Monday, October 31, 2016

Exploiting or Supporting?


You may recall Margaret Prescod's hysterical fundraising recently, when Ebola made a troubling reappearance in Africa. There was some question as to the legitimacy—not to mention logistics—of sharing donations with an outside charity. I don't know how or if that was resolved, but the practice continues and seems, in fact, to have become a trend.

With the Pacifica stations under-supported, sharing their steadily diminishing incomes with outside charities is folly. This is especially inadvisable during a station fund drive that already is destined to fail. WBAI's drives are now routinely extended and the human element that originally characterized these annual marathons has been replaced with endlessly repeated hour-long, dishonest infomercials that amount to marketing of products and services, most of which are available to the listener elsewhere and at a fraction of the pitched price. There is also good reason to believe that these commercials increase the station's losses by further discouraging the exodus that has brought total listenership to an all-time low.

Currently, listeners are told that 50% of select purchases will go to help Haitian earthquake victims or protesting Native Americans in North Dakota, a claim that some meet with understandable skepticism, considering WBAI's history of collecting money for products never mailed. Since only relatively small amounts can be piggybacked to worthy (some say, worthier) causes, one might also wonder if exploitation enters into the equation. After all, WBAI now seems to be focused on exploitation with its often exaggerated gloom and doom marathon leitmotif.

The legality of this double decker fundraising approach is still a question—it can be done legitimately, but there are procedures to be followed and Pacifica is notorious when it comes to following guidelines.

Kim Kaufman, who sits on KPFK's Finance Committee was curious when she heard Margaret Prescod give a benevolent shout-out to the people at Standing Rock, so she sent the following to to the station's manager, Leslie Radford. It opened up an exchange that you might find illuminating. Be sure to open the link attached by Tracy Rosenberg—it has the pertinent figures.

Saturday, Oct. 29- 6:34PM

Dear Leslie -

I heard a repeat fund drive show today (Saturday) from yesterday (Friday) where Margaret Prescod was raising money for people at Standing Rock. 50% of funds raised will go there, same as the 50% of the money raised for Haiti earlier in the drive. My questions are:
  1. Were waivers gotten from the FCC to raise money for third parties in Haiti and Standing Rock?
  2. Margaret said all the money donated was tax deductible. I believe she said the funds for Haiti were going to Partners in Health. Is that where it is going? She said the people at Standing Rock need things like water, beds, tarps, blankets, school equipment, etc. She did not name any third party organization. To whom or which organization will receive these funds or is KPFK going to purchase these items and ship them to North Dakota?
  3. Your budget is based on a ratio of premiums at about 5% of the listener support money raised (not pledged) in FY2017. (Historically it has been closer to 12%). The Haiti and Standing Rock pitches were at 50%. Why was this decision made to send 50% of the money we raise outside of our own organization which desperately needs the money? This need for KPFK includes:
  • You show a deficit for November in your budget which means you cannot pay bills at the end of November (or earlier, depending on how reliable one believes FY2016 numbers are);
  • About $70k is still owed to listeners for premiums from FY2015;
  • $250,000 is owed to the National Office from FY2015.
  • The FY2017 budget presently includes only paying 50% to the National Office. You have said you will shut down the phones, computers, translators/repeaters/ booster and on-air programming from midnight to 6 am, among other things, if you have to pay this.
  • Five days were added to this 22 day fund drive, budgeted at 138 days for the year (now at 143 days), to make up for the additional funds KPFK will be sending to Haiti and South Dakota. 
I am not questioning the worthiness or the need in Haiti or Standing Rock but I think the listeners need some clarity on these decisions that affect them.

Thank you in advance for your response.


Kim
KPFK Finance Committee

Leslie Radford's response:

Kim,

We have verified with our FCC attorney that waivers are not needed.

As it says on the KPFK website, the money for Haiti went to the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund.

The money is deducted from listener collections and not added to premiums expense because the listeners designated this money directly to these organizations. Again, you can see this on the website. Our MEMSYS pledges show $569,208 as I write this, but as you can see on our website we still need about $19,000 to reach our $550,000 goal.  That’s because the check we wrote for Haitian relief and the check we’ll write on Monday for Standing Rock are deducted from listener collections, our pledge drive income account, and not counted as premiums.

I assure you that the 50% we retain from both our Haiti Emergency Relief and Standing Rock hours have been very strong pledge hours. We haven’t added fund drive days to do this—again, we’re still about $19,000 short of our goal.  But calculated roughly, our Standing Rock hours (I’m not going to go back and calculate the Haitian relief hours right now) are bringing in $2096 per hour after deducting the contributions to Standing Rock (and without the cost of premiums). The other hours over the past two days (those with premium costs) are bringing in an average of $1564.

It seems that we have come across a way to raise money that our listeners like and is truly in line with our mission. All of us have been looking for ways to raise money that don’t alienate our base listeners, and we might just have found one. Apparently, they want to “double their value” if we’re teamed up with pressing progressive needs, and are willing to give more than twice their donation to do that. I don’t know what you call this except a win-win.
Leslie Radford
General Manager, KPFK 90.7FM
This prompted a question from Tracy Rosenberg:

Hi Leslie,

Would you mind providing a copy of an FCC attorney informing you that waivers are not required for third party fundraising in writing?

I do not mean to be skeptical, but since the Federal Communications Commission underwent a vast rule making on a national scale to discuss the relaxation of this rule (which has not occurred), I find it a bit hard to believe that Pacifica is magically exempt. 

In the past, you have informed us a counsel assured you that layoffs and salary reductions you engaged in at KPFK were not in violation of the SAG-AFTRA contract, only for us to find out that was not the case. So it would appear  expensive to simply take your word for it (although it is possible counsel simply gave you terrible advice). It would be helpful to know which of those two failures occurred. 

No one is saying that you cannot engage in 3rd party fundraising if you follow the proper procedures. But shortcuts can be expensive. Since you are planning to cover the costs of the previous shortcut by shutting down KPFK's translators and repeaters, not fulfill premium orders and banning air conditioning, I am not sure what your recourse would be if this short cut is as misguided as the last one.

Please provide that to the local and national boards in writing and copy the Radiowaves list serv.

Thanks, Tracy
Tracy then provided some details at PacificaRadioWaves

Regarding Haiti and Ms. Radford's comments:

I don't have firm numbers for the Standing Rock third party fundraising, but I'm enclosing the data regarding the Haiti fundraising at KPFK, which was done for 24 broadcast hours during the last drive at KPFK (along with hours at WBAI and WPFW). 

Net proceeds to KPFK after a 50% cut of the gross amount raised is $1,225 per Haiti broadcast appeal hour. If Ms. Radford is correct that the average fundraising hour at KPFK grossed $1564 less 10% premium cost for a net of $1,408, then it would appear Haiti appeals were no more and possibly less profitable for the station than the normal fundraising programs.

This is not to divert from the primary request for confirming correspondence from an FCC attorney regarding proceeding without a waiver, but simply to attach assertions made about fundraising to actual data. 

Unless FCC regs have pretty recently been changed I doubt that any FCC attorney would say that waivers are not required. Its always been a pretty strong policy at the FCC that non-commercial stations can raise money on the air only for themselves. This was a big issue in the sale of KUSF to the University of Southern call (which transformed it into KDFC) only about three years ago.  This issue among others held up FCC approval of the sale for more than a year.  I could be wrong, but I really doubt that the FCC has recently changed its policy on this.

To be clear, it has given short term waivers for disaster relief like Katrina or Sandy, but they are always for a very limited amount of time, usually a specified few days.

Spreadsheet updated with the addition of five more hours of 3rd party fundraising on 10/28 to bring the total to 29 hours at KPFK this month, with additional hours at WBAI and probably WPFW.

KPFK net per 3rd party fundraising hour is $1,284. 

Another letter from Tracy to the KPFK GM:

Monday, October 30, 2016

Hi Leslie, 

The reason I am writing again is that you seem to have re-worked your previous claim regarding the increased profitability of third party fundraising forays into "We make $354 more per pitch hour", from the previous usubstantiated claim of $2,046/hr. 

As with your previous assertion, that appears difficult to document from the fundraising sheets put out by the station. 

The data from KPFK's fundraising hours from Monday to Fridays during the last drive from 5am to 7pm when 3rd party fundraising techniques were not used is $1,277/hour. As previously stated, the total for the 29 hours of third party fundraising less the amount immediately donated is $1,284/hr.

I assume that to arrive at the number you presented, if the data was consulted at all, you included the midnight to 5am hours when KPFK's fund drive room, per your instructions, is "closed" and evening foreign language broadcast hours.

Providing confusing and unsubstantiated information to staff members and board members is not actually the GM's job description, and in addition to requesting yet again a written confirmation of advice given to you by an FCC counsel that a third party fundraising waiver is not required, I would ask you to be less foolhardy with the distribution of data that is not factually supportable.

KPFK fundraising totals - October 2016 fund raising drive M-F 5am to 7pm excluding 3rd party fundraising and weekends: $383,355
Broadcast hours 300

KPFK fundraising totals - October 2016 fundraising drive - Haiti and Standing Rock appeaks - post--donation total: $37,252   Broadcast hours: 29.

Thanks,


Tracy

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Exile Newsletter - Oct. 26, 2016


Documents and Meetings in Hiding


Berkeley -  IED Lydia Brazon has failed to respond to a directors inspection request filed by KPFK listener representative and attorney Jan Goodman requesting the final SAG-AFTRA arbitration results at LA station KPFK. Goodman's request was filed on October 14. Brazon had not replied as of the close of business on Tuesday October 25, much less provided the requested information.  California Corporations code section 6334 provides every member of the board of directors the absolute right to inspect and copy all books, records and documents of every kind. Members of the board of directors have not seen the SAG-AFTRA settlement signed by Brazon and unofficial corporate counsel Dan Siegel more than a month ago. Until recently, they had not even known the amount of money Pacifica was was responsible for paying and when it had to be paid.

Pacifica's preliminary year-end financial statements, prepared by controller Efren Llarinas, presented a total of $397,000 for salary expenses accrued for KPFK in the month of September 2016, which is $295,000 more than the amount recorded for the previous month of August 2016.

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. Sign the petition to tell the PNB it's time to let Lydia Brazon go as iED.  Selected comments from Pacifica members who signed the petition can be found at the end of this Pacifica In Exile edition.

Pacifica management continues to struggle to provide a coherent explanation for how it will meet the six-figure arbitration settlement. The May 2016 preliminary decision and award from arbitrator Louis Zigman was granted after the arbitrator ordered ED Brazon and attorney Siegel on January 7 to provide information about asset ownership, finances and board minutes by the 2nd arbitration hearing date of March 22, 2016. Zigman stated the financial ledger was not provided on or by March 22, 2016, with attorney Siegel telling the arbitrator "the finances and information were essentially in disarray". 

At the KPFK local station board meeting on October 16, embattled GM Leslie Radford, who had previously tried to blame the arbitration loss on former ED John Proffitt, stated unless she was allowed to subtract the arbitration settlement from monthly payments to Pacifica's national office that cover network insurance, audit fees, satellite services, payroll administration and annual tax filings, she would implement drastic austerity on the LA station, including turning off the transmitter from midnight to 6am, flipping off the station's repeater and booster signals in Malibu, San Diego, Ridgecrest/China Lake and Santa Barbara, and terminate the facility air conditioning to pay for her 2015 labor violations. You can hear her statement here. The local board passed a motion instructing Radford to reverse program changes she implemented in 2015 that demonstrably reduced revenue. KPFK's listener support dropped by $300,000 in 2016 from 2015 numbers, the largest year over year decrease in the five-station network in 2016. 

Pacifica's finance committee cancelled a planned October 25 meeting just 5 hours before it was scheduled to begin. The finance committee, whose primary job is to put together the annual seven-division organizational budget each year, is in a dysfunctional state. Pacifica has no organizational budget for the fiscal year that began a month ago, despite beginning a "budget process" 4+ months ago. Only one division, the archives, has a draft budget approved by the finance committee,  although not by the full board of directors. The lack of any financial planning gives a free hand to IED Brazon to do as she pleases with little to no supervision by the board. It represents an almost complete collapse of the board's financial oversight responsibilities.

If you want to download a copy of Pacifica's preliminary year-end income statement, you can do so here. A list of confusing aspects to the statement was prepared by former PNB treasurer Tracy Rosenberg and can be referenced on the NY-based blog WBAI Now and Then.  The most startling information contained in the financial statement was the costs accrued for the still incomplete FY 2014 financial audit, now totaling $193,000. $95,967, essentially the cost of another entire audit, was accrued between June and September of 2016, a year after the statement was due to the CPB and Attorney General and after Brazon insisted publicly the FY 2014 audit was "basically completed". 

In 2014, Pacifica, in an episode dubbed "Ebola-gate", applied retroactively for a third party fundraising waiver from the Federal Communications Commission. Pacifica FCC attorney John Crigler made the retroactive application after being notified that Sojourner Truth host Margaret Prescod was promising 50% of donations to her show during the 2014 on-air fund drive would be re-donated to Partners in Health for ebola relief in West Africa. This year, Prescod along with several other Pacifica program hosts, said donations would be re-donated for Hurricane Matthew hurricane relief  via the Haiti Emergency Fund. An inquiry to the ED, the Pacifica National Board and attorney Crigler as to whether an FCC third party fundraising waiver had been or would be requested, went unanswered. None of the 18 currently seated national board members confirmed the FCC waiver had been sought.

Governance meetings for the rest of the week are in closed session referencing "personnel matters", with a secret session of the KPFT local station board noticed for the evening of October 26 and a secret session of the Pacifica National Board noticed for the evening of October 27.

It took the intervention of a Pacifica member long removed from board service to address the national board's deliberate open meeting violation of October 6. Retired former board member Terry Goodman finally took matters into his own hands on October 24, some 18 days after the board of directors voted not to stream their meeting, Goodman notified Pacifica in Exile that he downloaded the audio we publicly posted on October 7 and posted it on Pacifica's meeting records page, after none of the board's officers accomplished the task. Pacifica is required by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to provide the public with real-time access to open session meetings of the board and board committees. Had Pacifica been able to submit timely audited financial statements, the board's actions on October 6 would have delayed funding for another year. Pacifica has not yet started the FY 2015 financial audit that was due to CPB on June 30, 2016.


In the latest episode of "the streaming wars", KPFT rep Adriana Casenave and WBAI rep Cerene Roberts engaged in a 1 hour-40 minute filibuster of Pacifica's affiliates task force meeting on the evening of October 24, preventing the meeting's attendance roll call with more than 100 procedural points focused on stopping the meeting from being Internet streamed. The meeting had no contents that impacted any of the network's 200 affiliated community radio stations - at all. You can listen to a brief clip here. The meeting continued in this vein for more than another hour. 

Selected Comments from the Petition to 
Remove Lydia Brazon as Pacifica IED

The evidence that has been documented in multiple ways, at multiple times, clearly indicates that Ms Brazon should be prosecuted for negligence at least, and arguably more serious crimes. She is a clear and present danger to the survival and solvency of the entire Pacifica Network and should be replaced by any and all legal remedies as soon as possible in the interests of long-suffering members and listeners of the stations.

Please remove her.  She is not qualified and doing more damage to an already fragile situation. We need someone that cares and works hard and LISTENS to the listeners. Without us Pacifica will cease to exist. Is that what you want?? She needs to go NOW.
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. I don't understand how breaking laws, both internal and external laws, can continue for so long. Why is Pacifica and it's member stations being purposefully destroyed?

I don't understand why it is not possible to kick those individuals off the board who obviously do not want the financials to improve and who evidently want Pacifica to go bankrupt so that they can somehow seize the remaining assets.  I also do not understand why the Board Chair and followers are allowed to commit illegal maneuvers such as refusing to seat the elected WBAI Board Members.

The current management has breached its fiduciary duty to members, listeners, the stations, and Pacifica.

I am so sick and tired of this matter of doing nothing to get on with survival.

Members donate in good faith because they appreciate the programming  and then  they learn that board and management haven't performed their fiduciary responsibilities toward finances and obeying the law. Not only is this a power grab of the "commons", but it is a heartbreaking destruction of all the beautiful work to fulfill Pacifica's mission over the last 66yrs
Get her gone!

It is difficult to separate incompetence from purposeful destructiveness by the iED over her reign.

The instances and evidence of Brazon's bad faith are multitudinous, and continue to pile up. Such brazen bad faith needs to be discouraged and apparently the only way to do that at this late date is to bring it to an end as quickly as possible with her dismissal.

Get rid of Brazon, before you have nothing left to work with!

It's so sad that this is happening to my beloved BAI. It's unimaginable that the so called leadership would let this happen and no one is able to stop them.

I've just read the timeline of the "coup." Sickening. Is it not possible to obtain injunctions against some of the actions?

Please get her out of Pacifica entirely, she's been a long time cancer who MUST find another mission to destroy, NOT Pacifica!

PNB It's time to take charge of the mess we are in and get to the bottom of all the financial blunders and prioritize the values promoted when Lou Hill began the station.

Oust Ms Brazon AND REPLACE HER with someone dedicated to Pacifica's mission and qualified to carry it out.

It's beyond accident or incompetence that Brazon and her faction are letting the financial situation of the network deteriorate. It's a deliberate attempt of the faction to bankrupt it and then take it over.

The Brazon/Seigel has to go!  They have done nothing but help destroy Pacifica.  Their inabilty to provide CFB documentation and funding is inexcusable!   This is worse than than the crisis of the late 90's. I see little hope, until we legally get rid of all the Brazon/Siegelites, top to bottom, legally.  I know this takes time and money.  I pray that we have the time and resources to rescue Pacifica from the point of no return.  A dedicated listener since 1992.
Where is the attorney general with all of the illegal actions that  violate the nonprofit charter?

 This has been allowed to go on too long.

How much longer are the stations going to be run by people hell bent on destroying Pacifica ? Get them out . We need competent and dedicated leadership committed to the mission statement.

She MUST go!  NOW! This reign of error must stop!

Make all audit info up to date and fully transparent to regain the large CPB grant and other withheld funding. Make it easier for more members to vote in Pacifica elections. Create continuing programming about Pacifica history and current Pacifica issues to engage listeners and contributors in its election process. This will both create a pressure valve and counter the imbalance created by the tendency of mic controlling program hosts to lean toward the "dark side" regarding internal politics at Pacifica. Fire / vote off board anybody attempting to destroy Pacifica, i.e. the current regime.

Why is Pacifica and the stations purposely being destroyed?  I've been a member of KPFA for most of the past 40-50 years and have learned and enjoyed so much that is not available elsewhere, including PBS (which I do like).  When I listen to KPFA now, I just wonder how many names I have respected in the past can support what is being done to KPFA and Pacifica.  What is the payoff for these hardworking people with a long history with Pacifica?  And how can the PNB allow the archives to be dispersed like unwanted junk?  The destruction of the network and stations must stop!

Ms. Brazon, if you care at all for Pacifica, please step down immediately, and let someone with the desperately needed skills take your place.  Of course, if you despise Pacific and intend to destroy it, you enduring and historic legacy will be a historic outrage of the 21st Century as the ultimate assassin of the last vestige of non-corporate, free speech radio in America!

COMMENTS???  I'm too angry about this to be able to write a comment without recourse to VERY foul language.

Color me "Disgusted"....
A new iED now!  please, please, please, please, please, etc.

HIgh time the culprit should be let go, fired and as I am against the death penalty, I will stop here. Yes, way past time to get a new interim Executive Director.

I was a member for many years but stopped sending in donations because of the unethical behavior of KPFA and Pacifica interim directors.  She should be fired!

We must save Pacifica.  The folks hurting the stations must go.

I have lost trust in the IED, Ms Brazon and want a new interim executive director who will fight for the preservation of all our stations and fulfill the Pacifica mission.

Who's behind these jackasses?  Is money being passed...? 

The overall handling of KPFK's affairs has become so appallingly inept, tone deaf, and destructive that I can no longer trust that my donations will actually go where they should. As of 18 mos. ago, I stopped offering even minimal financial support. And, because of all the fund drives, I can no longer recommend to friends and colleagues that they listen to the valuable programming this station has done for so many decades. Three weeks of programming followed by three weeks of fund drives in an endless rotation only leads to tuning out. It's all so sad, and it didn't have to happen. If Lew Hill were still alive, he'd commit suicide all over again. On the other hand, perhaps the station/network would actually be functioning with the integrity he intended.

The current leadership and officers of the Pacifica National Board have violated governance principles of the Pacifica Foundation, taking control of the Pacifica Foundation by arbitrarily applying governance principles to further their own selfish ambitions. Decisions made by Lydia Brazon and her backers are clearly leading to the destruction of at least some of the five Pacifica stations to the personal financial gain of a few individuals.

Who is this Lydia Brazon to draw critically needed funds for a Real Estate assessment? Why did not these funds go directly to support the Archives?  The  termites have infested the entire ship of Pacifica.

Not being able to keep books is pathetic and inexcusable. Giving up CPB money is inexcusable.  Losing the Pacifica archives storage materials is unforgivable.  Selling things that aren't yours is criminal.  Get these establishment moles out of Pacifica.

It's obvious, this is purposely an attempt to end Pacifica like it's been planned for a long time. And to sit back and let this one person destroy   an entire foundation is a crime. And for all of these scary people to sit back, watch, say and do nothing is also pathetic and they should "go jump off a bridge!"

You know, If I were working for SoundExchange, I'd be all up and down asking the CPB if Pacifica is operating the radio stations legitimately...GET THE AUDITS DONE AND RELEASED TO CPB, PLEASE!?

To subscribe to this newsletter and read more late news regarding Pacifica, please visit the Pacifica Radio in Exile website at www.pacificainexile.org

Monday, October 24, 2016

Reimers' bottled whine.


Berthold Reimers, the grossly overpaid, totally unqualified manager of WBAI has somehow succeeded in keeping his job for the past eight years. Why that is so remains a mystery, but it is not a stretch to see it as an indication of the corrupt practices of the current Pacifica National Board's majority.

If you have tuned in to or spot-checked WBAI recently, you have undoubtedly noticed that the listener-killing program downgrade has been escalated to a point where it is dominated by simple-minded, black-oriented chatter; bland, black oriented music; amateur, often black-oriented health advice; and embarrassing rewrites of history, based on the scams of Henrik Clark, "Dr. Ben" and other shameful con artists—all aimed at gullible, under-educated black listeners by morally bankrupt opportunists like Tony Bates, Ron Daniels, and now Reimers and Byrd.

This is painful for any intelligent person to listen to, but even more so for black listeners, who rightly see it as a return to the stereotyped characters of Mantan Moreland, Amos and Andy, et al—Uncle Tom reborn.

Outrageous infomercials in which bogus products are pitched at outrageous prices, and often not even delivered, have been aired with such frequency that they do more harm than good. Revisionist history, wherein everything but the moon originated in Africa spews out from WBAI wrapped in a sheer veil of racism, ignorance and indoctrination. The station once admired for its integrity, independence and broad scope has become a bad joke. The perpetrators seem oblivious to that fact, but the listener-sponsors have spoken and the present drive will in all likelihood be the most unsuccessful one to date.

Berthold Reimers rarely emerges from his hole in the ground, but when he does—at PNB meetings, for example—he inevitably compounds that image of a nonentity.

That is how it has been until recently, when this amateur decided to play Program Director. He shuffled, replaced and discontinued shows with amazing wantonness, now not only offending the remnants of an audience but angering hosts whose ineptitude, ego and selfish agendas had contributed to the listener exodus.

He did this from behind his imaginary green curtain, too cowardly to face the volunteers he was discarding. Allegedly an accounting professional, Reimers has yet to prove that he knows diddly about fund-raising, but he surfaced on Gary Byrd's show after the smooth-talking disc jockey told him that he wanted 50% of the money he raises for WBAI to go to Haitian relief. 

Reimers, himself a Haitian, approved and came on the air to make his own pitch. Haiti was hard hit by Hurricane Matthew and it desperately needs all the help it can get, but Reimers' eight years of mismanagement has WBAI pivoting on the edge of obscurity. It would have made far more sense if the station ran PSAs for the Haitian Emergency Relief Fund—splitting listeners' donations is an invitation to confusion.

All this verbiage to prepare you for Berthold Reimers' long, hysterical solicitation. You will hear him speak of his childhood on "the most African country in the world" and how he literally fell off a truck while still in the womb. You will note that his passion cannot part that green curtain—this is a rancorous man who lives in a world of his own faking. His priorities are decidedly skewed.

Some comments have already been posted—let's hear what you think of the pitch, which may be unauthorized and definitely does not warrant the many repeats Reimers is giving it. Byrd is slick and professional, but don't expect to hear profundity. Neither character fits into the concept that became Pacifica.   

Comment posted this morning by KGT
"Ambassador Chris Stevens got what he deserved".

Berthold Reimers 10-22-16 10:15 a.m. —KGT


Anonymous poster's response
Yes, I heard that as I am listening to the Gary Byrd re-broadcast for a 3rd time. Reimers also kept saying to Byrd (who considers himself "African-American") "you Americans" this, "you Americans" that as he was making his pitch for listeners to donate money to Haiti. Reimers seems to have an inward animosity toward America, but he's here monetarily milking the system as much as he can y while he watches WBAI burn to the ground. Why would someone take a job as a radio station manager and hate to come on the air as Reimers clearly states he does? Reimers is "cutting his own throat" re-broadcasting this nonsense and his weak historical overview of Haitian history. Wes Craven's horror movie "The Serpent and the Rainbow" gives me greater visual insight into the social culture of Haiti than Reimers or John Henrik Clarke. 

The Reimers/Byrd pitch for Haiti.


Friday, October 21, 2016

Pacifica figures to ponder...


Posted by Tracy Rosenberg, snatched by CA:


A) September 30 Income Statement   


B) Central Services as of September 30


Notes on Income Statement Below:

Firstly, thank you Efren for cleaning up the $34K error in KPFK's last few financial statements which had a large credit where the credit card discount fees should have been.

Hopefully these notes will help with cleaning up this statement....

To go round the horn with brief questions/comments

1) WPFW

It seems bizarre that WPFW's off-air donations would have slipped from $105,000 in 2015 to $500 in 2016. That's quite a decline. Is this a bookeeping failure to separate off-air donations from on-air pledges or is there really a 99.5% percent decline in off-air donations in a single year?

Similarly, community events income has dropped from $24K to $0 (actually -$980 since there are event expenses) in a single year. Is this a record keeping failure or an actual decline?

As with several of the stations, there is only website income recorded in some months with many months having none at all. With WPFW, there is $0 from November to January, in March, and again from July to September.

The election supervisor's salary should be accrued for more than one month even if it has not been paid. There is only an accrual for the month of June 2016.

The cost of the station's ballot mailing should be accrued to the station, even if it was actually paid for by the national office this year. Each station's budget includes the cost of its own ballot mailing and if you don't accrue that cost to each staton, then you throw the budget to actuals out of whack. 

The assessment of $0 legal expenses is unlikely to be correct. The WPFW LSB lawsuit filed by Jared Ball, Benito Diaz, Robert Daughtry et al against Tony Norman, Pete Tucker and the Pacifica Foundation was dismissed after a court hearing in October of 2015 at which the Law Office of Reginald Richter appeared for Pacifica on 10-2. Presumably there were charges associated with the October appearance in court by the attorney. 

There are also two legal actions initiated by WPFW's current landlord, one in June of 2016 and another in August of 2016. They have been dismissed, but there are probably legal expenses involved. I'm not sure the PNB was notified about the two complaints filed, so the summaries online are attached.

There are a couple of random expenses missing including the July telephone bill, the August and September bank charges, July tower utilties. July-Sept premium expenses, premium shipping from Nov 2015-Sep 2016, and call center costs from Oct 2015 to Jul of 2016.

2) WBAI

Website income only recorded for one month, March of 2016. None recorded from Oct-Feb or Mar-Sept,

Community events income recorded at $-250 with $4,036 in expenses.

The cost of the station's ballot mailing should be accrued to the station, even if it was actually paid for by the national office this year. Each station's budget includes the cost of its own ballot mailing and if you don't accrue that cost to each staton, then you throw the budget to actuals out of whack. 

Consultant expenses are $85,000. That is a lot and a $23K increase from 2015 numbers. Does the station's local board know what these consultant expenses are for?

There is $4,400 in legal bills accrued to WBAI in August and September of 2016. What case are these legal bills connected to?

There are a couple of random expenses missing including leased equipment for Aug and Sep and storage from July-Sep. 

There is a $20,000 "programming expense" accrued to WBAI in August of 2016. What is this?

3) KPFT 

No website income recorded from Oct to March, in June, or August and September

The cost of the station's ballot mailing should be accrued to the station, even if it was actually paid for by the national office this year. Each station's budget includes the cost of its own ballot mailing and if you don't accrue that cost to each staton, then you throw the budget to actuals out of whack. 

I will not dispute KPFT's official $1 total for legal expenses in 2015. I hope you got your dollar's worth.

4) KPFK

The station lists no website income at all

The salary figure of $397K for September clearly is meant to cover the cost of the arbitration loss, which appears to be more than $200K and closer to $250-270K. Rather than lumping it all into "salaries", it would be a better practice to break the items up into back pay, severance pay, and penalties and record it accordingly in separate line items from current salaries.

The cost of the station's ballot mailing should be accrued to the station, even if it was actually paid for by the national office this year. Each station's budget includes the cost of its own ballot mailing and if you don't accrue that cost to each staton, then you throw the budget to actuals out of whack. 

KPFK appears to have accrued LES expenses for longer than it had an LES working.

KPFK is still being accrued for $3,600 in national board meeting and travel expenses when there was no national board meeting in October or November of 2015 and any expenses associated with the June 2015 national board meeting do not belong on KPFK's books.

Depreciation expenses went to a credit of $1,200 in June of 2016 and also seem messed up for 2015 with a figure of -$17K when the actual figure is $60K +/-

Programming expenses have dropped from $59,000 in 2015 to $434 in 2016. Is this possible? What was $60K spent on in 2015 that completely vanished in 2016?

No tower utilities in April

The big credit in credit card discount fees is gone, which is good, but the month of May 2016 has an entry of $78, which is not credible when every other month of the year is in excess of $3,000.

Caging costs are monthly and they are missing in October and February

5) KPFA

Listener support number of $621K listed for September is bizarre as no other month exceeds $420K. The entire value of the September fund drive was $620K and 100% fulfillment in half a month is unusual, to say the least. Most of the value of the previous fund drive which ended on August 4 is recorded in August with listener support of $268K (the drive raised about $300K). 

KPFA's fulfillment rate is 86% less about 5-7% for Fresno pledges, so the value of the September fund drive is about $500K in its entirety and the entirety takes a few months to come in. 

The cost of the station's ballot mailing should be accrued to the station, even if it was actually paid for by the national office this year. Each station's budget includes the cost of its own ballot mailing and if you don't accrue that cost to each staton, then you throw the budget to actuals out of whack. 

Tower utilties are missing for December and February

Caging costs are missing for October and April

Printing/Marketing - Sub Supplies is -$114 for the period July to September

Negative premium shipping expenses in March and September

Negative fund drive expenses in January, May and September. This category should include rollover call services from a call center and full call center services in September. 

6) PNO

Neither the national office nor the stations seem to have accrued the $38,000 payment to True Ballot that was reported to have been paid in August before the ballots were sent. Surely that expense needs to be on the books somewhere.

Audit fee accruals now total $193,000. This is considerably more than the audit estimates provided to the audit committee of about $100K and this now appears to be the most expensive audit in Pacifica's history. $90K additional beyond the $82K fee and $15K retainer was accrued between June of 2016 and September of 2016.

7) PRA


Entry for $-1488 listener support in September of 2016 seems odd. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Why Pacifica is malfunctioning

THE OCTOBER 13th FUTILE PNB MEETING RE WBAI

The PNB held a meeting last night to discuss WBAI. Berthold Reimers was there, fantasizing, as usual. According to him, the station is on the upswing and new programs are being "cited" all over New York. Hmmm.

Well, this is a long one, so tomorrow (Friday) I will attempt to come up with extracts of more reasonable duration. In the meantime...

Here is the full, unedited meeting: Part 1, Part 2

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

More bits and pieces


As WBAI continues to suffer mismanagement, Reimers even sabotages his own fund drive, preferring, it would appear, to serve the dwindling listenership more of Tony Bates fund drivel. The following comment was posted by SDL, with a pertinent link to 2600 Magazine, the hackers quarterly:

No OTH again tonight, it seems. 



The saga continues...


Friday, October 7, 2016

Exile news update - Oct. 2, 2016



Berkeley - Election update. As of press time, voting has been extended at KPFT in Houston and WPFW in Washington, DC until October 7th and at KPFK in Los Angeles until October 10th. Elections at WBAI and KPFA are closed. 

Ballots mailed for Pacifica's 2016 board elections from the East Coast on August 15th. Pacifica in Exile's candidate endorsements for all stations can be found here. You will find online voting instructions inside your printed ballot envelope. If you donated, but don’t receive a ballot or for any ballot-related question at any station, you can contact King Reilly, a KPFK member who has graciously agreed to assist folks, at kingreilly@roadrunner.com.

For more on our endorsed slates of candidates, see the Committee to Strengthen KPFKMove KPFT ForwardUnited for Community Radio (KPFA), and WBAI Indy Caucus websites.


On Friday September 30, former Pacifica CFO Raul Salvador showed up for work at KPFK in Los Angeles. No notification in advance had been provided to staff at the LA station or to Pacifica's board of directors.  No information has been provided about what job Salvador is doing, what his responsibilities are, who he reports to, or what amount of money he is being paid. An inquiry to Pacifica executive director Lydia Brazon went unanswered. (Update: Brazon is said to have indicated during the unstreamed national board meeting that Salvador is a "consultant"). 

Salvador first worked for Pacifica in May of 2013 as the CFO, was terminated in January of 2014, rehired as the CFO after the 2014 Siegel/Brazon coup, resigned in May of 2015 and then worked for some months following as an amorphous "consultant". The severely past due audits that have cost $2.5 million in CPB public media funding began during Salvador's period as CFO, as well as misappropriation of parts of the Material World Foundation grant  (in 2014), an Indiegogo campaign (in 2014), a bequest to the Pacifica Foundation (in 2015) and a credit card fraud incident where a Pacifica company credit card account Salvador replaced was not closed, and then used for $4,000 in purchases at Ralph Lauren and Walmart in Southern California.

Sam Agarwal resigned as Pacifica's chief financial officer in September after nine months on the job. KPFK's business manager position has been officially vacant since January 2016 and not occupied by a permanent employee for over three years.

The Pacifica National Board met on the evening of October 6th, but what ensued is a mystery. The board chose to violate Corporation for Public Broadcasting open meeting requirements and not stream the meeting to provide public access. The board's scheduled streaming volunteer did not show up and in violation of the CPB's instruction that public media boards *must* make a good faith effort to provide real-time public observation, the board rejected Houston rep Bill Crosier's offer to stream the meeting for them. Before rejoining the board as a director in 2016, Crosier had regularly volunteered streaming services to Pacifica. The 8 board members who voted to flout open meeting requirements were Wesley Bethune and Adriana Casenave from KPFT, Janet Kobren from KPFA, Ron Pinchback, Nancy Sorden and Jim Brown from WPFW, Cerene Roberts from WBAI and Temba Tshibanda (formerly Jevon Gammon) from Uhuru Radio.

Pacfica has lost $2.5 million in public media community service grants (CSG) since 2014 due to three consecutive missed deadlines for the submission of audited financial statements (in June of 2014, 2015 and 2016). In addition to the financial audits, the CPB requires a quarterly open meetings compliance report. Pacifica has been on open meetings probation for several years. A blatant flouting of the open meeting regulations, as happened this last evening, would likely jumpstart another year of probation, further delaying any restoration of funding even if the audit backlog should miraculously get caught up. 

The low odds of the audit backlog getting caught up were on display at the October 3 meeting of the national audit committee. In this remarkable clip, audit chair William Heerwagon reports that the FY 2014 audit is not finished or even "close to finished" and there are still several open items, more than 2 years after the end of the fiscal year. Auditor Armanino is still owed money that would need to be paid prior to any audit release. Heerwagon adds that he did not ask the auditor about the one-page recovery plan submitted by ED Brazon on behalf of the board of directors, did not request what items were still open, and would not pass on any questions regarding Pacifica's financial condition from members of the committee. Pacifica's FY 2014 audit, which ED Brazon has claimed repeatedly for months was "finished", was due to the State of California Registry of Charitable Trusts and to the CPB on June 30, 2015 - 16 months ago. It is the latest audit in Pacifica's history. Heerwagon added that he did not "want to know" which items were still open at this last date. 

The previous Pacifica National Board meeting was on September 29. The meeting was scheduled for the purpose of voting on three rather trivial bylaws amendments rushed through earlier this year. The board supported two of them: one whichtweaks the job description for the network's local boards from holding two town hall meetings a year to holding one town hall meeting and one fundraising event a year - and the other changing the delegate election schedule beginning in 2019 from every two out of three years to every other year and lengthening LSB member terms from three years to four years. A third proposed bylaws amendment tweaking the schedule for proposing bylaws amendments failed. The local boards now have two months to consider the two remaining proposed amendments. 

The real fireworks during the meeting happened during the agenda-setting effort when attempts by board members to introduce more substantive items were pushed aside. Houston rep Bill Crosier asked for a report from ED Brazon answering several questions (see below) and of less immediate import, NY rep Cerene Roberts wanted the board to take up the issue of not allowing applications for 2017 affiliate director positions on the board to be vetted for participation in the affiliate program by affiliates director Ursula Rudenberg. Robert's issue was the subject of debate in the long and contentious affiliates committee meeting on September 8th posted earlier as an example of bullying and obstructive maneuvering by board majority members like Roberts and Houston's Adriana Casenave.

A highlight reel of the September 29 national board meeting can be heard here. In it, Crosier asks to have ED Brazon answer the following questions:
  1. What's being done about the selling of Archives material on eBay due to non-payment of rent for storage units?
  2. How will salaries be paid for national office and PRA employees, plus how will payments be made for medical insurance, election expenses, required legal settlements and other NO expenses?
  3. What happens if True Ballot and the election supervisors are not paid and True Ballot refuses to tabulate the ballots? Will we be in court in the near future about that?
  4. Will the PNB get the final arbitration report and payment schedule for KPFK employees? Why is this being kept secret from the PNB?
  5. What are recent staff changes and upcoming ones?

Crosier's information request was ruled out of order and no information was provided to the board of directors on any of the above inquiries by Brazon. (Update: It has since been reported that True Ballot has not been paid their $15,000 fee for ballot tabulation and other services and that WPFW's election supervisor has not been paid and is owed $2,500 by the DC station) National supervisor Lynne Serpe provided tentative membership numbers that indicated Pacifica's nationwide membership had slid dramatically from 55,000 members nationwide in 2015 to 48,000 in 2016, a one-year decline of 15%. 

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. Sign the petition to tell the PNB it's time to let Lydia Brazon go as iED.

After the fragile state of Pacifica's endangered archives became a national story in the last month, 19 Pacifica reel-to-reel archival master tapes appeared for sale on Ebay.com in the last two weeks. An anonymous source told the NY-based blogWBAI Now and Then the materials came from a 20-year-old storage locker in Rosemead, CA that had been maintained by the national office and was auctioned off in the last year due to non-payment of the storage fee. Pacifica's income statements indicate the national office stopped paying any off-site storage fees as of 2015.

Los Angeles station KPFK recently lost a large multi-grievance union arbitration with the station's SAG-AFTRA bargaining unit after new manager Leslie Radford imposed unilateral work hour reductions, fired two employees and denied severance benefits. The settlement amount is at least $200,000 and will include back pay to approximately 20 employees whose hours were cut, the re-hire of two fired employees and the payment of at least four previously denied severance packages. ED Brazon has still not shown the final settlement agreement to the board of directors.

At the LA station, Radford's latest problem is described as "bathroom sabotage" with the GM accusing KPFK staff of deliberately jamming the toilets with paper towels. She gave employees a "snow day" while the bathrooms were repaired and then locked. Her memo can be seen here

At Houston's KPFT, which has been under significant financial stress, the local board's attention is riveted on majority/minority politics as the year draws to a close. After months of threatened censures and expulsions, the latest focus of the local Siegel/Brazon majority is George Reiter, a tenured physics professor and the 2010 chair of the Pacifica National Board. Reiter faces being forced off the local board for the last six weeks of his term. The charge against Reiter is that he overstayed his term on the board, which of course he did as did much of the board when the Pacifica National board extended terms in May of 2015. Reiter's extension put him over the six year limit if you don't count a 5 month break in 2011. An obscure bylaws amendment passed in 2015 did exactly that, changing the bylaws so breaks don't count. Reiter being forced off for the six weeks between October 12 and December 5 is connected to the majority attempt to fire Duane Bradley, KPFT's manager of more than a decade. The local board majority wishes to bring the matter to a vote before the year runs up and do not perceive Reiter to be a supporter of that action. 

The KPFT local board's expel-Reiter motion, which will come up at an October 12 meeting, proposes replacing Reiter with Robert Gartner, a runner-up from last year's election, even though KPFT completes its 2016 election tomorrow. The proposal continues the schizophrenia of the Siegel/Brazonites, who replaced a departing NY rep with a runner-up from a 2012 election and then within days replaced a departing KPFA rep with a runner-up from the 2015 election then in progress, holding the KPFA seat open to wait for the election results to come in. In this clip, you can hear members of the local Siegel/Brazon faction (Save KPFA) tangling themselves up in knots to justify the different actions in each signal area. They go so far as to say that "there *are* election results in Berkeley: we just don't know what they are yet". Former ED Wilkinson proclaims that "clearly" the seat should not be filled per the older election, but by the recent one in progress. None of the Siegel/Brazonites have spoken up regarding the Reiter situation and of course the board majority is in court in NY spending listener monies to defend filling the NY seat with a runner-up from the old election while a new election was in progress. 

At KPFA in Berkeley, lengthy negotiations with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) to reduce personnel costs for the financially struggling station have been proceeding at a snail's pace since the summer.  GM McCoy has said the goal is $200,000 in annual reductions with a focus on the station's generous health insurance plan which provides full coverage for all employees and dependents who work 18 hours a week -- with no employee contributions and the lowest co-payment rates offered by Kaiser. In a recent wrinkle, it was found that a temporary concession by the union in 2015 to allow KPFA to switch to a health plan with a slightly higher co-payment rate in order to ease financial stress and avoid layoffs, may not be so temporary. The bargaining contract addendum pinned to a wall unsigned at KPFA, which commits the station to return to the highest-priced Kaiser plan, was not signed by then-ED John Proffitt, who indicated that not only had he not signed it, he had not seen it. If not later signed by successor ED Brazon, this may introduce a bit more flexibility into the ongoing negotiations.