Monday, December 23, 2013

Heading for the abyss, it's Null speed ahead!

Please click on the text to make it a readable size.


A note from Berthold Reimers that conflicts with figures given earlier by R. Paul Martin. I think this typically optimistic message should be taken with a rather large grain of salt. That has generally proven to be good advice. Reimers is gilding his lily, as it were. Watch out for the "uniformer" fire officers! It looks like WBAI is the subject of a fire sale.

Dear colleagues,
We just wanted to take a minute to share with you the results of the Holiday Pledge Drive. Thanks to all of our collective efforts we were able to register more than $204,000 in pledges, well above the $132,000 budgeted goal. We would like to recognize staff members Andrea Katz, Tony Ryan, Michael Haskins, Reggie Johnson, Shawn  Rhodes, Max Schmid and Danny Williams for their efforts. Critical to the success of drive were the volunteers, coordinated by Mitch Cohen and Jim Dingman, who mailed out thousands of premiums. While WBAI still faces significant fiscal challenges, there are reasons to be hopeful. We were able to make these numbers without having to extend into the weekend and beyond.

In addition, sizeable gifts from the City's Uniformer Fire Officers, CWA Local 1180, DC 37's Local 768 indicate we are making significant in roads with the City's labor unions. After the holidays we will have more details about our one day Martin Luther King Day drive on Monday January 20, 2014 and our winter pledge cycle that starts on  Monday February 3, 2014 and ends on Sunday March 2, 2014.

Thanks again for all of your hard work.
Berthold Reimers 
General Manager
Robert Hennelly
Interim Program Director

Here's R. Paul Martin's table and assessment. Not quite as optimistic...

The 'thon ended short of goal, but by $17,238, which is less than one day's projected tally.

Nothing's easy with this stuff. On the one hand we didn't make goal, on the other hand we only missed it by less than 8%. But we have past expenses. And Pacifica is looking to see how self sustaining we can be. And then there's the nature of the big premiums that made up the bulk of this 'thon's tally. And what's going to happen with programming? Clearly the regular programming is not able to support the station.

A graphic of the final result is below. To me it is not clear at this point that WBAI can be self sustaining for the rest of FY14. The condition of the rest of Pacifica is crucial for figuring out how much time WBAI has to get into a condition where it can be self sustaining. If the rest of Pacifica is in bad shape there will not be any time and a desperation PSOA becomes a more likely possibility. The prospect of Pacifica taking out a loan to meet WBAI's short term expenses, which would probably require some real estate as collateral, and which would also require interest payments, is not what one could call an easy sell.

I do not know how the other stations are doing with their December mini-thons. I do not know what the PNB is discussing in its executive sessions on the PSOA topic.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Buddy, can you spare a dime? NO!

"We are in need of cash for sure this drive, but our BAI Buddy numbers are down to a trifle."

—Andrea Katz, December 18, 2013

This fund drive is supposed to end tomorrow, but look at the pledge figures, and bear in mind that they are only pledge figures.

 It may surprise you to see the 7 - 8 slot figure for yesterday: $1,650

A thousand of that came from one of Hennelly's unions and 
was to be earmarked for the shameful severance debt, but 
Haskins—clueless and dishonest as ever—immediately called 
it a "matching fund." Hennelly, equally loath to level with the listeners, said nothing to correct him.

Does anybody here really think this money will go to the 
laid-off staffers? Does anybody here believe that this drive 
will not be extended? Does anybody believe the ship hasn't taken on too much water?

For that matter, does anybody believe that the $1,000 from the union wasn't, in essence, buying air time on WBAI?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

It's that time again... believe in it, or not...

I never was a believer in any man-made religion, nor were my family, but we always celebrated Christmas as a special time of the year, a time for happy exchanges that did not have to be of the material kind. As an adult, deeply involved in the jazz world, I used to receive and send quite a number of cards as the holiday neared, but that has proven to be as ephemeral as one might reasonably expect—the years have robbed me of many very dear friends, but each as left lasting memories behind. They, too, will of course accompany me as my time to depart comes. 

Click here to view my video card, which is mostly a reflection of my life on the jazz scene. There, in a more interactive environment, I had the good fortune to meet many great artists and form lasting friendships. These cards go back to a time when e-mail took much that was emotionally valuable away from us. The jazz world and WBAI used to have a special bond. Lou Schweitzer opened his microphone to the music in the pre-Pacifica days, and I reopened them, The performers, in turn, rallied to help us conduct our first two overwhelmingly successful, if chaotic, fundraising marathons. I'm afraid that started a bad habit that has gotten way out of hans and may prove to be instrumental in the station's impending demise. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Treasurer's Informal Regress Report..

The following was posted on other boards today. It should surprise only the ultra na├»ve. —Chris

Tallies for the December 'thon so far:

Monday $13,035

Tuesday $12,230

Wednesday $12,370

Total $37,635

We are falling far short of the budgeted $18,820 tally per day in this December 'thon. In August it was budgeted to last for 7 days, in November it was announced to last 12 days.

For the first three days of this 'thon we're showing a total tally of $37,635 when we're budgeted for a tally of $56,460. So we're short by $18,825 already. That's one full day's projected tally after only three days of pitching.

We are raising a tally of about 67% of what we're budgeted to raise, and we're a quarter of the way through this 'thon. This is not good.

I have been saying that I'm against the PSOA but that the October and December 'thons were crucial. The Fall 'thon was extended and all of that "extra" money got eaten up by pressing, past debts.

WPFW wants that $31,000 WBAI owes them for money which had been borrowed to make WBAI's payroll earlier this year. WBAI Management is projecting paying them back by this coming Monday. So far, at a 78.3% fulfillment rate, we've raised $29,468. Not even considering that this total amount will not come in for months yet, this 'thon has still not yet raised the money we need to pay off WPFW. So past, pressing debts are again eating the 'thon money. None of this takes into consideration the $235,000 in severance that's owed.

If this 'thon continues to tank as it's done so far some PSOA solution may be the only one left, outside of Pacifica mortgaging some real estate and getting a real PD in there, a PD who will somehow turn things around very significantly in a quite short time. And Pacifica would have to deal with all of the protests and accusations that would then come out of New York as a result of such a PD's actions. This would probably be about the same level of bother that a PSOA would generate.

This December 'thon is currently scheduled to end December 20.

I am calculating that, at the current rate, it would have to be extended by a week to make the tally goal, which would run it right through the week of the 25th. We're not going to make any money on December 25, and probably not much that week. This is shaping up to be a bad situation.

As of Tuesday, cash in bank was $12,768.76. The station has its regular bills to pay as well as the severance and the special, past debts.  —R. Paul Martin (LSB Treasurer)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Andrew Phillips minces no words...

Solomon caught the following Facebook post by Andrew Phillips, one of the recent Pacifica/Reese victims. His observations regarding Gary Null's increasing dominance is shared by many. One wonders what he thinks of the most recent iPD, Robert Hennelly, who is already proving to be a disaster. What we have left in the way of support for the station is a group of cling-ons, whose growing desperation is painfully revealing. Even Bob Fass, who has every reason to resent management's attitude,  is evidencing moral bankruptcy at the thought of losing his time slot. That bothers me a great deal, but—somehow—comes as no surprise. His failing health aside, Bob should have quit with dignity while that was still possible. He is, of course, not alone, but most of his stagnant colleagues have no glorious past to recapture or reminisce over. I never regretted bringing Bob back to WBAI in the '60s, but I find it sad to hear him come apart on a show that once was remarkable, culturally significant, and way ahead of its time, but now is mired in nostalgia for the few who remember how it once was.

Here' (presumably, in part) is what Mr. Phillips posted today:
"Meanwhile WBAI plunges back into premium and Null driven 2-week fundraiser. Nelson Mandela makes money, Thom Hartman does not. Less than $15k for first day. And SR [Summer Reese] trying to sack KPFK iPD, Allen Minsky who is roadblock to Null/Blosdqle infomercials. Null throws hissy fit because he can't sell his wares and refuses to pitch. He's twisting SR's arm - extorting her to get him on and Minsky out. Meanwhile there's a new reaching out to members and informing them. PNB plans membership voting quorum reduced to 5% so a handful of members get to control and ruin Pacifca - current quorum is 10% but most stations don't make it. Nobody but a few idiots and ideologues gives a fuck. There are exceptions but not many."

The URL link will take you to the Ian Master's piece to which I linked earlier.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Ghost of Phillips materializes on Labor Radio

This morning, during another mindless Ho Ho show (that can be two hoes or Haskins and
Hennelly, or both—your pick), the alleged iPD (has he done anything yet?) bared his pipe
dream as he declared: 

"WBAI-Labor Radio in New York"

His newfound partner, Haskins, did not repeat that new slogan, although it is something he normally does—he still labels WBAI as "Community Radio," meaning "Black and Brown".
Color it any way that suits your agenda, the sad truth is that WBAI is amateur radio in 
a city that attracts and fosters professionalism. WBAI is increasingly a blight on New York City's FM 
True to form, Hennelly morphed the death of Nelson Mandela into a self-serving spiel 
for labor unions, a drivel drive that made phone stops with various union officials, in
cluding one from Hennelly's DC37 (is he still working for them, officially?), and Haskins 
made the occasional grunt to indicate his approval or disapproval—hard to tell.
They got off labor for a few minutes to run a painfully pedestrian "poem" written and 
read by the highly over-rated Maya Angelou. It was apparently commissioned by the 
government, whose "creative" officials have a very short list of black names with 
which they are familiar (Angelou made an embarrassing appearance in "Roots,").
Apropos embarrassment, one of the phone people, a lady who has written a book 
about unions, touched upon the labor movement's long history of gender and race 
discrimination—this is the sort of thing Robert Hennelly doesn't want to hear, of course.
I was reminded of something Gloria Swanson told me when we were discussing her 
early career. She said that there were many women working behind the camera, but 
that ended when the unions came in.
This has been designated as the first day of yet another fundraising drive, but there 
wasn't much of that kind of activity on this extended drivel time show. 
"Law and Disorder" came on following DN!, and it 
was in a half-assed fundraising mode, but guess what? it was a rerun! At one point, we 
were surprised by the presence of Andrew Phillips...yes, the great Aussie hope 
Reese hired and then scared off! He wanted us to know that Hartman has joined 
WBAI and will be heard at 9 "this evening."
Did the current bozos not learn anything about operating a radio station? 
WBAI's slow suicide will eventually work and New York will be the better for it.
How's that for a depressing observation? 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

To Serve Man...

Remember that Twilight Zone episode where aliens come to earth carrying a large book in their own language? The seem quite friendly and experts begin the tough job of translating the book. The title, they figure out, is "TO SERVE MAN," The conclusion? These guys have an advanced civilization and they are here to help us. The aliens offer free trips to earthlings aboard their, so they can see for themselves what a great, advanced civilization they come from. It quickly becomes popular and droves of earthlings sign up for the trip, and wait their turn. The final scene has happy, well-dressed humans walking up the gangplank to the ship, including one of the young scientists. His assistant comes running to the ship, just as he is about to enter it....stop, she tells him, frantically....the book is...a cookbook!.

Well, Yesterday, that wonderful line came to mind as I was thinking about this unsavory group of characters who are currently completing the destruction of WBAI, while pretending to be saviors.
So I entered one of my shortest posts to the Blueboard:


You guessed it, Generalissimo R. Paul Martin removed it. I posted it again, and the same thing happened, but this time I also received an e-mail message:

I sent him a video clip of the scene!  With people like that involved, is it any wonder that the final curtain is about to drop?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Here we go again... HAPPY HELIX!

'Tis the holiday season, so a special treat is in store for Tom from the Bronx, and the few others who are left out there. As Haskins announced with glee this morning, and Reimers confirms, it's time once again for the WBAI insiders to raise the glass and wish each other a Happy Helix! Make that a double!

From what we gather, Berthold Reimers and the gang are going all out this month and doing a dip into the old scam-bam-thank-you-mam archive of golden oldies. Yes, they are bringing back those wonderful infomercials that you loved in the Wall Street days. Can you wait? I bet you can't...but you'll just have to put up with those wonderful regular programs until December 9. It's going to be well worth the wait....expect return performances by the great Scott, and Null will certainly be there with his heavenly shampoo and—now that he's been paid his money—more books and DVDs. I bet that we'll even hear Kathy Davis and her silent chorus of homeless angels—not to mention George Quant, if he can tear himself away from all those Hollywood celebrities. Hey, Christine Blosdale will most likely be flown in to sell gloom and doom antidotes, and I wouldn't put it past Papa Reimers to bring Tony Bates back for yet another encore.

All in all, a swell time, so set the table for Helix water (ever tried it with a dash of Brass Monkey?) and gobs of that green stuff. The W in WBAI doesn't officially stand for Walmart, but...