Monday, December 11, 2017

Enough is Enough—really?


Posted by Bill Crosier 12:57 PM
Monday, December 11, 2017


It's time that reasonable people in Pacifica agree to stand up to the bullying, harassment, intimidation, sabotage of meetings, and neglect of fiduciary responsibilities on the part of the PNB and KPFT's LSB. I have personal knowledge of what's going on there, but I'd like to hear from those of you from other stations who may want to talk about similar problems with your LSBs.

Pacifica is facing its biggest crisis ever, caused by years of financial neglect and the failure to get our deficits under control and take effective action to reverse the decline in listeners and members and revenue, so that we can pay our bills and keep Pacifica alive. Our mission is seriously threatened by our financial problems and our failure to get the boards to do what's needed to correct the problems. Management, both nationally and at each station, are trying, but we need help if Pacifica and its mission are going to survive.


Empire State Realty Trust has a judgment against us, our debt to them keeps increasing every month, we have other creditors who may take us to court to get similar judgments (and some already have - those have been for substantial but smaller amounts), we have several years of unfunded pension liabilities, and we have no PNB-approved plan for how to pay for any of this.


Some PNB Directors are trying to help us find a way to pay ESRT, but we can't ignore our other serious financial obligations.  Getting a loan may be necessary in the short term, both for paying the ESRT judgment and some of the other immediate financial needs, but we MUST identify a way of paying off the loan. It can't come from regular operations - we don't have the cash flow to do that.  We've obtained appraisals of all of our buildings - showing that they are worth less than many had hoped - and it's clear that selling them would not be enough to take care of our financial crisis.


But in spite of all this, and the clear need for our boards to work together to come up with plans to get more listeners and members and donors, and to pay our debts, we are paralyzed by dysfunction on our boards.


In almost every PNB meeting this year, it's taken an hour or more just to get through approval of the agenda and minutes from the last meeting. Some times we can't even do that in an hour and a half. Objections brought up often have nothing to do with the agenda or minutes or whatever else happens to be on the floor.  Some Directors repeatedly talk without being recognized, interrupt, and often yell so that their voice is so loud and distorted that no one can understand what anyone is saying. Because of this, it took over two months this spring just to get members chosen for national committees, including the Audit committee which urgently needed to get the auditor chosen (they did). The PNB started using a different conferencing system this year, that allows the chair to mute people who disrupt meetings. He does so only after repeated disruptions and warnings, and he does not eject them from meetings even though Roberts Rules allows this. They are also allowed to vote on all motions. Yet they repeatedly make points of order about using an "illegal" conference system and play the victim role, claiming that their right to disrupt meetings is equivalent to censorship.


In last week's meeting, as in the one before, the PNB never even got to discuss nor vote on any of the proposed Bylaws amendments. Some of those amendments, if approved, would have helped make our LSBs and PNBs less dysfunctional. None of them would discriminate against one faction in favor of another. But it was clear that a very vocal minority of the PNB was determined to not allow those amendments to even be discussed.


The bullying behavior from certain Directors has made PNB meetings this year even worse than in the past. While we have a majority of Directors who do want our financial problems addressed, and who want more functional boards, a determined minority has made that impossible. This is contrary to what our members want, and it's contrary to the interests of Pacifica. It's also a serious failure of fiduciary duty on the part of some of the PNB Directors.


KPFT's LSB has accomplished nothing this year other than raise the level of anger, hate, and frustration to unprecedented levels. I realize some people are unhappy that I replaced the previous interim GM with someone else, but the finances of the station have improved substantially, and KPFT has been paying Central Services and transmitter loan payments every month since August. But even before that, the LSB there was doing little more than frustrating LSB members who wanted to get things done to help the station.


This year, KPFT's LSB has experienced intense levels of bullying, harassment, false accusations, personal attacks, minor incidents turned into major ones, multiple improperly called meetings, and more. One week, KPFT's LSB had three meetings and a Town Hall Meeting in which LSB members were asked to come - all in a period of six days. A number of KPFT LSB members have resigned this year because of the time wasting, lack of accomplishments, and the harassment and intimidation that has occurred during and between meetings. Others have privately told me they had felt physically ill to the point of nausea in some of the meetings, because of the way they were conducted, and because the insults and harassment and efforts of intimidation were encouraged rather than discouraged. One KPFT LSB member who missed two of the improperly-called LSB meetings was removed due to excessive absences, and the LSB chair would not allow me or another LSB member to make motions to excuse his absences, calling our motions "out of order" and "dilatory". Yet the chair asked the LSB to excuse a friend of his (Adriana Casanave), who had missed the same meetings, and they did so.


This is no way to run a so-called democratic governance, and is a great disservice to our members and to the Pacifica mission. Remember, we're supposed to be for peace, right?


I realize some of our board members don't like the results of last year's Delegate elections, but you need to live with that instead of circumventing the clear wishes of the membership - to get our finances under control - by driving off board members you don't like and ignoring the Bylaws, and making it almost impossible to get work done in our board meetings.


I appreciate all of you who have stayed on our boards and who are trying to help at your station and to make our boards work, but I realize it's somewhat like being in an abusive family. I hope you stay on and not let the bullies prevail, as they have too often already.

      
Let's all stand up to the bullies and concentrate on working to save Pacifica.

 —Bill

Thursday, December 7, 2017

From Bill Crosier—A reality check.


Over at Pacifica Radio Waves, the discussion rages on. Opinions and bits of factual information are intermingled and tossed out there to build up or smash dreams and fabrications. Everybody seems to have a solution to the ESB crisis—some are sincere, some not. The Cereneistas are still on the rampage, fiercely determined to place WBAI on the MNN death row while a mixed breeze blows in from the West Coast. 

People on both Coasts seem to think that the money so desperately needed can be had by taking out a loan or liquidating assets—a station here, a station there, California buildings, etc. Of course, all this is taking place in the looming shadow of the mighty NY Ape.

Our local businessman, Nullite marketeer, Steve Brown has suggested selling Pacifica property that is worth millions, Mitchel Cohen thinks a loan is the way to go, etc. Mitchel—still levitating above reality—is reluctant to take into account the potentially high added interest required of a shaky borrower, and remember that we are talking about paying off a multi-million dollar debt. Selling property is more realistic, but businessman Steve Brown's assessment is apparently also dusted with a handful of make-believe. A couple of hours ago, Pacifica iED Bill Crosier, who apparently keeps up with the posted to and fros, decided to issue a reality check with the following note addressed to Steve Brown:


Steve, I think you are going by some very over-optimistic assumptions that some people had made about what our buildings are worth.


We've had all of our buildings converted. That building in Berkeley next door to KPFT, which houses the Pacifica National Office and a storage area (which you are correct used to be a Thai restaurant and which is indeed not in good condition) appraised for only $770,000 - not the "millions" that some people had assumed.

The KPFT building, which some of us had also hoped would be worth "millions", appraised at $1.2 million.

Both of the appraisals were based on sales of comparable properties, adjusted for size of the building, etc.

So both of them together are only worth about $2 million. And we can't just turn them out onto the street - it would cost money to relocate KPFT and the National Office (and storage).

We also owe a lot more than $1.8 million already to ESRT. The judgment included that, plus interest and attorney's fees (not determined yet but undoubtedly substantial). And it only covers the time until ESRT filed for summary judgment (in April if I remember correctly). We also owe for the tower lease since May (plus interest on that, too). And the lease payments, which WBAI has paid nothing on since June, go up from about $60K to about $65K next month. The amount we owe them goes up every month.  —Bill


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

In defense of Credico's tantrums


Tuesday is here and, as far as I know, the big Credico threat has gone past its shelf time. But here's an email note that was sent about a month ago to Tony Bates and Berthold Reimers by John Pilger.

Mr. Pilger, an accomplished, highly lauded journalist and film maker, is someone WBAI should be happy to have on its air. It is to Randy Credico's credit that he managed to arrange that, but it apparently did not sit well with Tony Bates, who has disgraced even the existing remnant of WBAI with his fund raising scams and disrespect for the listener-sponsors. Whatever we think of Credico—who has done some good work on his show—it is clear that his vengeance binge has gotten the best of him. Still, I am beginning to understand why he is so embittered—he may be out to elbow a path for himself, but I'll take his on air approach over any of the crap Bates delivers with a nod from Reimers. 

Bates has made many enemies inside WBAI, but they put up with it because they don't want to be shown the door. Now we see that the utter and deserved disrespect Bates gets also comes from outside people whom the station can ill afford to alienate. Read about Pilger here and check out the note he sent to WBAI's destructive "management":


Monday, December 4, 2017

Fingering Berthold?


Last night, Sunday, December 3, 2017, Randy Credico responded to a seemingly endless, typically muddled, finger-pointing back-and-forth on what Pacifica and/or WBAI and/or individual heroes/villains have done, ought to do, or might do. 

He did it with another teaser, claiming once again to be a smokin' gun-totin' BAI Bandito. Never one to let an opportunity for attention go by, his ammo is in keeping with the tenor of the day. 

Just another puff of smoke? We'll see. Here's da latest from da Randy:   

You're all whistling past the grave . both Bates and Reimers are going down for not only corruption and no-show jobs but for sexual harassment... you can all stay in denial but this is happening and the Attorney General New York will be involved in this and I have a Smoking Gun... those at the Pacifica national board who are supporters are well aware of these charges and they are part of the problem these three members need to be kicked off... I will mention their names tomorrow

Friday, December 1, 2017

What was that again? (Updated Sat. 12-2-2017)


I don't know what all this has done to Randy Credico's mind, but it seems to have gone astray—at least in the following, which he posted at 12:50am (Friday, Dec. 1, 2017) under the heading PNB allows sexism at WBAI

In an era are sexual harassment and sexism in the workplace may she media he's being exposed and cleaned up only WBAI remains free from this kind of house cleaning.. every producer is awarr of the rank culture of sexual harassment and sexism at the station... you have to be goes on more to come trust me yes I will right now


Credico is still at it!
The following was added by Credico ay 10:18PM, Saturday, Nov. 2. I  have reproduced his text as he posted it:

Sex harrassment charges vs. berthold

Ithis is from a female former employee

This person will be going public in the coming days what will you be doing about it

"I was harassed by berthold by the way..sexual harrassment"

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Monday, November 27, 2017

CONfused "professor"


Ron Daniels is never at a loss for self-puffery, but even today's WBAI has callers who don't drink the Kool-Aid. 

No real reason for posting the following audio clip from today's Advantage Point show, but  while we wait for the important news...

Not so professorial moment.

Anger redux

 THIS JUST IN...
Someone apparently intercepted Randy’s descending towel!

Randy Credico at 1:02 am:
I will be on inside City Hall [NY 1]with errol Louis calling for the ny attorney general and  state controller to do a thorough audit of the books at WBAI it's time to bring this corruption to an end...i am not going away... the national board must get rid of these two vile and uneanted grifters..dont make the state have to act on behalf of the burned listeners and donors.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Credico anger update


The following quotes were posted by Randy Credico Today, Friday,  November 22, 2017. They speak for themselves, so I will not elaborate, but I wonder if the predictions are of the puffed Null variety.

I didn't have to wonder long. The Saturday sun rose this morning and lit up a Null-like U-turn. 

After a good night's sleep and much rumination I've decided to walk away from the whole thing.. time to put my energy somewhere else... it's not worth it so j wish the best of luck for all involved... there are bigger battles out there..i will not be discussing WBAI on NY1.. I had a great 18 months run at the station and 34 yr connection. —Randy Credico

It was only yesterday that we heard from Mr. Credico the following:

Reimers and Bates will probably be indicted before they are replaced

Berthold is under investigation by nycha for using his state and city subsidized home for Airbnb... he is a con man and we all know it and so is the con man that he hired Tony Bates to circumvent the LSB... I will not be quiet I will continue on a daily basis because I have a lot more on these two clowns


I have a dozen people who have complained that after 6 months they have yet to receive their premiums... we're told salary is more important and sending out premiums that's all he cares about

The opposition to Berthold and Tony Bates is burgeoning I have yet to meet one person that works there that likes either one of them... I will be discussing this on Monday or Tuesday on inside City Hall about the endemic Corruption of the these two clowns who think that they own the station and when they're out of there they won't be able to get a job managing a hot dog stand ...I mean would you hire them?   —Randy Credico

WBAI's uncivil civil war


You probably recall the honeymoon, that trip Randy Credico and Berthold Reimers made to Albany a few months ago. It culminated in a so-called "press conference" on the steps of New York's City Hall. The media was conspicuously absent from this press event, as were the station's listeners, but some WBAI producer/hosts and one or two minor politicians showed up. In short, it was another flop in this endless farce. A letter solicited from one politician was sent to the ESB legal people, but it failed to dissuade the judge, who ruled in King Kong's favor. It seems that nobody was buying the phonies up pleas of innocence. 

However, Reimers did give Credico a weekly time slot and there was a brief, ineffective story on the NY 1 channel, but WBAI and its "management" were, if anything, further ridiculed and subsequent fund raising efforts have yielded the most miserable results ever.

It is said that Tony Bates—who cajoled his way into a snug position at Reimers' bosom and is as widely despised in and around WBAI—deeply resented the effectiveness of Credico's elbows, so a seething internal battle surfaced and ended in Credico abruptly storming out.

Ended? Well, I guess not. We don't know the details yet, but Credico appears to be seething and bent on some form of revenge. This related but frivolous side act comes when the station and Pacifica are facing possible extinction, so be prepared.

A chronic protester, Credico obviously enjoys attention—Bates, not so much. So we know who fires the first shot. Apropos that, Credico posted the following publicly, yesterday. I have no hope left for a satisfactory solution to the Pacifica problem, but I think it is fair to surmise that Reimers is too cowardly to take either side. This is all so infantile—Bill Crosier should finally step in and dismiss them all. What do you think?

I will continue to fight I've got so much publicity coming to New Yorkers doing a profile on me this week I have New York one Newsweek to name a few I will not stop until this dictatorship by two dicks comes to an end thank you for your support let me add anyone that supports them should write me off of their list because I have no respect for anyone that has respect for Berthold and Tony Bates. —Randy Credico

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Mystery meeting acknowledged

Many are wondering if there was a PNB meeting yesterday and, if so, what happened. Pacifica iED Bill Crosier just posted the following response:


Yes, there was a PNB meeting last night, all in executive session.

No significant motions were approved - just minor ones like amending the agenda, approving minutes, and one other minor motion.

Sorry I can't give details - all exec. session.
—Bill

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

To be or not to be


Word has it that Pacifica's National Board will hold another emergency session tonight (Tuesday, November 21) and that this one will get down to the nitty gritty of reality. We'll see.

Heated discussions and warmed over opinions are taking place at and between all stations as everybody wait for the "big one", as Red Foxx used to say. If it doesn't come this week, it will pop out of the Pacifica cake very seen. Regardless of the Board's decision, it will heat up the babble and make a severely fractioned community even more so.

WBAI usually bears the brunt of accusations in this blame game, but mismanagement and incompetence is Foundation-wide.  In a letter posted today by a KPFA producer, Donald Goldmacher, he extols the virtues of his station—declaring it in perfect health—while more or less describing WBAI as a burden. Well, the truth they all so assiduously try to avoid belies Goldmacher's Reimeresque assertions—for example, KPFA's studio has a $250,000 lien on it.  The entire network of five stations is a model of nonfulfillment. A frivolous KPFA "report" recently regurgitated details of the neglect and abuse that has led to a network-wide mass exodus of listeners and general disrespect. 

Pacifica's national office is in as great a disarray as are the stations and I am sure WBAI is not the only station whose membership records and pledge commitments are outdated and incomplete.

As most of us know by now, WBAI has two factions, the Indy group and the JUCs. The latter is led by Cerene Roberts, a schemer whose second nature appears to be obstruction. A member of the station's LSB she also serves as a WBAI rep at PNB meetings and clearly gets her jollies from disrupting them to such an extent that nothing positive is accomplished. No, she is not the Patty McCormack variety of a bad seed, there is method in her abysmal behavior: a Machiavellian takeover of WBAI. 

This is so ludicrous that one almost blushes at the thought of it, but the JUCs—now in cahoots with a not so stellar West Coast Pacifica mob—are loosely aligned with a former WBAI person who runs a solidly financed Manhattan-based streaming organization and would love to add a powerful radio frequency to its channels. So, when Ms. Cerene feigns a love for WBAI and a desire to keep it with Pacifica, she is actually being her devious self. A West Coast group of Pacifica associates have long been working on a takeover of the Foundation, but that didn't pan out. It did, however, spark ideas in Cerene's circles—a group of self-serving street corner activists who had managed to gain sufficient control of WBAI to change its direction. Community radio was far too broad a tag, they thought, so they redefined the term to comprise only a small segment of the New York area community: themselves.

And who were they? The very same people one used to find preaching pap on the street corners of 125th Street and in the Village. Weak, racially motivated management had opened WBAI's microphones to intelligence defying individuals of actual and imagined black ancestry. When Pacifica's founding principles got in the way—as they increasingly did—they were simply disregarded. 

The quality and substance of WBAI's programs had already undergone severe dilution, but now—more and more—the focus was placed on "people of color", specifically the less enlightened. One of Pacifica's goals had been to offer listeners of all stripes an intelligent alternative to pedestrian commercial broadcast fare, but now its stations came close to counteracting rationality and knowledge. The lowered standard, lack of substance and general stagnation eventually took its toll and listenership began to decline.

Bills piled up, but none as high as the antenna hookup at the Empire State Building. That one had accumulated to a couple of million dollars when WBAI/Pacifica was sued for the arrears plus legal fees. It all seemed to play into the hands of the JUCs, who had worked diligently to bring the station down and make it ripe for acquisition. 

The LMA (Local Marketing Agreement) option is a deal where ownership is retained but the station is leased to another broadcaster. It was welcomed by many until word got around that LMAs have a history of ending as outright sales. Probably with that in mind, the JUCs have escalated and made more transparent their wish to have WBAI offered as a LMA. However, all their scheming is not likely to get them any closer to seeing a friendly takeover or the continuance of a New York station for passé race-based propaganda.

Here, in a letter posted yesterday, is Interim Executive Director Bill Crosier's explanation clarification:

From Bill Crosier

I am completely opposed to a PSOA (like an LMA except for nonprofits).
 
For nonprofit stations, the FCC does not allow a PSOA to provide any more money to the owner of the license (Pacifica, in this case) than is necessary to pay current operating expenses of the station (WBAI). A PSOA cannot legally be used to pay debt, and in fact the station would not be able to do additional fund raising while a PSOA is in place to pay off debt. The FCC has levied large fines on stations that have done that. Talk that I've heard from some in NY about "creative ways" of using a PSOA to pay future tower lease obligations to Pacifica in order to pay off debt makes no sense at all. The future tower lease obligation is owed to ESRT, not to Pacifica, so how would a PSOA help with that? It cannot help.
 
What we need more than anything else is money to pay off debt, including the ESRT judgment, additional legal expenses for the ESRT case, and additional unpaid tower lease payments that have not been made since May. We also have several millions of dollars of other debt, independent of the tower lease. A PSOA would make it impossible to (legally) use WBAI to help pay off any of that.
 
A PSOA would also be, in effect, like giving the station away at a bargain basement price - not a good move for either WBAI nor for the rest of Pacifica.
 
So, yes, you all are right to ask who would benefit from a PSOA. 
Bill

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Unvarnished Nov 15, 2017 drive pledge list...


Somewhat short of expectations, but every cent counts at this point. Here, in PDF format, is a breakdown of the pledges, as our fly registered it. The names of donors have been removed, to preserve a modicum of privacy, but the zip codes paint an interesting picture—not many responses from the East Coast.

What the fly saw at day's end.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

That fly on the wall...


November 13, the day of reckoning set by the court in the case of King Kong versus Pinocchio, has come and gone without any decisive action by either party.

In the wee hours of this morning, rumors mixed with dilettante radio to pollute the air from coast to coast with a network-wide fund raiser. Some of us wondered why this drive was aimed at supporting the Pacifica Audio Archive; not because that isn't a worthy cause, but the timing seemed odd since Pacifica itself is in a hopeless situation, facing the biggest financial crisis in its close to 70-year history.

The schedule became less perplexing as the Wednesday sun came up on the East Coast and Pacifica finally focused on the more immediate problem. There was little mention of the actual problem, and barely a hint of it being self-afflicted, but one again had to question the wisdom of Pacifica's National Board. How much money did the Foundation expect to raise by repeating the previous day's pitches and offering the same flash stick sampler? Remember, the listenership had already been reduced to its all-time low—did they expect to reach a different remnant of shoppers?

It is this sort of naïve, inexperienced dabbling that has Pacifica's demise tagged as a suicide mission.

The second day of imploring is still going on as I write this—same slightly skewed pitches, same games of tag with reality, same emphasis on black-oriented material. That little stick is a remarkable collection of sounds that reflect Pacifica's past, but it obviously has not occurred to the drive's dimwitted architects that nearly all the little stick's enduring, precious content stems from the earlier years, a time when honesty, integrity and intellect mattered to Pacifica's producers as well as its audience. 

They are attempting to sell exquisite vintage wine to Koolaid connoisseurs. They are not recognizing the fact that Pacifica abandoned loyal, appreciative listeners by lowering its standards beyond recognition and gnawing at credit cards instead of nourishing absorbent intellect.

So, how are they doing? Are the fish biting?

The PNB doors are still closed to the paying/listening public, so we don't know exactly what is going on. Last heard, bankruptcy and signal swaps were neck-to-neck options, but who know what else they might come up with? 

As for the current drive, there are flies on the wall and one of them gave us a little tally buzz.

From the looks of it—and here I have to be deliberately vague—the total pledged by 10 PM EST is close to $70,000. A small sum when one considers the 2 million owed the Empire State Building so far—Although this figure does not include KPFA, which probably uses volunteers instead of a phone service, this is not very encouraging.

The WBAI area calls have so far amounted to about a dozen out of 250 and the number of pledges reported by WPFW, Washington DC, can be counted on the fingers of one hand!

None of this is surprising.

Bear in mind that these are not net income figures: the memory sticks cost money, as does packaging and shipping.

There was not a lot of urgency in the few mentions I heard regarding the drive's raison d'etre, but here's how Brian Edwards-Tiekert put it as the second day began:


Thursday, November 9, 2017

"Family" feud?


Wannabe radio pro Michael Haskins keeps trying to convince us and himself that WBAI is one happy "family". Sure, and bacon is a dietary food endorsed by Null and Void. 

Apropos living the lie, I thought you might find the following brief exchange illuminating. We know that Credico went poof and Bates has the credibility of Goebbels, but the following gives us a closer look. Mind you, there are a book-full of such stories at WBAI—this is but one. And that clock keeps ticking...

A PINK SLIP

On Nov 8, 2017 7:38 PM, "Tony Bates" <tonybates@wbai.org> wrote:


Dear Mr. Credico,

I am writing to inform you that WBAI management has made the decision end our relationship with you and the program "Live On The Fly" with Randy Credico.  This decision has been made due to your internet bullying and harassment of WBAI management.

Further, it appears from social media sources that you may have attempted to damage WBAI financially, by initiating a boycott of the station via Julian Assange and or John Pilger, as demonstrated by the link below.

The actions mentioned above are unacceptable at WBAI. 

Thank you for the time you've donated to WBAI.

Gook luck with your future endeavors. 



Tony Bates
Programming Manager

... and A RESPONSE 

On Thu, Nov 9, 2017 at 12:57 PM,Randy Credico <credico2014@gmail.com> wrote:

So says the veteran sexual harasser ..and objectifier of all things breathing...your sordid sick verbal lust for Naomi Wolf as an example...all know about it Bates... I will deal with your libelous false charges with management...you are not nor ever will be program director so please do not send me any more of your twisted vindictive missives.

...sorry about your 5th consecutive abysmal fund drive effort...you are responsible nobody else..now stop the harassment ..

Randy Credico
Host and producer
Live on the Fly Tuesdays on WBAI

PS  how you, who have no visible record of achievement in any field of endeavor, could insult a living legend who does have one with 100s of awards, John Pilger, not once but twice, is blasphemous and an insult to the spirit of WBAI and Pacifica... you should step down immediately so the station can recover from your short reign of error and terror 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Outside looking in...


As November 13, 2017 looms large, we have heard a variety of proposed solutions, mostly from people who don't know what they are talking about.

The people at Spark News know the world of community radio better than most, so let's take a good look at the options they published today, November 7, 2017.



Tracy Rosenberg asked:
Did  the PNB authorize this fundraising for bankruptcy? (Kind've a dumb idea. All the people who donated to pay for the audits should ask for their money back. I'm going to. I didn't give you money for this garbage). 

If not, you need to have better control over what information your employees distribute to their coworkers. 

Below you will find a little more why-bankruptcy-is-the-worlds-worst-idea material. As if you haven't seen enough by now.

KPFA's Program Director, Laura Prives, wrote:

Pacifica Needs Our Help

Everybody knows the financial pressure the foundation is under and we’re all hopeful that together we can find a way to turn around the Pacifica foundation's financial situation.

On November 14th the Pacifica Radio Archive will air their yearly pledge drive and KPFA will host a second day billed as building a bigger and stronger network on Wednesday, November 15th. KPFA has been asked by the National office to host this extra day of fundraising for the upcoming struggle to stay on the air.


Additional fundraising is not exactly what any us want to do, but under the dire circumstances, I hope you’ll join in and do your best to raise a $150 thousand dollars all five stations will be working towards. Bill Crosier and Sam Agarwal have informed us the funds raised will be used as a down payment for our bankruptcy lawyers.


I apologize for the late notice. Please email me directly at pd@kpfa.org if you have any questions.


I'll be contacting folks to host and pitch today.


Thanks for your patience and please hope for a better future for Pacifica,
Laura
Bill Crosier reacted:
About the extra fundraising we need (and plan to do on Nov. 15 in a national fund drive, immediately after the Nov. 14 PRA annual fund drive):

I was not there, but apparently things were not reported quite correctly at KPFA's LSB meeting on Saturday.

It's true that a few weeks ago, after the judge issued his decision in the ESRT case about the unpaid WBAI tower rental, chapter 11 bankruptcy was looking more likely. We knew that if we had to file ch. 11 in order to prevent ESRT from seizing assets, we would need at least $150K for just paying a retainer to get a bankruptcy filing started.

Since then, Sam Himmelstein has urged us not to panic, and we are hoping to avoid having to file for bankruptcy. Chapter 11 bankruptcy does have certain advantages (including stopping collection activities by ESRT and any other creditors, and giving us more time), but it also brings additional significant costs and difficulties.

We have started the process for applying for a loan, using a building as collateral. It may take a couple of weeks to get the loan approved, and after that the PNB will still have to approve the actual loan. A loan cannot be the whole solution to the ESRT tower lease problem, though, because a loan will have high interest payments because of our bad credit and because it just refinances part of the debt. We need more than just the minimum needed to pay the judgment. The loan will NOT provide enough funds for all this:
  • the judgment plus additional unpaid lease amounts that have accrued since May, plus interest and legal fees, and the rest of the tower lease, and unfunded pension liabilities and penalties that we need to pay in the next few months for all stations, to cover the last several years.
Plus we have several million more of other debt, but just let me address the above for now.

We are looking for frequency swaps, for WBAI or WPFW (not both) to provide funds that won't have to be paid back. A few Directors have suggested selling buildings to do that, although I don't think that will provide enough usable net cash unless all buildings are sold, which I don't see as feasible. But either a frequency swap or selling buildings may take time to finalize, and it became clear that if we don't have to file for bankruptcy, we are likely to need the loan more for some of the other obligations noted above, so we don't end up back in court in a few months.

So I think we may need $150K or more soon, whether we use it for a retainer for bankruptcy (again, which I hope we can avoid), or for paying interest on a loan that we may need very soon.

But both Sam Agarwal and I want everyone to know that perhaps the worst thing to do would be to get a loan using a building as collateral without a decision by the PNB on exactly how we're going to pay back the loan. It would be dangerous to risk losing one of our buildings to foreclosure in a few months when we can't make the interest payments, or at the end of the loan if we can't pay back the principal.  If that happens, we'll probably be in bankruptcy anyway, but with an additional problem that we don't have now (loan in default).

We're still waiting on some offers that I think will come soon for frequency swaps, but we don't have them yet so we can't decide which one to take until we actually have at least one offer that's acceptable.

But stay tuned over the next couple of weeks, as we get more information.

In the meantime, today the transcript and judge's order was posted (and signed by the correct judge this time) on the NY courts web site for the ESRT case.  It will still be at least two weeks before anything else can happen, but we need to remain vigilant about that.
Bill

Monday, November 6, 2017

A tale of steal, beg, borrow?


Ford Greene Q&A PNB 20171102
an 'Indigopirate' summary

Sam Agarwal, CFO, asks as to individual board members’ fiduciary responsibility. Greene replies: You must be open, honest, must do your best, and must do what’s best for the organization as a whole while respecting the rights of persons in the minority point of view.

The long range issue, as Greene sees it, is to come up with a long term financial plan and debt repayment plan, and not to panic and lose sight of what’s best for Pacifica in the long haul, the immediate concern being the $8m in debt which comes due in the next six months.

If the finances are not addressed adequately, Pacifica will not be around.

More questions follow as to board member personal fiduciary responsibility, in part asking if the standards aren’t lower and more flexible for nonprofit boards.

Greene replies the standards are essentially the same.

Greene is asked under whose authority he filed notice of appeal with respect to board membership questions as to Sharon Brown and Mansoor Sabbagh. His reply is that he did so under the instruction of iED Bill Crosier.

Question is posed as to repercussions of a director failing to fulfill their fiduciary responsibility. Greene replies that in most cases  it would be civil, and in some cases criminal with a maximum sentence of six months and fine of $1,000.

A further question is posed as to Greene’s authority to file appeal re Sharon Brown. Greene replies that ethically he is required to take his ‘marching orders’ from the iED, as he is required to represent the organization as directed by the organization highest officer.

A questioner states that they have been advised to evaluate Pacifica’s financial situation and assets as a whole in order to devise a plan to move forward. She complains that her perception is that Greene has favored one particular path forward rather than everyone engaging in a discussion, and that she considers this threatening. Greene says that that was not his intent.

Greene emphasizes the vital importance of assessing the status of all five stations as a whole, as well as debt obligations, and that there ought be a clear, explicit, long range plan.

Question is then posed challenging Greene’s advisory role, arguing that Greene is stepping out of his role as counselor. Greene’s reply is that it isn’t his place to say a particular path might be a violation of fiduciary responsibility and that he’s tried to stay short of advising any particular course of action. 

At this point the open session is concluded, and proceedings move to Closed Session.


~ ‘indigopirate’
An October 26 PNB meeting excerpt.

We are gathered here...


Those hare-brained dabblers whose incompetence and nano-vision continued the misguided work of people like Samori Marksman and Bernard White have now all but succeeded in their efforts to metaphorically turn WBAI dark. No, they didn't flip the light switch, but they filled the air with one-sided racist rhetoric, bland chatter, pedestrian pseudo spirituality and more infomercials than Ron Pompeil created in a lifetime. As its program content grew worse, more dishonest and distant from Pacifica's principles, the likes of Tony Bates, Kathy Davis and Geoff Brady led the way to where WBAI now stands—teetering precariously on the precipice of oblivion.

Though cowardly out of sight and reach, Berthold Reimers underscored how unfit he is for the $110,000.00 job by sanctioning the staff's huge strides towards the obtainment of personal goals.

This "family", as the hopelessly insincere Michael Haskins calls them, entered deeper into the realm of scam holding hands but they pursue different ends. The more narcissistic ones seek to keep what they regard as their proprietary air time, others have business interests to maintain, and a few more hype self-serving, passé political agendas.

It all adds up to a WBAI that is narrow in scope and intellectually handicapped to a point where the overwhelming percentage of its loyal supporters have tuned out and reduced the listenership to the lowest in its 57-year history as a Pacifica station.

A pronounced atmosphere of mistrust exists on both sides of the microphone, nourished by Reimers who rarely is seen outside of his small inner circle of favorites du jour. Only he knows the actual figures that make up the station's income and how that money is disbursed. 

Despite repeated claims of WBAI being the voice of truth, a courageous Government target and "victim" of the Empire State Building, which is owed about 3 million dollars in rent arrears, there is little or no sympathy for the station. It has neither credibility nor a discernible moral stand. Until recently, the feuding factions were clearly defined, but as the end draws near and not so well-hatched plots to take command fall by the wayside, it is beginning to look like a backstabbing fest.

They have aired a couple of live discussions for the stated purpose of giving listeners an inside look and an opportunity to voice their opinion, make suggestions, etc. We used to have a two-way Report to the Listener every week—it was in keeping with the station being in a partnership with its listening sponsors and it proved to be very helpful to us, as well. Many excellent ideas came to our producers from hearing criticism as well as praise. Callers were not screened and, unlike today, neither were they cut off for expressing negative feelings. It's all about communicating and that can only be accomplished if everybody listens as well as speaks.

As we so sadly see when viewing WBAI's present situation, lies only breed more lies and lead to secrecy. There is an abundance of all that at the present WBAI and it is a sure sign of mismanagement and underhanded behavior.

We may never get to the bottom of it, but the expiry date is probably on the current calendar.

Most of what I state here is redundant and for that I apologize. It was my hope that this blog would help inspire a desire for recovery, but that was obviously naïve thinking on my part. It is true that WBAI does not carry commercials or receive financial corporate support, but individual producers have their own hustles going on the air and one could say that the many months of thinly disguised fundraising is equivalent to running infomercials—in fact, arguably worse, for the products ("premiums") are usually junk, always overpriced, and many times downright fraudulent.

At this stage, WBAI will be missed by remarkably few; we are talking about a radio station that for the past few years has not been allowed to breathe freely, a station that could have remained significant and blossomed further were it not for the gross incompetence of those who abused it.

Here is a letter that was posted today by one of WBAI's staff representatives on the Local Station Board. It is written under the pretext of seeking information regarding a meeting that is scheduled to take place three days later. The practical approach would have been for the writer, Mr. Riley, to simply give Mr. Young a call, but this letter is typical of the faction strain that has come to characterize the LSB and PNB meetings. It's a game played with inherent clumsiness.  —Chris  


November 5, 2017

To: Robert Young, WBAI Local Station Board Chair
Cc: Entire LSB

Dear Bob, At this time of extreme crisis and some irrevocable decisions about WBAI being contemplated by the Pacifica National Board (PNB), I'm writing to ask what plans you have for this Wednesday's LSB agenda to make sure that the board has sufficient information to take a position regarding the debt to the Empire State Building and the fate of WBAI. 

A swirling set of issues are being discussed by the PNB - - from a signal-swap to bankruptcy to loans. And it's critical that we, the governing board of WBAI, engage in due diligence to regarding the legalities, rules, practices, and pros/cons of all options. That requires bringing in experts. The interests of WBAI's listeners and staff may not be in alignment with those currently making decisions. 

A signal-swap would permanently affect WBAI's reach and listenership. We likely would be stuck with a signal that that has far fewer listeners which would make it harder to generate sufficient resources for ongoing support of our station. I agreed with your suggestion that the LSB hold an emergency board meeting BEFORE this week to deal with this situation, and I sent you several possible dates. You said you were still working on it, but never got back to me. On Thursday I left a message asking if you'd support inviting experts on these issues to this Wednesday's meeting but you never replied. 

I intend to introduce 2 resolutions on Wednesday: one opposing a signal swap, the other calling an emergency LSB meeting to dig deeper into the options with experts on either Wed., Nov. 15 at 7 PM or Sat., Nov, 18 during the day. 

Please include these items on the agenda, and let us all know if you will support including at least 45 minutes on this Wednesday's agenda to hear from and ask questions of at least one expert on some of these issues (if available). Of course I am willing to help locate such a speaker. 

Sincerely,

John Riley
Staff representative, WBAI Local Station Board