm saying, as it were. I was sent to PS 101 in Forest Hills with an English vocabulary that barely went beyond "bread and butter." Some words were instinctively understood, such as when the bully kid next door yelled "scram!"

      I guess we both can identify with the linguistic obstacles kids from south of the border, Syria, etc. face. Fortunately, kids learn fast--my English lessons were of the informal playground kind. The drawback is that we tend not to become "educated" adults, at least not in the minds of potential employers. My mother had four husband, ranging from an Icelandic millionaire to a struggling Swedish-Danish wannabe painter (who was only 9 years older than me). Almost husbands included the Royal Danish Opera's star tenor and a young matinee idol who made awful box office jingling movies. I fled to the land of Bessie, Louis and Duke. Now the only blood relatives I have is a half-sister in Iceland and a large and growing Dominican branch in Santo Domingo.

      Informal education and "book-readin'" may not garner one a respected position in academia, but a well-rounded knowledge base gained by absorption and association has its merits. Life can be a bitch or a blast. :)

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    5. Chris: Did your love of jazz include Glenn Miller, Dorsey Brothers, Harry James, Les Brown?

      KGT

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    6. Absolutely. As my listening experience aged, so it expanded... The names you cite may be considered as border case examples, but they all contributed to and participated in the development of jazz. I never met any of these five bandleaders, but I continue to enjoy their music. I had very little money when I lived in Copenhagen, so each record purchase was carefully weighed, and I had to do a lot of catching up--these bandleaders did not get high priority.

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    7. I never really had language obstacles because wherever I was at the time was accommodating to whatever I was speaking. All I know is that I didn't like Spain, at all. It seemed like almost everyone was just sitting around doing nothing, hanging out. I actually liked the Guardia Civil guys, though. They were always nice when I would pass by them and talk to them. I tended to gravitate to them because they were the only people who seemed to actually be talkative and friendly. Everyone else was like death. In fact, I remember the art museum I got dragged to. Jeez! Nothing but images of fucking death everywhere! Spaniards are a very strange bunch...

      Informal education and "book-readin'" = Independent scholar, as some call it. Yeah, the world doesn't care about knowledge but about a degree.

      Don't really know about my mother, to tell the truth. She was a psychotic schizophrenic of some sort, who would explode out of nowhere for no reason anyone could fathom. We didn't have a good relationship, to put it mildly, so when she took off when I was about seven, I really didn't care. She chose to ignore my existence since then, so I wish her the worst of everything, if she's even alive.
      Yeah, I'm the vindictive type.

      Well, anyway, I don't have any family, except for some distant relatives of some sort. When my father died, I contacted them only to discover that my father was right - they were a bunch of do nothings who were to lazy to even call you back.

      Life is funny when you're an outsider.

      SDL

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    8. I am closer to the doormen in my building than I ever was to my father. My mother was quite a different story, but we were geographically separated more than not. Her parents, my Danish grands made up for so much, including the lack of formal education. I was fortunate to have educated people around me during my impressionable years—too many kids don't have that advantage.

      I used to see WBAI as the informed adult. It is rarely that these days.

      There were times when I wondered what I missed by only having fleetingly experienced classmates and not being able to identify with a neighborhood. Then I think of the wonderful people I met along the ad libbed path I took.

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    9. Here is a link to my other blog, where I mostly deal with jazz and personal experiences. This particular link will take you to a childhood reminiscence and some family background.

      http://stomp-off.blogspot.com/2010/02/whats-in-your-family-wallet.html

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  8. I heard the CFO on a conference call. He wants to focus on the audit for 2014 and 2015 and get business managers for each station including WBAI which has been using a guy from Houston. Also, he supposedly is OK with the GM using QuickBooks.
    There is still no official word on Pacifica.org about the CFO or the election. It may be that the site just isn't updated. The job description for CFO is still there.

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    1. They are notoriously tardy. The Web site's latest monthly newsletter was posted a year ago, the program schedule is consistently outdated, the rent is never paid on time, premiums are ever backlogged, etc.

      This dysfunctional organization needs more than a new CFO, I'm afraid.

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  9. gloria j brown ... thought this was supposed to be an analysis of obama .
    Sounds like cheerleading and defending instead .
    Why am i not surprised .

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    1. I'm waiting for her to give us the European view--isn't that why she is over there? This is quite a contrast to the hysterical hatred Robert Knight used to aim at Obama. The current WBAI paint-it-black crew is torn, the victims of their own opportunistic biases, but hypocrisy is rampant. Notice how Haskins constantly flip-flops. He will give his "uhuh" when someone like Null expresses opinions that directly contradict his purported own.

      WBAI should be taken with a ton of salt.

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  10. yes it would have been more cost effective to just stay here instead of go all the way to europe for
    that "indepth" analysis .
    What did we get , a sentence an a half of 3 people's opinions of obama .
    Hope she didn't put it on the bai expense account . haha

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    1. Perhaps that should read, "in debt analysis"?

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  11. According to Pacifica, all three stations made quorum. I guess they got the 85 votes they needed for listener quorum. I only see results for KPFT at this moment.

    Unofficial Turnout for WBAI

    The following is unofficial voter turnout for the WBAI Listener and Staff elections. Please note these totals are unofficial and as the vendor proceeds with consistency checks, fraud checks, data validation cross checks, scanning, and other finishing procedures these numbers may fluctuate slightly in either direction.

    Approximated Listener Quorum: 819
    535 Paper Ballots
    385 Online Votes
    Total Listener Votes: 920

    Approximated Staff Quorum: 44
    12 Paper Ballots
    68 Online Votes
    Total Staff Votes: 80

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  12. Some voters had a little fun with their ballots at KPFT and wrote in some funny names. I tried to imagine how they might react to the results.

    Margie Wilkinson - On behalf of the KPFA foundation, I thank the KPFT member for his support and look forward to continuing to work with KPFT to improve the KPFA..I mean Pacifica foundation.
    Tony Cox - I'm freaking staff you idiot.

    Amy Goodman - On behalf of Democracy Now and the War and Peace Report, I express my gratitude for the support shown to me at Pacifica especially as they are paying customers as opposed to the other outlets who broadcast Democracy Now for free.
    I look forward to resolving any lingering financial issues in a spirit of trust and cooperation and without the need for litigation.
    Bernie Sanders - This is only the first step in a long journey. Look what we did without
    any effort on my part in a disorganized election. Now its on to Iowa and New Hampshire.
    Donald Duck - rasin thrassin massin

    Donald Trump - I'm leading in Iowa. I'm leading in New Hampshire. I'm leading in Florida. You think I'm worried about KPFT?
    George W. Bush - I'm grateful for the support of my friends in Houston. It shows that we're moving on from past disputes into a new era of cooperation and trust. I wish to express my support for all my friends in Houston who are struggling in this time of thirty dollar a barrel of oil. God bless America.
    Mickey Mouse - He He....He He

    Ron Paul - It is clear to me that the forces behind the Federal Reserve have conspired to deny me my rightful spot on the KPFT Local Station Board. I will contact the national board and seek a full investigation and address them directly in a conference call over a bad connection.
    Stephen Colbert - I can't talk now. I have to revamp my show.

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  13. Holy crap! Reggie playing Hawkwind! Wish he'd play them for the rest of the show.

    SDL

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    1. Unlike that jerk in the morning, who is in love with his name, Reggie has good taste in music, isn't hung up on Afrikan or pseudo-Afrikan, and often plays rare stuff that is worthy of WBAI's airtime.

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    2. You could say From the Soundboard is across the board. That's what I always give Reggie credit for. They should just leave him with 2AM-5AM.

      I've seen Hawkwind live many times in my life. It's always a great spaced out time. The audience spans many generations and influences, from old hippies, kids and anyone and everyone in between. Few bands get such a mix, which always makes it fun when you start chatting with people from different times and, well, space.

      R.I.P. Lemmy of Hawkwind, and that other band he was in, Motorhead.

      SDL

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