An unvarnished blog that dips into the past and comments
on the present of WBAI-FM, a once significant, intelligent New York
radio station that for years has suffered chronic abuse from within and now
nears extinction. Your comments are welcomed and will not be censored.
Berkeley- In an apparent overdose on the Kool-Aid, volunteer executive director Lydia Brazon, board chair Tony Norman and PNB treasurer Brian Edwards-Tiekert are trying to shut down an emergency board meeting scheduled for the evening of June 26th. The meeting was called to address warnings from chief financial officer Sam Agarwal that the network will not be able to meet payroll and employee benefit obligations within weeks, pay for the financial audit or fund the election of its board members and has no plans to cope with the oncoming catastrophe.
As Norman spoke, the telephone number at the network's NY station has been turned off and the network's insurance carrier is demanding to see the 2014 financial audit in order to continue providing insurance.
Board chair Norman, board treasurer Edwards-Tiekert and interim director Brazon did not consent to a meeting of the body until July 14th, long after Agarwal has indicated he may not be able to meet upcoming payroll obligations including at Norman's own station, WPFW. Agarwal has stated to the board that Norman's station met payroll in May by looting a restricted fund reserved for capital expenses by donor restriction. The three officers further delayed the standing meeting of the board from the first Thursday of the month by another week.
LA listener rep Grace Aaron replied to Norman's meeting kibosh as follows:
In my opinion, delaying a meeting to address Pacifica's dire financial situation by over 2 weeks is not wise and I hope you will reconsider. Even if a significant number of board members cannot attend the meeting that has been properly noticed for tomorrow night, it still could be productive. Also, scheduling a closed session on the same night as a meeting to discuss our dire financial situation is unwise. We may never get to a discussion on finances. Therefore, I suggest that you reverse the order of the meetings on the 14th if you decide not to sanction the meeting for tomorrow night.
Enough directors expressed a desire to have a meeting specifically to address our financial crisis for tomorrow night. For you unilaterally to cancel this meeting is, in my opinion, delaying a discussion that is extremely urgent and it is beyond your purview as chair. You may be correct that you have the power to deny quorum for this meeting, but you do not have the authority to cancel it.
Beyond this, your station, WPFW, is failing. Are you or your LSB taking actions to reverse its very serious financial deficiencies? If you are, please detail them for me and other concerned board members. Are you aware of the rumors that it may be on the chopping block if we are forced into some sort of bankruptcy?
Further, your disregard of our minority concerns belies any pretense on your part of collegiality and willingness to collaborate. I sincerely hope that you will respect our wishes and make some effort to accommodate them.
Board members associated with the Siegel/Brazon faction started up a new nonprofit in California to receive the broadcast licenses and real estate assets under the name "KPFA Foundation".
If you would like to support either or both of the legal complaints filed by Pacifica members, you can visit the Clean Up Pacifica Project for more information.
A timeline of the now two year old coup by the Siegel/Brazon faction can be seen here.