Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Lies to the Listener report



The station is crumbling around them, at least 3000 paid-for "thank you gifts" are yet to be mailed to the purchaser, some backlogged for as long as five years. Add to this that forces in California are pushing to sell WBAI. Got the picture? Now wonder why they picked "Oh, Happy Day", as the "report's" musical theme. The first 45 minutes, and several thereafter, were taken up by self-praise—truth was finally introduced by callers.

Note that there was no mention of WBAI's ongoing conversion to an amateur pseudo activist black station, nor was there talk of the decidedly inappropriate nonsense that takes up much of the weekly schedule.

I will post excerpts later, but here is the entire "Report".

From the Blue Gutter


I found this anonymous response in the blue gutter that once served as an open forum, and thought it worth repeating here. It is addressed to "No One You Know", a poster who seems to feel as I do about Reimers, but thought I had violated his privacy and, I guess, my own integrity by linking to public court papers containing his home phone number. Actually, I hadn't even paid attention to that, because these were published public documents.

This was a very busy season for me this year. I was working on a new formula for the Ptomaine Fairy; this particular strain features a rapid onset and impels the host to both hiccup and sneeze while vomiting, causing bystanders to wonder if they should say “gesundheit” or attempt to scare the subject, all while trying to get out of the way at the same time. Next year, I hope to perfect an airborne variety.

I must say, I find your contempt for and pronounced indifference to reason and factuality to be blithely refreshing, and even somewhat intriguing (to a limited extent). I am reminded of a friend’s reaction upon witnessing the workshop of a family member who had removed all the safety guards from the machinery, remarking that he found such a “devil may care” attitude concerning power tools to be “exhilarating.” Incidentally, that same friend had lost four fingers on his left hand in an accident involving a motorized winch.

Be that as it may, I cannot say that I envy those that must deal with you on a regular basis, if you exercise the same obtuse disdain for reality and rationality in your daily life. There are certain aspects of the real world that are decidedly not optional, and failure to exercise even a nominal acknowledgment of such actualities tends to cause irreversible events that are characterized by a certain finality that does not allow for the repetition of such oversights, as memorable (or even entertaining) as they might be to casual onlookers, since the consequent (and undeniable) mortality being made plainly evident invariably precludes the ability of the player to personally learn from his or her mistakes.

I see no point or profit in continuing to argue the correctness of drawing attention to publicly available information concerning the WBAI general manager. The criticisms occasioned by the posting of such material seem highly ironic, however, since his defenders not only have no grounds for complaint (as trivial as it is), but also seem to be willingly ignoring the blatant dishonesty and incompetence of Reimers (especially in fiscal matters, some of which have even involved his own family). And like it or not, there is nothing that those so offended can do about such revelations concerning Reimers, save to post their remonstrances here (or on Chris’ blog) and make their pointless, irrelevant displeasure known.

Believe it or not, incidentally, I do respect the privacy of others. For example, if you do a search using the name pf a certain programmer (who shall remain unnameable [sic]) and his wife’s maiden name, you will find another publicly available court document that describes domestic arrangements that significantly differ from those suggested in print and film. I have not posted about this, however, because it has no direct bearing on that individual’s contribution to the station. I also found Monroe Litman’s home phone number, which he made public on a few occasions on websites where he thought no one connected to WBAI would notice (incautiously, as it turned out). As tempting as it was, I did not post his number, if only because I did not think that invading his privacy in that fashion and subjecting him to a barrage of crank calls (no matter how well deserved it might have seemed) would have changed his behavior or attitude in any useful fashion.

But your discomfiture did make me wonder why anyone would want to defend Berthold Reimers, or react so strongly to criticism of him (especially involving objective evidence). So, I did an ip trace of your web address, ‘noyk’ (those numbers accompanying your post, which are also public knowledge). Interestingly enough, that address traces back to San Francisco. Lovely town - I’ve heard it described as everybody’s favorite city. Not to mention the hills, the fog, the Rice-A-Roni… oh, and there even seems to be a Pacifica station nearby! I understand that there are also some folks involved with Pacifica on the west coast who are threatening to sue Pacifica unless WBAI has its signal swapped, or various Pacifica properties and holdings are turned over to them (and who seem to have set up their own foundation for just that purpose, in spite of their previous prevarications and denials regarding that same foundation).

So perhaps a certain individual involved in Pacifica management here in NYC is not quite as dumb as he seems (although he does tend to frequently remain mute). And maybe there is a different, somewhat deeper explanation that is decidedly not a matter of public knowledge?

In any case, you are certainly right about my tendency to verbosity, ‘noyk.’ I indulge in it deliberately in remembrance of a radio station and foundation that once sought out and broadcast programming not found elsewhere, intended for people willing to think and be challenged by new ideas and perspectives, and that tried to encourage critical thought and inquiry (as opposed to the sophistry, propaganda and disinformation that now dominates the WBAI airwaves). Plus I wish to be annoying. But for the sake of those such as yourself that wish to conserve and hoard their limited cognitive resources, I offer a simple, easy to understand graphic diagram to facilitate the disposition of any further objections you may have…

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A hang-up epidemic at WBAI?




They continue to use free speech as a carrot to solicit donations. but WBAI only allows speech to be aired when  it agrees with their twisted notion of being the station that followed Lew Hill's concept. It is no such thing these days. just a third-rate black station that hardly anybody listens to.


Recently, we have posted audio of Michael Haskins and Geoff Brady hanging up on callers who dared to speak the truth. Well, yesterday morning we heard such intolerance from Felipe Luciano, so I thought we ought to add that to our collection of WBAI lies and hypocrisies. Notice that Felipe says, "This is where media has to stand up and know history," How can he make such a statement on WBAI, a morally bankrupt radio station that has just wasted five week trying to sell potential donors a bogus version of world history! He says the caller is "deluded" and "crazy", adding that he assumes the man is "dark." These people are shameless hucksters—modern day snake oil salesmen.

Many years ago, when I met Felipe, he was hispanic—now he appears to be converting. It reminds me of that Jewish guy I met back in the day. His name was Jerry Rivers, but he became Geraldo Rivera. Hang-ups are a bitch!

Listen to Mr. Luciano.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The faction that could't shoot straight


WBAI claims to have several "comedy" shows on its current program schedule, but there is no substantiating evidence. Of course, this is not a time that inspires humor at any of the five Pacifica stations, but an increasingly transparent conspiracy by a bungling group of insiders has long been seen by more astute followers as a farce that lends itself to satire.

TwitWit Radio is an intelligent satirical KPFA show that hits the spot. Here, the group takes on the above-mentioned scheme.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Not true! Not true! Not true!



Geoff Brady's weekly show of fear-inducing fantasies is on level with supermarket tabloids—laughably ridiculous, but decidedly fabricated. Brady, however, takes it all seriously, which is why his weekly WBAI show, "In Other News", attracts many guests who are not likely to be heard pushing their web site or self-published book on any other station. 


Brady has been spewing his nonsense at 99.5 for several years, readily accepting as fact the most outrageous claims. You will never hear him challenge anything—like Haskins and others at the station, he tends to regard truth as an obstacle rather than an enlightenment, so don't tell him that men actually landed on the moon. They couldn't have, he insists, the whole thing was staged in a studio and that moon was but a hologram.

Of course, Brady shares Haskins' zero tolerance for criticism, as you will hear on the following phone call from last Monday's show:

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pacifica's scammers at a dead end?


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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 21, 2016

The plot so far: Nov. 20, 2016


Report Back From KPFA Local Station Board

Berkeley-The following is provided as an eyewitness report back on the actions taken by the KPFA local station board at their November 19th board meeting. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the audio recording of the meeting has not yet been provided by the board. Once it has been, a summary reel will be prepared by Pacifica in Exile and made available on the website at pacificainexile.org and on the Pacifica in Exile Soundcloud page. The original 4.5 hour meeting audio will also be made available on Soundcloud and on the Pacifica website kpftx.org as soon as it is posted.

This report will include a description of the actions taken with some analysis of what can be expected to follow. Please bear with us as explanations may get a little complicated. We welcome follow-up and/or clarifying questions from Pacifica members via the comment function on the website or by email to pacificainexile@gmail.com.


In a sparsely attended meeting with 14 of 25 members at roll call and only 11 of 25 in attendance at the time of the secession vote, the following actions were taken. 

1) The KPFA local station board, acting as delegates, voted down both proposed Pacifica bylaws amendments presented by the national board, thus consigning them to the dustbin. 
The first proposed amendment adjusted the bylaws-mandated responsibilities of local station boards to add holding one required fundraising event a year to benefit the local station. KPFA national rep Janet Kobren was a sponsor of the amendment and voted affirmatively on it. 

The second proposed amendment adjusted the election schedule from 2 of every 3 years to 2 of every 4 years and extended delegate terms from 3 years to 4 years beginning in 2019. KPFA national reps Margy Wilkinson and Brian Edwards-Tiekert (now resigned) were sponsors of the amendment. Wilkinson did not vote affirmatively for the amendment she sponsored, an example of the time wasting maneuvers indulged in by members of the Siegel/Brazon faction when they serve on the national board. 
2) The KPFA local station board, acting as delegates, elected Lewis Sawyer, in absentia, to replace Brian Edwards Tiekert as the national KPFA staff representative for the remaining 7 weeks of the 2016 Pacifica national board. 

Sawyer was the 4th place finisher in the 2015 KPFA staff election. Edward-Tiekert resigned from the national position in August of 2016 and it has been kept vacant for more than 75 days. Sawyer has not attended any KPFA local station board meeting held since August and has not been seated on the KPFA local station board as a member. Margy Wilkinson stated verbally Sawyer accepted the nomination, but no written statement from Sawyer himself was presented by the board secretary or was in the possession of the KPFA local board at the time the election was held. This is contrary to procedures other delegates have been expected to abide by in order to be elected as national representatives to the Pacifica National Board.
3) The KPFA business manager and treasurer presented an alternative profit and loss statement to KPFA's local board out of whack with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP)

KPFA's business manager and treasurer presented to the local board their own version of the profit and loss statement issued by Pacifica's controller over a month ago in which they removed the auditor's depreciation adjustments and "added back in" the required expense line item. Pacifica employees and board treasurers are generally expected to issue factual financial statements to governance bodies that follow GAAP, rather than editorial statements expressing their personal objections to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). 
4) The KPFA local station board voted to forward three proposals to the Pacifica National Board as requests for actions they want the Pacifica National Board to take. The proposals were a) to execute a signal swap for the WBAI signal at 99.5 to a different frequency with a reduced signal range in return for financial compensation b) to authorize a process in Berkeley to rewrite the foundation bylaws c) to transfer the KPFA license, the KPFB license, and associated translator stations in Bonny Doon, Oakley and Santa Cruz and the 4 real estate parcels at 1923-1929 Martin Luther King Jr Way and the transmitter site in the Berkeley hills and all associated equipment and supplies to a new 501c3 organization under the control of the KPFA local station board in exchange for the "assumption of Pacifica's debts".

Some discussion of the ramifications of these proposals follows. The Pacifica National Board is under no obligation to consider any proposals put forward by the KPFA local station board, as it is an advisory committee of the national board. It's duties as mandated under the Pacifica bylaws are strictly local and do not include the disposition of any foundation assets beyond KPFA's annual revenues via an annual budgetary recommendation.

A "signal swap" consists of a transaction with another radio licensee to exchange frequencies. The party that accepts a reduced and weaker signal in such an exchange gets a negotiated amount of financial compensation from the party gaining a stronger and expanded signal. Such proposed transactions are subject to regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a lengthy process which requires legal support and is subject to petitions to deny from affected parties. Pacifica's bylaws also require a vote of the Pacifica membership prior to any transaction involving the sale, swap or transfer of any Pacifica Foundation broadcast license. The proposal does not indicate any identified party for such a swap and indicates that 80% of WBAI's signal range should be retained at the new frequency. Previous signal swap offers for 99.5FM that have been received by the Pacifica National Board (last in 2012-2013) were from corporate media firms Cumulus and Univision and involved a 40-50% loss  of WBAI's current signal range. The WBAI license was gifted to the Pacifica Foundation by philanthropist Louis Schweitzer in 1960 at no cost (the license was then believed to be worth about $200,000 in 1960 dollars) with a donor restriction that it was to be used for non-commercial radio broadcasting per the Pacifica Foundation mission statement. 

Pacifica's 2002 bylaws (since occasionally amended) were drafted up by listeners in Berkeley during the insurgency that began in the summer of 1999 against the previous Pacifica board of directors, following the firing of KPFA general manager Nicole Sawaya. Several lawsuits including a local station board lawsuit litigated by corporate counsel Dan Siegel and a "listener's lawsuit" litigated by Carol Spooner were combined and settled with an agreement that included the resignation of the previous board of directors and the granting of voting rights to Pacifica's members. The "Berkeley bylaws" were adopted narrowly by the rest of the network after which an I-PNB under court supervision was permitted to hold national elections in 2003. Pacifica members raised and paid off over $6 million dollars in debts inherited from the Berkeley conflict and associated WBAI "Christmas Coup" that followed a year later. It probably goes without saying the other 4 stations in the network, given the problematic nature of the 49 pages of Berkeley-created bylaws, would be interested in a non-Berkeley-driven process for the substantive revisions that everyone agrees are long past due.

The approximate market value of KPFA's commercially convertible broadcast license (one of two owned by the network that is commercially convertible along with WBAI's), and the subsidiary licenses and translators, and the four Berkeley real estate parcels and associated equipment is unambigously in excess of $60 million dollars. A transfer of $60 million dollars in assets for significantly less than the market value to another organization owned and operated by the foundation's own boards is usually called a self-dealing transaction. The proposal's vague language about the "assumption of debts" contains no specific financial compensation amount commensurate to the value of the assets, nor does it indicate any release from liability to Pacifica for any debts should the new organization fail to pay them. Creditors would be able to continue to pursue Pacifica per the terms of the original debts in the event of nonpayment. KPFA's division has operated at a deficit for 5 of the last 7 years. Pacifica's debts were last reported at $4-5 million dollars.

"KPFA Foundation" founder Margy Wilkinson, the former Pacifica IED who secretly set up a 501c3 foundation of her own a few months before engineering the firing of her predecessor and placing herself in the ED position for 15 months, left the meeting prior to the vote. There were 8 affirmative votes for the proposal, representing less than a third of the local station board's membership. Delegates Craig Alderson, William Campisi, Tim Lynch, Babara Whipperman, Burton White, Carole Travis, Sharon Adams, and Sabrina Jacobs put themselves on record supporting the proposals. 3 of the 8, Alderson, Whipperman and White are leaving the local board in two weeks.

5) The KPFA local station board voted to set a "task force" to examine the legal ramifications of the KPFA local station board assuming control of an outside 501c3 organization to attempt to forcibly secure the assets of the Pacifica Foundation.

This motion of course makes little sense since Wilkinson, while a member of the KPFA local station board and with the claimed assistance of board chair Carole Travis, already set up a 501c3 organization for this purpose in 2013, headquartered at corporate counsel Dan Siegel's office, with no notification, disclosure or permission from KPFA's local station board, or the Pacifica Foundation board of directors and with no concern for any legal ramifications. The articles of incorporation can be found here. Wilkinson and Siegel's previous problems with the misdirection of Pacifica Foundation assets can be seen here.

Save KPFA-affiliated delegate Wlliam Campisi indicated that if the Pacifica Foundation national board of directors did not accede to KPFA's proposals that he intended to propose the KPFA local station board initiate a lawsuit against the Pacifica Foundation to forcibly dissolve it. Campisi said that he intended to take advantage of the loss of directors and liability insurance caused by Wilkinson and Brazon's failures to file timely financial audits for FY 2014 and 2015. Citing California Corporations Code 6510, Campisi said that Pacifica's 2017 national board may fail to seat itself due to fear of the proposed lawsuit or that he would attempt to get around the law's requirement for one third of the Pacifica membership to support such an action by filing a complaint to California's attorney general. Campisi is apparently unaware that numerous complaints have already been filed with California's attorney general for the past three years indicating correctly that Wilkinson's 2014 coup would result in the failure to file financial audits, the loss of CPB funding and the loss of directors and officers liability insurance. 

A successful legal action to dissolve the Pacifica Foundation in the California courts would result in the Federal Communications Commission revoking all of the broadcast licenses and re-allocating them. In general, the policy of the commission is that re-allocations are not made to past or present members of the governance or past or present employees of a previous failed licensee, so it is likely all 5 broadcast licenses would be reassigned to entities with no past or present connection to the Pacifica Foundation or any of its stations.

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

Friday, November 18, 2016

The grim wannabe reapers


We have seen it dangling, but now the other shoe has been dropped. Remember when Siegel and Wilkinson secretly registered a new KPFA foundation? Well, these snakes did not fool anyone, but the veil has been lifted and the scattered pieces are forming a disturbing picture. The theories some of us voiced, concluding that Reimers and others were, deliberately kept in place as wreckers rather than builders, now seem plausible.  

Here is Tracy Rosenberg's take on this:

The drift seems to be that if the PNB does not either swap out WBAI's license, give KPFA's broadcast license and 40% of your real estate assets to these people at a fraction of  their value and/or allow some unidentified group of "core people" to unilaterally rewrite the foundation bylaws, they intend to sue to dissolve the Pacifica Foundation. 

(Not merely sue to attempt to have the foundation follow its bylaws).

Since dissolving the foundation and/or buying its assets at 10 cents on the dollar is by definition contrary to the best interests of the Foundation, it would seem directors may need to invoke Article 4 Section 9 of the Pacifica bylaws and remove any delegates involved in "the crisis group" by a 2/3 directors vote. They may also need to look at the employees and volunteers involved in the blackmail attempt by the crisis group. 


Delegates proclaiming that you must give them your assets or they will sue to have you dissolved is not a tenable situation. 

And here is the proposal in PDF form:

Dissolution of Pacifica.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Has Bates checked in?


This morning, the staff e-mail contained the following notice of the "ewport" canceling and reschedule. Of course, we already heard that, but the significance of this announcement is that it came from Tony Bates. You remember Bates, don't you? His incompetence and behavior inspired some 100 staff/volunteers to sign a petition demanding his firing. Reimers had no option but to comply, so Bates was barred from WBAI.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Reimers—too widely disrespected to have anything to lose—brought him back for one of his marketing sprees and as if by magic, the salaried lemmings made a turn-around and all but fell to their knees. Bates was brought back again for the recent five-week scam-a-thon, and he was oilier than ever as he plowed new paths of deceit.

Now Bates appears to have been granted tenure by Reimers, a move that—if true—raises a tin cup-full of questions.

Here's what staffers and volunteers found in their communal inbox:

Subject: Report to the Listener Rescheduled
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2016 13:50:12 -0500
From: Tony Bates <tonybates@wbai.org>

Greetings All,
We've had to cancel the report to the listener today. It is rescheduled for Wednesday, November 30th, from 4 - 6 PM.
Thank you,
Tony Bates
Programming Manager
WBAI 99.5 FM
388 Atlantic Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217

One insider, R. Paul Martin, posted the following reaction on his restricted blueboard—the one with the tumbling tumbleweed:

"...I have to wonder if Bates has actually been hired for something. The General Manager had told the local Finance Committee, when he was coming to it, that Bates was hired only as a consultant to run the 'thons. "Programming Manager" is not a Staff position. It isn't Management, either. There has also been a hiring freeze in Pacifica for a long time. Maybe someone can get the General Manager to clarify just what's going on with this."


ADDENDA:

SDL asked R. Paul:
So another question, which is probably layered in mystery. If Reimers can't really unilaterally hire Bates, who's paying his salary?
R. Paul posted his response this morning (Friday Nov 18):


A good question"I can't say for certain because I have been given no information. The General Manager hasn't told the local Finance Committee anything about having Bates do anything beyond the 'thons. I suspect that the salary must be coming from the general operational budget, probably a line for "Consultants."

The proposed "draft of a draft" WBAI FY17 budget contains a line called "Consultant Related Exp." which shows a grand total of $0. But then we have the line "Consultants" which shows $2,500 for each month from November 2016, through September 2017, which adds up to $27,500. But we have someone who's serving as Web master now, and the previous Web master, who passed away a couple of months ago, was being paid $3,500 a month. I also see a line "Fund Drive Expenses" that shows $6,000 a month for a total of $72,000 for FY17.

The draft of a draft FY17 budget is advertised as incomplete. So it's hard to draw a lot of reliable information from it. FWIW, looking at the latest P&L I see that the line "Consultant/Temps/Contractuals" shows $213,813 for FY15 and $240,864 for FY16.

If we can get the General Manager to communicate with us, this "Programming Manager" compensation issue will be one of the questions we'll ask.

Asset grab?

RUMORED ASSET GRAB

Berkeley - A reliable anonymous source has indicated the Berkeley wing of the Siegel/Brazon faction, who refer to themselves as "Save KPFA", intend to present an offer at the next KPFA local station board meeting on November 19 to pay off Pacifica's debts (last reported at $4-5 million dollars) and in exchange get KPFA's broadcasting license transferred to themselves.

It is assumed the transfer would be to the "KPFA Foundation", the 501(c) 3 established by board member and former IED Margy Wilkinson and corporate counsel Dan Siegel and headquartered at Siegel's office. The founding articles of the "KPFA Foundation", which steal the Pacifica mission statement, can be found here. Wilkinson is terming off KPFA's local station board in December and apparently hopes to take KPFA's broadcast license with her.

While the details remain to be seen, and it isn't clear if premature disclosure of the rumored offer will change the timeline, a few things can be said about what is rumored will occur.


KPFA's broadcast license, which is one of the two in the network that is commercially convertible, can confidently be stated to be worth a minimum of $50 million dollars. KUSF's former 3,000 watt transmitter in the San Francisco Bay Area (the former cutting edge alternative station that now plays classical music) was sold for $3.75 million dollars in 2011. KPFA's license is 59,000 watts or 20 times the wattage. The Berkeley assets also include three buildings on Martin Luther King Jr Way (#1923, #1925 and #1929. #1929 contain's KPFA's broadcast studio), a transmitter site in the hills above Berkeley, the smaller KPFB-FM license, and two translator stations in Bonny Doon and Oakley. The station may have also set up a third translator station in Santa Cruz. 

Whatever may or may not be included, the offer would appear to be for no more than 1/10 the value of the assets and possibly considerably less. When board members attempt to secure the assets of nonprofit organizations at a fraction of their value, such deals are usually labeled as self-dealing transactions.

The remaining Pacifica Foundation, after such a deal, would be a network of 4 major market radio stations, a national headquarters, an archival collection, and the program service Audioport which serves about 200 community radio stations across the country via the affiliates program. It would not be expected to be able to sustain itself going forward due to the loss of 32% of its income and deficit operations at most of its divisions. It's also not clear a new KPFA could sustain itself, given the need to hire additional administrative staff and vendors for audit services, payroll administration, additional insurance and tax preparation, among other needs. KPFA operated at a deficit for much of 2016 and finally moved its entire October fund drive a month forward into September due to financial pain that had the general manager declaring the station on the verge of collapse a few months ago.

The offer is said to have been disclosed at an informal group that calls itself the "crisis group", which is self-appointed and includes some members of the current local station board, some KPFA paid staff members, and a few selected listeners. The group meets privately and does not disclose the contents of their discussions or report back to any member-elected KPFA or Pacifica body. The meetings are not open to the public or uninvited KPFA members and do not release minutes. The group's only known previous activity was a 2015 civility pledge signed by a mere two dozen people across the country (a few of whom signed in jest). 

In general, Pacifica in Exile prefers not to publish materials that cannot be definitively substantiated at the time of release, but given the gravity of this matter to the future of all of the Pacifica stations, we are making an exception since all Pacifica members have the right to know if such an offer is in the making, as all would be affected by it. The KPFA local station board has no power to dispose of foundation assets, but presumably the idea of presenting at the Saturday meeting is to have the Siegel/Brazon board majority formally recommend it to the national board of directors, despite the financial paucity of the offer. Pacifica's bylaws indicate that such a significant transfer of assets would have to put to an up or down vote of the Pacifica membership nationwide.

What would a privatized KPFA look like? Should the transfer occur, leaving aside the fates of the other Pacifica stations, archives and affiliates program, the new KPFA would likely dispense with most of the reforms instituted after 1999 and revert to a more traditional nonprofit industry structure with a self-appointed board and less stringent public participation requirements. It is not known if the new organization would apply for Corporation for Public Broadcasting funds, so it may exempt itself from that body's open meeting requirements which form the basis for Pacifica's own. Community advisory boards and program councils, both manifestations of Pacifica's attempts at democratic participation, as well as the unpaid staff organization, might all cease to exist along with member and staffer voting rights. It is not known if the new organization would be unionized, if the apprenticeship program would be maintained or what the ratio of paid to volunteer-produced programming or music to public affairs programming, would be after the transition. Members would revert to donor status with no commensurate rights regarding the new organization's bylaws, structure, or activities beyond choosing to donate - or not.

Such a fate would be an ironic end to the Pacifica democratic experiment, which was foisted on a somewhat reluctant national network after KPFA initiated a rebellion in 1999 following the firing of former general manager Nicole Sawaya. Local lawsuits, including one by the then-KPFA-local-board demanding the power to select national board representatives and a "listener lawsuit" demanding the California Attorney General provide voting rights to the station's donors, eventually toppled Pacifica's self-selected board of directors some time after a 50-day standoff in front of the station brought the City of Berkeley to a virtual halt in the summer of 1999.

Demands for the transformation of the station into a more diverse and community-based operation drove the protests and lawsuits. Such demands remain somewhat unmet, although a few of the innovations including the creation of Hard Knock Radio, the entry of several programs via the program council including Voices of the Middle East and North Africa, Guns and Butter, and the Women's Magazine, and Morning Mix refugees the Project Censored Show, A Rude Awakening, Work Week and El Show de Andres Soto remain staples of the current program grid.

The move to secede from Pacifica by the Berkeley Siegel-Brazonites follows the faction's March 2014 board coup by about two and a half years. Since then, 7 of the board's 12 officer positions (chair, vice-chair, secretary and treasurer) have been filled by members of KPFA's local station board, representing more than twice the dominance of any other station in the leadership of the national Pacifica board.  (The next nearest is WPFW with 3 of the 12). Many of the problems anticipated in an attorney general complaint originally filed in March of 2014 by 8 former Pacifica board members, including the loss of directors and officers liability insurance, the loss of millions of dollars in Corporation for Public Broadcasting grants, labor troubles and the failure to complete timely financial audits came to pass as predicted under the leadership of the faction's Margy Wilkinson and successor volunteer ED Lydia Brazon. The faction now reportedly seeks to secede from, essentially, itself. At a 90% discount. 

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


New date for Ewport.

Berthold Reimers' announced 2-hour Report to the Listener did not take place Wednesday the 16th. It has been rescheduled for November 30th, from 4 to 6 PM.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Choking on free speech



They love to call WBAI a free speech station, but the once applicable phrase has had a hollow ring in recent years—reduced to a carrot dangled whenever they solicit money. 

These delusional deceptive bozos are averse to truth when it gets in their way, as it often does. Having just finished a grueling five or six weeks of feeding listeners a plethora of race-laced lies and distorted history, WBAI's marketers have momentarily ceased pushing their bogus products (most of which will not be delivered), so now they try to sell people on WBAI itself.

Here, too, they find a need to deceive, so they describe the principled WBAI that that they and their predecessors have rendered insignificant over the years. They obviously feel that prospective listener-sponsors want a trustworthy source of wide-based information that tells it like it was, is, and probably will be. Why then, one wonders, do they take the station in the opposite direction?

WBAI once served an eclectic community of achievers and aspirants in a broad variety of fields. Today, that is no longer the case. The current occupants have taken  the race-dictated policies of recent predecessors a fatal step down, diluting content as well as quality. The station no longer serves a community that represents New York's so-called melting pot. It has lowered standards and narrowed its scope to focus on a small segment of the area's black population. Bland music, mindless chit chat, anti-white racism, phony spirituality and shallow philosophy has cut listenership down to a pathetic few, but—with fine but powerless exceptions—this is a group of morally bankrupt amateurs with a featherbrained manager who has not made a positive decision in his six or seven years there.

Getting back to free speech—which they have unashamedly declared proprietary, but long since ceased to practice— here is Michael Haskins taking a call Monday morning. It is from a regular listener who clearly hears the thread of black nationalism that now characterizes WBAI.

Confronted with a truth, Haskins becomes ever so upset. Did that man really say that white people also get shot in the street? How dare he lie like that? Stricken with severe denialitis Haskins pleads with the caller to never again call in with "that thing", plays a tape of his father, and hangs up. So much for the much touted "free speech". Hear it for yourself.  

Monday, November 14, 2016

Everything must go!


A current item on e-bay opens up a number of questions, including: 
  • Who at Pacifica authorized this sale?
  • How much money changed hands?
  • How many tapes are involved?
  • What's on those tapes?
  • Was this discussed by the PNB?

And while we're at it... how does music for unaccompanied, big, heavey real to real radio tapes sound after 47 years? Will the buyer make enough money to purchase a spelling dictionary?  

Inquiring minds want to know.

ADDENDUM - Nov. 15, 2016:

Hey, I actually gotta response from the seller. His name is Ron in South San Francisco. He has over 3,000 tapes. And it sounds like he would be amenable to making a deal on the lot. Sounds like opportunity.

And he said thanks for the tip about the fragility of the tapes, but doubt he would take any action -- if he were to digitize before sale it would diminish their value.

And today is the big PRA national broadcast. Still more opportunity.

Any suggestions? All we need is a few dollars to buy him out and somebody to pick 'em up and find a place to store 'em. There's gotta be a way...

Jim 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Outgoing PNB majority kicks the carcasses


ORGANIZATIONAL DARWINISM 2.0

Berkeley - (From Day 4 of Trumpocalypse) ... Pacifica's outgoing Siegel/Brazon board majority hit the network's five stations with a large central service fee increase, with the deepest impact to be felt at Berkeley's KPFA and DC's WPFW. The maneuver, which was pushed by NY rep Cerene Roberts and Houston rep Adriana Casenave, is complicated so bear with us for an explanation of what happened and the likely effect if not repealed.


The motion, referred to as the "SCA motion" purports to provide credits against shared service fees payable to the national office from each station based on how many subcarrier signals are rented out on the station's transmitter. By subtracting subcarrier income amounts (which legally belong to the 501c3 license-holder) from national office revenue, the central service fee levy must increase by the same amount (approximately $300K a year), as there is no proposed decrease in national office spending or increase in national office revenue to provide the funds for the "credits". Central service fees would be adjusted upwards by the relative income levels of the five stations, but offset by the amount of their subcarrier rental activity. You can hear a brief snippet from the board meeting explaining this here.

2016 subcarrier income totaled $308K per Pacifica's financial statement. To provide "credits", national office income would have to increase by $308K annually. Additionally IED Brazon provided a draft national office budget for 2017 that asks for an unfunded $82K increase over 2016 national office spending, so the required offset amount could be as much as $396K additional if the finance committee does not cut the national office budget request.

Central services fees are assessed proportionately:

KPFK (32%) - Increase of $92K - $126K
KPFA (30%) - Increase of $90K - $118K
WBAI (15%) - Increase of $45K - $60K
WPFW (12%) - Increase of $39K - $47K
KPFT (10%) - Increase of $30K - $39K.

The board majority is concealing the amount of subcarrier income generated by each station, making it hard to be precise about the amount that would be offset with credits. Some of what we do know is DC's WPFW has no subcarrier income at all and would be charged the entire increase. Board member Casenave slipped up and disclosed KPFT's subcarrier income as $36K a year -- and Berkeley's is known to be a smaller amount than KPFT's -- so the Berkeley station would face an increase of as much as $80-100K a year. LA's KPFK and NY's WBAI have most of the subcarrier income so they would not face immediate levy increases. Both stations have large past debts and spotty payment records, with KPFK on the record as intending to default on a quarter million dollars more in 2017 central service fees due to the punishing cost of their labor arbitration loss.

The board made the SCA decision in a sparsely attended meeting with only 8 affirmative votes, which constitutes 38% of the board's bylaws-mandated 22 member body and 47% of the truncated 17-member board. The entire KPFA delegation was missing, meaning the station had no say in an increase of 25% in Pacifica's levy. DC reps Ron Pinchback and Jim Brown voted to increase their station's expenses despite its currently insolvent state, but perhaps were unconcerned as WPFW has not paid a single dollar in central service fees to Pacifica's national office in a year. In LA and Houston, support for the measure went along factional lines with Siegel/Brazon-affiliated reps Bethune, Casenave, Patel-Adams and Novick voting for it and independent reps Aaron and Crosier voting against it. 

What are the real-life consequences? In short, a crushing burden on Berkeley's KPFA. With KPFK's quarter-million dollar default in 2015 and planned default in 2017 of the same amount, the burden of supporting the national office and the network's insurance, satellite, payroll, legal and audit expenses, will fall largely if not almost entirely, on the Berkeley station as the east coast stations pay central service fees intermittently or not at all and KPFT only covers 10% of the total. Controller Lalarinas confirmed on October 31 that only KPFA had paid the central services levy for October. Such a disproportionate weight on just one station is likely to reactivate the plan leaked in 2015 for the Berkeley station to "go independent" as the KPFA Foundation, and in practical terms, force the dissolution of the Pacifica Foundation. Given the enthusiasm of KPFA's local "Save KPFA" board majority for secession from Pacifica, the absence of the entire KPFA delegation from the national board meeting may be understandable. KPFA's secession, which the implementation of this SCA motion in 2017 would likely make inevitable, would leave the 4 remaining stations, archives and affiliates network unable to maintain operations and probably force the immediate sale of remaining assets to pay debts. IED Brazon appears to be busily preparing, having prioritized getting real estate assets appraised for sale. She recently disclosed the appraisal results for the KPFK building in Studio City, CA at $4.65 million dollars.

It is highly recommended the new 2017 Pacifica National Board move to repeal the "SCA Motion".

Pacifica's national office confirmed via email that it has defaulted on 2015 pension payments due September 30, 2016. The pension default violates all 4 union contracts with the CWA in Berkeley and SAG-AFTRA in LA, NY and DC as well as employee agreements with non-unionized divisions at KPFT, the archives and the national office. The email from interim controller Efren Llarinas can be seen here. In addition to factually confirming the default, which was not previously disclosed to affected employees nor to the board of directors, the email which contains a cut and paste of an earlier email indicates Radford and Brazon were planning to fund pensions for KPFA and KPFK employees exclusively - before being informed the law prevents discriminatory pension funding. Any funds paid by Pacifica into the plan would have to be distributed equilaterally between all eligible employees employed by Pacifica. Pacifica's last pension administrator ceased plan administration after expressing concerns about Pacifica's conduct in 2015. The September email sent out by Llarinas in November details a plan to distribute pension funds by direct check payment to some employees and not others based on their division of employ, which would seem contrary to ERISA law when done intentionally to evade the non-discrimination clause.

The previous national board meeting on November 3 lasted for three hours with no tangible result.The tension between members of the Siegel/Brazon faction was pretty much the focus, with interminable fighting and shrieking between chair Tony Norman and listener reps Cerene Roberts and Adriana Casenave. With an almost unbelievable lack of irony, Casenave accused Houston board member Bill Crosier of "hurting her eardrums" just minutes before she engaged in a screaming diatribe over - a 5 minute extension of time. You can listen to a brief five minute clip here - at your own risk. (Aural discomfort is possible). 

Despite threats of imminent appearance for months, the 2014 audit for the year ending 9-30-2014, now 25+ months ago, has not yet surfaced. Accrued expenses recorded on Pacifica's financial statement to auditor Armanino since the December 2015 audit start date now total $193,00, making this the most expensive audit in Pacifica history. Half the new charges were accrued from June to September of 2016, a period of time when IED Brazon repeatedly assured the board of directors the audit was "virtually completed" and the holdup was merely the need to pay for it. After most of a $50K one-time bequest was used to pay Armanino in July, an additional $41,00 in charges were accrued in August and September, with more probably to come in October and November. When confronted with the startling numbers, Brazon blamed the over-run on a $50,000 bill for 990 tax form preparation. This assertion was ridiculed by former CFO Sam Agarwal who commented when asked about it by Pacifica in Exile: "This is outrageous. We had hired a very experienced accountant for a short while. We had prepared all the schedules and provided all information timely and in a prompt manner.  I was expecting Form 990 preparation and filing fee to be small as all the work was done by us. We had even prepared the draft Form 990 as the accountant had the software. I can provide more details, if needed. My expectation was the bill to be in the range of $10,000 - $15,000".

Neither Brazon nor Armanino responded to further inquiries about $50,000 in tax preparation charges. Board member Adriana Casenave said it was "misinformation" that Armanino had charged Pacifica $193,000 since December of 2015. The misinformation can be found on Sheet 7, Line 76 of Pacifica's profit and loss statement.

During the finance committee meeting of November 1, it was confirmed Pacifica no longer had Directors and Officers Liability Insurance and would not be carrying any going forward into 2017. A $32,000 extension may be purchased providing coverage for claims that occured prior to the expiration of the old policy, but any new events would potentially carry unlimited liability for members of the national board, LSB members and/or employees personally named in lawsuits and indemnified by Pacifica's bylaws. This creates a volatile situation for an organization with 100 employees, no human resources staffing and a long history of harassment, discrimination and wrongful discharge lawsuits. 
In Washington DC, WPFW is shortly to be homeless again, for the second time in three years. It has been announced by IED Brazon the building at 1990 K Street is slated to be torn down. WPFW moved there after rejecting a secure space in Silver Spring MD, signing a lengthy lease for the $13,000 a month office on DC's K street "lobbyist row". The new facility quickly went sour, with the landlord filing legal complaints against Pacifica in both June and August of 2016 and now the end is at hand. WPFW has spent its entire $200K restricted capitol expense fund down to $0 and will have to struggle to meet another round of moving expenses.

On a lighter note, in response to complaints of volunteers living at KPFK's building, GM Radford passed a policy forbidding sleeping at KPFK

Here is a link to Pacifica in Exile.

Friday, November 11, 2016

State of the nation/station


On it's web site, WBAI is currently soliciting listeners' comments on Donald Trump, but I think they got more than they bargained for from Rachel Barr. I don't know Ms. Barr, but I think she expresses the feelings of a very large number of former listeners.

Of course, the station should have encouraged its listeners to voice their views on WBAI, but this is a group that does not take criticism constructively—truth is something they pretend to stand for, but, all too often, they find it intolerable. I have added ab audio example here, at the bottom, but first read Rachel Barr's thoroughly reasonable requests as she made them on the WBAI web site.

If we are going to get through this, we need to clear up things at BAI first. WE need transparency, we need better producers and we need people who know how to use microphones. We need people who know NOT to be sarcastic on the radio, We need the program that centered around Muslim issues BACK. We need the programming about disabilities back. We need to have producers who concentrate on local community issues. We need shows which concentrate on gentrification, not only in NYC but of the station as well. The GM needs to stop taking advice regarding programming from 4 white guys, As a former employee of BAI, as a woman and as a white person, I resent that the GM is doing it. One of the things Trump said he's going to do is to not let the press into press conferences—yes, I know this sounds stupid but it was he who said it. If this is indeed going to happen, then it seems to follow that there needs to be complete transparency about premiums, money, donations and what exactly our money goes to pay for. I have been requesting a meeting with the GM for months now. He doesn't even have the common courtesy to respond to my emails which contain this request nor does he have the common courtesy to speak to me about my request when I see him at the Norman Finkelstein class. Shame on him, If we don't like Trump why should we put up with this behavior from the GM? We need BAI more than ever now, I've been a listener to BAI since the 70's but I grew up with it in my ear as I was growing up...My mother took it out of her will because she was upset with what the station was turning in to when she knew she was going to pass away. This is serious folks...we need programming related to the very rights that Trump has talked about taking away from us Enough with the Gary Null crap, enough with the spirituality crap—we need to be in the streets and we need the Community Bulletin Board to not announce yoga stuff-I have emailed her several announcements which were of a political and activist subject matter and she refused to announce them. Is this what we want to turn in to as a radio station as Trump places his hand on some book and takes the oath????? Stand up listeners and rally against the powers that be-not only in the White House on Jan 20 but at 388 Atlantic Ave, 3rd floor....

—Rachel Barr