Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Dog ate my excuse

Updated with audio July 26, 2017 6:15 PM

Many months ago, confronted by ESRT’s turning to the courts for enforcement of WBAI/Pacifica’s contract, Crosier presented WBAI/Pacifica’s offer in settlement to ESRT, which offer consisted of suggesting ESRT settle for a small fraction of the value of the contract.

Crosier and WBAI/Pacifica were surprised in the time following that there was no response from ESRT to their offer in settlement.

Today, after WBAI/Pacifica had pointed happily several days ago to the fact that following some local officials having sent letters sympathetic to WBAI/Pacifica to ESRT, ESRT had requested a meeting, concluding that WBAI/Pacifica’s ‘pressure’ would force ESRT to present a ‘reasonable’ counter offer as to financial terms, Crosier, Himmelstein (WBAI/Pacifica’s pro bono firm), et al were ‘disappointed’ that ESRT presented no counter offer in settlement, but instead presented a series of questions centering solely on WBAI/Pacifica’s ability to pay monies due per contract, and particularly focusing on why WBAI/Pacifica claimed it was unable to raise the monies due by a signal swap, with the accompanying sale of their existing frequency, which, as a commercial frequency in the center of the FM band in the New York Metropolitan market, is of considerable value.

According to Crosier, they attempted to explain why they found this ‘very, very difficult,’ ie, effectively impossible to accomplish.

There have been several points in the past years where signal swaps have been proposed, internally, for various reasons, principally financial. Such a swap would require, according to Pacifica’s bylaws, a vote of the Pacifica National Board, and on all such previous occasions neither the local nor the national stakeholders were able even to approach the possibility of such a change.

That internal dysfunction is the reason why a signal swap is effectively ‘very, very difficult’ in WBAI/Pacifica’s view and understanding, if not quite simply impossible.

This line of argument as to why ESRT ought to accept WBAI/Pacifica’s continuing as it has in the past, not paying them the monies contractually due, seems to have had little effect on ESRT’s position to date.

~ ‘indigopirate’
What Berthold Reimers had to say. It is essentially complete, but I edited out some musical interruptions and confusion derived therefrom.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Suicide watch: Waitin' to die


New filings for King Kong

From 'indigopirate'
These recent filings from Himmelstein appear to me, a layman, to attempt to do two things: 1) Argue explicitly as opposed to implicitly for unconscionability as to the contract; 2) In support of that attempt, introduce a statement from Crigler, a well-regarded communications lawyer.

There is a great deal of noise in the unholy mess of Himmelstein’s arguments as presented, much of which seems to me to strongly suggest that Himmelstein is utterly and absolutely well beyond their depth. In addition to the sheer confusion of presentation and argument and a seemingly near-random presentation of citations in support, consider one trivial but striking minor item: Himmelstein at several points employs as if in quasi-magical fashion the legal phrase ‘nun pro tunc’. The actual term, however, is nunc pro tunc and would seem to me to have little if any valid applicability in this context, and even less as invoked by Himmelstein.

Perhaps I err.

As to substance:
Previously Himmelstein had at best argued en passant and implicitly for unconscionability. They seem, now, to be attempting to have another go at it, emphasizing in argument that it’s an affirmative defense while in no way addressing the shortcomings of that argument already addressed by ESRT – they simply repeat that market conditions were sharply adverse at the time the lease was signed, and they produce a statement from Crigler, a communications lawyer, to that effect.

ESRT has already fully addressed the unconscionability argument, though it was only implicitly presented, and none of this new material presents any new evidence of any sort that I can see.

‘Buyers regret’ that conditions at the time of lease favored ESRT and that in the time since WBAI/Pacifica has beggared itself is a less-than-compelling argument in my opinion.

It will be interesting to see ESRT and the Court’s response and judgement

~ ‘indigopirate’

Here are the documents in PDF format:
Notice of Motion
Affirmation Support
Exhibit A
Exhibit B

Monday, July 17, 2017

Circus Credico redux

If you watched the video of last Thursday's bizarre, mis-labeled WBAI "press conference" and have sufficient knowledge of the station's past, you may have spotted some old performers in Randy Credico's one-ring circus, doddering left-overs who probably showed up on City Hall's steps more out of habit than true concern. After all, this is not the radio station that used to energize and inspire them, but the decomposed remains of a dream they once thought deferred. Circus Credico did not introduce any new acts, nor was it able to drum up a new audience—it was the old choir shouting into an abyss and hearing the decayed echo with scripted delight. It was, in fact, group masturbation from which even the claim of momentary satisfaction would have been a stretch.

Some of you may recall the time when WBAI—then in its early stages of decay—was housed in a former church on Manhattan's East Side. It was still a radio station, it had real studios, and it attracted performers, producers and listeners of real talent and intellect. 

Unfortunately, it also attracted people with ulterior motives who saw an opportunity to further their own nefarious agendas. One such person was Percy Sutton, the slick—some would say, slimy—founder of Inner City Broadcasting whose career was a mixture of the commendable and contemptible. Sutton's association with WBAI was peripheral and is said to have involved the station's loss of the church location. In short, told that it was liable for property taxes, the management was forced to sell the church. It is the complicated story of an unwise and, I am told, avoidable decision.

The following enticing footnote comes from an anonymous viewer of this blog, who followed WBAI's sordid history for many years: 

"You may or may not have noticed the presence of Ralph Engelman at the rally at City Hall," he writes. "Engelman was the point man for Percy Sutton’s people on the local board in late 1976 – early 1977. It was Engelman who ordered the station off the air in order to shift the station radically (pun intended) away from the original vision toward one of explicit political advocacy.

"As such, it is of course amusing to see him in the present context, once again invoking the original principles which he played a leading role in abandoning and betraying.

Here is Mr. Engelman last Thursday with
ringmaster Credico behind him.
"In a sense, Engelman is/was emblematic of the abandonment and betrayal of Pacifica's foundational goals and principles—while invoking them every moment, every second. He particularly drove Margot Adler nuts. She was in many ways the lead person in trying to save the station as originally conceived.

Thus Engelman was effectively the man who pulled the plug on actual free speech at free speech radio."

Perhaps perfectly innocent, but nevertheless interesting.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

WBAI's secret press conference

Thursday, July 13, WBAI staged what they called a "press conference" on the steps of City Hall. They should have asked Trump to do the headcount for the sad fact is that it did not attract many people and those who did show up were for the most part the very people to whom WBAI owes its steady decline. Berthold Reimers was there. He is the guy who wanted us to believe that all was well and that he had the Empire State Building crisis under control. We have grown used to such deception from Reimers; his main occupation over the past nine years seems to have been to cover up his own ineptitude. 

True, he did not sign the ESB rental agreement in question, but neither did he cry foul until he had created an arrears exceeding $2,000,000.00. When the landlord he pretended to have disarmed decided to sue, Reimers continued to say that all was well and when his prevarication began to disrupt the storyline and threaten the existence of Pacifica itself, they concocted a tall tale that made them out to be the innocent victims of dastardly Capitalism. 

The agreement, they now said, had been signed under force and stress by a man who has since "transitioned" to a place outside of WBAI's range. Yes, the money was owed, all two point three million, but how dare these beneficiaries of ill-gotten priviledge insist on getting paid? Don't they know that this is WBAI, the station that symbolizes all that's good and worthy in this world? Haven't they been listening to the fanciful revised history of Africa's shaping of the world? Did any other station offer distilled tap water that cures everything but the common cold? A battery operated "zapper" that heals any ailments double helix water might miss? Who else pointed out that the Fourth of July and the star spangled banner originated centuries ago in an Egyptian pyramid? Also, let us not forget those endless infomercials that dominate WBAI's air pitching bogus "thank you gifts" that you pay for but never receive? Who else would charge for disservice and false hope? Who else would give you the real cult-based lowdown on the London ferris wheel and warn you about the hidden evils of the one planned for Staten Island? What other radio station strives to drive away listeners, depriving them of the deep, philosophical insights of home-grown self-proclaimed spiritualist Kathy Davis, the extraordinary mindless patter of "The Illustrious Blacks", or a slavery obsessed egotist "chief announcer" who can't deliver a simple sentence? 

There is but one answer: WBAI, the station that devised an assembly line of misinformation when it realized the folly of telling it like it is, the station these billionaires now wish to silence.

Ever original, this was a press conference shunned by the press—unanswered questions outnumbered the attendee count, but none were asked. For WBAI, that's a good thing; given the facts of this case, the less said about it, the better. 

How dare these Capitalist realtors ask for the money owed them? How dare anyone suggest that this precious little radio station honor its signed commitment? Never mind that opposing views are kept off its air, don't they know that this is a free speech station? Don't they know that those who are allowed to speak on its air are free to say whatever they want?  

The group comprised the station's on-air occupants, and a sprinkling of hangers-on; some undoubtedly had a modicum of sincerity left, but these were mostly opportunists with store-bought halos who feel they have been wronged by everything that is right.

Some carried large hand-scrawled signs—not to protest the the landlord's rightful demands, but to promote their shows. That said it all: this gathering called for the preservation of inferior radio and the inalienable right of the assembled few not to revert to the noble, principled aims set forth by Pacifica's founders in 1949.

Predictably, it had the air of a B-movie farce—bozos with blinders. Let me emphasize that WBAI is not entirely without caring and capable people who generate good radio, but they seemed wisely to have stayed away from this ludicrous sideshow. 

Randy Credico's tireless efforts to make this a show worthy of the evening news hinted at the presence of supporting politicians, including the Mayor himself, but only two showed up in person and it is my impression that they may be genuinely unaware of WBAI's drastic deterioration and subsequent abandonment by thinking people. What they did hear was shallow fare, ranging from an upset ex-Panther regurgitating embedded anger to the station's poet in residence, a wimpy wannabe who rendered a bizarre, somewhat embarrassing and clearly ill-timed work. 

Mimi in costume, sans cork.
Included are two links: the half hour audio edited for broadcast by Linda Perry, and an un-expunged video posted on Youtube by Joe Friendly.

After you listen or watch, I hope you will share your thoughts in the comments section. (Text edited 7-14 at 11:27 am)

The audio as aired

The unedited video

Monday, July 10, 2017

Neer-do-well and the sunrise drama queen...

It is Monday, July 10, 2017 and WBAI's fate, pushed to the brink by Berthold Reimers and his coterie of chumps, rests in the mighty hands of King Kong. As the moment of truth approaches, the dysfunctional Berthold Reimers emerges to pay a rare visit to the make-believe "studio". Here, in case you missed it, is this meeting of the mindless. 

In an act of compassion, the following audio clip does not contain the entire grueling two hours of Haskins' Monday morning mess, but you will hear the grim essence of Reimers' visit. Note the outrageous, inexcusable poor quality of the audio and bear in mind that Haskins is WBAI's "chief engineer". 

Earth Mum's Gypsy

Here's a little aside that illustrates how far off track Berthold's bozos have taken WBAI. Helena Faith Miel, who calls herself "Earth Mum" does odds and ends at the station, including the "Community Bulletin Board" and "Morning Eclectic", a weekly show that appears to be organic, but whose intended nature is a bit blurry. Last week, Micky Vermooch, a British Gypsy psychic, exorcist, master of paranormal palaver, etc., was her phone guest via a transatlantic call. Earth Mum announced that she would be taking calls if anyone wished to speak to him—Maxine did, but is this the sort of thing we should be hearing on WBAI?

Maxine's call.

I'm sure Earth Mom (hate the nickname) is a nice, well-meaning lady, but this sort of thing (remember "Mr. Z"?) is as bogus as anything Tony Bates will throw at you.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

It will come out in the end.....

On July 8. 2017, Marilyn Vogt-Downey, a confused Reimers apologist, wrote on the Pacifica Radio Waves list serv:

"...the Finance Committee /did/, finally, pass a resolution on Thursday night, I understand, that DOES call for the LSB to demand from the GM full financial accounting. THAT took a while!!"

(Note that the GM, perhaps with that demand in mind, was a no-show for the second time in a row. —CA)

Aware of Ms. Vogt-Downey's naïveté and scant knowledge of WBAI's past, R. Paul Martin, the WBAI LSB Treasurer, posted the following response:

"That motion was to remind the LSB that we have been complaining about the General Manager not giving us the information we've been asking for for YEARS. The motion is not really bringing a new concern to the LSB, so it's not like we "finally" passed such a motion."

This sort of concern is repeatedly brought up in the written Treasurer's Reports to the WBAI LSB, as well as oral ones....

I have to question whether the General Manager is able, at this time, to account for the radio station's revenue. I've been asking him to give me information on a test case for a couple of months now, and he hasn't bothered to reply.

The General Manager has sent out a draft FY18 budget. It calls for a daily tally of $15,000 a day during 'thons. This is a tally that's about 50% higher than what the reality was in FY17. Inflated, unrealistic 'thon projections are not the way to make a radio station self sufficient again.

Former Reimers apologist Mitch Cohen added his comment, which underscores just how underhanded internal politics stirs the pot. R. Paul Martin wants us to think that he tells it like it is, but he, too is swayed by the nefarious flip-floppers. It should be noted that he has a one-hour show of his own, which he apparently wants to keep although it is of no value to the station. Here's what Mitchel had to say:

Funny how the Finance Committee passed the resolution, which it had passed several times before over the years. .... but that last month when I proposed that the Finance Committee pass the same resolution requesting the documents from management that the committee needs to do its work, it got zero votes, with R Paul Martin abstaining and with the JUC members voting against it.  —Mitchel

R. Paul does not mention the fact that the General Manager (Berthold Reimers)—the only person who knows the real status and disposition of WBAI's income—will not divulge how much the station is making and how it spends that intake. His highly unrealistic, unobtainable goal for the fundraising interruption that begins in a few days raises many questions. For example, why is it that an enormous number of pledges, going back at least a couple of years, have yet to be fulfilled although paid for by the customers (we used to call them "listener sponsors" when the station was legit)? Also which cronies are salaried, how big is their pay-cheque, and are they actually doing any work?

There is a reason why Berthold Reimers arbitrarily broke his promise to appear at the last two WBAI Finance Committee meetings.

The rot you smell isn't coming from Denmark! 

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Null Game?

I remember as far back as 1977 the sense that each and every person felt strongly that they owned their air and access to air. Even then listeners were kept in the dark as to what was going on and, frankly, it troubled me. It’s understandable that you can’t keep listeners completely in the loop as to details, but it might be nice to show enough decency and responsibility to provide them with some sense of what’s happening other than to say ‘send money’.

I’m no political philosopher, but it’s my understanding that, in political terms, ‘anarchy’ has at least two principal meanings. One is that people need to be encouraged to cooperate with one another voluntarily and are capable of doing so, particularly if encouraged. The second is the more common pejorative sense of chaos and people at one another’s throats.

WBAI was once, in the early 1970s, referred to by the NYT as an ‘anarchists’ circus’. It became clear in time that it was in the second sense, and that that meant crashing to ground (however slowly, given the intrinsic value of the frequencies inherited).

They’re an ugly nasty little bunch, but hardly a threat to the world, only to themselves. So it goes…
                                                                         'indigo pirate'

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Waiting Game

As those who care one way or another anxiously await a decision from the Empire State Realty Trust legal representatives, people at WBAI—the good, the bad, and the downright ugly—are becoming increasingly frantic. There's halfwit Haskins (how else to describe that one?)—who broadcasts excruciating crap three mornings a week—tells his handful of listeners that he "ain't goin' nowhere", and ludicrously attempts to convince himself that WBAI will solve the problems of the world; Mimi Rosenberg in blackface, throwing up pledge numbers as she figuratively picks her reparations cotton; Sally O'Brien still hunting around for a key to killer "Mumia's" cell; Jeannie Hopper telling us to buy a boat ride ticket and keep her bland in-one-ear-and-out-the-other DJ chat show on the air; Tony "sledgehammer" Ryan grinding out slow-dance music on the air as well as on the station's disc duplicating machine; opportunists like Ron Daniels and the so-called Haitian "all-starz" promoting various entrepreneurial projects. Geoff Brady—crushed because Bill Crosier had his "zapper" scam commercials taken off the air—continues unabated to round up and glorify certifiable nut cases, etc. etc. The weekly schedule is bulging with insignificant amateur fare of which the ones I have mentioned are but a small sample. The tip of the iceberg that is sinking WBAI. 

Apropos Brady and reasons why today's WBAI is not to be taken seriously, he did a special Fourth of July program yesterday morning, re-airing an interview with a nutty old Brit whose "research" proves that this American holiday is really an ancient Egyptian cult ritual in clever disguise—in fact, says he, the American flag is Egyptian—but wait! There's more... even the Statue of Liberty comes into play, as do ferris wheels. I don't know if anyone woke Bob Fass up and warned him, but we should be worrying about the proposed Staten Island tourist attraction. Brady, of course, is in total agreement and obviously cannot come up with a single argument against it. You really have to hear this nonsense, so I have posted a sample at the bottom of this page. Hear some of the crap an ask yourself (again, I hope) why anyone should waste a penny on WBAI support until there has been a thorough decontamination.

Then there's Alan Bates, his lips undoubtedly worn from so much derriere kissing and lying to the WBAI listeners, real and imagined). A new fund drive will start in less than two weeks, so we will again hear his scams, ad nauseam.

Getting back to the present, perhaps no one is more frantic than Jim Dingeman. He means well and generally wants the right things for WBAI, but the energy he spends on calling meetings and digging up pertinent history and fact comes far too late. In fact, all these efforts are last-minute attempts to heal self-inflicted wounds.

I am not a fan of Randy Credico, the comedian, but I now see him as the most positive of the frantics. Like Bill Crosier, he goes beyond the whine and produces positive results. His WBAI show is good, sometimes excellent, and he is contacting people re the ESB mess who at least have some pull around here. I won't delve into the irony of WBAI seeking help from politicians, but what Credico has accomplished, so far, gives me a ray of hope. WBAI's alleged "management" does not deserve to be rescued, but I think it is wise to prioritize saving the station—Reimers and the rest of the dross can and should be kicked out as soon as possible.

Credico's recent trip to Albany (with Reimers tagging along) produced an endorsement from twelve politicians (posted here) and this direct plea to the ESB landlord from Comptroller DiNapoli. It is said that ESRT's attorney called the State Comptroller the following day, suggesting that they sit down and attempt to reach an amicable agreement.

So the wait continues.

In the meantime, here's the Brady babble. It's long, but you can spot-check and get an idea of what they want to save WBAI for. It's an outrageous insult to intelligence.