Tuesday, September 30, 2014

October 2, 2014 Report To the Listener.

By the way, one of the program changes Murillo has made, so far, is to extend "Sports Qualified." When you hear such handling of phone calls as this, you have to question the wisdom of that decision. Let's hope he sees the need for drastic discontinuance of dross. So, while I look for the correct information re this Report, let's hear what you think of the following phone exchange:

Sunday, September 28, 2014

I just wanted to address some statements made by the current PNB treasurer Brian Edwards-Tiekert at the last two finance committee meetings. I can't speak to whether this is indulging in exaggerated rhetoric or whether there is genuinely a problem with reading spreadsheets, but I would caution that the finance committee is a place for dealing with what spreadsheets actually say, not for exaggerated comments.

None of these four statements appears at all tethered to reality, so its a problem if they are being used to make financial decisions.
1) First wacky statement:

"The Pacifica Archives is becoming as big as some of our smaller stations".

No it isn't. PRA had expenses in 2012-2014  in the $545-575K range annually. In 2015, it will be spending $91K in National Archives grant funding it received, so it might go up to $650K. 

Pacifica's smallest station is KPFT, which raises and spends $1.2-$1.3 million annually.

The correct statement is the Pacifica Archives has grown to one half the size of Pacifica's smallest station.

2) Second wacky  statement

"Pacifica has $6 million dollars less than it did before the economic crash in 2008".

No, it doesn't. It has $3 million dollars less than it did before the economic crash, including the loss of CPB funding.

In 2006, listener support was $13,6 million and total income was $16.9 million.

In 2005, listener support was $13.7 million and total income was $16.9 million.

In 2012, (you seem to have suddenly taken down the 2012 Armanino audit from the pacifica.org website), listener support was $10.8 million and total income was $13.2 million. Or if you want to use the CFO's numbers and not Armanino's, total income was $14.3 million.

Either way, that's a loss of $2.5 million to $3.5 million, not $6 million.

The correct statement is that listener support has declined by about $2 million over the past 5-7 years and combined with the loss of CPB funding, the network has about $3 million less in annual revenue. 

3) Third wacky statement

"Pacifica has $6 million dollars in unpaid bills"

Pacifica issued a balance statement with an accounts payable line on August 8th. The accounts payable line said $3.3 million.

So is the accusation being made here that the CFO missed $2.8 million dollars in bills or that another $2.8 million dollars in bills has been generated in the past 80 days?

I would suggest that if the claim is that the balance sheet issued 7 weeks ago was off by $2.5 million dollars that an accounts payable printout, preferably from Great Plains, be issued immediately to back up such a statement. As well as maybe a correct balance sheet. 
The correct statement is Pacifica has $3.3 million in unpaid bills, about 2/3 of them payable to Democracy Now. 
4) Fourth wacky statement

"Every station has laid off at least a third of their staff"
No, they haven't. WBAI certainly has. WPFW and KPFT made fairly substantial cuts in the 20-25% range of salary/benefits expense. KPA cut $375,000 in 2010, which was about 15%, but is now creeping back up over $2 million in payroll, so the net reduction is barely 10%. KPFK cut even less, about 13% and is also creeping back up to pretty much where it was a few years ago at $1.9 million a year.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Wondered what became of Uncle Sidney Smith?


Sidney's response on the BlueBoard:
Thanks R. Paul. Just another silent back stage assassination. We've both seen this happen too many times over the years. I suppose it was just a matter of time.

Like the accused once asked his lawyer, "...Does it help that I'm innocent?" "Well it might help down the line, but don't bring it up."

This was just the other day, he is now back home and, we hope, recovering rapidly. At least he's back posting on Facebook—that's a good sign. Damn Reimers and his sledgehammer-wielding thugs!

UPDATE: Uncle Sidney responds

A follow-up post from Sidney:
Of course if I've gotten any of the facts of the case wrong I invite members of management to post corrections. As I say all my information is from others. I've never received a list of charges or details of such.

To any management member that may read this I hold no bitterness or anger towards you...none. I wish you, and WBAI Good Fortune, and Peace.

Btw as I've advised for years you might want to reach out to the many other Public stations in the region. Some would actually want to help.

The two sides of R. Paul...

You may have read earlier posts wherein I severely criticize R. Paul Martin for his mishandling of the infamous WBAI Listener forum (AKA the Blue Board), and I am not bringing that up now to express any regrets. With his handling of that board—which he volunteered to inherit—Martin has indeed proven himself to be a peripheral Pacifican jerk. An online forum's purpose is, in large part, to encourage subject specific exchanges of opinion. That requires the exercise of free speech, which does not mean that every submitted comment must be posted, because we all know that the anonymity option inevitably encourages frivolous personal attacks and the kind of senseless disruptive behavior that we have come to know as "trolling." This is not to be confused with spamming, an often bot-based attempt to inject advertising or divert visitors to another site.

I think every blog is targeted by such intrusions, which is why most of us find it necessary to exercise an intercept option. This blog receives its share of spam, but has largely been spared the trolling. Unfortunately, I find it necessary to check each submitted comment before posting it, but the poster's name is usually all I need to see. Whether I agree with a submitted opinion, or not, is immaterial.

I bring this up, because R. Paul Martin's administration of the blue board has prevented any meaningful dialogue from taking place there. He not only selectively bars certain people from posting a comment, he sets the software to reject any submission that contains the barred person's name or handle. I am one of those people, as are Carolyn Birden and Mitchel Cohen. There are probably others, but Martin keeps his list secret. This approach is probably a major reason why that forum has stagnated.

So much for the Fascist tendencies exhibited by Mr. Martin. There is also another side to him, one that warrants applause. We heard it this morning on his "Back of the Book" show: the reading of a listener letter that is well-founded and highly critical of WBAI. R. Paul Martin not only shares the letter on the air, but makes it clear that he agrees with the criticism. This is not the first time he has done this, but I bring it up to point out the puzzling inconsistency. Here's what he aired this morning—what do you think?

One of many questions that this brought to my mind is: How can you charge many times its worth for a product, add a fee for shipping and handling, collect the money, and then not have enough money to pay the postage?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Brace yourselves!!!!

Could be a good idea, but that depends on Guru Gallagher's approach and, in the end, on the product. Will Gallagher stick a pin in the assembled egos? Will they be taught that it's naughty to lie to listeners? Will the fundamentals of copyright laws be revealed to them? Will people actually receive the "gifts" they overpaid for? How much is Gallagher charging for this workshop?

There are several Richard Gallaghers around, I suspect this to be the one who wrote the book, "How To Tell Anyone Anything"? How to sell anyone anything?

Any questions?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Distinguished WBAI veteran: gone and forgotten.

This morning, I heard Michael Haskins in a conversation with Fran Luck, producer/co-host of the station's "Joy of Resistance" program. They were promoting the WBAI Feminist Film Festival, to be held at the station's largely wasted office location on Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue, starting September 24th and continuing over the next five consecutive Fridays.

It is a series of events into which much preparatory work has gone, and we should applaud such initiatives, as I do. Let's hope that the Commons, a space beneath WBAI's offices, will prove to be too small to accommodate the attendees.

This morning's promotion was fine, as are the recorded spots being aired, but I have another reason to blog about this event: the missed opportunity it represents.

We know that WBAI tends to overestimate the importance of its deceased program hosts when indulging in trips down memory lane. We have recently seen this in the case of Steve Post and Robert Knight—two names that don't belong on any honor roll, but wore loose-fitting rusty halos as they basked in the perpetual platitudes of those who only knew the half of it—Knight has even been made the subject of weekly idolatry via Kathy Davis' audio taxidermy.

Missing from this Hall of Hypocrisy scenario are some of WBAI's most significant program contributors, talented people whose work and dedication raised the station's standard and left indelible—albeit, apparently invisible—marks when they moved on to continue and further develop their career on a broader stage.

You can be sure that they never forgot their early years at WBAI; you can be sure that they wept as they saw the station lose its purpose to become a listener-abandoned feedbag for opportunists; you can be sure that many of them would have reached back and extended a helping hand if they thought WBAI deserved it.

You can also be sure that WBAI—with very few exceptions—no longer attracts or produces the kind of dedication that once was commonplace. It has certainly lost its audience appeal and respect while failing to address the most glaring reasons: inept management and inferior, stagnant programming.

This brings me back to the station's Feminist Film Festival and how it triggered this post.

One of the highlights of the festival is the showing of "Fund: the Story of Ella Baker," a highly acclaimed 1981 documentary film produced, written and directed by Joanne Grant.

Fran Luck gives due credit to Joanne Grant, but her praise falls short by not mentioning the early WBAI connection: Not only was Joanne our News Director, she was the first woman to fill that position, and she was among the station's first three black staffers.

When we initiated the call-in program, "Talk Back," Joanne was the host-producer. The idea of having a marathon fundraiser was developed when Joanne and I had lunch and wondered aloud how we were going to raise $25,000 in a couple of days. That night, I interrupted her news program to announce that there would be no more regular programming until we received that sum of money (a sizable one back then) in pledges. Joanne and I jointly made the first pitch.

I don't know why Ms. Luck omits mention of Joanne's alumnus status, but I hope it isn't deliberate. Do we ever hear her name called out when frantic marathon pitchers feel a need to cash in on the station's distinguished past? We hear far less accomplished people cited as examples of WBAI's importance, and I think that points to ignorance more than anything else.

When I mention Joanne from time to time, it is not because I was the one who hired her (as, gulp, I did Steve Post), but because she was such a remarkable woman—highly intelligent, talented, personable, and dedicated to the pursuit of what she believed in. I want you to know more about such people, who came to us and left us more enlightened. You can Google her name, but here is a link to a detailed obituary of Joanne.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Those unpaid bills ... that cash balance...

Files of interest...

The suggestion...
Remember KFCF/The Fresno Free College Foundation in your will/estate. Include language such as the following in your estate planning:
"I give and bequeath unto the Fresno Free College Foundation/KFCF, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, with its principal office in Fresno, California, the sum of $_______________ to be used to further the work of the foundation."  (If you do not wish to specify an amount, you may use a residuary bequest that is stated as a percentage of your estate.)
Another option is making KFCF/FFCF the beneficiary of your 401(k)or 403(b), IRA, Roth or Keogh retirement plan. The designee should be the “Fresno Free College Foundation”, Taxpayer-ID 23-7071044. KFCF/FFCF can get your pre-tax contributions TAX FREE.
For more information, contact the station at 559-233-2221.

Papers filed September 15, 2014 in Alameida County

Saturday, September 13, 2014

She's the ask-me-another "iED"... but she has a social security number!

Over at Nalini's place, Pacifica Radiowaves, the back and forth nonsense rages on. Since even the tallest tales are adamantly allowed to live on, no subject is ever closed, so the lies and counter lies, name-calling, etc. live on in a cycle. 

The shocking revelation that Summer Reese does not have a Social Security number still makes normal breathing difficult among the Siegel Gang, who continue to heap high praise upon Margy Wilkinson, the septuagenerian ├╝berclerk they covertly sneaked into office as interim Executive Director.

She plays a somewhat shy lady who stays in the background, or so it seems, but the script calls for her to materialize at meetings, such as the one held last Monday by the National Election Committee. There, Houston representative Teresa Allen asked a perfectly valid, pair of important questions, but, alas, they were not among the many Ms Margy had in her script. Here's the result:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Someone is skirting reality: The ESB situation

In the past few days, an interesting exchange has been taking place on the PacificaRadiowaves list. Basically, it questions Mitchel Cohn's assertion that the two-months rent paid to and returned by the Empire State Building was not spent on something else, but rather that it was re-submitted and accepted. 

When asked to show proof of that, Mitchel claims that he asked Berthold Reimers directly and was given this answer, but we have heard stories like that before, and this one does not make any more sense than the earlier ones.

R. Paul Martin stepped into the exchange and offered the following:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

WBAI Treasurer's Report - September 10, 2014

Here is the download link:

...and here, via Geoff Brady's show, is one reason why WBAI's down button is stuck...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

As the books cook...

As I pointed out recently, there is an endless exchange of insults and accusations taking place on Nalini's PacificaRadiowaves list. It rages still and is as stagnant and downright boring as most of WBAI's program offerings. In the offing, an interest-free loan allegedly earmarked for payment of WBAI's delinquent payroll taxes. Or is it? Like everything else these amateurs get Pacifica into, there is internal suspicion-in this case, we are talking about a loan that might not be as interest free as touted. The interest being personal rather than financial, which actually means financial, but not in any way that might benefit WBAI or Pacifica.  If you haven't already listened to it, I suggest that you use this link to access the audio excerpt from last week's meeting of the WBAI LSB Finance Committee.

The following two observations come from the dying BlueBoard, the first having been posted by R. Paul Martin (who can use his brain when he isn't engaged in frivolous censorship):

We have the below E-mail from faction operative, serial assailant and PNB Secretary Cerene Roberts.

At local Finance Committee meetings earlier this year the WBAI General Manager told us that the tax burden from the severance pay that was finally paid in March amounted to at most $90-95,000. This was the tax on approximately $140,000 in severance payments made to former Staff.

So with Pacifica taking out a loan for $156,000 that must mean that the current PNB is going to be looking to pay off something in the neighborhood of $60,000 in other tax obligations. Interesting that the description of the reason for this loan is only cited as being the WBAI payroll tax obligation. Has WBAI not been paying routine payroll tax obligations? If that's been the case then it hasn't been reported to the local Finance Committee, nor to the NFC. I'm going to have to ask Pacifica and WBAI Management, along with some Directors, about this stuff.

I wonder if anyone is actually expecting Pacifica to pay this loan off?

On a related topic, since Lydia Brazon is an employee of the person offering this loan then why was she allowed to vote on the motion?

Here is Indigo's response to Martin:

As you and others rightly pointed out at the lfb meeting an audio of which has been posted elsewhere, with accounts being a mad jumble of cash and accrual – which factor alone renders them completely useless – and there being no consistent chart of accounts, all numbers are imaginary numbers.
Further, it’s well established on the record that Reimers' numbers are particularly imaginary.

Pacifica’s cfo was unclear in his recent presentation with respect to the numbers, but he seemed to be either uncertain or waffling as to the components making up the amount of the loan said to be needed. He seemed, I think, to be attempting to mumblemunge something about the withholding for the severance per se and quite possibly other overdue employee withholdings.

A few board members at the most recent national meeting expressed their quite reasonable concern as to personal liability if the monies overdue weren't paid immediately – there was a very clear sense of urgency, if not panic.

There may, in fact, also be criminal liability.

As you know, the IRS takes a particularly intolerant view toward fucking with employees' taxes which are to be withheld. They are in all circumstances to be segregated from other funds, never used (not even temporarily) for any other purpose – people literally go to jail for those things, even temporary misallocation if it comes to light. They get very serious, very fast, and the jail time is nontrivial. Of course, it is in a nice, sweet federal low-security prison.

If you’re in any way doubtful, feel free to check with your accountant or attorney.

As for the loan being repaid: One way or another, it will be, if the lender wants the money repaid – you know that.

This is all also grounds for conspiracy charges, of course, but you know that, too, as that's ground WBAI/Pacifica have collectively trod for at least a few years now.

No one’s taken you down so far, so I’m sure it will all be fine :)

Here, supplied by Brian Edwards-Tiekert, is a payroll preview test with some details

And here is a response/request from Tracy Rosenberg. of the opposing faction:

I don't think this sheet is credible. 

According to the NY State Department of Labor, SDI (unemployment) taxes are only due in New York on the first $10,300 in salary. So why does this "practice run" allocate $14K in SUI taxes and another 13K in NY-ER? ? At least $100K of this salary is likely exempt from SDI and NY-ER taxes and I don't see any allocation for that. 

The flat rate federal witholding rate for lump sum severance payments (supplementary wages) is 25%. 25% of $261,000 is $65,000, not $73,000

The figures on the severance pay due were not generated in March. They were presented to AFTRA in June and July of 2013 during the negotiations regarding the layoffs and a final number was settled upon and agreed to. That number was described at the time as approximately $230K, not $262K. The number would not have gone up. The employees worked no hours after July of 2013 so the severance payments due have not changed.

Can we get a list of the amounts due to each of the 19 employees, so someone can realistically check the numbers?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Fass beats the hum drum... or does he?

In case you missed this morning's Radio Unnameable, here is the first hour. You will marvel at the speed with which Bob Fass talks. He announces with pride and joy that the dreaded 60-cycle hum is gone, a technical miracle has taken place and it's time for, time for, time for, time for.....

You won't sit through the whole hour, but you might want to spot check and wonder—as I do—why this was not stopped. Bill Propp was at the studio console, dumbfounded and perhaps even in shock. Was anybody from the station tuned in? Did anyone call Propp or Bob? Have all the listeners now finally gone?

The next time one of these bozos tells you that WBAI offers you something you can't hear on any other station, believe them.

The WBAI LSB Finance Committee meeting

Last night, Thursday, September 4, 2014, there was a meeting of the WBAI Local Station Board's Finance Committee. This audio was posted on Nalini's list by Mitch Cohen, who attached the following: "I edited out a lot of hemming and hawing and other stuff that would have tripled the length, as well as to enable folks to follow the discussion more coherently." We know that Mitch is still wearing those rosy glasses, but I trust that he did not redact anything that alters the message. 

Berthold Reimers was present, so you might find his mumbles interesting. I cannot yet comment, for I have not listened to the recording. Bob Fass' avant grade attempt to do Peter Bochan one better was simply too absorbing. It has to be heard to be believed, so let's hope I can pick it up from the archive. In the meantime, there's this:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The WBAI game: Pitter patter pander...

Is Gary Null an intelligent man?

Most would agree that he is and that, consequently, my question is a dumb one.

Well, if you know that Kathy Davis and her pseudo spiritual blather is now also being carried by Null's online station, you surely experienced a moment of doubt regarding his judgement. Taking that a step farther, you may have wondered if there isn't an ulterior motive lurking beneath the smooth surface of our soft-spoken stuff maker.

If you do have doubts, and they are of the lingering variety, you might lend an ear to a call Null made to Haskins' show this morning. If you have listened to Haskins for any length of time—an hour, perhaps—you may have concluded that he is a thoroughly unprofessional misfit who, despite spending decades at WBAI, has yet to grasp the fundamental principles upon which Pacifica was founded. You may also have noticed that he aims his fumbling, superficial twaddle at an audience whose intellectual level—like his own—has barely risen above grade school. 

A Michael Haskins would barely have qualified for a janitorial position in WBAI's earlier years. Yes, we did have a janitor back then, a man who had admirable ambitions and appreciated the station's raison d'├¬tre. I think it is obvious that Haskins' idea of "community" radio translates into a station that very narrowly focuses on an ill-informed segment of our area's black population.

Of course, that has not escaped Gary Null, who claims to be a regular listener to the AM propaganda show, but listen to him here. Do you think you are hearing the sincere words of a true admirer, or is this a part of Null's scheme. Does Michael Haskins really represent "the best that WBAI can be?" Do you think Null means that? I don't. Mr. Null sells a lot of his own products and benefits further from hours upon hours of free advertising. That makes WBAI a golden goose, of sorts, one that it behooves him to keep alive.  

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

WBAI: A look at Fiscal Year 2013

Here, ready for downloading, prepared by Pacifica CFO Raul Salvador, is the financial breakdown covering the Fiscal Year: October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013. It tends to blanch somewhat the rosiness of Mitchel Cohen's BR-issue glasses. Indeed, in his role as spokesman for the Atlantic Avenue Optimists Club, Mitchel's chronic state of denial almost went into overtime. Here's how he sees it, as posted by him on Nalini's PacificaRadiowaves list:

The WBAI LSB Finance Committee will be reviewing this tonight (Wednesday). All are welcome to attend.

Please note that the document compares what had been budgeted to the "actual" figures for that year, which included Hurricane Sandy and the move-out from Wall Street. According to the document, WBAI's total income was 3/4-of-a-million dollars less than the budgetary expectations. 

When one looks at the breakdown, there are some questionable, large deficits that need to be examined, especially: 

Listener Support --less by $189K
Website Income -- less by $111,000, BUT there is zero website income -- including BAI Buddies -- recorded in that category, so something is awry there in the way this is recorded
Crafts Fair Income -- off by $161,000. WBAI hasn't had a craft's fair in, what, 15 years? I think David Rothenberg's theater ticket premiums used be mis-applied under this category
Grants Income -- off by $119,000. Does this mean that the predictions made in the budget for Grants were over-estimated, and if so, why?

Does this include the national one-day fundraiser following hurricane Sandy, which we were told netted around $200,000 for WBAI? (I don't see where that is indicated.)

Meanwhile Salaries and Related Expenses came in at $400,000 over budget. (How could that be?) I caution folks not to jump to conclusions -- there are often typos and doubly entered expenses in these drafts -- but we do need to find out why this is.

Let's remember that the WBAI LSB never passed the budget as there were unresolved issues with it, if I recall correctly. This budget -- with its apparently incorrect assumptions -- was passed and imposed on WBAI by the national board in 2012, not the local station board.

Meanwhile, Administration Expenses are $72K over budget, with very large discrepancies with regard to consultants, telephone radio lines (will we be suing Verizon for non-service to get back some of those funds following Hurricane Sandy?), legal fees, office expenses, (somehow, the actuals spent for utilities are not listed), rent (way LESS than budgeted, as this included the move-out from Wall Street, but even that savings was barely sufficient to offset the consultant fees alone. We need a breakdown of consultant fees, which come to $91,000 over budget. Do those include the overlapping Program Directors' salaries? What else? Are some paid staff listed as "consultants", which would remove them from one category of expenses but add them to another?)

Meanwhile, the Tower Rental cost us almost $200,000 more than budgeted -- how is that possible, as we know in advance how much that would be, right, and that exact figure would be entered into the budget? 

And there's something categorized as "Programming Services" -- the actual came to almost $40K, with 0 listed as budgeted, according to this sheet.

And, we also owe $300K for the year for Central Services which puts WBAI in the red for the year as per the budget -- a nice round $1 million. Yikes!

As I said, I have a number of questions about 1) these figures, 2) figures that are missing, 3) some of the categories, and 4) the way the final debit is compiled. (Should some items be subtracted from the debt rather than added to it?) All need to be fully reviewed, if we want to get an accurate picture of WBAI's financial situation, especially since we'll soon be contrasting the 2014 P&L statement (hopefully it will come soon!) to the one here that ended a year ago on Sept. 2013.   ---Mitchel Cohen

Here's an excerpt from WBAI Treasurer R. Paul Martin, who writes:
It's labeled: P&L from Pacifica CFO to 9/30/13. ...

At least the "Local Board Expenses" are down to $600 from $25,000 on this one. I do not know what the LSB is alleged to have spent $600 on.
I believe the $600 was for renting space for the LSB to meet.  - MC
There are quite a few questions about this document. It was only sent to the NFC in the middle of the last NFC meeting, so we couldn't really go over it too much during that meeting. I post it as the CFO's latest accounting, that we can see, about WBAI's performance for FY13.