Thursday, March 23, 2017

Report from iED Crosier

If you scroll to the bottom of this page, you will find a link to the unexpurgated, unlistenable meeting that took place this evening.

CLICK ON HEADING TO ENLARGE
Interim Executive Director Report to the PNB

Last week, I visited WBAI and WPFW, after having gone to KPFA, the National Office, and KPFK a few weeks ago.

It was very helpful to me to meet with management, other staff, and many LSB members plus other volunteers, and to hear their suggestions and concerns. I won't have time to reply to each person individually but I do appreciate all the information people shared with me.

Some of the reasons I made these visits was to see what people felt were problem areas at each station and what might be done about them, as well as to learn what is going well and what each station is doing that might be shared with other stations.  I have not finished writing up all my notes in a digestible form but will be doing that and sharing with management at each station.

Another reason for my visits was to emphasize to management at each station the urgency of the requests from the Registry of Charitable Trusts (an office of the California's Attorney General), and how we can help each other comply with those requests.  As I've told you previously, those include getting current audits, replenishing restricted funds that were used for other purposes (and/or getting permission from the donors to use the money for other purposes), and developing a financial stabilization plan that includes getting each station to sustainability.

With input from management of our stations, Sam Agarwal and I have prepared a draft Financial Stabilization Plan for Pacifica. I have shared the draft with all the GMs, and asked for additional input from them regarding specifics for their stations. Sam and I will be having conference calls with them individually, over the next few days. The draft will be revised after that and shared again with them and all of the PNB next week, then the final version will be sent to the Registry of Charitable Trusts before the end of March, which is the deadline they gave us. Of course, I will also be following up with management of each station afterwards, to see if there are problems implementing provisions of the plan, and to provide help where needed.

I have asked all of the managers to help each other, too, and one of the encouraging things I'm seeing is a wonderful sense of teamwork. This was exhibited in the Mar. 2 one-day special fund drive, which was organized in a very short amount of time but yet raised a quarter of a million dollars for the audits and audit-related compliance matters (which will include hiring a few additional staff to help with preparations for the audits).

Another encouraging item is that at each station I visited, I heard from people who told me there are many Pacifica supporters out there who will donate more if they know we have a viable plan to ensure that Pacifica and our stations survive and grow in order to better fulfill the Pacifica mission. In addition, it's very clear that supporters of each station want their station to be successful and will do more to make sure that happens. Of course, all that is exactly what I want, too, and what we are working towards.

Several stations are doing much better than last year with their fund drives, and staff morale at KPFK has greatly improved, so I'm encouraged by all of that, too.

Regarding audits, last week Grant Lam, our auditor with Armanino, told Sam and me that Armanino has decided not to do any more audits for Pacifica, citing problems getting information needed for the audits, among other matters. We told him we are determined to correct the problems related to getting all information needed before the next audit is started, but Mr. Lam said that Armanino had already decided not to do our next audit. He did say he would help with transition to a new auditor, though. Sam and I have already started a search for a new auditor in order to help minimize delays in getting the FY2015 audit started, but I also hope that the PNB and our LSBs can get the 2017 Audit Committee constituted and operational soon so they can be involved in this process. For the last several meetings, the PNB has not been able to elect (or begin election) of Directors to the national committees, including the Audit committee. I'm hoping that in the meeting tonight, the PNB can get business done, including those elections, so we can get the Audit Committee and other committees going for 2017.

In the meantime, I've stressed to each GM the importance of making sure their financial records are in order, with receipts for all expenses and details for each revenue item available to the National Office. Difficulty getting this information was one of the main reasons why the last two audits cost so much and took so much longer than any previous Pacifica audits. The delays in getting the FY2013 and FY2014 audits done (about a year and a half late for each of them) was in turn the main reason why the California AG sent Pacifica the warning letters last year about possible loss of our tax exemption.  So I am determined to do what is needed to make sure we do not have that problem again, and I will make sure each station has all of its accounting and paperwork ready to go in the next few weeks so we can start the FY2015 audit soon, get it completed this summer, and get the FY2016 audit going immediately afterwards.

We are also ensuring that each station complies with all CPB-required reporting. Assuming we get caught up with audits (for both FY2015 and FY2016) by this fall, I'm hoping we can re-qualify for CPB funding and get a substantial part of FY2018 CPB grant funds during our next fiscal year. Although future CPB funds are in jeopardy in Congress, those funds are appropriated two years in advance, so the FY2018 funds should be there and available for qualified stations.

After we provide our Financial Stabilization Plan to the AG, we plan to meet with the AG's representatives in April.

Another item that the AG wants is for us to restore restricted funds that were taken in the last couple of years to pay for other expenses. We are working on that as well, although we do not yet know if we will be able to restore all of those funds by the end of March.

Regarding the Empire State Bldg. lawsuit, while I was in NYC I met with Sam Himmelstein, our pro bono attorney, and discussed options for negotiations with that lawsuit. I asked him to please tell ESB that we cannot pay the full amount for which they are suing us, for unpaid tower rental ($1.3 million plus interest and legal expenses), that we will not be able to pay the (approx.) $2 million that our lease says we should pay for the next 3 years of the tower contract, and that we have to negotiate to get some reasonable agreement with ESB. He said the ESB people are still waiting on current audits to show them our financial condition, and I told him we will be able to provide current details (unaudited, though, of course) on our financial condition in April, after we get the information requested by California's AG and get preparations made for starting the FY2015 audit, as those are very high priorities. 

Then this week Mr. Himmelstein gave me a bit of good news - that ESB's attorney had requested a conference, rather than filing for summary judgement. We don't know yet what they want, but it's likely they want to see the financial documents that I mentioned that we can provide next month in lieu of current audits. Mr. Himmelstein said their request for a conference was a good sign.

Re: the March 2 fund drive for the audits, here's a total of what it has brought in, including some that came in after Mar. 2 (plus a few more pledges that have not yet been paid):
From telephone donations: there were 430 donors totaling $81,495.

For text to donate via Mobile Cause, there have been 199 donors so far, totaling $37,734, although a few more are continuing to trickle in.

There was also $86,000 from the estate of Jim Krivo for the audits, used as challenge matches to encourage other donations, plus another $25K contributed from KPFA.

So all of that totals over $230K and is still growing. Anyone who wants to contribute to the audit fund, and get a 64GB USB drive loaded with 1300 hours of historic audio recordings from Pacifica Radio Archives (if you donate $200 or more), can still do so by texting PACIFICA to 41444.

All of these funds will be used for paying our auditors plus other audit-related expenses such as hiring a few personnel to help get our records in order so the FY2015 and 2016 audits can proceed with minimal delays and extra expense.  The remainder due to Armanino for FY2015 has already been paid, plus one part-time person has been hired to help scan and copy paper records for WPFW. At least one more accountant will be hired for the National Office, and a part time clerical assistant will probably be hired for WBAI to help them with scanning and copying paper records needed for the audits.

Duplication of the 64GB USB drives from PRA was completed this week, and they are being shipped now to those who donated $200 or more.

Staff from all stations participated in an orientation this week on how to use the text-to-donate system for their individual stations' fund drives and in-person local events. If that works anything like the way it did for the March 2 fund drive, we should expect additional donations to come in that way, as it's an easy way to donate and some people prefer texting to making a phone pledge.

CLICK TO ENLARGE
I could add more but I need to get this out today. I'll be glad to answer questions in the PNB meeting tonight.  —Bill
Bill Crosier
Interim Executive Director
Pacifica Foundation 
1925 Martin Luther King Jr Way
Berkeley CA 94704-1037

510-316-9783

The April 23, 2017 open meeting of the PBS. As expected, it was disrupted throughout by Cerene Roberts and Adriana Casenave, so nothing was really accomplished before they switched over to "Executive" session. —CA

Thursday, March 16, 2017

PNB "Special" meeting: March 16, 2017


Cerene and that Uhuru guy played the race card, inane shouts converged telephonically, Cerene stuck that ever-pointing finger down her cavernous sandpaper-lined throat and spewed her garbage...

Sound frightfully familiar? It should, but hear these grating verbal scribbles for yourselves and don't overdose—just click anywhere along the line.


The following is the exciting play in its split entirety, captured before this august body retired for an "executive" meeting. 

PNB Exercise in futility (Part one)
PNB Exercise in futility (Part 2)

Report to the Listener: March 15, 2017


Yesterday, an almost secret Report to the Listener was aired on WBAI from 4 - 6 PM. The participants were Berthold Reimers, Tony Ryan, Tony Blake, Kathy Davis and a mysterious couple, Louis Songster and Aaron Green, who appeared to have been recruited by Davis and hired by Bates.

Who are they? That's a good question that they answered with convoluted verbosity. When an inquisitive caller wanted to know how much the duo was being paid, her question was totally ignored. She also wondered—as do I—why it was necessary to bring these guys aboard when they obviously had no fresh ideas for restoring WBAI. Let us know what you think.

Other than that, there was not much news dispensed with in the two hours—no preparation by "management" but a great deal of self-praise. Much talk about the success of the drive that was just completed, but here, too, they did not tell it like it is, for example that the healthy sum collected for that $200 voices-from-the-archives stick is for Pacifica, earmarked to pay for the audits that stand between receiving or not receiving the CPB grant.

Here, in two parts, is the complete "Report" as aired live. I have removed musical interludes and corrected audio balance. The caller mentioned above is heard towards the end of Part 2.

WBAI Report to the Listener - Part 1
WBAI Report to the Listener - Part 2

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

LSB Report broadcast-March 13, 2017


Yesterday afternoon, March 13, WBAI aired a 2-hour Local Station Board Report live from its Brooklyn closet. Here is the two parts, which were broadcast consecutively.

I have not made any changes in the statements, discussions or incoming phone calls, but I did remove the music, station promos, and Reggie's reiterations. I also balanced the volume, which would not have been necessary if the station hired more proficient board operators or, at least trained the one who are in place.

I was delighted to hear the LSB's Vice Chair, Michael Ochoa, address a core problem that most insiders skirt around. Here's what he said regarding that:

"Some people associate the word 'community' with ethnic communities, and that's not what I am talking about. I'm talking about geographical communities, people of different political persuasions, people of different artistic backgrounds.

There are 20 million people in this area and the programming needs to reach out to a greater share of those people in the tri-state area......Pacifica's mission is to educate and provide outlets for all communities in this area and to contribute to understanding between all members of the community—therefore, we need a grid that truly reflects this mission."

We are promised that this LSB Report will become a regular monthly feature of the station's schedule—let's hope so. Let's also hope that the two hours be well advertised and devoted to the designated topic, without time wasted on music and commercial-like promos. 

The first part.

With WBAI LSB Officers Bob Young, Michael Ochoa, Rebecca A. Naegele, and R. Paul Martin — moderator: Reggie Johnson.

The second part..
With WBAI LSB Directors Alex Steinberg, Ken Laufer, and Cerene Roberts (Kathy Davis was scheduled but could not make it) — moderator: Reggie Johnson.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Exiles' Report: March 2017



THOSE WHO CAN

Berkeley-Pacifica's one day national fundraiser on March 2 was a smashing success, raising over a quarter of a million dollars to fully fund both remaining delinquent audits (FY 2015 and FY 2016). Network members in NY, DC, LA and Houston pledged $82K on the phone, $54K via Mobile Cause pledge-by-text and fully used up an $86K match fund provided by the estate of Jim Krivo, a former WBAI programmer and supporter. In Berkeley, KPFA's listeners didn't hear the fundraiser due to the station's own local fundraiser in progress, but a days worth of receipts will go to support the national effort. Pulled off only 19 days after the board changed executive directors and appointed Bill Crosier to the position, the effort ends three years of the network's board of directors whining there was no money to pay for audits and clears the way for a return to legal compliance in 2017.

The national board put on an exhibition of how they got into their mess by running another disruptathon right in the middle of the fundraiser as their members were rising to the occasion and bailing them out of their mismanagement. The remnants of the Siege/Brazon faction held yet another board meeting hostage to points of order, this time obsessing about whether the meeting had been noticed as a "regular" or a "special" meeting, and completely oblivious to the heartening effort going on all around them which was not even mentioned once on the multi-hour streamed audio record. Once again, the undelivered report from interim ED Crosier can be read here. 

KPFA director William Campisi, who ran as a Siegel/Brazon-affiliated candidate in 2015 and has since declared himself non-affiliated wrote a lengthy rant after the meeting. Among his other comments (you can read the full statement here) were the following. Not one for subtle diplomacy, Campisi sends his reports to all of his local and national colleagues as well as to several Pacifica-related message boards. (To transfer his language to that generally employed by this publication, what Campisi refers to as "the Roberts faction" is what is referred to here as the Siegel/Brazon faction and what Campisi calls "the Aaron faction" is referred to as the Independents).

"In one of the most colossally stupid moves I have ever seen as a member of parliamentary body, they walked out of special meeting of the PNB on 2/10/17 (that was the third meeting of the PNB) leaving the Aaron faction free to vote and do exactly as they wanted.  Now, the Robert’s Faction claims that what the Aaron Faction did at that meeting on 2/10/17 was illegitimate.  That’s like pissing into the wind.  The only option they have is to bring a lawsuit which they certainly would lose.  So after they engaged in their stupid, self-defeating strategy, they are now behaving like children who have decided that the way to “get back” at the Aaron Faction is to obstruct the business of the Board.  This is, essentially, a “Pacifica be dammed” strategy.  What is so hard for me to comprehend is how the Directors could not try to work together to do what’s best for Pacifica.  I recognize that the Roberts Faction is upset and angry about losing control of the organization (their own stupid strategy sealed their fate in that regard.)  But nonetheless, it was time for Lydia Brazon to go.  Why couldn’t they bend their minds around that fact and then work to get a Director who was acceptable to them, or a chair, or vice chair, etc.  Why do they think that if they do not have control, then they might as well bring Pacifica down?  Why? Is that what they want.  It just makes no sense.  It’s so incredibly stupid that it’s frankly incomprehensible to me.  I just don’t get it". 

The impressive national effort was paired with robust local fundraising in California and in NY, where WBAI's numbers have been picking up. At Berkeley's KPFA, the February drive ended on March 11 at $630,000 or $20K over goal. KPFA's drive went well, but was marked by some frustration by long-time volunteers at the use of a call center instead of a community fund drive room to take pledges at a cost of about 4-5% of all receipts. At LA's KPFK, where the drive was interrupted by both a management change on February 27 and full participation in the March 2 national fundraiser, the drive ended at $590K or $40K over goal. KPFK's drive was marked by a sharp daily 10% increase on each of the last three days of the drive, reflecting member support for the management change.  New interim general manager Christine Blosdale is moving to repair unpopular program changes after labor troubles hit the station with a $285K union arbitration judgment and previous management threatened to pull spousal and dependent health care benefits to pay for the SAG-AFTRA penalties. Long-time AM host Sonali Kolhatkar will return to five day a week broadcast in Los Angeles and the station's overnight variety show hosted by Roy of Hollywood resumed its midnight start time, where it has long been the highest rated overnight radio program in the second largest media market in the country. Web visit stats for Something's Happening confirmed the deleterious effects of Radford's 2016 actions on one of Pacifica Radio's most prominent success stories. In New York, daily totals north of $20K were seen occasionally, for the first time since 2011, but were accompanied by complaints about more infomercial-style programming. The NY station, prior to a dramatic 1/3 fall in listener support during 2015, has had challenges raising enough money when it tried to lean more heavily on program-based fundraising in 2012 and 2013 under program directors Bob Hennelly and Andrew Phillips. The increased revenue is welcome, but should be accompanied by a meaningful plan to wean off infomercials and build financial support for a regular program grid. IED Crosier is visiting the two East Cost stations WBAI and WPFW this week. 

The follow-up letter from California's Attorney General after the hidden meeting with the outgoing board officers in Mid-January arrived last week, along with a not-unexpected resignation letter from corporate counsel Siegel and Yee. The letter, somewhat at odds with the chipper description of the meeting given to the 2017 board in executive session (as described by Bill Campisi), demands that Pacifica replace all mis-spent restricted funds by the end of the month (which would include DC's moving fund and the KPFK Studio A renovation grant) and provide a plan for re-establishing fiscal stability or dissolving the organization. The deadline for the submission of the 2015 financial audit to the AG has been extended to August of 2017.  IED Crosier and former CFO Agarwal, now consulting with Pacifica, are working on the financial stability plan and figuring out how to replenish the DC and LA accounts that were emptied in 2016 and 2015 respectively. The AG's actions follow a series of complaints filed from 2014-2016 by current and former board members, current and former employees and numerous listener-sponsors with the agency. 

The resignation of corporate counsel Siegel and Yee accompanied the delivery of the letter from the AG's office which was sent inappropriately to former IED Brazon 18 days after she vacated the position. It is consistent with Siegel and Yee's earlier resignation as Pacifica's corporate counsel in April of 2009 when the board majority also changed hands. At that time, the firm switched rapidly to an adverse position vs a vs their former clients in both 2010 and 2011 after partner Dan Siegel ran for KPFA's local station board two months after resigning as corporate counsel. Siegel remained on the local and then national boards from December of 2009 to January of 2014 and then re-inserted the firm as Pacificia's corporate counsel in April of 2014, 3 months after stepping down as a national board member. Two associate attorneys at Siegel and Yee also served concurrently on local and national Pacifica boards: Tanya Russell on KPFA's local station board and Jose Luis Fuentes on the local and national board from 2012-2016.

Pacifica's board committee structure has fallen prey to the disruptathon tactics with most of the committees still populated by last year's majority, many of whom were kicked out by the voters six months ago. In most cases, this has simply led to rapid adjournments like the finance committee's five minute special last week. The PNB audit committee was an exception though, running for two plus hours last Monday night. The meeting revealed the committee failed to take any minutes for all of its six closed sessions in 2016 and now intends to retroactively create them, as much as a year later. KPFK LSB member Dorothy Reik eventually blew up at the committee asking them if they were crazy and saying the meeting made her feel like she'd died and gone to hell, after the committee proposed taking three months to write a letter asking for price quotes for the FY 2016 audit, which is due to the California AG in June. You can listen to a brief clip here.  It pretty much summarizes the Siegel/Brazon delaying tactics that have caused severe audit delinquencies since 2014.

The February 27 management change at LA's KPFK did not occur without a bit of collateral damage.  Unpaid volunteer coordinator Adam Rice, whose tenure at the station was marked by threats to station staff and volunteers, emails dictating program changes to GM Radford, extreme on-air and social media profanity and copyright and plugola violations tried to hijack KPFK's Facebook page on hearing he had been banned from the station and extort $100,000 for Radford and himself from Pacifica. Rice, whose KPFK name appears to be a pseudonym, wrote on February 28: (via email and then voluntarily reprinted by Rice on Facebook). The full message can be seen here. 

"Dear Leslie. I got your texts.  To be honest, yes, I hacked your facebook.  Sorry man, but in my defense, you have been using the same password for the last 6 years. You told me to be your jiminy (sic) cricket, to pull you back from slipping into the sick liberalism that permiates (sic) this foundation.  Well here is my words of wisdom, STOP BEING SO FUCKING LIBERAL. Fuck these people, all of them. You will notice that the KPFK page is now gone, in a few days it will be gone forever. They have until then to make you whole.  To pay you all the money you are owed up to the end of your contract in 2018"

In apparent disappointment that his blackmail attempt was foiled by Facebook, which returned administrative control of the page to station-authorized employees, Rice shut down KPFK's March 12 board meeting where his extortion effort was scheduled for discussion and his possible removal as a local board member.

The trajectory for Pacifica Radio looks to be dramatically improved by the robust national fundraiser, the return of LA's KPFK to productivity and the upgrade in executive leadership, but the hijacking of governance meetings and Rice's absurd "give us money or the Facebook page gets it" are giving credence to sentiments within the network that democratic governance needs to end. Growing proposals to return to self-selecting boards, dramatically cut the size of the national and local boards, eliminate the local boards altogether and/or return to ceremonial-style fundraising-only boards can be heard. It is incumbent on the members of Pacifica's governing boards to get their acts together, or face possible eradication by member vote (as happened to the Bay Area''s KQED) or by a direct appeal to the Attorney General for a new set of bylaws. Those who don't wish to lose their votes have a responsibility to make sure their representatives don't crash and burn Pacifica's hard-won listener democracy. 


To subscribe to this newsletter, go to www.pacificainexile.org

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Help iED Bill Crosier clean up the mess


Bill Crosier was often the lone sane board member at meetings that ended in chaos due to the disruptive presence of notorious troublemakers like Cerene and Adriana. They are still there, but declawed and unmasked.

I still believe WBAI has suffered too much vandalism to be made whole again, but Bill Crosier gives me hope and I think those of us who truly care for the welfare of the station ought to give him support. At this point, I, myself, speak of moral support, because I could not in good conscience donate a penny to pay for the greed, racism and ineptitude that has driven the listenership away. Replacing Reimers and Bates with honest professionals would be a giant first step.  —Chris  


I'm coming to NY to meet with everyone I can next week. I already told my WBAI friends on the PNB and Bob Young, and ask them to help arrange for meetings in the evenings so I can meet with non-staff, etc.

I'm coming into town Sun. afternoon, and plan to leave early Thur. morning for DC where I want to meet with WPFW folks there. Alex Steinberg & Nina are going to provide a room for me. I'm going to be meeting with WBAI staff and other people during the days, but want to meet with you folks, other indys, and more (and even whoever from the JUC might be interested, one evening).  I can't meet with anyone Thur. evening because of a PNB meeting/conf call then.

Alex and Bob, I think, are going to schedule my time, so check with them about when I'll be where, and let any others know who I should speak with. I don't have everyone's e-mail address in my address book, so help spread the word (after checking with Alex & Bob).

I'm looking forward to seeing you (I hope).

Bill
________________________________
Bill Crosier
713-641-4941 (home), 713-305-5346 (mobile)
KPFT - 90.1 FM Houston - Radio for Peace  http://kpft.org

Houston Peace and Justice Center  http://hpjc.org

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Trapped in the WBAI mumbo jumble?


A reader of this blog has posted advice to the insiders he left behind. The degree of Solomon's wisdom is up to you to judge, but the way things have gone...

The best thing I ever did was to sever all ties to WBAI a few years ago. It freed me up to do some very cool stuff, and I have never been happier in my life. 

There are some good, misguided people who are still plugging away as volunteer producers, and for these former acquaintances, I encourage you to just politely remove yourself from the station, immediately. You are not getting paid for this hobby, and for every single one of you it is a source of toxicity in your life, and a total waste of time. Even those who are getting paid, like Reggie and Max, could find better jobs that wouldn't be so awful on a day to day basis. Someone like Max, who has a real fanbase, could do his oldies show as a podcast with a bigger audience. And just move on to something better. In a couple years you will look back on your feuding and fighting and the serious way you thought about WBAI politics with a deep sense of shame. You won't care who controls WBAI, because you will realize how worthless it all is, compared to the new things in your life. In fact, you will look forward to the day when there is no embarrassing record of your time at WBAI.


You will miss it at first, yes. It is a kind of addiction for many of you, and withdrawals from addiction can be difficult in the short term. But in the long term, you will find something much, much better to do with your precious time on this earth, believe me.  —Solomon

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A brief diversion...


Some 54 years ago, when Flower Children roamed freely, dangling their love beads and peace signs, I spent the first few hours of each Sunday alone in the dim, sound-sealed WBAI control room at 30 East 39th Street, wrapped in a silly weekend fare called "The Inside.". Rarely was there anyone else in the building—the station's staff and volunteers, as well as the people from the Vera Institute, on the ground floor, had better ways to spend their weekend.

When you are left in a semi-dark room into which not even the loudest street noise can penetrate, and your only companion is that microphone, you undergo a transformation that can produce abnormal behavior. This occurred one midnight in 1963 when I found myself climbing up ancient virtual stairs to a pulpit. As the Atheist in me vaporized and slowly rose to mix with the nicotine patina of of our ceiling's acoustic tile, my alter ego, Uncle Chris, metamorphosed into a preacher. Here going back for more than a half century is that spiritual awakening...

A Sunday morning sermon.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Bill Crosier opens the door

I support Bill Crosier, but strongly feel that any donation to WBAI should be held back until the station has been deloused. People like Berthold Reimers and Tony Bates must be fired, honesty and principles restored. —Chris A
________________________________

Subject: iED Report, 2017-03-02 

Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2017 19:26:52 -0600 
From: Pacifica Executive Director <ed@pacifica.org
To: Pacifica National Board <pnb@pacifica.org>

Please distribute this at your stations to LSB members, staff, and volunteers - this is all public so it's OK to share.

For those of you who missed the previous announcements, the Pacifica National Board named me as the new interim Executive Director for Pacifica, as of Feb. 10. I told them I would not accept a salary - just expenses for travel and other essentials. I did not ask for this job, but several Board members asked me to take it on, and I said OK, but I do not plan to do this indefinitely - I am interim.

A few people have asked me about my expenses. I will do my best to minimize those by staying in the homes of local station supporters while visiting the National Office and various stations, and by asking volunteers to drive me around. That's what I did in the trip I just took. Of course, this also gives me more time to visit with local Pacifica members, which I really want to do. Regarding my expenses so far, the only ones are for air fare to visit Berkeley and Los Angeles, and I have not yet received reimbursement for that. Pacifica's IT staff also convinced me to let them buy me a used cell phone along with a case with an extra battery (as I'm on the phone many hours each day on Pacifica business) so I can keep my personal cell phone for personal business and the Pacifica one for Pacifica matters. Those are my only expenses so far. In my visits to Berkeley and LA, I stayed in the homes of local station members and they drove me around everywhere, so I have had no hotel or taxi expenses. I also no meal expenses (at least not yet) for which I need reimbursement.

I also plan to visit WBAI and WPFW this month, plus make another trip to Berkeley. I hope to stay with local station supporters on those trips, too.

It's been very helpful to me, to get to speak directly with people at the stations, and to hear their concerns and suggestions, even if I don't have time to talk with everyone individually. I am grateful for the many suggestions I've been receiving from so many people. I'm encouraged that so many, many people really do care about Pacifica and our mission and want us to grow and prosper, not just barely survive.

I hope people at all of our stations will also do their best to minimize expenses. But we really need to focus on getting new listeners and members, on getting additional revenue such as from major donors, and more. There are thousands of people out in the streets who need our independent voices but who don't know about us. *I want a strong, vibrant Pacifica that people all over our country will know is there for them - to speak truth to power, and which is not afraid to stand up to the craziness coming out of the White House and Congress. We need that, and our country needs that.

But keeping Pacifica strong and preserving our mission means we have to be able to pay our bills and get current with audits and meet other regulatory requirements. We have some very urgent and important matters to attend to. So although I truly welcome suggestions from everyone, for anything that can improve Pacifica, my major focus now is on getting the audits done, getting the revenue up, and starting to get our finances under control. If we can't do that, our mission and our very survival is in peril.

What you can do: Donate today to the special one-day Celebration of Pacifica fund drive, and *ask your friends to do so*. Ask them via e-mail and social media. They can donate after today, too, by going to pacifica.org <http://pacifica.org>. This fund raiser is going very well so far, and it's to raise money for the audits and related tasks such as other regulatory matters, to help us get in compliance with state and federal reporting requirements.

Regarding the change in management at KPFK, I have named Christine Blosdale as a temporary interim GM, for a few weeks. She has replaced Leslie Radford. See pacifica.org <http://pacifica.org> for the press release. Christine is going full speed on ways to help KPFK become financially sustainable, while staying true to the Pacifica mission, and I support the changes she is making. There have been false statements made on social media about some of the changes, by a former volunteer. Some of the changes this week are very temporary - preemptions of some shows during the KPFK fund drive, which ends tomorrow. Some other changes will be made later, but most programs will remain, especially those with listenership and support. Christine joins me in wanting to get caught up on the premium backlog and other matters.

This week, we got an extension (until August 27) of the deadline for the FY2015 audit from the California Registry of Charitable Trusts, part of the AG's office.

On Tuesday, we also got the letter from the AG via Alan Yee, that the AG's office told last year's officers to expect. Although we received it on Feb. 28, it was dated Mar. 1. I forwarded it to the PNB. It says:

The Attorney General Office requires the following from Pacifica Foundation within 30 days from today.
  1. Documents showing replenishment of Restricted Assets, including the source of funds; 
  2. Written plan for either establishing Pacifica's financial stability or dissolving the organization; and 
  3. Complete copy of Pacifica's independent audit for 2015.

That letter was clearly written before the Aug. 27 extension mentioned in the above paragraph, and I plan to talk with the AG's office in the next few days about that discrepancy and the other items in the letter. Clearly we have some very important work to do in the next few weeks, regarding the items in their letter. We do not have a plan yet for establishing Pacifica's financial stability nor for replenishing restricted funds, but it's very important that we do that before the end of March. I ask for your cooperation in helping us to get that done.

Alan Yee also said, in the same note, "Our office will no longer be representing Pacifica so your new attorneys should respond to the AG's office directly".

Per the motion approved by the PNB on Feb. 10, I hired Sam Agarwal on a consulting basis to provide assistance with our financial problems and in getting ready for the audits. He has already given me a lot of good advice. But we need a real full-time CFO, and he can't do that on a part-time consulting agreement. I hope you will authorize me tonight to hire him as CFO.

Regarding today's on-air fundraiser, thanks to negotiations by an anonymous Pacifica member, we got an $86K donation to provide challenge match funds for this audit fundraiser. Those funds are being split up into amounts for each hour, per recommendations by other managers who have more experience than me with this. The donation is from a bequest from Jim Krivo, who was a WBAI supporter before he died a few years ago, and the person administering his estate wanted to do something to help Pacifica and decided that providing a challenge fund specifically for the audit fundraiser was the best way to do it. I've asked Berthold to think about doing something to honor the memory of Jim Krivo and this very generous gift, and if any of you have suggestions please let me and Berthold know.

We also have a new agreement with Mobile Cause to provide text-to-donate services so we'll have another easy way for people to contribute. We have implemented it for today's fundraiser, and the donations made through this have already exceeded our expectations. It can also be used by any station for their own on-air fundraisers, and also for live in-person events where I'm told it can be even more effective. We'll provide more details on that later, but you can go to https://www.mobilecause.com/ for more information.

I'd like to involve PNB and/or other LSB members and other volunteers - whoever has time and interest in helping and not just in meeting - in strategic planning for increasing listenership and membership and fund-raising, with the ultimate goals of making Pacifica stronger and much better known as THE alternative independent broadcast media. We have a regular stream of craziness coming out of the White House, with perhaps even more to come from Congress, and our country needs PacificaWe need to be there for them. I hope we can put aside some of our differences and think about how we can work together on that.
Bill 

The PBS treadmill...


The first order of business was to vote on the agenda. They sort of got to it two hours later and introduced a motion to adjourn. That vote was made in the blink of an eye, so they shut off their phones and ended the meeting without accomplishing anything.

They will never accomplish anything unless they find a way to mute these disrupters who, obviously, do not have Pacifica's welfare in mind.

The audio clip is missing the first few of minutes and I know you won't spend a couple of hours listening to this unproductive chaos, but do some spot checking—you might miss a hysterical moment or two, but you will get the gist.

KPFA had a very good day Thursday, but that does not make a bit of difference to the wrongful agenda-driven Cerene mob.

I leave you with a revealing quote from one of the Board members who tried for two hours to get a question answered:

"I vote for whatever makes the Chair like me."

The Thursday night PBS free-for-all. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Exiles see the sun


March 1, 2017
Sunshine in Los Angeles

Berkeley - A turbulent 21 months at KPFK in Los Angeles has come to an end with a change in the station's general manager position made on February 27, effective immediately. Leslie Radford was hired in May of 2015 to be KPFK's general manager by outgoing IED Margy Wilkinson on Wilkinson's last day. The hire was against the wishes of incoming executive director John Proffitt, who was literally driving from Texas when Wilkinson made the hire. Proffitt had asked Wilkinson to allow him to interview the KPFK candidates, but she did not do so and hired Radford, a former Siegel/Brazon-affiliated national board member, to the KPFK job.


Radford's tenure was marked by a huge judgement for labor contract violations, won by SAG-AFTRA in arbitration in mid-2016. The $285,000 assessment included back pay, severance awards and penalties in response to dozens of grievances filed after Radford imposed involuntary pay cuts, laid off two employees and denied severance benefits in the fall of 2015. Proposed KPFK budgetary plans for 2017 (never approved by the national board) further punished KPFK employees with the loss of all spousal and dependent child health care coverage.  

In a press release put out by the Pacifica Foundation, new interim ED Bill Crosier commented: "KPFK is an important part of the Pacifica Foundation, and is our biggest and most powerful station in the second biggest media market in the United States. The station has been through some difficult times recently. I want KPFK to take a leadership role, both within our radio network as it recovers, and in the Southern California media landscape as the country meets the challenges presented by the Trump administration. This change will position KPFK to do so” 

Long-time staffer Christine Blosdale has taken over the KPFK general manager position on a temporary basis. 

The morning after the change in management at KPFK, the station's legendary overnight host Roy of Hollywood, returned in a 40th anniversary celebration that was extra joyous due to the unexpected return to the midnight time slot. The program's listeners responded with one-night donations in excess of $4,000. Something's Happening had been bifurcated to 3am to 6am for the last year in order for Radford to put on a melange of new programs under the name Safe Harbor, a reference to the FCC relaxation of rules on broadcast profanity during the late night hours. Safe Harbor took full advantage, making a specialty out of indulging in as much on-air profanity as humanly possible, generating numerous listener complaints and few listener donations. Some of the new shows also had problems with plugola (on-air promotions) and copyright infringement, particularly volunteer coordinator Adam Rice's Music to Resist By, with Rice unaccountably posting programs with copyrighted music on the Internet Archive in KPFK's name and ducking Soundexchange reporting requirements for Internet streaming.  Rice has been suspended from KPFK until further notice. Other displaced programmers from the year-old Safe Harbor block have been invited to submit requests for new time slots to interim program director Alan Minsky. 


Pacifica received some great news from the Office of the California Attorney General which gave a six-month extension to submit the fiscal year 2015 financial audit, which has not been started 9 months after it was due. The extension follows a series of scary letters in December and January threatening the loss of nonprofit status and an AG meeting with the board's 2016 officers in mid-January that was concealed from incoming directors. The California AG requested the submission of a written plan for re-establishing Pacifica's financial stability and proof of replacement of restricted funds used inappropriately by the previous regime, by the end of March.

New IED Crosier has implemented a nationwide fundraising day on Thursday March 2 to raise funds to immediately proceed with the delinquent audits. The "audit fundraiser", first proposed by the WBAI Community Advisory Board in December, will feature voices of resistance from the Pacifica Archives with original programming simulcast on WBAI, WPFW, KPFT and KPFK all day. KPFA will maintain its regular fund drive programming, but donate the day's proceeds to the dedicated fund.

The special day of fundraising has been given a huge head start by a generous $86K gift from a long-time WBAI supporter who is providing a match fund for the whole day or until the funds are all used up.

So every donation up to $86K will be matched at 100% of its value, netting Pacifica at least $172K to dedicate to cleaning up the accounting once and for all and preserving the network's tax-deductible status.