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as are the stations and I am sure WBAI is not the only station whose membership records and pledge commitments are outdated and incomplete.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

42 comments:

  1. The fact that 99.5 is a commercial frequency located in the state and city of New York operated by an entity presently located in and licensed as a nonprofit in the state of California offers and presents an enormous number of options.

    The fact that Crosier, Pacifica, and their present counsel haven’t recognized that and acted upon it is as if it were needed further proof of their abject and overwhelming incompetence.

    I suppose in saying that I’m not being kind.

    True, nonetheless.

    These are people clueless as to finance, clueless as to law and to regulations and above all clueless as to that thing called ‘Radio’.

    So they are where they are, thinking they’re thinking furiously when in fact they’re not thinking at all.

    [Imagine a string of further petty random insults to have been inserted at this point.]

    Crosier and the lot of them are simply the proclaimedly idealistic vermin gnawing desperately away at their own rotting corpses.

    Clearly that sordid entertainment is all they’re good for.

    Did I say I wasn’t being kind?

    I take it back. Their characterization as vermin is not only accurate but far too kind.

    They also smell pretty damn bad.

    Rot and festering pustulent rancidity will do that to you.

    Dead seriously, now: They’ve done this to themselves and they deserve all the disgrace, obloquy, and legal judgements they get – and then some.

    Yes, I suppose I am being too kind.

    ~ ‘indigopirate’

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  2. Chris and Indigopirate:

    I agree with Indigopirate concerning the refusal of Pacifica management to face the financial shipwreck, which is known as Pacifica- and especially the financial fraud at WBAI.

    What I find distressing is that we are never presented with the opinion of Jon Crigler, Pacifica's FCC attorney, concerning a signal swap or other financial alternative available for gaining funds. Surely Crigler is knowledgeable concerning these matters.

    The emphasis on CPB money is not correct. WBAI should be denied CPB funds because of the rampant financial fraud perpetrated by Berthold Reimers.

    Worse, all Jim Dingeman praises the competency of Berthold Reimers for his financial expertise. What kind of mushrooms is Dingeman having with his steak?

    Cerene did not prepare the financial statements of WBAI and it is the financial fraud, which concerns me. One cannot develop a plan for solvency when the financial information is being massaged in a whorehouse of corruption.

    Thank you.

    Ed Manfredonia

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    1. Well said, Ed.

      Just saw another Cerene dart thrown in desperation—aimed at the "fools" who don't support the LMA (PSOA) suicide option, it boomeranged and deflated her wrecking ball.

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    2. I of course agree with your points as to malfeasance and fraud on WBAI/Pacifica’s part. As a rule these happy little delusional leftists tend to feel the rules don’t apply to them simply because they’re dedicated to their noble little causes and are just plain ‘special’. I’d speculate, as have others, that the simple reason they haven’t previously fallen majorly afoul with respect to fraud etc is that they’re very little chickens and authorities have to prioritize the more substantial instances that come to them.

      As an aside I’d like to be clear that I don’t see their being leftists as the problem, right-wingers are as a rule every bit as bad and in the present climate arguably as a rule worse. The problem, the issue, is fanaticism, not any particular ideology or cause per se.

      Then again, Pacifica, though dominated by leftists, was originally dedicated to a meaningful conversation and exchange between ideologies, and of course perhaps even more importantly it was originally dedicated to presentation of arts, music, educations, etc, broadly defined, not merely the broadcast of political screeds.

      Also, WBAI in particular, of which I have some personal knowledge and experience, wasn’t solely leftists. Teri, ‘The Laughing Cavalier’, for example, was a prominent figure, brilliant, and anything but a leftist.

      He wasn’t alone in that respect.

      At least not then.

      As for Crigler, agreed we seem not to have heard from him (publicly) of late other than the ridiculous letter presented to the court re Pacifica’s attempting to claim they were forced to sign an unconscionable lease. He did, however, discuss the question of PSOA/LMA publicly when Summer Reese was attempting to explore that option after she laid off staff at WBAI and was moving rapidly to get Pacifica’s books in order, get audits performed, etc. At that time she was, of course, forced out of office.

      Personally, simply to vent a bit, I think it would be delightful if their behavior led in time to personal civil and criminal liabilities where appropriate. If they opt for Ch11 that might increase the chance of that happening once a trustee begins digging.

      Wouldn’t that be nice?

      Wonder if that may tend to make them hesitant to turn to Ch11.

      Then again, this isn’t a terribly bright bunch, they may not be able to look that far ahead.

      They place their lives in deadly peril trying to figure out how to cross a street – any street at all.

      ~ ‘indigopirate’

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  3. Will it be public?

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  4. WBAI claims that it does not accept donations from corporations, but the fact is that it does. According to WBAI's website, it accepts "matching grants" from a list of corporations that will match an employee's contribution. The list of participating corporations include some that are positively satanic, if one is to believe the things they say on WBAI (including Merrill Lynch, Monsanto and Shell Oil). So much for their holier-than-thou swipes at NPR.

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    1. I have checked the WBAI website thoroughly and I find no list of corporate participation.

      Please tell us where to look—l believe you are wrong about this.

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    2. Go to WBAI website. Click on "Ways to Donate".Scroll down to "Other Ways of Donating". Click on "Matching Grants".

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    3. When I was Subscriptions Director, we took corporate matching grants. It was a lot of paperwork and accounted for a minuscule fraction of total donations. The corporate foundations that sent us the checks had no influence over programming. The employee gets to double or triple their contribution, and the company presumably gets a tax write-off. -AM

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    4. Thank you. It's a long list, but I seriously doubt that it matching contributions amount to a hill of beans. Still, any financial ties with these companies smacks of hypocrisy on WBAI's part:

      Harcourt * Harris Trust ° Hewlett Packard * Home Depot * Honeywell Hometown Solutions *Household International * IBM * IKON Office Solutions * In-N-Out Burger * Intel * International Paper Company * John Hancock Life Ins. Co. * Johnson & Johnson * JP Morgan Chase * Kaplan Educational Centers * Kimberly-Clark * KRAFT Foods * L-eggs * Lehman Brothers Investments * Lockheed Martin
      Lojack * Lowes Home Improvements * Macy's * March & McLennan * MassMutual Financial Insurance
      MasterCard International * May Company * Maytag * Mazda North America * McDonalds * McKesson (Phoenix) * Medtronic * Merrill Lynch * Met Life * Microsoft Corporation * Mitsubishi International
      Mobil Retiree Program * Monsanto * Morgan Stanley * Motorola * Nabisco * National Computer Systems * Neiman Marcus Group * Nokia * Northern Trust * Northrup/General Signal * Northwest Airlines * Northwestern Mutual * OCE Digital Document Service * Oracle Corporation * Owest
      Pacific Life * Pearson NCS * Pepsico * Pfizer * Phelps Dodge * Piper Jaffray * Pitney Bowes * Procter & Gamble * Prudential * Radio Shack * Rain for Rent * Ralston Pruina * Raytheon * Robinsons May
      SAFECO Insurance * Sallie Mae * Salomon Smith Barney * Sara Lee Corporation * Sealy * Shaklee
      Shell Oil Company * Siemens Energy & Automation * Simplex Grinnell Fire System * Sony Music Entertainment Inc * Southwest Gas * Sprint * Square D * SRP * Starbucks * Starwood Foundation
      State Farm * Subaru of America * Sun Micro Systems * T. Rowe Price * Texas Instruments * Ticketmaster * Time Warner * Toys R Us/ Babies R Us * Travelers Express * TRW * Tyco International
      UBS * Unilever * United Space alliance * United Technologies * UnumProvident * UPS - United Parcel Service * US Airways * US Bancorp * USAA * Vanguard Group * Verizon * Viad * Vulcan Materials Company * Wachovia * Washington Group * Washington Mutual * Wells Fargo * Weyerhaeuser Company * Whirlpool * Wrigley Mg. Co. * Wyeth Corporation

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    5. I heard a promo for this on the air a little while ago. I like how the only donation size mentioned was $500 ("turn $500 into $1,000"). They are getting greedy with the amounts since the judgement, I see.

      SDL

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    6. Turn a million into two—there is no end to this farcical fantasy.

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    7. Well, you know that Reimers has the great plan of having former rich guests donate millions of Dollars to WBAI. It's a no-brainer. In fact, it IS a no-brainer...

      SDL

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    8. Like everything else coming from him. This is not a very smart man.

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  5. There's no meeting listed on kptfx.org. Isn't there a rule about having to list meetings on there? I thought I heard people say that in the past.

    These people live in denial, and nothing is going to change that.

    SDL

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    1. I think you are right, but WBAI/Pacifica routinely ignores rules and regulations.

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    2. I see it was an executive session one.

      SDL

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  6. I think that those east of the Sierra Nevadas have mentally assumed that KPFA and the Pacifica National Office are one and the same, so much of their hatred towards KPFA comes from their hatred of the incompetence of the PNO, or just not wanting anyone telling them what to do, so they assume that KPFA is the same thing. That is part of what happens when you have an organization that attracts anarchists.

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    1. With respect: I differ. Pacifica is anarchic in the pejorative sense as well as just plain fucking shambolic in every conceivable aspect and dimension. It is not however anarchist. It is leftist/‘progressive’. There is great desire for power and control both internally and in the world at large. That desire is however thwarted by simple virtue of the fact that these are fools, knaves, incompetents, and profoundly delusional folks with no meaningful ability to function in the world, or to cooperate in order to accomplish anything.

      A passel of folly is not synonymous with anarchism in my understanding, though anarchists are of course, as any other humans quite capable of such folly.

      ~ ‘indigopirate’

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    2. @~ ‘indigopirate’: "...and profoundly delusional folks with no meaningful ability to function in the world, or to cooperate in order to accomplish anything."

      You really nailed it with that. They are like the kids who wouldn't play, and would disrupt, unless you played the game they wanted to play.

      SDL

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    3. I thank you, kind sir :)

      ~ 'indigo'

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    4. Chris and Indigopirate,

      There appears to be a disconnect from reality at Pacifica- and especially, WBAI. WBAI owes CUNY approximately $20,000 for past rent and the rent was $5,000 per month. WBAI cannot afford to pay the Commons $5,000 per month rent- and I doubt if the money owed to the Commons and CUNY is carried on the Balance Sheet. Nor have these amounts owed appeared on the Income Statement.

      Thus, for many years WBAI has not been able to afford to pay the rent of $5,000 per month- which is less than the salary of Andrea Katz, who is paid regularly. It is at this juncture that I must state that Mitchel Cohen boasted to me that Andrea Katz had been hired as interim Development Director so that the provisions of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act could be circumvented.

      Ergo, how does Pacifica expect to pay in excess of $2.2 million to the Empire State Realty Trust and pay the approximately $500,000, which is owed to pension plans and health care insurers?

      Thank you.

      Ed Manfredonia

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    5. "WBAI cannot afford to pay the Commons $5,000 per month rent - and I doubt if the money owed to the Commons and CUNY is carried on the Balance Sheet"

      With the changes in the FCC regulations, WBAI can move out of NYC and move to cheaper real estate elsewhere.

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    6. Antartica?
      Mimi's plantation?
      The Faroe Islands?
      Never Never Land?

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    7. No, they won't move out of NYC because their producers need to be able to access a studio to broadcast their shit. I guarantee you almost all use mass transit.

      SDL

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  7. Does anyone know if Pacifica is current with ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC licensing fees?

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    1. Good Question.

      I know that when the royalty rates rules changed a couple of years ago, RPM was talking about a software WBAI had to use to log the songs they played for payment of royalties. I have no idea if they are actually paying said royalties, however.

      Another good question would be as to what bills are they actually paying in general.

      SDL

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    2. Something like that is apparently still in place. Jim Freund mentioned it last week. Perhaps someone can post details—like cost.

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    3. If you are CPB/CSG qualified, they cover BMI,ASCAP,SESAC, Soundexchange and likely the new one Global Music Rights. Since Pacifica lost CPB funding they likely are now liable themselves for the payments.

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    4. Thank you. We must be talking about fixed fees, otherwise Reimers would have severely limited the amount of music being broadcast.

      Maybe not, it could be that he is simply exercising his irresponsibility.

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    5. The changes in royalty payments was actually getting rid of flat rate options for non-commercial stations, at least internet ones. As far as I know, you now have to pay per tune, even on radio, but I could be wrong about radio.

      SDL

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    6. If it's per tune, there must be a growing music pile somewhere amid the others. They also rarely play a tune in full, which becomes wasteful under such an arrangement.

      Apropos thriving debt, I wonder when the landlady loses her remarkable tolerance?

      I am beginning to think that WBAI should pay reparations to the listeners, thereby creating the first radio-sponsored listenership!

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    7. I would estimate about $12-15K total a year for bmi/ascap/sesac for NY. Soundexchange is for streaming and based on number of listeners. $500 year minimum for up to ~149,000 listener hours a month, then .0017 cents per song per listener. As to whether BMI, etc had caught up with CPB loss at Pacifica is unknown.

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    8. radio is flat fee, while streaming is per song/listener. https://www.bmi.com/forms/licensing/radio/noncomrates.pdf

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    9. I know when the royalty rates changed, many online stations and services (like Live365) stopped broadcasting. I was going to do an online station but changed my mind due to the changes.

      SDL

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  8. That African international film festival spot , sure sounds like a commercial to me .
    If it's not a commercial , what is it? A p.s.a. for the "community".

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  9. These people are so full of shit , it isn't even funny .
    Doug Henwood devoting half his show to something black and now
    Trump watch turning it into black lives matter crap .
    Does this ever end on this station?

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  10. "These people are so full of shit, it isn't even funny." I have to agree. At one point, their unwitting self-parody was amusing, in a theater-of-the-absurd kind of way. Now, it's just repetitive and boring.

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  11. Forget theater of the absurd. They should be more progressive and become a new Grand Guignol.

    SDL

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  12. From what I gather, I think that the PNB meetings might qualify as Grand Guignol.

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    1. In the audible sense, I suppose. However, it would be more fun to get them in one room and see some blood flow.

      SDL

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