Friday, July 29, 2016

The Reimers/Null game...


The other day, that long-standing on and off relationship Berthold Reimers and Gary Null have too a new turn. When the former excluded the latter from the Summer fund drive, it did not make sense to anyone who knows of Gary Null's success as a fund raiser for WBAI over many years.

Predictable grumbles were heard from his supporters and courtier—silence from Reimers. Apropos quietude, it did not take long for the Call Center's dormant phones to herald yet another dismal marathon, possibly the worst ever, so Reimers' panic intensified and he called Null, begging for a reconciliation.

The ball having been thrown into Null's court, he came up with a plan to save the day, and a condition that Reimers promised to meet. It had to do with dusting the cobweb off hundreds of unsent "thank you gifts" and mailing them to customers whose money WBAI had long since spent on other things. Some of these unfulfilled purchases went back over two years and Mr. Null would only raise the money if absolute priority was given to clearing up the backlog. If this was not done, there would be no further huckstering by the health merchant.

Well, guess what? There was no pitch made on Thursday's "Gary Null Show," but there was this explanation:
Today's update from Null.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Exile Report: Lydia's Scorecard

[This blog bears sole responsibility for the head graphics]

Berkeley-Independent national board members Grace Aaron, Jan Goodman, Jonathan Alexander and Bill Crosier have called for another special meeting on finances. Board chair Tony Norman announced he was unilaterally cancelling the July 28th meeting in advance and board secretary Janet Kobren cancelled the posted meeting notices. But Houston listener rep Bill Crosier indicated in a public email that the called meeting would occur despite their actions. "The meeting is still on and will happen, regardless of whether you continue, in your childish manner,  to cancel the meeting listing on the kpftx calendar. I wish you would be willing to cooperate, but we’re going to have the meeting on July 28, whether you like it or not".

A more lengthy statement on why the special meeting is being called can be read here.

The special meeting is scheduled for Thursday July 28th at 8:30pm EST, 5:30pm PST. It is not known if the 14-member board majority will again boycott the meeting in their entirety as they did the previous special meeting on the financial crisis. If the meeting achieves quorum (which takes six members of the majority breaking ranks), then it will be streamed via the kpftx.org website. If the meeting does not get to a recognized quorum of 10, then the directors present will reconvene on an alternate telephone conference line and the meeting will be streamed here. {PNB Uncensored Channel}. An audio archive will be available after the meeting.

If the meeting is boycotted,  the directors present will hold a Community Town Hall in the second half of the meeting. After a discussion among themselves, including the 4 elected directors from WBAI who have been excluded all year, board members will take questions and comments from the public which can be emailed, starting now and throughout the meeting, to questionsforpnb@gmail.com. 

In the 9 months since Lydia Brazon took over as the latest volunteer executive director, Pacifica has slid into a hole so deep it may not ever get out. Pacifica has not had an executive director for 21 of the last 28 months -  nor have they scheduled an evaluation of Brazon's performance. Pacifica in Exile has decided to remedy that oversight.

So how is Brazon doing? There are a few problems.
  • Losing the experienced archives director, discouraging the Library of Congress Radio Preservation Task Force from helping to raise funds for the archives, losing the preservation fellow housed at the archives and not ensuring adequate central services funding nor developing an alternative plan for funding PRA before the potential loss of as much as 50% of Pacifica's audio history.

  • No 2016 organizational budget, no realistic plan to pay for required annual audits, payroll, health insurance for employees, directors and officers liability insurance and other necessary expenses. Allowing stations to develop draft budgets with unrealistic revenue estimates that guaranteed 2016 deficits, despite warnings this would happen (and it has).
  •  
  • Retaining an attorney who has significant conflicts of interest that prevent him from providing unbiased legal help.

  • Using restricted grants for operating expenses.
  •  
  • Allowing the General Manager of KPFK to violate the union agreement and bargain in bad faith.

  • Not getting timely audits done as the law requires.

  • Not requiring WBAI, WPFW and KPFK to develop a workable plan to send out promised premiums/thank-you gifts to donors or at least to contact donors with undelivered premiums.

  • Refusing to update the PNB on any investigation that might have occurred regarding allegations of copyright infringement.

  • *Failing to ensure that WBAI has at least one working telephone with a public number.

  • Not requiring WBAI and WPFW, nor helping them to, develop a workable plan to reverse their dramatic drops in listener support.

  • Failing to present a realistic strategic plan for Pacifica to increase the overall number of individual listeners and the time they spend listening, to improve the quality of programs, to increase the per day fund drive totals, to increase both on air and off air fundraising, improve the financial accounting infrastructure so financial reporting is done in an accurate and timely manner or establish professional human resources capacity.

  • Failing to ensure that KPFA repays funds from the bequest received last year that were intended for the Pacifica Foundation after the PNB voted last year to require those funds be given to the national office.

  • Failing to ensure compliance with all federal, state and local laws, regulations and reporting requirements including Title 7 training.
Grade: Fail
Since Lydia Brazon has been interim Executive Director (iED) of Pacifica, the financial, legal, and organizational problems have continued to multiply, and member numbers continue to dwindle. Plans for reversing the acute downward slide are nowhere to be found. Please sign the petition to tell the PNB it's time to let Lydia Brazon go as volunteer iED.

Pacifica needs a new interim Executive Director who will work full-time to preserve all of the stations and put Pacifica on a course to return to sustainable operations. 

Given the rate of acceleration of Pacifica's financial decline, the special meeting on the 28th may tackle some pretty grim subjects, among them the prospects of taking one or more stations temporarily dark or future prospects in a bankruptcy court.

In the month since the last special meeting on finances was called, the official board of directors has done almost nothing; passing a motion to pay the 2014 audit fee and then not paying it  - and quibbling over which units would get political convention pledges, which are turning out to be so meager they may not even cover the direct costs of producing the coverage. The one thing the board did do was miss WBAI's payroll on July 15th. The CFO has warned of other upcoming payrolls that are likely not to be met (Including Washington's this week). With directors liability insurance expiring on August 11th, being on the Pacifica board of directors is becoming an increasingly risky proposition.

While some board reps have chirped about how bankruptcy could be a fresh start (William Campisi - KPFA), (Jose-Luis Fuentes - KPFA), (Brian Edwards-Tiekert-KPFA), the reality is that entering into voluntary bankruptcy is a process fraught with risks, from creditors issuing their *own* reorganization plans - on their terms - to the FCC repossessing Pacifica's licenses. In the case of New York  and Berkeley, the radio licenses might be released back into the commercial band (both stations are convertible), ending any ongoing existence for either as non-commercial radio stations. 

Less drastic actions might include local management agreements (LMA's) or temporary shutdowns in order to quickly cut expenses and reboot struggling stations with a different operational plan. Cash infusions, while only a temporary bandaid over ongoing losses, may be possible from the mortgage or sale of the national office building contingent on securing an up to date audit report. Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding, the lowest hanging fruit for a cash infusion, has been pretty much removed from the picture by the board majority shenanigans with the audits. The late audits that began in 2014 have cost the network $2,000 a day for more than two years. At this point, $1.75 million in grant funding is unrecoverable, and the remaining $500,000 would require the rapid submission of two audit reports, one of which has not been started, and an immediate cash outlay of about $150,000.

To ask questions about the difficult decisions facing the board and Pacifica's members, send your thoughts and inquiries to questionsforpnb@gmail.com on or before July 28th. 

All 5 Pacifica stations are in the midst of another election cycle. Many feel this election is the last chance for Pacifica. Please vote beginning on August 15th. You can visit elections.pacifica.org for more information. For any ballot related question at any station, you can contact King Reilly, a KPFK member, for assistance at kingreilly@roadrunner.com

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.

Null re-enters with a rescue plan.


As WBAI slowly slithered across its largely pre-empted schedule of largely third-grade programs, the gloom only got gloomier. Hawking the same old packs of lies and venom, the phones in the contracted answering center on Long Island seemed as quiescent as an acned teenager's bargain Nokia. 

Still, dribs and drabs trickled in to be promptly removed from credit cards of gullible victims, but it was clear that not even a small dent was being made in the mounting debt. Even manager Berthold Reimers, never one to foresee disaster, could predict that this fund drive was destined to set another record for failure, but he had issued an order that Gary Null was not to be allowed participation. This in spite of the fact that Mr. Null has a long history of fundraising success. 

The two had been at it again in their long-standing off and on relationship. Null had put on hold another lawsuit against the WBAI/Pacifica mob, one that—among other infringements—rightly accused Reimers and some of his cronies of illegally duplicating copyrighted disks. This could potentially end what is left of the station's life, but not as quickly as an empty piggybank. The WBAI oinker is starving at this point—the station's water cooler is dry, there are no paper towels in the bathroom and the studio phone lines have been dead for a couple of months, which severely affects several live shows. Then, too, a small fortune in rent money is owed, the postage machine is empty and salaries are seriously in arrears.

We hear that morale at the station has reached an all-time low; Berthold Reimers, ever the victim of his own ineptitude and lies, is rarely seen, and some hosts report hearing a pack of hungry wolves clawing at the door to 388 Atlantic Avenue. Barely had this latest drive begun when reality—sensed by everybody else for at least a year— finally hit the Haitian wannabe, so he took a mouthful of crow, picked up his phone, and called Gary Null.

It is still not clear why Mr. Null wants to continue his association with WBAI, but he responded positively to Reimers' SOS and quickly proposed a bizarre solution. Bizarre, because, like so many other things Null suggests, the plan appears to counter reality, suggesting an imagination that rivals the fantasies of Reimers. 

Yesterday—Sunday, July 24—they shoved aside "professor" Ron Daniels and his reparations scam as Null, who is on the road, called a laptop in WBAI's make-believe studio and, with resident dunce Haskins grunting in the background, explained his plan for the rescue of WBAI. 

Essentially, he will attempt to sell 20-25 weeklong stays at his retreat for $2,500 per person. Five hundred of that will go to WBAI and, he believes, completely clear up the backlog of "thank you gifts," which go back a couple of years. I believe his place is in Florida, so takers will presumably have to pay their own way to get there and back, but they will be picked up at the airport.

Andrea Katz, the runway runaway, will coordinate things on WBAI's end and, Null hopes, make public the number of gifts sold. It gets a bit complicated, but here is Null's entire plan in his own words. As I cannot in good conscience support any attempt to bail out, rather than dump Berthold Reimers, I removed the phone number, so be forewarned that it is lengthy.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

You're hired!


There are still people who genuinely care about WBAI's disintegration (pun unintended) and have made efforts to put it back on track and turn it in the right direction. Such attempts are, as some of us have experienced, not only ignored by local management, but also mocked by those who feel threatened by it. It's a trite scenario lifted straight from the pages of a well-worn Hollywood script. A study in frustration that has us testing the edge of our seat even when the outcome is as obvious as the plot line. 

We have seen this played out on WBAI in recent years. A steady chipping away at the original principles (underlined or simply understood) has left the NYC area with  the shell of a radio station that once was a beacon of enlightenment, artistic vision and thought-provoking cultural and political insight. 

WBAI is no longer a station that reflects the likes and dislikes of its listener sponsors, a lone voice in former FCC Chairman Newt Minow's wasteland that engages in dialogue with an audience that keeps it on the air. It has long since lost the trust of that listenership and, indeed, the listenership itself. Today, it has been reduced to an outlet where inarticulateness and shallowness dominate a stagnant program schedule, a barely known speck on the FM scale that narrowly aims sales pitches and race-flavored propaganda at a small, gullible fraction of one ethnic community. It is a station that will sell us tap water as a "cure" for everything but the common cold, tell us that we have among us reptilians who are likely to steal our auras; that there was no moon landing in 1969, it was a studio fantasy with actors and a lunar hologram; that the trans-Atlantic slave trade never took place, because Africans migrated to North America on their own hundreds of years earlier and built amazing pyramids and cities. Of course, these cities are long gone and unrecorded, because it was against the law to publish books in the New World, or something like that. It's difficult to keep up with the lies they come up with—tell Haskins and others of his ilk that his obsession with slavery is being challenged by a newcomer's theory, another black man, and he is likely to have a nervous breakdown.

Apropos breakdowns, I think you might find interesting the incident that led up to Andrea Katz becoming the eternal Interim whose job as Director of Development shows neither direction nor development after several years. Word has it that she has become Reimers' unofficial gofer, but there was a time when she actually tried to introduce some sense into his compulsive dysfunction. She is now all but forgotten, yet—we are told—still on the payroll and, essentially, a victim of incompetent management.

Like Reimers himself, Ms. Katz is a Pacifica expense whose presence as a paid employee is inexplicable and almost—as 'indigopirate' so eloquently suggests—surreal:

It’s a little like the worst nonexistent episode of The Twilight Zone ever. No, worse than that… like watching the slow, lingering disintegration of something once living, once whole, once alive, once capable of growth, of… of… consequence…. No, worse than that, like an incarnation of the pathetic fallacy… an incarnation of self-loathing projected in impotent hushed fury against a wall of indifference, a wall of absence… the raving meandering madness of would-be performers as a simmering, stammering, guttural fear gnaws within them… that they are in fact absent an audience, they themselves inconsequent, they themselves absent… yet compelled to tell themselves in whispered voices that they aren’t alone, that they matter… as cardboard molders about them and the lights flicker ever dimmer, their voices fading, even in their desperation, their stridency, their despondency, their despair.

As somewhere in the night another voice whispers: Fear Rules. 

The video centered on the rash departure of Ms. Katz was posted by the producers of the reality show and brought to our attention by "Just a Listener," a concerned former devotee of WBAI whose past attempts to help the station were ignored. Friday, when the hiring of Ms. Katz was brought up and questioned in a comment by Ed Manfredonia, it occurred to me that it is a good, if regrettable example of the irrational hiring practices that form the basis for so many of Pacifica's problems. I decided to devote a blog entry to it, because it offers an important detail to anyone who might still be wondering what is wrong with WBAI's mismanagement. In the end, the slow trip that had brought WBAI to the edge can be traced to unprofessional, ill-conceived hiring practices. Berthold Reimers himself is living proof of that. 

Andrea Katz clearly has personal problems for which she should be given help, but hiring her to handle the station's public relations was not her mistake as much as it was Reimers'. It points to a systemic Pacifica problem that is as fatal to the organization tangibly as it is to the spirit that gave it birth over sixty years ago.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

When budgets won't budge



As Pacificans are transfixed by the wonders of their electoral processes, allocating their ever-diminishing resources to elections rather than to the tedium of programming, budgeting, personnel, or structural reform, we have the silence which speaks volumes from the Pacifica National Board Finance Committee Meeting of 19 July 2016.

~ ‘indigopirate’
Please click on the green heading above

If at first you fail.... fail again, and again!


As the WBAI Summer fund drive plows on, Berthold Reimers, the brain-dead radio station's ne'er-do-well, credulity-defying "GM" continues to pound it into the ground. 

Following two failed fund drives, he offers what is left of the station's audience more of the same: over-priced digitalized revisions of black history by two recently departed con men, fictional tabloid-like "documentaries", possibly fatal "cures", and whatever else the resident or imported flimflammers can foist upon the gullible. They still call these dubious rewards "thank you gifts" and while credit cards are guaranteed to be tapped, delivery of the products is a game of chance.

Apropos games, the team of players remains the same. In fact, most of this round's infomercials are recycled non-fulfillments, some going back a year or more.

Whether it is a manifestation of panic or a new masks-off approach, the live presentations have deteriorated to a point where the distinction between an open microphone and an assault weapon is almost as obscure as a Reimers sighting.

Somehow all that came together Tuesday morning when announcer/board operator Reggie Johnson presented an extended version of his "From the Soundboard" show, now in its eighth year. Looking back, this offering has often been uncharacteristically worthwhile, with the host's enthusiasm compensating for his lack of preparation, but Mr. Johnson is letting loose these days, and that does not serve anyone well.

Highly recommended, but buy it elsewhere.
Tuesday's guest was percussionist/producer Jeff Haynes whose production, "The Storm King" is a wonderful two-volume CD release featuring an eclectic musical "score" written around a narrative spoken by the late Pete Seeger. Reggie Johnson showed excellent judgement when he chose to focus a program on this remarkable product, but he did not do it or Mr. Haynes justice as he rambled on in a most annoying, repetitive manner. The four CDs, offered as a premium for $120, are available elsewhere with swift, guaranteed delivery, but such information is never revealed on the "truth and justice" station. As Johnson hammed it up, repeated himself, and took side trips down Ego Lane, one began to feel sorry for Mr. Haynes, an accomplished intelligent man who showed remarkable tolerance throughout the ordeal. 

One also had to wonder what went through the gentleman's mind when the agony of a well meant but ill advised and shameless pitch was heightened by a surprise visit.   

Apropos surprises and the imbecile at the helm, you may recall that Berthold Reimers did not include Gary Null in this fund drive. The two have a long history of an off-again, on-again relationship that entwines Null's lawsuits and Reimers' banishments. Given that both are averse to telling it like it is, their game is often difficult to follow. When the latest round began with the "GM" leaving the "Guru" off the fund drive schedule, and given the perceived (possibly true) notion that Mr. Null has the Midas touch, some thought this move on the part of Reimers to be suicidal.... but wait.... there's more! Another reconciliation brought Null back yesterday.

This produced a widely distributed incredulous e-mail from Null friend and apologist, Stephen Brown:

Breaking news. It appears that Berthold contacted Gary and they have arrived at a mutually satisfactory agreement by which Gary will pitch and a portion of the money he raises will go to fulfill backlogged premiums and new premiums. You will have heard his pitch for the retreat today, in his 2nd hour. That should raise $30,000. If enough people respond, he will do a second week for a second $30,000. (100 responded in first 20 minutes; if all are accommodated, that could mean $50,000. However, that was only the first 20 minutes; I don’t know how many more responded.)

Stephen M Brown

And so it goes....

Saturday, July 16, 2016

End of the road up ahead?


They Figure They Better Pay For The Audit

Berkeley-After a literal slew of "special meetings on finances", the Pacifica National Board finally came to the conclusion they had to pay the fiscal year 2014 audit fee - 22 months after the end of that fiscal year. At a few minutes to midnight, in a bit of a hysterical rush, they agreed to snatch money from anywhere in the network they could find it, starting with a $50,000 bequest gift to KPFK that reportedly came in just a few days ago. The motion was amended repeatedly, most significantly to authorize another grab for a $38,000 payment to the contractor for the board elections. The total amount will range from $68,000 to $117,000, depending on what portion of the $67,000 remaining balance due on the audit fee will be enough to pry the audit from the unpaid audit firm. The motion may have been motivated by the looming August 11 deadline on the third extension of board liability insurance that protects the assets of board members from litigation directed at Pacifica. 


The premise of the motion is that prying the audit report free of the auditor would allow Pacifica to take out a mortgage on the network's squat little national office which is attached to a long-abandoned Thai restaurant beside the large two-story KPFA facillity. The building is in some state of disrepair with structural problems and at least a few years ago, a vermin infestation in the abandoned portion. The board optimistically concluded the intended mortgage would pay for any remaining balance due on the 2014 audit, the 2015 tax preparation fee, the 2015 audit fee, repay the stations from which the funds are taken, pay for the rest of the 2016 board election, pay off the $50K or so balance on the company credit card, finance a direct mail appeal, and upgrade the national accounting servers before they fail. The motion then goes on to suggest the property should be sold as quickly as possible afterwards. Both the proposed mortgage and the proposed sale would have to come back to the board for approval prior to execution. 

The interim executive director when the 2014 audit should have been prepared, Margy Wilkinson (March of 2014 - June of 2015) reversed previous declarations the audit delay was no big deal and described it as a "top priority". Both she and KPFA staff rep Brian Edwards-Tiekert objected to including election contractor expenses in the money snatch from the stations. What the board did not discuss was the recent loss in union arbitration to the SAG-AFTRA bargaining unit, which will impose financial compensation for two dozen employees subjected to involuntary pay cuts at KPFK in the fall of 2015.

The burst of activity began when minority directors Grace Aaron, Jan Goodman and Bill Crosier called for an urgent discussion of the looming financial emergency on June 26th. Their call was ignored by the entire 14-person board majority, but they were joined by CFO Sam Agarwal and invited the long-excluded WBAI directors to join them. The full audio of that meeting can be heard here, a summary version here, and a list of recommendations that came out of the meeting can be seen here. The effort drew the wrath of the board majority who called the unsupervised talking "a breach", and threatened dire consequences, an intent that seemed to fizzle after board majority members admitted they had all received calls at the time of the meeting and declined to take them.

Not to be outdone, a series of official special meetings on finances followed including a session of the national finance committee on July 6th, which was derailed by Houston listener rep Adriana Casenave, who confused the term "underwriter" when applied to radio program sponsorship, and objected to public service announcements, which she characterized as "secret underwriting". You can hear a clip from that meeting here. The next day the full national board met for more than three hours in open session, where they primarily engaged in an undignified scrum for the projected receipts from the network's national coverage of the Republican, Democratic and Green Party political conventions. They finally concluded the national office should bear all the production costs and the receipts should go to the five stations. You can listen to a clip from that meeting here.

Finally they met again on July 14th and at 11:30pm Eastern time decided to pay for the FY 2014 audit.


In a rare moment of sanity, a bylaws amendment proposal which sought to limit directors inspections (and violated the California Corporations Code) has been voted down by local station board members in Texas and Berkeley, ensuring the amendment won't pass. Houston board vice chair Ted Weisgal described the amendment as "stupid" during KPFT deliberations on Wednesday night. The amendment was put forward by six directors: KPFT's Wesley Bethune and Adriana Casenave, WPFW's Jim Brown and Tony Norman, KPFA's Margy Wilkinson and Janet Kobren and KPFK's Michael Novick.

At New York's WBAI, the station is entering its fourth week without a telephone, a situation that violates FCC regulations for FM radio stations. The station's license has still not been renewed by the agency, more than two years after it expired in June of 2014. WBAI is going back into fund drive in a few days. It is experiencing a steady decline in daily receipts from the on-air fund drives, which now average less than $10,000 a day. The station has historically relied on alternative health host Gary Null to raise a substantial amount of the operating funds, but has been unable to come to an agreement with him about the station's backlog of 5,000 undelivered premium gifts. Null filed a lawsuit earlier in the year about the undelivered premiums and allegations of unauthorized duplicating and piracy, but withdrew it without prejudice. In yet another letter to WBAI GM Berthold Reimers, Null commented:

"I had hoped that you would communicate with me on the upcoming fund drive. To highlight my earlier suggestions: I am more than willing to help the station raise funds . However there is the matter of the outstanding premiums. We guestimate these are more than a thousand for my audience. You stated in our conversation more than seven months ago that the station had more than 5,000 unfulfilled premiums. This past Saturday I was lecturing to about 500 people. I asked how many people in the audience had not received a premium from WBAI. Nearly three quarters raised their hands. Many told me they stopped listening  or supporting the station. One woman stated that she was owed five different premiums over the past three years. She also stated that calling, writing and emailing to get some feedback or answers was fruitless. I would recommend that you send each listener who has not received their premium a legally mandated FTC compliance letter. Let them know why they have not received their premiums.  I would welcome you onto my program to explain the stations predicament, apologize, and offer them some insights as to what you and the hosts are doing to make the station more financially stable and get them their premiums. I know of no one in the WBAI family who wants to see the station put into bankruptcy . If the summer drive is no more successful than the spring I fear that members of the national board will take the station into bankruptcy"

At Houston's KPFT, the local Siegel/Brazonites have been attempting to get rid of long-time manager Duane Bradley, whose almost 15 year tenure as GM at KPFT is twice as long as any Pacifica management figure has lasted in the past few decades.  KPFT local station board chair Dewayne Lark helpfully offered to personally replace Bradley as a new "volunteer" general manager for KPFT last fall, but has taken umbrage at the suggestion he should recuse himself from the personnel committee, whose job is to do a performance evaluation on the current GM and select a replacement if a change is made. The local station board in Houston has been an exercise in retaliation with the July 13th agenda featuring only 4 pieces of new business: all 4 of them consisting of investigations, censures and suspensions. Nothing much came of the rumbles at the Wednesday night meeting, but you can listen to a meeting clip here.

At LA's KPFK, the second of three summer fund drives to be held between May 3 and August 30, has just been extended a week due to low receipts. The station is averaging $18,000 a day, about 60% of the daily average a few years ago, as listeners revolt against unpopular program changes and a large amount of undelivered premiums. The two program changes that have been most controversial with the station's listeners: the reduction of Rising Up to only twice a week broadcast and the ejection of Something's Happening from the weekday midnight to 3am slot, continue to wreak financial havoc on the station with the replacement programs far less productive than those they replaced. Something's Happening booked 5 times as much per hour as replacement program Safe Harbor and Rising Up with Sonali booked 2.7 times as much per hour as replacement program Uprising. This spreadsheet contains the detail for the first 10 days of the current fund drive, by day and by amount.

In Berkeley, the local station board met on July 9th with the general manager in absentia. You can listen to a brief highlights reel here. The financial discussion centered on the station's budgetary snafu, with management projecting  income based on exaggerated pledge fulfillment figures which have led to cash flow shortages and a 30-day notice for layoffs. The board also discussed the outsourcing of the station craft fair to the private company of a former employee.

Former ED Wilkinson expressed concern about the use of restricted funds to pay operating expenses, apparently forgetting she had presided over that kind of transaction as ED in June of 2014, when a grant from the Material World Foundation to renovate KPFK's music studio was redirected to Pacifica's National Office to pay for health benefits. The Material World Foundation has requested the return of grant funds from KPFK as a result of Wilkinson's action. No repayment has yet been made. 
The board then moved on to a discussion of the state of Pacifica and a motion from KPFA employees Joy Moore and Frank Sterling to dissolve the "KPFA Foundation" incorporated by Wilkinson in 2013 and headquartered at the office of Siegel and Yee. You can hear some of the discussion on the meeting clip. The Siegel/Brazon majority on the board did not agree to dissolve the corporation, and said they might want to use the KPFA Foundation as a conduit for donations. Somewhat defensively, Wilkinson and co-conspirator board chair Carole Travis said sequentially that they had "forgotten about the KPFA Foundation",  the filing was not a secret, they just didn't tell anybody about it just like they might not tell anyone if they went to buy a sandwich, and that they didn't talk about the secret filing because "it would have been the only thing anyone wanted to talk about". 

All 5 Pacifica stations are in the midst of another election cycle. Many feel this election is the last chance for Pacifica. Please vote beginning on August 15th. You can visit elections.pacifica.org for more information. For any ballot related question at any station, you can contact King Reilly, a KPFK member, for assistance at kingreilly@roadrunner.com

When push gets shoved....


BERTHOLD REIMERS EXCLUDES NULL ENTERPRISES FROM PARTICIPATION IN THE NEW WBAI DISASTER
Gary Null's recently announced furniture auction does not seem to have had a follow-up. Did he manage to sell that dining room table and chairs that graced his apartment? What was the high bid? Did it inspire Berthold Reimers?

Well, speculation runs high, but here's a picture that might be telling us a thousand words. It looks a lot like recent WBAI fundraising efforts, perhaps it portends what's to come as we near the eve of the latest infomercial-a-thon. 

CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE

Like, eh-r-r, y'know what I'm sayin'?


Last night, the Pacifica National Board picked up its phones and engaged in yet another orgy of nothingness. The same old words were given another toss and the same old Cerene did her same old intercept number, but she was as ineffective as Pacifica itself.

Our good friend, indigopirate, has put together another generously smaller serving of this meeting of the never minds. It goes with his brilliant, concise summation:


A Plan to Borrow Money to Plan to Make Plans to… Plan to Make Plans…?

CFO ~ We have to look very closely at the operating model and how it needs to be changed.

Interim Executive Director ~ We have to have a plan.

Chief Financial Officer ~ The operating model is broken. The biggest change that has to happen is the programming. We’re losing listener support.

Motion – A multistep plan to plan to borrow money.

Action ~ Passed unanimously.


Action Taken Re Programming/Broken Operating Model ~ None.
—'indigopirate'

And here, for those among you whose attention span is an anomaly in today's world, is the entire meeting.
Part 1  —  Part 2

Friday, July 15, 2016

What to expect as Reimers starts another drive

Can you believe it? Berthold Reimers, who ignores phone calls and e-mail, and is nowhere to be found for days on end, preaching to his staff about indifference to the customer! He is not just an idiot, he's a remarkably dumb one!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

WBAI Déjàvu-doo Finance Report - July 13, 2016


Here is a link that will take you to a downloadable PDF of R. Paul Martin's WBAI Treasurer's Report, dated July 13, 2016. Some of the information it contains was already posted here yesterday, but you should read this for his insider's details and thoughts.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

From Pacifileak...



Look what just blew in...
The following three documents were passed out Saturday, July 9, 2016 at the KPFA LSB meeting called to discuss the financial crisis at Pacifica. However, due to someone wanting to visit the Museum of Ancient Hurts and discuss the KPFA LSB dissolving the KPFA Foundation they never got to it. Note that the LSB could not have carried out that action as they weren’t the registrant, and it’s in reality a shell of nothing—no Bylaws, articles of incorporation, application for non-profit status or 501c3 exemption—Essentially just a name placeholder.

CFO Report

Update on Internal Controls

WBAI WPFW

Another PNB detour....


As they push the paid-for unsent "thank you gifts" aside and gear up for yet another fund raiser, the never alert National Board was ever so surprised to find itself drowning in relevant issues, so they scheduled a July 6 meeting "devoted exclusively to fund raising issues."

They met, they talked, they made points of order, they balked when Bill Crosier gently suggested that they focus on the scheduled topic. That idea was most irregular, they thought, so blocker-in-chief Cerene suggested that it be put aside for another time. Croisier reminded the manipulating majority that time was of the essence as fundraisers were fast approaching. The majority turned to the last page of their well-worn manual and suggested that this called for an "executive session."

Nothing positive having been accomplished, the phones were killed and the private session started, now allegedly to center on "personnel matters."

We don't know what happened after that, but here's what PNB Secretary Janet Kobren reported on the following day:


On July 7, 2016 the Pacifica National Board met in Executive session to discuss personnel matters, and didn't get to any of them. Submitted by Janet Kobren, PNB Secretary

Was that a flush we heard in the background?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Reimers' "Take their money and hide" m. o.

CLICK  ABOVE TO ENLARGE
Since we are just days away from WBAI's next fund drive, this seems like an opportune time to issue a warning against a crime of irresponsibility that over the years has become a scam: selling products that either are bogus or non-existent.

Most people simply write off such losses, regarding the experience as a lesson learned. If they give it some serious thought, they realize that not receiving the dangled carrot is but the period on a scam that actually begins with a program schedule that embraces fraud. Once respected for telling it like it is, WBAI has become a haven for amoral intellectually-handicapped, con artists and stagnant wannabes. Racism is rampant as ersatz black activism virtually dominates the offerings and slavery is what memories are made of.

The above letter (click on the illustration to enlarge it) appeared on a dying listserv today. It points to the ineptitude and disregard for listener-sponsors that steadily sinks the station into a hole from which there is no escape. The upcoming drive promises to be the worst yet—possibly the last. They should already be painting the welcome signs at Rikers Island.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Pacifica Radio in Exile News July 6,2016


The Pacifica Radio in Exile Newsletter
July 7. 2016
Berkeley-The Pacifica national board will be meeting this evening at 5:30pm Pacific in the middle of a financial crisis getting worse every day. Their top two priorities per the meeting agenda: delegate elections (i.e. their own seats) and witch hunt punishments for the board minority and the organization's chief financial officer for holding an emergency meeting on finances on June 26th. Yep, those are the top two items on the agenda, with the witch hunt also scheduled to continue in the executive session behind closed doors.

You can listen to the full 90 minute audio of that meeting here. CFO Sam Agarwal's written report prepared for the meeting can be read here.A shorter (28 mins) audio segment with selections from the meeting can be heard here. A list of 17 recommendations from the June 26th  meeting can be found here. The entire board majority boycotted the meeting. 

The board majority has already excluded 4 elected directors from WBAI for the past six months, seated two affilate directors from stations that are not affiliates and do not have affiliate contracts and now looks poised to "suspend" the rest of the opposition and the organization's desperately-needed chief financial officer. You can hear a brief selection of the threats from the June 29th coordinating committee meeting here.

The faction insists they will also hold emergency meetings on the financial crisis - later. Their first attempt, a meeting on July 6th described as a "special meeting on fundraising" by the national finance committee didn't go so well. There was one action item: a recommendation the volunteer executive director convene a conference call with the station managers to discuss how to hold better fund drives. Long-time WBAI treasurer R. Paul Martin asked on the publicly streamed meeting audio: "Why do they need a committee to tell them to do that?"

The rest of the meeting was dominated by a series of accusations from Houston listener rep Adriana Casenave, who was publicly scolded by PNB treasurer Edwards-Tiekert.

Casenave's first accusation was that all of the stations had "secret underwriters". She used as an example a KPFA public service announcement about an event at Berkeley's Impact Hub.

Her second accusation was that funds to pay for the network's 2014 audit were being deliberately withheld. The 2014 audit report, which is 13 months late to the Registry of Charitable Trusts, resulted in Pacifica ineligibility for millions of dollars in Corporation for Public Broadcasting Community Service Grants, threatens negotiations with the Empire State Building, now Pacifica's biggest creditor, and is required by insurance underwriters prior to issuing Pacifica a 2016 liability insurance policy. Casenave insisted that her May director's inspection proved there was $250,000 in one of the California station's bank accounts (probably KPFA) and the 2014 audit fee should have been paid immediately with those funds.

She further insisted at the coordinating committee a few days earlier, that she wanted to meet with the board in executive session without the ED or CFO present to discuss what she had found out in her director's inspection, a conversation likely to ensue on July 14th again behind closed doors. Casenave had earlier suggested that payroll, health benefits, and shared service fees be automatically debited from station bank accounts monthly and that the West Coast stations needed to trim their work forces. Casenave is a member of the majority Siegel/Brazon faction and an ally of the local Justice and Unity Caucus, Grassroots KPFK and Save KPFA groups.

In other news, unpopular KPFK GM Leslie Radford in the middle of the station's latest summer fund drive (one ended a month ago and a new one starts in mid-August) sent an email telling the stations employee's "We need you at work". The station's SAG-AFTRA bargaining unit recently won a decision in arbitration that Radford and Pacifica had violated the union contract on several grounds and employees are awaiting financial restitution for pay cuts, unauthorized layoffs and the withholding of severance pay. Corporate counsel Dan Siegel signed off on the planned actions by Radford last fall, but was unable to defend them in arbitration.

Radford's email admitted the drive was not doing well, said the station was empty and depressing and told the employees that jobs aren't always fun and asked them to smile. You can read it here

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Pacifica: Iceberg ahead!

Newsletter July 2, 2016
Berkeley-The emergency PNB meeting on finances with the CFO went off as planned on June 26th, despite attempts to block it. You can listen to the full 90 minute audio here. CFO Sam Agarwal's written report prepared for the meeting can be read here.A shorter (28 mins) audio segment with selections from the meeting can be heard here.

One of the three directors who called the meeting implored his colleagues not to boycott it, saying: "This is the time for more transparency, not less, and it's not the time to be blindly following those who are about to make us jump off the cliff.  I again urge you all to participate in today's special meeting on Pacifica's financial crisis so we can have a proper discussion about this. It's urgent and important. We need it NOW". The rest of Bill Crosier's email can be read here.

KPFK staff rep Jonathan Alexander added: ""No long speeches people, it is obvious if you take your fiduciary responsibilities seriously you will give up your Sunday afternoon and deal with this serious financial crisis as our one and only paid executive thinks we should. If you don't take your responsibilities seriously, watch Game of Thrones and resign from the board. This is business people and we need to take care of it. As an employee of Pacifica, I cannot believe how little some people care about the needs of the foundation. Either you care or you don't. See you at 4 o'clock".

Crosier later stated: "One thing I forgot to mention on the stream - this date was selected because several PNB members did not want to meet when other Pacifica meetings were scheduled, and I gave the PNB plenty of time and asked for suggestions on when to meet. Finally, I gave them three possible days for the meeting when we could avoid conflicts with any scheduled Pacifica meeting, and absolutely NO ONE objected to meeting today. So that's why we scheduled the meeting for today".

Pacifica's coordinating committee met a few days later and mandated a secret closed session to discipline members who participated in the June 26th emergency meeting on finances, including Pacifica's CFO. Board members angry at the unsupervised talking outside their control included volunteer executive director Lydia Brazon, disputed PNB member Cerene Roberts, PNB secretary Janet Kobren, and the board chair and vice chair, Tony Norman and Adriana Casenave. The group called the emergency meeting a "breach of process" and the planned discipline "a very important matter".You can hear a brief selection from that meeting here. 


A few days later, the personnel committee met and discussed for over an hour how to evaluate the chief financial officer (who has only been on the job for 6 months) without mentioning once filling the vacant executive director position, which has been occupied on a part-time volunteer basis by Lydia Brazon for over 9 months. Pacifica has been without an executive director for 20 of the last 27 months. 

There are many punishment and exclusion exercises going on with disciplinary proceedings scheduled for the July 7th national board meeting (Aaron, Goodman, Alexander, Crosier and CFO Agarwal), and the KPFT local station board on July 13 (Allen, Reiter, Lamb, White and Crosier again). Pacifica is awaiting a court decision from NY Superior Court on the exclusion of NY's elected national board delegation (Rhodes, LeFever, Steinberg, Young). The NY court decision will be issued on or before July 20th.

Pacifica's NY station has been without telephone service since at least June 23. You can see the memo to the station's staff here. Hank Kee and others have reported the telephones are to remain disconnected "indefinitely", pending payment of a bill to Verizon said to total $28,000. FCC regulations and federal law require all FM outlets to have a local or toll-free telephone number at the main studio location. (Title 47 C.F.R. 73.1125 Section e). If the amount of the unpaid bill to Verizon is $28,000, it indicates some problems with the veracity of reported financial data, as the WBAI telephone expense accruals reported as of May 31, 2016 totaled $15,000 since the beginning of the fiscal year on October 1, 2015. Either WBAI has not made payments on its telephone bill for more than a year, or the station has more expenses than it is reporting to Pacifica's National Office.

KPFK listeners were grieving after LA Observed printed a leaked memo to staff from GM Radford where she explained she was wiping the station's 8pm-9pm public affairs and arts strip which includes Indymedia On The Air, Deadline LA, Poets Cafe and LA Theaterworks, effective July 11th. The programs are to be replaced with 5 hours of unknown programs in Spanish. Radford did not provide the names or the subject matter of the new programs or who would be hosting and producing them. KPFK will now broadcast exclusively in Spanish from 8pm to midnight on Mondays through Thursdays.

The LA Observed article was illustrated with a paper "on-air" sign described as "makeshift" by author/photographer Kevin Roderick in a dig at the station's deterioration. Pacifica's Berkeley station KPFA, New York's WBAI, and Houston's KPFT are ignoring the national board's June 2015 proclamation that each station must add five hours of weekday spanish language programming. Radford is insisting she is being forced to implement it. KPFA unpaid staffer Richard Wolinsky, who is a management confidante, posted on a Facebook page that "his understanding is that the spanish language mandate is not going to be enforced" (at Berkeley's KPFA). GM Radford has received instructions from the LA board to restore Sonali Kolhatkar's program Rising Up to five day a week broadcast and restore Something's Happening to its full length from midnight to 6am, but has insisted that boards do not have any authority over programming. 

Ongoing problems with KPFK's website after the webmaster was laid off last September, took a comic turn during the launch of the station's June/July on-air fund drive. The station's online "web store", where donors can select premium gifts online, began the fund drive describing KPFK as a family run furniture store and the categories of products available as beer, wine, soda, mixers, and spirits. Screenshots can be seen here. Even after the embarrassing mistakes were fixed on June 23rd, problems remained. The membership department indicated the online inventory of gifts included many that KPFK was not prepared to fulfill. GM Radford indicated two weeks ago to her local board that KPFK still had not acquired about $77,000 in premium gifts owed to the station's donors. At an average cost of $15 a premium, the backlog may be as high as 4,000 unfilled orders. 

Employees and volunteers at Berkeley's KPFA were startled to get a letter from management asking them to pony up to replace the computers. The radio station completed a fund drive on May 27 with $628,000 in pledges and has a 3 million dollar a year budget. The request sent out on the staff list asked for financial assistance from workers and volunteers to replace computers too old to upgrade to Windows 10 and specified cash or checks were preferred. KPFA's 2016 budget allocated $25,739 dollars for computer maintenance, of which only $2,089 had been spent as of May 31, but the station is operating at a deficit with revenues $290,000 short of projected as of  May 31, prinarily due to budgetary assumptions of gifts and bequests that have not occurred. 

Current, the industry magazine for public broadcasting, covered the unfolding disaster at the Pacifica Archives, where at least 3/5 of the collection has not yet been digitized and faces physical disintegration within a decade and a half. Josh Sheppard at the Library of Congress said "“Our fear is that the archive will cease to exist" and repeated his statement that Pacifica was erasing its own history. Both the Radio Preservation Task Force at the Library of Congress and the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) headquartered at WGBH in Boston, have withdrawn staffing and funds procurement assistance to Pacifica after Brian De Shazor resigned as the Archives Director.

Pacifica's five stations, in addition to being delinquent on paying their shared service fees to the archive, which range from $1,500 to $4,900 a month, have declined to use the archive's products as premium gifts and have pulled CD/DVD duplication services away. Archive premium purchases have dropped sharply. Several stations, including KPFA and WBAI, have purchased their own duplication machines. These decisions have resulted in Pacifica staffers de-funding the archives and endangering the survival of valuable historical records and Pacifica's most grant-fundable program. 

Pacifica's delegate election season *may* be here (or maybe not) and the usual suspects are up to the usual shenanigans. In Los Angeles, volunteer coordinator cum security guard Adam Rice used on-air time to take pot shots at the incumbents on KPFK's local station board. The incumbents won overwhelmingly in 2015 in the most lopsided victory in Pacifica election history. Rice, defiant or simply oblivious of the rules prohibiting such behavior, declared himself a candidate just days later.

And at New York's WBAI, a secretive committee created by the Siegel/Brazon faction to approve free voting memberships was shut down by national election supervisor Lynne Serpe, who issued a 16 page decision confirming that less than a majority of the local board lacks the ability to give away free voting Pacifica memberships. 

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.

To subscribe to this newsletter, please visit their website at www.pacificainexile.org