Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Just the facts, people....


Last Thursday, July 28, Bill Crosier, the PNB Director from KPFT, called a Special Meeting to discuss Pacifica's financial crisis. Predictably, this did not please the PNB's majority faction whose members tend to keep their heads in the sand whenever reality surfaces, so a quorum was not achieved. However, perhaps for that reason, they had a productive  and focused discussion that centered around actions that could be implemented fairly quickly to increase revenue and, as Crosier put it, "Avoid extremely unpleasant consequences that might be just around the corner if we don't change what we're doing".

"It seems clear that all of us, at all of our stations, need to be willing to give a little," Crosier added, "and to support our managers in making programming changes that can increase listeners and donations, so that our stations and our mission can survive. The current path is unsustainable and will lead to devastating consequences very soon, if actions are not taken now to increase revenue and/or cut expenses.  We cannot keep delaying action on this, as each week we wait puts us closer to either bankruptcy or severe actions that might be needed to prevent that."

Bill Crosier is among the few clear-headed Pacifica board members, as this Report bears witness to. It is posted here in answer to his request that it be distributed.

Report from July 28 
Special Meeting on Pacifica Financial Crisis

Several members of the Pacifica National Board met on July 28 to discuss our financial crisis and what we might do about it. Questions and suggestions from other Pacifica members were also requested and some of their suggestions are included here.

We started with a review of the most recent CFO report, which clearly showed how urgent and important it is that we take actions immediately to either bring in more revenue, and/or cut expenses

We then briefly discussed what the very serious implications might be if we don't take effective actions immediately to deal with our financial crisis. The implications are likely to include loss of health insurance, bigger layoffs of paid staff, automation of stations that are failing financially, or bankruptcy if inadequate actions are taken (or taken too late). Bankruptcy would likely be extremely expensive, requiring not only the above actions to cut costs, but also selling of possibly all of our buildings to pay not only creditors but also for the expenses of the bankruptcy itself. So clearly we need to act now to avoid that, even if we have to change some of the ways we are doing things.

Below are some of the suggested actions to be considered, many of which involve improving programming and emphasizing the financial aspects much more than now. Management, especially at stations that are failing financially, should be required to implement at least some of these immediately. Managers who cannot or will not make changes may need to be replaced.

* Continue mission-related programming but remember that shows with few listeners nor supporters are not helping either our finances nor our mission.

* Continue shows that might not directly relate to our mission (example: music programs) but which bring in substantial funds and which effectively subsidize other mission-critical shows with significant listenership but which don't bring in many donations.

* Each station should identify the shows that bring in the most revenue (especially compared to other shows in similar time slots), and which have the most listeners, and either repeat them (on different days or times) to give them more air time, or make the shows longer (if the producers are willing).

* Each station should identify the shows that bring in the least revenue and that have the least listeners (compared to other shows in similar time slots), and replace them with shows that are proven to bring in more money.

* Shows that do well in terms of listenership and revenue, could be put in better time slots (or better: left where they are and repeated in better time slots).

* Shows that do not do well could be moved to an online-only web stream, or removed completely.

* GM's and PD's from each station should try some successful shows from other stations (including from our affiliates) as replacements for low performing shows. There is little risk in removing a low-performing show, and if adequately promoted, a good replacement should generate more revenue by the next fund drive. If not, then it could be replaced with yet another show after a few months, again with little risk. Shows that are doing well should get more air time (or repeats), if possible, or at least should be left alone.

* Station managers should be encouraged, not criticized, for adding shows that have done well at other stations. They should not be encouraged to keep low-performing shows with few listeners nor supporters in the schedule - we cannot afford to do that.

* Management should require program hosts to help pitch for their shows that are carried on other stations, by mentioning more than their local station when pitching (to make the pitches usable at other stations, similar to what many NPR program hosts do), by recording pitches for other stations, and/or by pitching live for other stations. A combination of these would be best. If such pitch assistance was guaranteed, it would be much easier for other stations to carry the programs produced elsewhere.

* Get promised thank-you gifts sent to donors, or at least contact them and ask if a substitute gift would be OK. This is critical for re-gaining past donors!

* Call major donors and lapsed donors, thank them for their past support, ask if they still listen to the station, resolve any issues such as not receiving thank-you gifts, and ask them to give again - either as a one-time gift or set up for automatic monthly sustainer donations.

* Promote shows via social media, encourage/require programmers to promote their own shows, do more cross-promotion (where hosts tell their listeners about other shows) on-air. This costs nothing but could help get more listeners, or help current listeners find more shows they may enjoy, thereby encouraging to them to donate more.

* Accept underwriting by small businesses and non-profits, with limitations on how much any one company or organization can pay us.

* Reduce expenses via consolidation across Pacifica of some services (example: Voice Over Internet telephone service, credit card processing with text to donate, etc.) by starting with a vendor that does well at one station and contracting with them for all stations.

Some specific Pacifica-produced shows that are popular, do well financially (especially if you ask the hosts to pitch for your station), have national appeal (or would with minor changes), and have been suggested for sharing on other stations include:
  •   - Arab Voices with Said Fatou (from KPFT)
  •   - Arise with Bill Fletcher (from WPFW)
  •   - Behind the News with Henwood (from WBAI)
  •   - Bradcast and Green News Report with Brad Friedman (from KPFK)
  •   - The Collision (where sports and politics collide, from WPFW)
  •   - Coming to America (immigration call-in show, from KPFT)
  •   - Cultural Baggage and Century of Lies with Dean Becker (drug war news, from              KPFT)
  •   - Economic Update with Richard Wolff (economics from a Marxist perspective, from      WBAI)
  •   - Exploration with Michio Kaku (from WBAI) (science, produced erratically, though)
  •   - Flashpoints with Dennis Bernstein (news & analysis, from KPFA)
  •   - From the Vault, from Pacifica Radio Archives
  •   - Guns and Butter (from KPFA)
  •   - Hard Knock Radio with Davey D & Anita Johnson (from KPFA)
  •   - Her Sex, Her Health with Dr. Alexandra Somotas (call-in show, from KPFT)
  •   - Jimmy Dore Show (political satire, from KPFK)
  •   - Law and Disorder (from WBAI)
  •   - Letters and Politics with Mitch Jeserich (news & commentary, from KPFA)
  •   - The Monitor with Mark Bebawi (news analysis, from KPFT)
  •   - Nuestra Palabra (Latino writers, in English, from KPFT)
  •   - Off the Hook (technology, from WBAI)
  •   - Pacifica Evening News (from KPFA) (might need to change for non-California               stations)
  •   - Partisan Gridlock with Geoff Berg (call-in, politics with some satire, from KPFT)
  •   - Personal Computer Show (from WBAI)
  •   - Politics Done Right with Egberto Willies (call-in, from KPFT)
  •   - Project Censored Show (from KPFA)
  •   - Roy of Hollywood with Roy Tuckman (late night big money-maker, from KPFK)
  •   - Rising Up with Sonali Kolhatkar (news & analysis, from KPFK)
  •   - Sojourner Truth with Margaret Prescod (news analysis, from KPFK)
  •   - Spare Change with Larry Winters (music with progressive political slant, from                KPFT)
  •   - Technology Bytes (tech news & call-in computer help, from KPFT)
  •   - other music shows from KPFT and WPFW that do well

Shows from our affiliates that have been suggested 
to replace low-performing local shows:
  •   - The Attitude with Arnie Arnesen & Susan Bruce (news analysis)
  •   - Counterspin, from FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting) (spin analysis), 30           min.
  •   - Gary Null show (health & wellness, independently produced, sometimes on WBAI)
  •   - Peace Talks Radio
  •   - Ralph Nader Radio Hour
  •   - Sprouts (variety of topics, from various affiliate stations), 30 min.
  •   - Talk Nation Radio with David Swanson (peace news & more)
  •   - This Way Out (LGBT news)  - Planetary Radio, 30 min.
  •   - Thom Hartmann Show (call-in, current events, 3 hr each weekday, edited to 1              hr/day by KPFT)

  - plus many others available at Audioport

Recommendations from the last (July 6) CFO Report:
1. Focus must shift from cost cuts to revenue growth. We cannot cut our way into prosperity. In the absence of any tangible plan on the table how to grow the business, Foundation is forced into the default option of cost cuts.
2. IED and WPFW Station Manager to jointly, prepare, a 30-60-90 day plan, consult with CFO, and present to PNB within 15 days from today, with specific details how to sustain the current operations
3. IED and WBAI Station Manager to jointly, prepare, a 30-60-90 day plan, consult with CFO, and present to PNB within 15 days from today, with specific details how to sustain the current operations
4. IED and PRA Interim Director to jointly, prepare, a 30-60-90 day plan, consult with CFO, and present to PNB within 15 days from today, with specific details how to sustain the current operations (and contingency plan if Stations fail to make payment of Central Services)
5. PNB to authorize CFO to demand payment of Central Services from the Station, where it is in 3 months arrear, in preference over payment of other bills, except for payroll and health insurance
6. Highly recommend that we upgrade Great Plains to latest version, even if we may have to take external financing

See also these Other Suggestions to Increase Revenue, from the June 26 Special Meeting on Pacifica's Financial Crisis.

Here is an audio of the full meeting. (Courtesy of Tracy Rosenberg)

16 comments:

  1. "Continue shows that might not directly relate to our mission (example: music programs) but which bring in substantial funds and which effectively subsidize other mission-critical shows with significant listenership but which don't bring in many donations."

    Wrong, because part of WBAI's mission was the arts, not political advocacy. You aren't the revolution. Even Trump is more competent than Pacifica.

    Hey, Babbling Bob, this one's for you:

    "Management should require program hosts to help pitch for their shows that are carried on other stations"

    "Promote shows via social media"

    Yeah, like having someone continuously updating WBAI's Twitter account instead of the spotty updates for its 6,559 followers. Hell, I follow horror movie fans, camgirls and shortwave radio fans that have more followers than WBAI.

    "Accept underwriting by small businesses and non-profits"

    Better find some seriously stupid people that don't want any business in return for their money.

    "Gary Null show (health & wellness, independently produced, sometimes on WBAI)"

    HAHAHAHAHAHA! Sometimes...

    Crosier is the best they have at Pacifica, and that's not saying much, I'm afraid. His Pacifica would resemble a leftist NPR with networked programming permeating it. No thanks.

    SDL

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  2. haskins and pam ... saying reimers wants to play only stuff that makes money .
    I wonder when they are gonna start playing whatever that is ?
    Missing out if youre not listening to joy degrue? Missing out on what?
    How to hate whites? These morons are hopeless.

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  3. It is so good to hear others say what I have been saying. We have to grow the audience by finding ways to evaluate and change the programming. At this meeting, the WBAI directors were unable to identify the most popular shows apart from Democracy Now. I find it revealing that the list of programs are primarily from the other stations. Simply adapting these shows for broadcast here would be an improvement.
    Also, Grace pointed out that some programs with few listeners or money raised are able to continue because they are run by collectives of people. I can't really speak to that but in the absence of a fair evaluation system, it makes sense. A fair evaluation system that allows time for programs to improve could spare the really promising programs while making room for new programming.

    Re: Specific points raised
    * Continue shows that might not directly relate to our mission (example: music programs) but which bring in funds and effectively subsidize other mission-critical shows with significant listenership but which don't bring in many donations.

    Music is part of the mission. However, I think this applies mainly to syndicated programming as a way of introducing the station to new listeners.

    * Each station should identify the shows that bring in the most revenue (especially compared to other shows in similar time slots), and which have the most listeners, and either repeat them (on different days or times) to give them more air time, or make the shows longer (if the producers are willing).

    This is the whole point of establishing an evaluation system. How can you grow the audience when you don't even know how effective the programs are?

    * Shows that do well in terms of listenership and revenue, could be put in better time slots.

    The best shows need to be in the drive time slots. That is the primary concern. You then build around that like a baseball team building a lineup around its best hitters.

    * Shows that do not do well could be moved to an online-only web stream, or removed completely.

    All new shows should begin online before placed on the air. Shows that need work can go back to the stream or be cancelled.

    * Management should require program hosts to help pitch for their shows that are carried on other stations......

    Hosts should be pitching their programs, other programs and fundraising within the context of their program. Then you longer need long boring fundraisers.

    * Accept underwriting by small businesses and non-profits, with limitations on how much any one company or organization can pay us.

    There are so many issues with this and not much interest as things stand now that its best to put this aside for now.

    * Reduce expenses via consolidation across Pacifica of some services (example: Voice Over Internet telephone service, credit card processing with text to donate, etc.) by starting with a vendor that does well at one station and contracting with them for all stations.

    A common sense idea from our own Bob Young that I wholeheartedly support.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Michael Ochoa: I think it is insulting to shows that raise decent money to have shows with little or no support piggyback on their success. If a show has little or no support, it has no importance, since no one is really hearing it anyway.

      Also, I think the best way to evaluate shows is to have a minimum financial support level required to keep the show on the air. There should be different amounts depending whether the show is on in the morning, afternoon, evening or overnight. If your show can't meet that minimal support level, it gets cancelled.

      OK, what I want to know is why Credico's crap is getting so much airplay. What a failure he must be to spend so much of his time on WBAI.

      Bates instead of Null today. I wonder why. I found Haskins intro interesting with his mentioning Reimers is in charge of beg-a-thon programming.

      SDL

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    2. I'm not sure what you mean SDL. If you're referring to programs run by collectives, Grace was saying that they're able to stay on the air because of their perceived clout. I said I didn't know enough about it to say if it was true but in the absence of a fair evaluation system, it would make sense that it might occur. I did not say I agree with it.
      I also did not say financial support is the only criteria although it is a key one. You don't need quotas. In general, more listeners means more money. Add in some misc. revenue sources such as website revenue, sustaining memberships and you're in business. At this point, underwriting would make more sense since there would presumably be more interest.

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    3. You misunderstood me. I wasn't accusing you of anything. I was just giving my opinions on the subjects. I understand everything you said.

      One thing is the underwriting. I'm not against it, especially if the amount any one group/company/corporation can give is limited, and, hopefully, limiting their influences. However, considering Pacifica's financial state, I wonder who would give any money to begin with, unless they were looking to influence the station(s) in their favor, as opposed to just pseudo advertising to obtain customers.

      SDL

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  4. And now folks, stay tuned for some more fund raising slavery programming .
    Cause you ain't seen nothing yet . Bai, where too much is not even close to enough!

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  5. This is just light years beyond stupid at this point !
    If anyone has ANY doubt that this kind of programming is without a doubt,
    the number one reason that bai is being destroyed , among other factors,
    has to be as delusional as the morons on this station . imo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They have waded so far into their own cesspool of lies that there is no turning back, so they might as well take their shameless idiocy to the max, which is what they are doing with management's blessings...well, let's make that "management's" encouragement.

      Delete
  6. I think Davis should sell stuff like seances, tarot card readings, a reserved seat on a UFO, etc. People eat that shit up.

    SDL

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    Replies
    1. The round Null table is the perfect one for a seance.... no, I take that back... the glass top exposes the fancy footwork.

      Delete
    2. Think they have straight jackets in Davis size?

      SDL

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  7. Audio Summary is available here: http://pacificainexile.org/archives/2053 or here: https://soundcloud.com/tracy-rosenberg/special-meeting-on-finances-july-28-selected

    ReplyDelete
  8. "* Shows that do well in terms of listenership and revenue, could be put in better time slots (or better: left where they are and repeated in better time slots).

    * Shows that do not do well could be moved to an online-only web stream, or removed completely."

    Wow! That's really revolutionary thinking! It's so radical and out-of-the-box, it's no wonder no one thought of it before. Just imagine that, you assess your programs and move or remove the ones that aren't successful. If this works, other radio stations just might copy it. lol. These people are too pathetic for words.

    ReplyDelete