An unvarnished blog that dips into the past and comments
on the present of WBAI-FM, a once significant, intelligent New York
radio station that for years has suffered chronic abuse from within and now
nears extinction. Your comments are welcomed and will not be censored.
Bates said he sent me an email last week which i didn't see, but when i explained that the time dated WBAI Evening News which i worked hours on had to go tonight, He said, 'it ain't gonna happen." This infuriated me. How dare he speak to me like that, me who worked so hard on providing details on trumps tax deal released today and NY protests against Scott Pruitt and EPA cuts as well as so many other newscasts with pay hardly forthcoming, so I quit. Bye folks. I love you, but I've had enough.—Linda
On Sep 27, 2017 3:22 PM, Steve Brown inquired:
How come Bill Crosier isn’t being copied on these emails? I have added him to the list. He is the only one who has the power to discipline and/or remove Tony Bates through his authority over GM Berthold Reimers (who seems to be missing in action, again). I haven’t heard anyone say a good word about Tony Bates -- except Berthold, and that is because he has, in effect, handed over to Tony the role of general manager, leaving Berthold free to gyre and gymble in the wabe, while happily collecting his six-figure GM salary for which Pacifica receives no benefit.—Stephen M Brown
I am not a fan of Linda Perry's newscasts, but...
On Sep 27, 2017 3:22 PM, Mitchel Cohen posted:
Let's remember, please, that Tony Bates has a history of showing very poor judgment, both politically, interpersonally, and in terms of actually assisting programmers with their shows -- and that's just this time around.
He fired Rev. Billy, rather than working with him to strengthen his show, not appreciating Billy's significance in the New York scene.
He publicly libeled me as a CIA agent on a widely read listserve (bastard!), and rejected my own suggestions for shows with abrupt dismissals, same as he's apparently doing here with Linda and Randy. (I'll list them for you, if it makes any difference.)
He's forcing out Linda Perry and Randy Credico -- are you KIDDING ME?!
He's throwing obstacles in the way of some of our best producers. Can't talk about it here, without their OK, but I'll ask them if you think it would be helpful.
A good PD should be workingwiththe producers -- doesn't have to know everything themself, but should know who to turn to in the listening area to help them develop their shows and to integrate them with the other shows. ... and RESPECT the staff and volunteers who work their asses off, mostly for no monetary pay, even when you think they should be doing things differently.
I don't want to make this one individual into the devil -- he's not. His rude behavior and bad decisions, though, are immature on several levels, including politically. It goes to the GM's weakness in being a manager. (The GM does have other strengths, but they're undermined severely by his bad hirings, lack of proper supervision of employees, and lack of just plain ol' vision for the station.)
We've talked for months about the lawsuit filed by the Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT) against Pacifica. The judge will hear the case on Oct. 4 and there are some very important things you need to know. I wish I had good news but I don't, and I want to remind all of you how serious this is. If you think that this does not matter to you because you are involved with other stations than WBAI in NYC, you are wrong. This will dramatically affect EVERY station in Pacifica.
If you've forgotten about the details of this case, it's about unpaid tower rent and fees at the Empire State Building, where WBAI has its transmitter and antenna. The lease was renewed in 2005 with terms that make it unsustainable - including fees that have increased at more than four times the rate of inflation since then. WBAI managed to catch up on those fees in 2014, but has been unable to keep up with the ever-increasing fees since then. So ESRT, the current owner of the Empire State Building, filed a lawsuit against Pacifica last fall. More details are at wbai.org if you want more background.
But I want to stress that this is going to affect you, and your station, regardless of where you are in Pacifica. As I've been saying for some time, whether we reach a settlement agreement with ESRT for something less than the full amount for which they are suing us, or whether the court decides to award the full amount of the lawsuit to ESRT, Pacifica is going to have to come up with a lot of money in the very near future.
Depending on whether we can get a settlement agreement with ESRT or the judge issues a summary judgement, we'll probably have to come up with between $1.5 and 2.5 million very soon. All Pacifica stations can be dramatically and adversely affected by this, and we we all need to stick together to make sure we can get through it. I'm askingall of our LSBs and the PNB to please focus on this instead of fighting with each other, so that all of our stations and Pacifica can survive. Yes, it's that serious. Pacifica's debt is crushing us -- all of Pacifica -- and we have to deal with the ESRT lawsuit now, as it's the most immediate part of the financial crisis caused by our debt. But as I've been saying for months, unfortunately there's more.
The amount for which ESRT is suing us goes up each month as the unpaid fees accumulate. It's currently approximately $2.4 million. In addition, the lease goes until 2020, and there's an additional $2 million of lease obligations between now and then. We hope to get out of that future obligation, but the ESRT has been unwilling to negotiate (so far) and there's no assurance we can get out of that.
We don't know what the judge will decide on Oct. 4, but regardless of the specifics, we're still going to have to come up with a lot of money soon - we just don't know yet how much it will be or exactly when. But I think it's safe to assume that it will be at least $1.5 million.
What makes this even harder to deal with is that the $2.4 million that ESRT says we owe them now is part of a total of $7 to 8 million in debt that Pacifica has accumulated over the years. Frankly, I think this is due to financial neglect, but we need to focus on solutions, not blame. It's now coming down to the wire and we can't keep delaying getting that under control. Some stations have made changes this year in programming and personnel and have had some significant improvements in finances, but some others are still struggling, and we don't have the cash even with all of our bank accounts in all of Pacifica to pay what will be needed for the ESRT lawsuit.
We will probably have to borrow money for this, in order to get enough money fast enough to fund a settlement or summary judgement. But because of our terrible credit, we'll have to pay sub-prime interest rates. What we do not yet have is a plan to pay off those loans - only some suggestions. Failure to pay the loans would be just as bad as not paying a summary judgement in the lawsuit. This is something else the PNB will have to decide. Whatever it is, there will be some pain for all stations. The debt is a legal obligation of all of Pacifica, regardless of who signed the lease and which facility it's for. We all have to do our part to get past this, even if it hurts.
To make matters worse, we have unfunded employee pension payments that have also accumulated over recent years that also need to be addressed soon, and that I've told the GMs to plan for. We've found that the amount is larger than expected. See the FY2015 audit (pages 20-21) that was completed last month for the amounts due for FY2014 and FY2015. Additional amounts we owe for FY2016 and FY2017 are still being determined. This needs to be done in addition to paying whatever very large amount will be needed for the ESRT lawsuit. The total amount for pensions is probably between 3/4 and 1 million dollars, plus there may be additional penalties for late payments for past years.
I've asked for an executive session in Thursday's PNB meeting so that we can talk about strategies to deal with the ESRT lawsuit. It needs to be in closed session because we can't say things publicly that might interfere with getting a settlement in the lawsuit. I'm hoping that the members of the PNB who have insisted on making so many repeated objections that it takes 60 to 90 minutes in each meeting, just to get through agenda approval and minutes from the last meeting, to please not do that, and let us get on with the extremely important discussions and decisions that need to be made regarding this lawsuit.
I hope all of the fund drives now and in Oct. can surpass their goals, as we're going to need every bit of extra cash that we can get. I also hope all of you will make additional donations to your station (or directly to Pacifica) in the next few weeks, and ask your friends as well. I know that many KPFT members are dealing with flooded homes and cars because of Hurricane Harvey and won't be able to donate at all now, but I'm hoping that others can make up for that.
I've been telling all the GMs and the National Finance Comm. for many weeks that it's very important to produce surpluses (by reducing expenses and/or increasing revenues), as every station has debt (including to their own employees with the pension plan) that we have to get under control. One or two of the stations are saving money to pay those pensions, but others have not been able to get their finances under control enough to do that yet. This has to change, and the FY2018 budgets need to plan for the cash flow to fund pensions as well as to pay off loans for the ESRT lawsuit.
Let's please put aside our internal fighting, at least until we get this very real financial crisis under control, and remember that we are here for a very important reason - to ensure that we have Pacifica stations that can inform people that there are other ways than violence to resolve conflicts, stand up to the powerful political and economic interests, speak up for people who are oppressed because they have little political power, and more. We need to be there for future generations, as well as now, to provide independent news, music, and public affairs that other stations won't let you hear. Our country, and the world, need our stations to speak truth to power and stand up for peace and for rights guaranteed by the Constitution. But we won't have those stations to do that critically important work if we spend so much of our energies fighting with each other instead of facing the very real threat that the ESRT lawsuit is to all of us. Let's stand together for peace, for equal rights for all, for civil rights and the Constitution, for the environment, and for real news rather than fake news. Let's stand up for our stations and for Pacifica.
But to do all that, we have to do what's needed for our financial survival, and to make sure that all of our stations can continue providing the invaluable service that our country so badly needs.
In the above message, Bill himself states "... we can't say things publicly that might interfere with getting a settlement in the lawsuit."
Bill is absolutely right, but if he really believes this obvious rationalization, why did he not stop the hare-brained WBAI occupants from lying and trashing the ESRT and making themselves the victim rather than the perpetrator? Why, for that matter, was the firing of Berthold Reimers not a number one priority? It is Reimers who has lied all along about the amount of money owed and the situation, in general. He was hired as a financial wizard who had the floaters WBAI needed. However, it did not take long to discover that he is but a 3rd-rate accountant with a seemingly inherent talent for larceny. Keeping Reimers and his appointed thugs on deck is tantamount to nursing a removable cancer.
Pacifica compounds its chances of an unfavorable decision by allowing the BAI bozos to publicly claim that the ESRT people are running a game on them. The station made a foolish mistake when it signed an agreement it could not honor and the Reimers thugs are clumsily and ever so transparently attempting to weasel out of it.
I cannot understand why Bill Crosier sanctions this infantile nonsense by not intervening. What do you think is really going on here? —Chris Albertson
Let us hope that this round is not moderated by John Kane, who did such a bad job of it the last time. Let us also hope that reasonable, concerned callers are listened to and can have their complaints and suggestions discussed.
Regrettably, these on-air meetings never accomplish anything that might go towards solving or lessening WBAI's management-generated problems, but they are inadvertently a mirror held up to the station's many fatal flaws.
Intelligent listener-supporters have found the only effective answer: tune out. Unless there is a major overhaul of programming and a thorough cleanup of inept staff and volunteers, that solution needs to be carried to its logical end.
The worthy programs heard on WBAI can be reborn elsewhere, but New York is too important a cultural center to waste a frequency on the fluff and bluff we are subjected to year after year. —Chris Albertson
I just came across this Twitter, which shows how deceitful Credico and the Reimers thugs are. This is, of course, a lie designed to put the blame on the real victim: the ESB. There is, apparently, no depth to which these scammers won't sink.
Last night, September 14, 2017, as interested people were reading the just published Bill Crosier summary of recent developments at Pacifica, another PNB telephone meeting was streamed. It lasted well over an hour, all of which was spent combatting the disruptive and by now very tiresome delaying antics of Cerene Roberts, Adriana Casenave, the Uhuru misfit and other JUC lemmings.
The full, dreary, predictable meeting is posted at kftx.org, but here's a brief, typical example. I have dickered with the sound, but this defaced clip makes as little sense as the real thing, which can be heard at kpftx.org. This is the sort of thing that has brought Pacifica ever so slowly to the brink of extinction. The final push might come from the Empire State Building on October 4—courtesy of WBAI's fake management.
* The Pacifica Foundation FY2015 audit was completed and accepted byCalifornia's Attorney General's office before the Aug. 27 deadline givenby the AG, and also accepted by California's Franchise Tax Board -Pacifica is in good standing with them! I uploaded the FTB's letter here andand the audit isposted athttp://pacifica.org
* Pacifica's FY2015 amended 990 (federal income tax return) and the 990for FY2016 (based on unaudited figures), and the correspondingCalifornia and New York state tax returns were filed last month.
* Rina Accountancy has begun the audit of the Pacifica retirement plan,and after approval by the PNB, they will begin the audit of the separate403(b) plan.
* Preparations for the FY2016 audit underway, but considerable time andattention is now being spent by the Pacifica National Office on theunfunded pension liabilities from past years. Our N.O. financial staffare working with the retirement plan administrator and Rina to resolvethe unfunded pension liability from prior years, which was also noted inthe FY2015 Foundation audit.
* FY2018 Budgets are being prepared and reviewed by all stations. I havebeen stressing to the management and Treasurers of all stations theimportance of planning for a surplus for FY2018, as we need to do moreto pay off the debt that has accumulated over the years, including theunfunded pensions. Some stations, especially WBAI, WPFW, and KPFT, arestill struggling, although KPFT's recent reduction in payroll and work to resolve some internal issues has already helped. WBAI's cash flow hasbecome critical and increased attention will be devoted to thatstation. I have started discussions with GMs about the importance ofaudience growth/increasing listenership, and what's needed for that -good programming plus promotion of our programs. I encourage PNB and LSBmembers at each station to help to get more volunteers for that.Remember that helping with station fundraising is one of theresponsibilities of LSB members - it's even listed in the Bylaws.
* Pacifica Radio Archives is looking into options to partner with one ormore outside organizations to help speed up the digitization andpreservation of the historic PRA tapes. PRA has been doing wonderfullyin helping Pacifica stations with fund drives this year, helping them tobring in over $1.5 million so far this year. But they need to getoutside help to get the tape processing expanded, both to preserve thetapes before they deteriorate too much due to age, and to make thecontent available to everyone.
* I've been working with volunteers at WBAI who have set up a majordonor fundraising committee, which is especially needed because of theESRT lawsuit. I hope such committees can be set up at other stations,too. I am also working with technical staff to provide additionaltelephones at WBAI, which can be used for contacting donors plus takingcalls during fund drives and other purposes after it's all set up.
* The Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT) lawsuit is still looming over us,with the next court date scheduled for Oct. 4. We have retained a PRprofessional to help get more attention to how unreasonable ESRT hasbeen. We have asked the judge to schedule oral arguments and to hear anunconscionability defense which we have filed, as well as schedule asettlement conference with ESRT before the judge. At the last meeting(in July) that was requested by ESRT, in which we expected them to makea counter-offer, they declined to do so.
* Pacifica's response papers were submitted earlier this week in theSharon Brown-Efia Nwangaza-Adriana Casenave lawsuit that they have filedagainst Pacifica. Next week, the court is expected to provide tentativerulings on the motions before the court, followed by the next courthearing date on Sep. 21.
* Finally, in these days of continuing disdain for the Constitution,civil rights, the environment, workers' rights, immigrants, and more,I'm asking all of you to keep telling people about the importance ofPacifica and your station - how we provide the real news, independentmusic and culture, and information that other stations won't let peoplehear. Please work this into your conversations - in person and online,via social media, and more. Please encourage others at your station totell their friends about their favorite shows. This is important notonly to help our stations grow and to help Pacifica, but to help fulfillour educational mission. We need to let people know that our country andour society do not have to keep making the same mistakes as before.
Another world is possible - let's work together to create it.