Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Everything old is new

Click on image to enlarge
Notice that she still signs herself as "interim," it is something this nefarious script calls for.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A worthy cause...

If you feel that WBAI has given shabby treatment to its only true on-air icon, here's your opportunity to shame them. When Radio Unnameable, the documentary was released, it gave the station more positive publicity than it had received in decades. When it was suggested to him, the current GM, Berthold Reimers, refused to consider the station reimbursing the gas and toll money Bob Fass spends to do the program live (and gratis) each week. However, when it became clear that the film documentary was well received by the press and public, the same Mr. Reimers asked how WBAI might capitalize on it.

Now, Bob is facing medical problems that have prevented him from making the trip to the studio. Sad to say, I don't think he has received as much as a get well card from Reimers, but—thanks to an initiative taken by his niece—here is a way in which you can show your appreciation for the many years Bob has given to the station. It is a far worthier cause than the wreck of WBAI and the vanity of those who slither within. Don't give them a penny more, just show them the door.

Friday, November 22, 2013

WBAI: Dying, but in labor...

The rumor was correct, Robert Hennelly, Haskins' sidekick on the ever-changing morning show has been appointed interim Program Director. Reimers and Reese appeared on the show this morning to make the announcement. She giggled a lot and didn't say anything of consequence or interest. He only spoke briefly, expressed surreal optimism in regard to WBAI's future, and mentioned the "December fund drive"—this is becoming quite monotonous.

Hennelly, who is a shameless ass licker, called Reimers a "hero." He is, of course obeying the issued talking points, which call for deification of Reimers, suggesting that this is version 1.01, a factory refurbished GM. Sure didn't sound like it this morning. We'll see. I predict that this opportunist will continue to play up the union angle while Haskins swishes around in the studio, thanking everyone "so very much." Remember when Haskins was on the paint-it-black team? Now he will hop onto the Hennelly bandwagon....until they both fall off.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Incomplete Pacifica Foudation agrement!

It was not too long ago that Berthold Reimers spoke proudly of the then newly redesigned WBAI website. Many of us found it unimaginative and old-fashioned, but I think most of us agreed that it was an improvement over the old design.

Someone is still adding announcements to the opening slideshow, producers are occasionally plugging their events and shows, and there is a monthly newsletter from Reimers, although it is always a week or two late. In other words, this is not a dormant site, so one wonders all the more why it is neglected in so many areas. 

The program schedule (grid) is always hopelessly outdated. Granted, there have been several impulsive time shifts in recent months, but a website can easily be kept from the office, or someone's home, or Starbucks, for that matter. So why isn't it?

The schedule has always been woefully inadequate—the design leaves little space for information, in some cases not even enough for the program title and host. There is no earthly reason for cramming an entire week onto a single page—it costs no more to have a page for each day, one that leaves ample room for details, even the occasional photo. There is also no reason why individual producers could not come up with a timely blurb. That should be required of them—WBAI should not be random radio.

And the wonder where the audience went.

Click on image to enlarge it.

Monday, November 18, 2013

From P.O.W.W.'s Facebook site...

Did you know that there are disgruntled workers at WBAI? Shocking, isn't it? Well they also have their own spot on Facebook. Here's something that popped up there today, November 18, just as Reimers shills like Frank LeFever are straining their little brains to come up with believable info to the contrary:

For other interesting P.O.W.W. bits of news and comments, go here.

Stranger than fiction: read this group letter to Summer.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A warning from on high....

I'm sure that many of you have paid the infamous BlueBoard a visit at one time or another. It has been around for many years and is the forum part of a more expansive site called Goodlight. It is instantly recognizable for its awkward, Atari-like design and ghastly colors, and it is a basking bucket for trolls, with most posters signing in anonymously. That is, in part, because, although it was intended to be a place for WBAI Listener discussion, the habitués always include a good number of "insiders" who fear reprisals when they lash out at the station's management, or feel a need to tread lightly due to the highly polarized atmosphere in which they work.

All this has made the "snake pit" tag seem quite appropriate, but esthetic nightmare looks, ad hominem personal attacks and stalking by malcontents aside, the forum has in the past couple of years developed an additional and even worse characteristic: It has been taken over (legitimately) by a WBAI insider—R. Paul Martin, one of its stagnant fossils—who has a serious problem handling the authority webmastering entails. If anyone dares to criticize him, he invokes rules forbidding that and bars the dastardly person from posting and—sillier still—being mentioned by name in the forum.

We are not told who is banished, so the only way to find out is to include their name in a post. It will be rerouted to the master's throne for him to give a "go" or "no." The banished include people whose names are apt to appear in posts, such as LSB Secretary (former Chair) Mitchel Cohen and National Board member Carolyn Birden. I have no idea which rule they may have broken, but they probably used free speech where it isn't condoned.

I bring all this up, because I now stand on the brink of—oh dear!—banishment, and I want to show you how little it takes. First, here is an e-mail I received from the mighty R. Paul Martin this morning:

You would think I had posted something outrageous, vulgar, or exceedingly offensive, but such posts are commonplace on the BlueBoard. R. Paul Martin himself tends to post one-liners containing misinformation (usually in defense of management) or personal insults. Reading the offending, near-fatal post (below), an exchange between another poster and myself (indented bold print), I have to conclude that my crime was to post unfavorably about the moderator. You be the judge. Let me add that I can live very well without the snake pit, which is likely to become obsolete when the damage inflicted on WBAI by R. Paul and his "buddies" places it in new hands. I am sure that he worries about that—as do many insiders—but you reap what you sow, as the saying goes. 

The original post has, of course, been removed from the BlueBoard. We will never know what thoughts have been suppressed by Herr Martin, but some of his outcasts have found their way to Nalini's list, Pacifica Radio Waves, which—like this blog—is a place for free expression. The aforementioned post and response is mild criticism, nothing more, but I obviously  started "getting into the moderation of the board," whatever that means—it's a sin, to be sure. What do you think?
I don't know if R. Paul ever comes this way, but he may, and he doesn't even have to behave! I guess I can now anticipate joining the elite banished group. C'est la vie. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Illuminating excerpt...

If the print is too small, please click on the text to enlarge it.
Playing the LMA game.

Family Feud as Summer approaches...

Here is a link to a thread I started this afternoon on the BlueBoard. I had to alter the names of Mitchel Cohen and Carolyn Birden (members of the LSB and PNB, respectively) otherwise that forum would not accept my posts. Whatever you may think of these two people, they are members of Pacifica's current governance and it is absolutely idiotic of R. Paul Martin to bar the mention of their names on his BlueBoard. This is the sort of childish nonsense we are up against—they really do need to dump the whole lot of them and see what can be salvaged re the station.

Apropos salvage, we have long known that these vipers are at each other's throat and WBAI is but the trophy, but if you go to the link I supplied in the first line of this post and read my three posts, I think you will see just how ugly it all has become as the ship goes down. 

I look forward to reading your comments.

Friday, November 15, 2013

If the key fits....

It may be but a rumor, but the word going around on the BlueBoard is that an order to change all the locks has been issued. This, according to the rumor, is to take place tonight or tomorrow. It may not be true, but it would not be the first time such an order has gone out. This is, after all WBAI, a Pacifica station, and it is crawling with confused loonies who now feel threatened by the cirkus they themselves helped to create.

Anyway, Summer's-a-comin'—presumably tonight—and she has promised "a smooth transition." The question is....to what???   Stay tuned.

It is Saturday morning and all is as well as it was Friday night, according to frantic Frank, the self-appointed spokesman for the LSB (and, indeed, WBAI). However, that corner must be getting tight, because his pixels on the BlueBoard are soaked in wishful thinking, and make even less sense than usual as he posts such lines as:
 "She told me she is on her way to NYC and wants to meet with the LSB."
That's hardly unexpected news. Neither is this, from his latest posting marathon:  
"Summer will be arriving tomorrow and I believe she will be meeting with Berthold."
If he is not sure that Reese will meet with Reimers, how can he claim with certainty that Reese has not fired Reimers? Answer: Wishful thinking.

I guess we will know more by day's end. Jim Dingeman seems less desperate, but one does sense a slight quiver in his posts.

"Cannibal," one of the BB's intelligent regulars suggests that the time has come to suspend the New York LSB. "Cog Dis," a poster whose ambivalence must try his nerves, thinks a suspension would be folly, because the LSB "don't DO anything." I believe both have got it right.

Finally, LeFever states that there are "no locks to be changed," but adds:
"...some locks or intercoms or something may be added because of some tense moments with two "overexcited" visitors recently."

I think you get the picture: Years of misguidance and self-serving gimme-ism has caught up with the opportunists, the bobbleheads, and con artists, taking WBAI way beyond the point where smooth-talking quacks like Gary Null and fumbling, attention-seeking dabblers like Frank LeFever can apply the brakes.

Keep tuned in as the situation unravels. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Reimers to self: "And I'm tellin' you I am not goin'!

There's not much left that's worth lending your ears to, but the motley crew of opportunists is bracing itself for the oncoming Summer of their discontent. Yes, the sob sister of sell-out, having managed to shed that "interim" tag and passed "Go," is heading East again.

She would, of course, like to land here and park her broomstick amid cheers of indebted advocates, but they are in short number and their loyalty has all the permanence of a stovetop ice cube. I predict that her tears will not work this time, nor will much of what she tells us be taken seriously—that little light of hope flickered and went out at last week's PNB meeting in Houston. 

Would you not like to be fly on the wall when she and Berthold Reimers come face to face? Depending on who is blabbing, the translucent GM has either been fired or dismissed by Ms. Reese. Some say that the terms have the same meaning, others insist that there is a difference. Not surprisingly, there is a small coterie of insiders who call for Reese to rescind her decision, R. Paul Martin claims that it is not her's to make without a supporting vote from the Local Station Board. Others back him up on that, but I have not heard anyone from that group call for her resignation. Typical of WBAI and Pacifica, it is a mess of confusion and a dichotomy of loyalties, because this is something the two factions actually agree on, and a call for Reimers to be allowed to stay does not come with a demand that the person who fired him be shown the door. Everybody involved has a dog in this race, but while their individual agendas aim at different outcomes, neither faction would be well served by Reimers' departure.

Reimers himself is, according to a FaceBook post, said to be determined not to go away. 

"There have been lots of rumors around my situation at WBAI. Let me clear the waters. I did not resign from my position nor did I intend to leave this position in the near future. I wish to continue in my position indefinitely". —Berthold Reimers, Nov. 14, 2013

By this time next week, we will undoubtedly have been told multiple versions of the outcome. 

Here's a link you might find interesting. Submitted to the BlueBoard by Brian, one of its knowledgable and reliable denizens, it tells of another abusive manager (KPFK) whose ineptitude and opportunism did not get in the way of her being richly rewarded by the Pacifica bozos (some of whom are still in place) six years ago.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

When WBAI makes you cringe: An Armistice Day message

Click on below image to enlarge it

In case you don't listen to WBAI between 7 and 8 am, they have given the hour over to Haskins and Hennelly. The former is our old go-with-the-flo-gee-gosh lightweight, the latter is a union rep basking in his newfound free airtime. Together, they are just plain awful. I was listening this morning when Hennelly delivered his knee-jerk "thank you for your service" to Haskins, whose time in the military was apparently served well out of harm's way. The exchange—with "god" thrown in there, somewhere—was a regrettable reflection of what has happened to the mindset that once created and maintained a great station. If I wore a hat, it would be off for former LSB Chair Mitchel, whose remarks are in the old Pacifica spirit. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A dark man-made cloud...

It has come to my attention that the Federal Communications Commission is in receipt of a formal complaint against WBAI's fundraising tactics, which the complainant (who has requested anonymity) sees as a serious infringement of the rules governing a non-profit broadcaster's solicitation of support. More specifically, as I understand it, the complaint centers around the infomercial-like segments that are out and out sales pitches for merchandise.  

It is difficult for me to predict how the FCC will react to such a complaint, it depends on the current commission’s makeup—I believe the present one, headed (as of last month) by Obama appointee, Tom Wheeler, could go either way in a case like this. Years ago, when a Jesuit watchdog group objected to Amiri Baraka’s use of “fuck” in a poem he recited for us, we received notification of the complaint, but it was dismissed because he was an acknowledged, published author. An odd double standard, I thought, as I breathed a sigh of relief.

As was their normal procedure, that complaint was added to the FCC’s Pacifica/WBAI file, which meant that—although it thus did not pose an immediate problem for us—it could eventually become a part of a detrimental accumulation.

This new complaint is more tangible, so I mention the Baraka (then Leroi Jones) case merely to point out how ambiguous FCC decisions can be. I find it difficult to imagine a valid excuse for not looking into such a serious infringement, especially one that is as clear and documented as this one. If the commission has it in for Pacifica, this would be manna from heaven. I don't know if this is an isolated complaint, but, if not, there almost has to come a point where the Commission’s action no longer is theirs to make.

Were WBAI an isolated case within Pacifica, I would be tempted to believe that this might be a part of someone’s wish to get the station out of the way, but the same scenario is apparently played out at KPFK, even with the same leading actors, and I have heard no talk of the PNB wanting to leave Los Angeles.

Personally, I wish WBAI and Pacifica could survive, but only if there are radical changes for the better. That is a prospect for which I bear little or no hope—it is too late, the damage too severe, the bureaucracy too tangled and corrupt. 

Given that, I reluctantly feel that Pacifica needs to be closed down, and I am probably being far too optimistic when I wishfully hope that Lew Hill's concept of intelligent alternate radio strikes the fancy of someone with similar ideals and the funds to implement them. Not likely to happen, but I can dream, can’t I?

Having said all that, I think there is sufficient disgust and anger out there to not rule out the possibility of further complaints, and I also see the likelihood of the FTC being set in motion.

What are your thoughts on this?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Better too late than never...

Reimers: WBAI exceeds its obligations....

Berthold Reimers has a way with words: He skips the unpleasant ones. Yesterday, November 1, 2013, the fundraising marathon was officially over (believe that, or NOT), so he posted to the WBAI StaffAnnounce list a summation, of sorts. On the surface, it looks okay, but some of us would like to see more  realistic figures. When this summary appeared on the BlueBoard, I posed a few rwasonable questions:

How much has this cost the station in respect, integrity, etc.?
How much has been spent on premiums, phone call center, shipping, etc. 
Why is the severance obligation not included?
In other words...WHAT IS THE REAL INTAKE??? 

That prompted a response from Jim Dingeman, a man whose loyalty is torn between WBAI and whoever is its present GM—they ought to be one and the same, but...

This was Dingeman's response to me: "again, what is really going on bears little to no relationship to what you have said." "Again" is appropriate here, because the you-don't-know-nothin' response is what Reimer's cronies always say when they find themselves in a corner.

Here is Reimers' summary. As you will see in her response, the elusive GM's warped priorities did not escape "laid off" WBAI news reporter, Rebecca Myles. 

Click on above images to enlarge them, and please use 
the comments option below to add your thoughts.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Interims in the interim...

A few days ago, misinformation had it that former WBAI iPD, Andrew Phillips was going to continue doing work for the station, as a volunteer. It didn't make any sense, nor was it true. I used to wonder why Summer Reese, the iED of Pacifica hadn't fired Berthold Reimers, a well-paid "GM" hired by her predecessor about three years ago. This is a wimpy man whose resumé belies his actual experience and capability to a greater extent than most such self-generated documents.

That Reimers—keeping his visibility as low as possible—has made one idiotic mistake after another, is a matter of record, as is the thousands of dollars WBAI's listener-supporters have unwittingly wasted on his salary. The reason why Summer Reese has retained such a costly deadweight becomes clearer each time she is heard from: she either shares his incompetence or is using him to bring WBAI so far down that liquidating it will not only seem justified, but advisable. t think the truth lies somewhere in between.

Last year, when Andrew Phillips was iGM of KPFK, he was dealt what, from every angle, appears to be a fabricated race card. Reese put him on "executive leave of absence" in an attempt to quell a potentially explosive situation. Then, before you could digest that turn of events, this interim Pacifica head was sobbing before an open microphone in WBAI's interim studio and declaring Mr. Phillips the station's interim Program Director. Are you beginning to sense a pattern?

Having seen an earlier appointment of Chris Hatzis to the interim PD position yield nothing more than expressed good intentions, Andrew Phillips' hiring met with understandable skepticism. Would he also extend, rather than curb, the programming stagnation? WBAI was still spiraling downwards, and nobody was loving the spin it was in—or were they?

Certainly not Mr. Phillips, who wasted no time preparing and affecting changes that listeners could hear. The salaried staff had been reduced by 19 when he went to work—that saved the station money, but it was a mixed blessing, because WBAI lost its entire news department, which had been one of its rare assets. Esther Armah, Robert Knight, Kathy Davis and Hugh Hamilton were also gone off the air—which was a good thing—but Knight and Davis kept their gratis shows, their egos not allowing them to let go.

Back to Andrew Phillips. He worked very hard and productively, turning staff and listener skepticism around and giving hope where none had been left. The fraudulent infomercial scams were gone, replaced by original premiums that actually bore a relationship to WBAI's original mission. One does not have to be visionary to know that such a mess cannot be solved in a few weeks, or months, or a year, but a sensible direction had finally been taken. Now it would seem a good idea if Pacifica aided Phillips in his efforts by raising money through other means—enough to allow his repair work to continue. Yes, that would have been a natural, practical thing for the Pacifica Board to do, but the Pacifica leadership has long been loath to do anything practical.

Read the Current article below, and you will get a good idea of what happened. Listen to the station now, and you will hear that Summer Reese not only took it back to the bottom of the pit, she dug an even deeper hole. Bringing back former interim PD Tony Bates, who was ousted when over 100 WBAI staffers signed a petition demanding his removal, is a further betrayal of trust that touches insiders as well as listener-supporters. There were witnesses to Bates' sexual harassment of a WBAI coworker and his playing favorites as he badly bungled the program schedule had dipped staff morale to a new low.

Very recently, Summer Reese seemed to find all that acceptable as she made Bates the new interim GM of Pacifica's Washington, DC station. Bringing him back to WBAI as an interim fundraiser is simply too outrageous a decision to discuss rationally. Bates was the man who had taken premium selection and pitching down, beyond the imagined boundaries of legality and decency.

I hope you will ass your comments below.  —Chris