Thursday, October 30, 2014

As your station continues to be vandalized...

I think it's pretty clear to all but the comatose that the  overwhelming majority of people who manage or work at WBAI are clueless when it comes to the original concept as envisioned by Lew Hill and the co-founders of Pacifica. In fact, the current "majority" serving on the national board appear to be equally ignorant, perhaps by design. 

The next time you hear someone incorporate into a money pitch the principles upon which Lew Hill founded Pacifica and claim that the station adheres to them, think about it. Listen to high-priced phony "cures" being foisted upon people whose senses have been impaired by their failing health; listen to Geoff Brady present demented fantasies as truth; listen to the inane pop music and insignificant chatter that takes up much of WBAI's weekend schedule; listen to the twisted propaganda with which WBAI has been painted street black; listen as the station's dysfunctional "family" turns a once proud, intellectually stimulating radio station into a shameful platform for themselves and their petty businesses. They want you to give them your money and in return, they give you the finger.

To help you think about it, here is a downloadable PDF file of The Theory of Listener-Sponsored Radio, written by Mr. Hill in 1951.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Something dark happening...

When Geoff Brady feels something dark happening, he's not talking about the "community"......

Pacifica NFC motion re WBAI's budget...

Item 5 could well be the seed that blossoms into the new, all infomercial radio station. It's almost there now. According to Brian Shiratsuki, who is well versed in such matters, "all the LSBs are supposed to receive adequate, timely financial information, sufficient for their quarterly report to the board. this is duty number 1, or literally, letter A. repeated failure of the GM to provide such information ought to suffice for non-renewal of the employment agreement."

Saturday, October 25, 2014

PNB Finance Committee gathers around the carcas

As the bozos in the bunker continue to tell us that WBAI has "turned the corner," and Berthold Reimers stays out of view, apparently issuing cowardly orders to remove or exile into the wee hours good people, the Pacifica National Board's Finance Committee held a public telephonic meeting that you might find illuminating. The first order of business is WBAI where, from what Brian Edwards-Tiekert injects, rent has not been paid since July 1 "because of pending lease negotiations". Listen to the proposed WBAI amendment that is read at about 29:15.

This meeting—which at one point sounds like Fass' Radio Unlistenable—was followed by an executive (i.e. closed door) meeting that probably had some interesting moments.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A backward glance: Sowing the seeds of destruction.

You may have seen some of my own ideas as to how WBAI's deterioration began. If so--whether you agree, or not--you know that I place much of the blame on three individuals who seized the opportunity to reshape the station into a form that suited their egos and aspirations.

A particularly ugly facet of this effort was the witch hunt that began as soon as they had command of the microphones. While they boasted long and hard of being a part of New York's only "free speech" radio station, they got busy narrowing that freedom down to themselves. The worst offender was Steve Post, a person who became widely admired by people who either never saw his nasty side or saw it and partook in his viciousness. I would rank Josephson as second, but he was also driven by self-interests and he did not allow morals and responsibility to get in his way. Bob Fass' case was slightly different for he already had access to WBAI's air and that ego was still bubbling under the surface. It was the era of the "flower children" and I used to say that Bob was quite capable of strangling you with his love beads. In the phase that I will deal with now, Bob's main flaw—a rather big one—was that he never spoke up against the, shall we say, integrity-busting "celebritizing" that the opportunists were introducing. WBAI has never recovered from that, nor is it likely to.

People who did speak up were ridiculed and demonized on the air. Remarkably, the victims included Lou Schweitzer, the man to whose generosity and love of free speech Pacifica owed its ownership of WBAI.

When Chris Koch turned against Pacifica and, to my amazement, pursued a job at right-leaning Time magazine, his trip to Hanoi brought him speaking engagements at which he never failed to suggest that he had been forced to leave WBAI because the manager "censored" his reportage. That was an absolute lie, but people like Post picked up on it--although they new better--and used it to turn listeners against me. That sort of thing is not difficult to do at a station like WBAI, where the walls of idealism are thin. I was bothered by it, disappointed to find the length to which people I once trusted and, indeed, had hired would go in pursuit of their personal agenda, but I was more upset by what they were doing to dedicated WBAI workers like Tana DeGamez, and it really upset me when Steve Post started lying about Lou Schweitzer. Soon, Lou became everybody's target--the absurdity  was mind-boggling, for here was a man whose belief in free speech was beyond reproach. 

I finally decided that we had to discuss this whole mess openly in a live, open-ended broadcast with call-ins. Harold Taylor, who headed the local board and was only seen when he could get some personal press out of it, thought it was a good idea and offered to moderate (if that is the term). Chris Koch turned down my invitation to participate, although his presence was absolutely necessary, but he gave in when Harold told him that his absence would not look good. Koch, like Fass, Dale Minor, and others who knew the truth, had remained silent, thereby seeming to be on the side of the finger pointers.

The broadcast went on at the announced time, but when--about an hour later--the questions became tough for Koch to answer, Harold announced that we had run out of time and, in very short order, ended the program. I was furious. The tapes I had ready in Master Control were never played, they contained outright lies leveled against Lou and me. This is when I decided it was time for me to leave WBAI, which I did a couple of months later. 

The attacks on Lou Schweitzer were outrageous. Susan Brownmiller wrote a shamelessly slanted piece in the Village Voice, where she referred to Louis as "Fat Cat Schweitzer," and membership cancellations were beginning to come in, all based upon the slanderous lies Post and company spread.

Herbert Biberman at HUAC hearing.
On the day of the broadcast, I received a telegram from film director Herbert Biberman who--having been one of the so-called "Hollywood Ten"--knew better than most people how vital freedom of speech is. His 1954 film, "Salt of the Earth", was deemed Communist propaganda and he was jailed and blacklisted. Congress denounced the film, and all but a dozen theaters refused to show it. That would change dramatically in later years and "Salt of the Earth" was described by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."  The current WBAI marathon has the film as part of a premium, but it can be purchased on DVD for much less.

Here is the telegram Biberman sent regarding the upcoming live on-air discussion. He was reacting to the vile accusations made by Post and others of his ilk against Lou Schweitzer.  WBAI/Pacifica never had a better friend than Lou.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pacifica Radio in Exile: Press Release 10-16-14

The following press release is from the Summer Reese faction of Pacifica, prepared by Tracy Rosenberg. 

October 16, 2014
For Immediate Release 
Donating to the Tea Party and 
Expelling Spanish Speakers

Berkeley-The new corporate call center collecting pledges for Pacifica stations KPFK in Los Angeles and KPFA in Berkeley is owned by Bruce Hough, an Oregon republican who runs a Tea Party campaign advertising/fundraising business called Impact Marketing with his partner, rabid Tea Party congressman Sal Esquivel. Esquivel traveled to Arizona to stand with Michelle Malkin, the Minutemen and others in support of Arizona's anti-immigrant law SB 1070. Hough (who regularly threatens to move his Medford-based call center Comnet to Nevada should the Oregon legislature raise taxes) and Esquivel are regularly called out for Tea Party shenanigans including funding vicious attack ads against local Democratic candidate and military veteran Jeff Scroggin. The ads were so disgusting that two out of three local Republican County commissioners refused to endorse Tea Party candidate Doug Briedenthal,  whose "Friends of" committee had the same address as Hough's Impact Marketing and paid for the mudslinging ads. Hough and Esquivel were labeled "Rogues of the Week" by the Williamette Weekly for an unethical scam to charge gulliable voters to email Congress. Hough and Esquivel also house conservative PACS (political action committees) at Impact Marketing giving aways hundreds of thousands of dollars to local and national Tea Party candidates.  Each call to donate to KPFA or KPFK routes .90 cents a minute to Hough's company or $3-5 per call.
On the East Coast, Pacifica is using a call center called Telerep, which is a subsidiary of cable giant Cox Communications. Anonymous comments by employees on a review website indicates poor working conditions at Telerep with comments like "grow a conscience", "compensation is terrible", "don't stay here or you'll hate your life", "run for the hills", "I was paid less than a Burger King line associate" and "the most traumatic and depressing work experience I have ever and will ever experience in my entire life". 

The rogue majority on the board is scheduling an annual allocation of $200,000+ in listener-sponsored funds to be paid out to Tea Party outfit Comnet and fast-food call center Telerep to expel fund drive volunteers from 4 of the networks 5  community radio stations, while laying off staff and refusing to hold board member elections.
Members objecting to the board majority’s actions over the past nine months can sign a petition here.

A pending complaint to the CA Attorney General Registry of Charitable Trusts by 8 former board members can be found here (in a slightly updated version). The AG is responsible for California charitable compliance. Pacifica members can send a note to the AG here. 

KPFA, the Berkeley Pacifica radio station received a scathing letter on October 14th (copied to author Naomi Klein) from Movement Generation, one of the groups central to the organizing effort that brought 400,000 people to New York for the world's biggest ever climate change rally.

The letter alleges blatantly anti-immigrant and racist behavior from KPFA's event staff in trying to prevent Spanish language interpretation at Klein's September 29th speaker series benefit.

The letter, which is signed by  Brooke Anderson and Mateo Nube, both prominent figures in the social justice movement (Nube was the NW Coordinator for the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute and Anderson is former deputy director of East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy), stated they "were shocked to be told that we could not provide translation because it would be “annoying to English speakers” and “create a disturbance for attendees who had paid for tickets.” Despite repeatedly assuring the interpreter would not interrupt the program and that we would work on the placement of the interpreter so as not to impact the room acoustics or audio recording quality, X became quite belligerent with MG staff Mateo Nube and Brooke Anderson, and speaker Cynthia Muñoz Ramos, telling us that X wouldn’t make exceptions for people who needed “special treatment.” But let us be direct here: X's attempt to prevent Spanish translation was deeply problematic and the comments justifying the position blatantly anti-immigrant and racist. The behavior reflects poorly on KPFA as a station and jeopardizes the relationships and reputation of KPFA radio in a social justice movement in which immigrant and non-English-speaking communities are at the forefront". The letter can be found here.

Also at KPFA this week, AM host Brian Edwards-Tiekert and local 9415 of the Communications Workers of America sent a letter threatening a lawsuit to the San Francisco Bay Independent Media Center, demanding they remove an anonymous post.

The post referred to the planned staffing reductions at the station's investigative newsmagazine Flashpoints, which has been broadcasting daily on KPFA since the first Gulf War. The reductions of about a quarter of the programs staffing hours are being offset by the $25,000 acquisition of the Reuters-Thomson corporate wire copy news service to accompany an existing subscription to the Associated Press corporate wire copy news service.

The threatening letter was sent to the IMC's fiscal sponsor, Media Alliance, and forwarded by them on to the editorial collective at the Independent Media Center, as they are the only individuals who exercise editorial control over the content on the open publishing website, one of 150 that have criss-crossed the globe since the first Independent Media Center was launched in Seattle, WA in 1999 to cover the World Bank/International Monetary Fund protests.

As of press time, the post in question had not been removed by the IMC's editorial group. The letter threatening the lawsuit and the response sent by Media Alliance and forwarded on to the Bay Area Independent Media Center can be found online by clicking on the links.

The members of KPFA's bargaining unit do not appear to have been consulted or to have approved the use of union dues to pay a lawyer to threaten the Bay Area Independent Media Center.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Right track, wrong gauge?

This is so overdue that I doubt if it will do anything to improve the programming. Murillo has already indicated his approval of programs and hosts that should have been banished years ago, so I don't hold out much hope that he will conduct these meetings with the integrity and dedication to Pacifica's original mission that is required.

They should record these meetings and make them available to the people who pay the bills.

Monday, October 13, 2014

2014 Fall Drive: Schedules for weeks 2 & 3

Sorry for the fine print, I gave it a considerable size boost, but it's still barely readable (your computer or tablet should be able to bring it up some more. That said, I have given it a quick look and find nothing to write home about. There is a sprinkling of "TBA" slots, Kathy D's sick mausoleum is still open for whatever, etc.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

WBAI holds a venom sale...

She was always the quintessential anti-Pacifica voice, but I think Margaret Prescod may have outdone herself today as she spewed her venom from the gutter in order to make some bucks for WBAI.

Apparently, she and her handlers have a very low opinion of Pacifica listeners or, shall we say, what remains of them after years of inferior propaganda radio. I will say no more for this miscast opportunist speaks for herself. Here are examples from the fund-raising venom she spat out today:

Notice how she brings Ferguson into her pitch and asks that we help her "free Africa" by purchasing an extra set of this package and sending it to Ferguson, St. Louis, and other places where school children need to hear it. In another pitch, this evening, she also suggested that an extra set be sent to incarcerated people.

Of course, the prisoners and young people in Ferguson, Missouri, really don't need more fuel for their anger, do they? What does Margaret Prescod hope to accomplish? The money is going to WBAI, to pay Reimers $100,000.00 salary, back rent in three locations, etc. We know from what "management" has uttered, that it isn't going to pay for the postage needed to deliver the product. We don't know how it is going to free Africa! In fact, in her rambling, repetitive bull, Prescod never comes up for air, never makes a valid case for Pacifica's ongoing existence, never rises above the old snake oil approach. 

This is yet another reason why WBAI and Pacifica have lost any significance. Who brings people like that to Pacifica's microphones? Why do they think this kind of rhetoric adds anything to people's lives?

Do you find it as irresponsible and embarrassing as I do?

The following link is to a downloadable PDF file contains a post made by Tracy Rosenberg to the PacificaAirwaves list this evening.

WBAI-LSB Treasurer's Report - Oct. 9, 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Fall Fundraiser... is it aptly named?

Last week, in a cameo appearance on the morning show, Berthold Reimers, the little GM who never could, mentioned that there were still 3,900 premiums from past fundraisers that have not been delivered to the listeners who paid for them.

That is, of course, outrageous and probably criminal. Now, without having caught up on this delinquency, a new month-long fundraiser is disrupting WBAI's program schedule. This morning at 7, when the latest beg fest was kicked off, Michael Haskins declared himself "very excited," and began his usual recitation of station IDs and trite false claims regarding WBAI's alleged importance. The news glimpse wasted time on a "commencement address" to 20 Goddard College  graduates, delivered by the convicted murderer Wesley Cook, who calls himself "Mumia Abu-Jamal". Cook graduated from Goddard via correspondence while serving a life sentence in Philadelphia. All this is the stuff failure is made of at WBAI.

In the hour that followed, I heard Amy Goodman offer her $2000 dinner with guilt-free coffee. Then there was Cornell West going overboard with his rhetoric and theatrics, and that horrid West Coast woman, Margaret Prescod, somehow concluding that buying a documentary on Haiti is going to help that country's people. It's all a part of the BS that dominates this once remarkable radio station.

Would you send them money? Would you pay for products that have been fraudulently hawked by people whose main or only interest in keeping WBAI on the air is entirely self-serving? Would you pay a shamelessly hiked-up price for a product that is more readily available as a gratis download or a considerably less expensive item with guaranteed swift delivery by Amazon?

Do you worry about the money not being there to pay Berthold Reimers' $100,000.00 salary? 

Do you wonder why WBAI has lost the overwhelming majority of its listener-supporters? Do you wonder why stars who once went out of their way to help the station no longer care? Do you wonder why the once-supportive mainstream media has lost interest? Do you wonder why WBAI is operated by incompetent amateurs and its microphones (when they work) hogged by the same old stagnant opportunists decade after decade?

Aren't' you the least bit curious to find out what's going on?

Well, I am. I would love to know how Kathy Davis' phony spiritualism, Geoff Brady's reptilian warnings, Mumia's drivel, Hopper and Anderson's record promotions, Bob Fass' incoherent battle with Mr. Microphone, and all that pedestrian pop music that the likes of Ifé and Tony Ryan waste air time on is going to help the people of Haiti, oppressed Palestinians, America's poor and others who don't have a "show" on WBAI.

I would also like someone to tell me about the petrified Pacifica Foundation, the one whose raison d'être becomes blurrier by the day.

Do you have questions? Answers? 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Keeping an eye on Berthold Reimers

You can enlarge this note by clicking on it
If Reimers maintains his cowardly silence, I hope someone apse brings up this subject. For an earlier post on this situation, go here.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Bare Fall 2014 Marathon schedule

Here is what the station has posted as the initial  schedule for the upcoming marathon. It seems oddly lacking in details and I don't know what the yellow highlights indicate.
Click on schedule to make it more readable.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Murillo's road to nowhere?

This morning at 7, as WBAI approaches yet another fundraising marathon, the station's interim PD, Mario Murillo summoned the elusive Berthold Reimers to the rented uptown studio, where a clueless Michael Haskins holds forth at that hour.

The purpose was to spend an hour talking about the forthcoming drive and taking listener calls. Reasonable people might well have expected to hear Murillo and Reimers update what little has seeped out regarding the current financial situation, and tell us what was going to be done about it.

No such luck. Again, this was an hour of mostly meaningless blather where one had to read between the lines in order to catch a glimpse of the real situation.

As so often before, I naïvely hoped we would hear what the new iPD has in store for the program schedule. This PD du jour has been with WBAI before and there were indications that he was ready to tackle an acknowledged series of mis-steps. Thus, one had every right to expect that there would be an initial weeding process to at least initiate program improvement.

Again, that turns out to have been foolish optimism. The truly awful host/producers will, apparently, not be shown the door—in fact, some of them received praise!

Murillo indicates his displeasure with so many programs being imported from outside sources, and he agrees with a caller who bemoans the lack of interaction with the "community". However, he does not seem to feel any need to expand that community, except for adding an emphasis on Central and South America. In other words, WBAI should stay on its narrowed path.

He wants to see more family business take place via social media rather than at 99.5. When the "Talk Back" program is mentioned, Murillo dates it back to the Nineties, when he was the station's Public Affairs person. The truth is that "Talk Back"—under the same name—goes back to the Sixties, when he was a kid.

Reimers mumbles his preference for the written word. This is the alleged GM who rarely is heard on the air, doesn't answer or even acknowledge e-mail, and is loath to take phone calls, because there are "crazy people" out there.

When a caller brings up the station's overwhelming emphasis on all things black and brown—a bias not readily missed by any regular listener—Haskins predictably goes on the defense. As you may have observed, Michael G. Haskins' horizon is quite narrow and dark. He has made it quite clear by his actions and words that membership in WBAI's "community" is determined by ones racial origin. Well, he does allow for the occasional black-by-choice character, like Mimi Rosenberg, who often says the right things, but in such a way that they promptly exit out the other ear.

Listen as Haskins pretends not to understand what the caller is saying, and note Murillo's reaction. And they still wonder why the audience has shrunk down to a call-in few?

Finally, there's this clip, which I have included just to show how utterly clueless the $100,000.00 a year Berthold Reimers is.

I hope you caught Reimers citing premium/product delinquency figures. Remember when he and his cronies attributed his first two years of invisibility to his having worked on the "premiums problem"? He and his inner circle claimed that he had all but put an end to the shipping arrears. That fantasy was later echoed by Mitchel Cohen and others who fought against Reimers' firing. Now we hear him mumble that a later 12,000 item backlog of unshipped "gifts" has been reduced to a mere 3,900! In other words, we were lied to, again. and this is practically on the eve of a new marathon. Not very encouraging for those who plan to send in money after the iPad lottery deadline.

You can still hear this hour in its entirety by going to the station's archive at and selecting the 7 AM entry for October 2. 

What do you think? Am I being too critical?