Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pacifica's scammers at a dead end?

As their zero hour rapidly approaches, the tick-tock must be deafening for the PNB-seated snakes whose time runs out this year. Going back a bit, you may recall that Margy Wilkerson and cohorts surreptitiously registered what we might call a foundation-in-waiting. When this action eventually leaked out, it caused considerable concern among Pacifica devotees who concluded that a group within the Foundation (including the PNB Majority) was gearing up for a take-over. The few who had poo-pooed it as Pacifica paranoia saw the constant disruption of meetings by the likes of Cerene Roberts and Adriana Casenave as evidence of their ineptitude, but now that lightbulb has surely turned bright.

The attached audio files comprise a 13-minute summary and a 2-part 31/2-hour complete recording of a KPFA LSB meeting that took place November 19. It makes clear the fact that people within that group recommend sacrificing WBAI to fund Pacifica. I should once again point out that, while WBAI is, by virtue of its signal strength and geographical location. Ironically, the crisis at the most important of the five Pacifica-owned stations is almost wholly self-inflicted—a result of many years of incompetent management and a program schedule that reduced the listenership to an all-time low. Remarkably, the latter included a deliberate and drastic lowering of the station's intellectual and technical level, not to mention diversity. In recent years, with Reimers as the GM, answering to a corrupt PNB majority, WBAI was dealt  what many regard as the fatal blow: it was turned into an unprincipled low-grade black station dominated by amateur pseudo activists. As its insignificance grew, its listenership hit the all-time low count.

There has long been speculation as to why the PNB has allowed the intellectual vandalism to steer WBAI on its downward course, but the pieces of that puzzle now form a a far more focused picture. The maggots are devouring what remains of Lew Hill's extraordinary vision of listener-sponsored free-speech broadcasting. Today, as time forces a showdown, Berthold Reimers has lain dormant for more than half a decade, collecting a $100,000,00 annual salary. Thinly disguised commercials for personal enterprises are aired by hosts/producers and several months out of each year are spent conning the listeners with fraudulent sales pitches for bogus products that border on or cross over the line of standard moral acceptance.

It now appears clear that the self-serving faction that infests Pacifica and its stations, sought to bring WBAI to a point where it made sense to sell it and render Pacifica dead. As you listen to the audio below, you will note that they speak of a "signal swap," which translates into an exchange of frequencies where the owner of the less desirable signal would pay a considerable sum to Pacifica or, as these crooks see it, to their once secretly registered foundation, which would acquire Pacifica's assets (buildings, stations, etc.) by paying its debt—a bargain price.

Whether they can accomplish this, legally, is a question, but they would need a yes vote from the PNB—something they are not likely to get after January 1, when they lose their seats—hence the current scramble. 

Here is a 13-minute excerpt from this meeting, but I highly recommend listening to the entire 31/2-hour meeting. Here is a two-part link: Part 1, Part 2. Long? Yes—rewarding? absolutely.


  1. Its amazing. A meeting of this significance and a bunch of KPFA members can't even be bothered to show up. They try to phone in and are unable to connect. Those that did show up can't even be bothered to follow their own rules. The result is that all of eight people vote to send a vague package of options to the PNB to resolve a problem they created.

  2. With respect to your description of WBAI as "an unprincipled low-grade black station dominated by amateur pseudo activists," I'd argue that that pretty much describes the station that Bertold Reimers was hired to manage. His main failure has been in not sufficiently repairing what he inherited broken.

    1. Berthold has not repaired anything. On the contrary, he has—by ineptitude and neglect—made things considerably worse. The conversion to a low grade black station had begun when he arrived, but he either did not grasp that or he didn't care. His first year was spent sorting out an inherited "premium" backlog and when he finally emerged, he declared the problem as good as solved. It wasn't, and it has grown worse since.

      While Berthold was allegedly straightening out that mess, opportunistic host/producers took advantage of the situation. Principles, already ignored in large measure, were ignored and shows went off their designated tracks to build up a black audience, at the expense of everybody else. Community Radio became a meaningless tag as unofficial leaders of the conversion narrowed its meaning down to a segment of the black community. In relatively short time, most listener-supporters lost the incentive to keep the station on the air and Berthold Reimers made no move to dissuade the exodus.

      I don't have to tell you about his lack of financial integrity—he lied and bandied about false optimism to cover up his increasingly evident shortcomings. As you know, he had help from the majority faction on the National board. Summer Reese finally fired him, but these controlling PNB mmbers overturned that and, eventually fired Summer. You know all that, of course, and now we all see the underhanded take-over plot materialize. Wilkerson, Siegel and Radford probably belong behind bars.

      I disagree that Berthold Reimers is guilty of not "sufficiently" repairing the broken station—he did not lift a finger to make any repairs. And that's the truth. When he was hired—for reasons nobody can explain—the station was in bad shape, but I don't think it was too late to restore it. Now, the most clueless and dishonest of all WBAI GMs has damaged this important NYC voice beyond repair. And he was paid over $100,000.00 a year for that!