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: