Monday, January 2, 2017
Sober look at the rubble
The reality of a destructive faction of Pacifica and its owned stations systematically engaging in a power grab has been known for some time. Indeed, it has become increasingly evident as PNB and committee meetings streamed much of the collusion that developed between like-minded factions at these stations. We heard a ruling majority maneuver votes and rewrite rules in order to move closer to their goal. They even engaged in illegal activity and all with the sanction, if not the covert participation of the Pacifica Foundation's own legal counsel.
Pacifica's last national election severely reduced the obstructionists' faction to a minority, setting in motion a last minute rush to obtain power through manipulation of votes. Sad to say, the damage is done, listenership has been reduced to its lowest point and there is very little money to work with as the debt continues to pile up.
Jim Dingeman is among the few veteran WBAI activists who has been working diligently to knock some sense into the station's management, but Berthold Reimers and his cronies are impossible to communicate with, whether you are a listener-supporter, an honest, earnest person volunteering expertise in fund raising, or a host-producer unwilling to play the game.
When I read the following assessment by Jim Dingeman, it did not surprise me, because he has over the years regularly attempted to wake up this dormant propaganda machine we call WBAI. That includes, in recent years, warning against regressive suggestions to engage in a signal swap with a less powerful station or a Local Marketing Agreement (LMA), which is intended as a temporary arrangement where the station is leased to another broadcaster. LMA's are often the first step in selling a station, which is what the aforementioned faction seems to have in mind.
Here is Jim's assessment of the current situation:
The issue of raising the signal swap or doing an LMA is advocated by some who clearly will benefit by it.
Some of these folks have basically gotten us to this point by three years of absolute unadulterated bullshit excuses and deliberate malfeasance in losing Pacifica as a whole several million dollars in CPB money.
While the discourse in California is certainly a reason why we are having a more intense debate I should note that to my knowledge NOBODY else in Pacifica was brought into this process.
I also reject the seeming reasonableness of the California gestalt of wanting everybody to calm down and take a breath..It usually is a mask for a determined political agenda cloaked in sugar and sweet kumbaya rhetoric
This of course comes at a time when we will soon be in a period of GOP dominance in the three branches of government... we have already been exposed to deliberate manipulation of the reality of how we have gotten here by falsehoods perpetuated on air, i.e. the feds did this to us, not elements of a majority faction on the PNB.
I see NO, repeat NO, common ground with people who want to basically cannibalize a 50,000 watt signal station in the largest metro market in the United States for their own purposes.
These people include many who politely IGNORE the basic factoid of the collapse of the listener audience due to the decline of the appeal of the programming content in EVERY signal area to people who listen to radio.
At this point, I understand their basic denial of the basic facts as a form of cognitive dissonance, a very human trait. People only like to hear what reinforces their assumptions and propositions and folks here are no different.
Instead of focusing on improving content for the past 15 years we have basically been confronted by a host of individuals who in many cases do not know shit from shineola about broadcasting and do not care to learn to those who have a stake in NOT changing anything. Such attitudes have led to this situation.
Unless a honest facing of these facts is done even if they succeed in a temporary cash bonanza from the demise of WBAI they still will ultimately fail because they still assume the programming, which has evidenced for twenty years or more every possible metric of decline, is honkey dorry.
I attach a breakdown of the U.S population and how marketers perceive it.. Overwhelmingly the bulk of the stations' listenership in every area is aging baby boomers... period.
A tremendous amount of effort has gone into preserving WBAI at this time from dozens of listeners let alone dozens of producers.
That potential, which has in dollar signs easily been tens of thousands of dollars worth of free labor over the past several years, remains a potential untapped force to be unleashed.
It is thwarted by a number of factors but frankly at this point I have to castigate the overworked current management team at WBAI for basically not exploiting this.. this includes all of them.
To me it is illogical to not let talented people work for free to basically help others get paid... it does not make sense.
I also find that in the past ten years the bottom line is that the subscriber base has declined by over 50% and the listenership easily as much, at times.
If people in good faith put forth ideas to alter this and the current implemented montage of ideas have not changed the balance of the basic facts but been directed simply at self preservation has not the time arrived to try out new approaches as well?
It is one thing to change the grid which is still the same as existed in the nineties, except with some tweaking.
Sure, the producers collectively have a lot of power and can raise holy hell but if they are not on the air anymore after a swap or sale then who the hell cares over some of them thinking the way they do now?
The thrust should be to make WBAI a force among millions, not dozens... the possibility of that is always there but the slow deadly impact of fiscal attrition chips away at the possibility of resiliently turning the place around... there are things we should have doing after Sandy and we still get the run around over them.
Enough is Enough —Jim Dingeman