Thursday, June 30, 2016

You don't got mail!

If you are among the thousands of listeners who responded to a WBAI pledge drive but never received the "premium" (product) you paid for, the following will probably answer some of your questions. It is a response posted by Mitchel Cohen to a discussion of WBAI's botched fulfillment procedures. The exchange has been taking place on Pacifica Radio Waves, a California-base listserv operated by Nalini.

The green text at the end is my response to Mitchel.

 Mitchel Cohen — June 30, 2016

WBAI rents a stamping machine from NeoPost. The station pays $250 per month for its rental, apart from all other costs associated with mailing out premiums. That's $3,000 per year.

Alarmed at the costs, our volunteer team listed the things we needed the system to do. When NeoPost told us they couldn't do much of it, we did a lot of "comparison shopping".  

It's amazing how the different companies -- including the online system of the US Postal Service -- have backwards and poorly designed interfaces in ways that they could easily correct ... but don't. We spent many hours on the phone and internet talking with the different companies looking for a system that would interface directly with our MEMSYS database so that we would not have to re-type each and every mailing label (which is what NeoPost required and which WBAI had been doing for years, along with the inevitable errors that ensued). We also wanted a system that would provide accurate receipts for every item mailed.

We settled on and worked out the kinks in a new process utilizing, which charges $16 per month. A few months ago we put it into effect, hopefully saving WBAI much in the way of funds, and freeing up a lot of time.

We discovered that the NeoPost machine was overcharging us in postage for almost all of the premiums we'd sent out for the last few years, amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.

Volunteers, out of our own pockets (thanks for those donations go primarily to volunteers Marilyn Vogt-Downey, Ed Mayberger and Jack Shalom, who have retired from their working-class jobs), paid for the postage for hundreds of outstanding premiums that other volunteers had packaged over many months. They gifted the purchase of necessary equipment to the station -- a postage scale, a new mailing label printer, and a few incidentals. (Ed also purchased, donated and installed new LED lights which draw around 1/8th the wattage than the regular incandescents we had been using and are advertised to last for many years, potentially saving WBAI thousands of dollars each year in energy bills.)

As a result, we are now completely caught up with the backlog of premiums to be mailed, so long as we have them in stock.

That's the kicker, though. What about all those premiums that we don't have in stock? There remain around 3,000 premiums to ship from past fund drives -- perhaps a little less, given the work we've been doing. Management needs to order those premiums for us to ship.

Next step: Management should authorize our team to coordinate premiums packaging and mailing on our own. There's actually no need for management to be part of this process any longer. It should allocate some reasonable amount -- say, $2,000 per month -- and set up a credit card to be refilled automatically that we can draw upon, with the directive that it will be used exclusively to catch up on sending outstanding premiums. The station would then have a clear record of what has been paid and where it is going.

Yet we still are paying a monthly lease on the NeoPost machine that we no longer need for postaging premiums. It's now used primarily for mailing letter-sized notices and invoices several times a year. There are other ways to do this that would cost us much less than what we're paying for the NeoPost machine.

It seems that WBAI owes NeoPost around $10,377, and is paying to NeoPost interest on that debt of 17.5% plus regularly charged late fees. Our last payment was on March 30, with the next payment of $1,519 due on July 21st. The interest alone on the NeoPost debt adds up to about $180/month, and it increases a few dollars each month.

As I'd written a number of months ago, we could and should renegotiate the debt to NeoPost and end our contract with them. We would argue that the amount WBAI owes is more than offset by the over-pricing we paid in postage due to their machine's mischarges after it was re-calibrated several times by their maintainance and repair persons.

Finally, WBAI management has apparently decided to add to MEMSYS a database system provided directly by (Volusion -- a separate, private company). This MIGHT be a good idea, as currently -- again for reasons that I find inexplicable -- the info for each donor has to be compiled and imported into MEMSYS by hand, rather than seamlessly and automatically integrated into our MEMSYS database. (The same holds for BAI Buddies.) BUT, I have seen no written analysis of the existing situation, nor proposal in writing that provides step by step changes to be made. Management should put into writing its proposal before mandating these sort of changes and circulate it to skilled producers (computer show; off the hook; others) and the volunteers who are actually doing this work, so that we can isolate, think through, and troubleshoot potential problems as much as possible before the new system is put  into effect.

I want to thank the following volunteers, again, who have been working on the packaging and shipping of premiums: Ed Mayberger, Jack Shalom, Matt Mazza, Maxine Harrison-Gallmon and her daughter Lauren, Marilyn Vogt-Downey, Larissa Bills, David Barouh, Michael Ochoa, Bob Schulof, and the Monday team from the Brooklyn Day-Hab. And for the extensive work that Vijay Dharmapuri, Carmen Moreno, Jim Sagurton, Maya Charles, Nanette Kripke, Jim Dingeman and Kevin Keating had been doing on that score earlier in the year.

—Mitchel Cohen

Response: A year or two ago, WBAI started airing a spot read, I think, by Kathy Davis, informing prospective pledgers that a shipping and handling fee would be added to their “donation.”

There was no mention of the amount nor if there was a fixed fee. I heard that spot several times, but never mentioned in a pitch. It struck me as devious, especially since WBAI’s prices for the advertised products and services are outrageously inflated. Another rip-off that targets the listeners, I thought as I wondered about the legality.

Now we are told that thousands of products, already paid for by the listeners, either remain undelivered due to lack of postage money or because they were never purchased from the manufacturer. Furthermore, we learn that WBAI has—using its own disk copier—been performing unauthorized duplication of CD/DVD disks containing someone else’s intellectual property. This is not only immoral, it is illegal.

The fact that money was charged for shipping and handling that didn’t take place, means that it was misappropriated—I believe that, too, is against the law.

Knowing all that, obviously first-hand, I don’t see how you can continue to be a part of it. Criticizing Berthold Reimers, as you now do more directly, does not free you from being implicated.

I am by no means the only one who has warned against Reimers’ illegal actions and neglect. Others have also attempted to contact the station and, I believe the PNB, to alert board members, but those warnings, as well as suggested legitimate fundraising ideas are routinely ignored.

Mitchel, please give much thought to the sponsoring victims and explain how you can lower yourself into such moral turpitude.                                                         Chris

Monday, June 27, 2016

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Yoohoo, Berthold?

I am among those who have lost respect for Mitchel Cohen because of his seeming inability to tell things as he would like them to be rather than as they are. Too many contradictory "facts" and apologia for mis-management wiped away the integrity I once credited Mitchel with having.

Given that, I may be naïve, but I think the following e-mail, posted elsewhere, contains some pertinent facts regarding the growing internal disorder at WBAI. Read between the lines.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Gang That Couldn't Scheme Straight....

Exile Pacifica Update: When "free speech" isn't.


Berkeley- In an apparent overdose on the Kool-Aid, volunteer executive director Lydia Brazon, board chair Tony Norman and PNB treasurer Brian Edwards-Tiekert are trying to shut down an emergency board meeting scheduled for the evening of June 26th. The meeting was called to address warnings from chief financial officer Sam Agarwal that the network will not be able to meet payroll and employee benefit obligations within weeks, pay for the financial audit or fund the election of its board members and has no plans to cope with the oncoming catastrophe.

As Norman spoke, the telephone number at the network's NY station has been turned off and the network's insurance carrier is demanding to see the 2014 financial audit in order to continue providing insurance. 

Board chair Norman, board treasurer Edwards-Tiekert and interim director Brazon did not consent to a meeting of the body until July 14th, long after Agarwal has indicated he may not be able to meet upcoming payroll obligations including at Norman's own station, WPFW. Agarwal has stated to the board that Norman's station met payroll in May by looting a restricted fund reserved for capital expenses by donor restriction. The three officers further delayed the standing meeting of the board from the first Thursday of the month by another week.

LA listener rep Grace Aaron replied to Norman's meeting kibosh as follows:

In my opinion, delaying a meeting to address Pacifica's dire financial situation by over 2 weeks is not wise and I hope you will reconsider.  Even if a significant number of board members cannot attend the meeting that has been properly noticed for tomorrow night, it still could be productive. Also, scheduling a closed session on the same night as a meeting to discuss our dire financial situation is unwise.  We may never get to a discussion on finances. Therefore, I suggest that you reverse the order of the meetings on the 14th if you decide not to sanction the meeting for tomorrow night.

Enough directors expressed a desire to have a meeting specifically to address our financial crisis for tomorrow night.  For you unilaterally to cancel this meeting is, in my opinion, delaying a discussion that is extremely urgent and it is beyond your purview as chair.  You may be correct that you have the power to deny quorum for this meeting, but you do not have the authority to cancel it.  

Beyond this, your station, WPFW, is failing.  Are you or your LSB taking actions to reverse its very serious financial deficiencies?  If you are, please detail them for me and other concerned board members.  Are you aware of the rumors that it may be on the chopping block if we are forced into some sort of bankruptcy?  

Further, your disregard of our minority concerns belies any pretense on your part of collegiality and willingness to collaborate. I sincerely hope that you will respect our wishes and make some effort to accommodate them.

Board members associated with the Siegel/Brazon faction started up a new nonprofit in California to receive the broadcast licenses and real estate assets under the name "KPFA Foundation".

If you would like to support either or both of the legal complaints filed by Pacifica members, you can visit the Clean Up Pacifica Project for more information.

A timeline of the now two year old coup by the Siegel/Brazon faction can be seen here.

UPDATE Report from CFO Agarwal prepared for June 26 PNB special meeting on finance.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

CFO Agarwal report: Time to get real.

Can Reimers, et al, continue pouring water in the Pacifica tank? Pacifica CFO, Sam Agarwal seems to think it's high time this game is decided.

Indigopirate's no-nonsense extract should be all you need to hear of the Tuesday, June 21, 2016 meeting of the PNB Finance Committee

His preamble, astute as always, reads as follows:

I’ve attempted to capture the tenor and the substance of the meeting – the substance, such as it is, provided primarily by the CFO. In attempting to do that I’ve pulled in at a number of points, and I’ve not used click-track to indicate edit points, relying on pacing to fulfill that function, and I’ve attempted to be fair in so doing.

All that said, it’s the usual and ongoing mishegas, complete with the mad wailing of Adriana Casanave. The woman’s intelligence appears to be substantially less than that of the typical eggplant, but she seems to attempt to compensate for this shortcoming by virtue of sheer volume and her level of perpetual hysteria and indignation that her preferred policies are invariably ignored or explicitly rejected.

BET as usual, focuses on the central issue though, of course, also as usual to little or no effect:

‘The real issue which this committee knows and we’ve been discussing since the last budgeting cycle is… We have structural deficits. We don’t have enough money coming in to pay the expenses we’re committed to. WBAI’s been operating at a perpetual loss. WPFW’s been operating at a loss for several years. The rest of the stations are hanging on by their fingertips. We have to have a conversation as an institution that involves hard choices. Some combination of cost cuts, financing, liquidating assets, or, inshallah, successful fund raising strategies – but it can’t be pie-in-the-sky wish lists. ’ – Points he’s made repeatedly for many months and which have of course been effectively ignored as trivia or process have long remained purposive drivers and determinants for these folks.

R. Paul Martin, to give credit where due, repeats his mantra that programming needs to be addressed, which, of course, in effective terms, it never is.

Gotta love these folks… well, then again, perhaps not.

Perhaps not.   —'indigopirate'

For the resolute completists among you—here is also a lengthy two-part audio of the full meeting. 

This time, you will not hear a frenetic score by Mozart, not even incidental music by the Beepers, but if you pay close attention, you should detect a game plan or two bubbling near the surface—that's Pacifica's creme de la scheme engaging in the Board's perpetual pingpong game of proposed, distracting redirects. Not participating in that game is CFO Sam Agarwal, a realist among dreamers, sounding a wakeup call that few of those present appear to hear.

The deflating ball of confusion bounces awkwardly towards a pit from which there is no return, no alternate path.

Part 1, Part 2

Monday, June 20, 2016

Ancient Chinese saying: Something not right...


Anyone who listens with modest regularity to the Gary Null Show over WBAI, soon may wonder how true his claims of overwhelming success are. Where does this inventor and purveyor of health supplements, documentary film maker, author, lecturer, radio huckster par exellence, etc. find the time to do all these things?

It does not take ultra perception nor even average intelligence to conclude that Mr. Null has a knack for embroidering facts regarding his entrepreneurial success. Again, the volume of work he boasts of simply could not be accomplished unless one stayed awake around the clock seven days a week, but that would seriously conflict with the healthy living Gary Null encourages and, indeed, personifies. To quote Willie the Bard, "There is something rotten in the state of Denmark"—it's not, I suspect, an aging veggieburger.

Besides broadcasting four days a week on WBAI, Mr. Null has his own on-line radio (Progressive Radio Network) going and, according to him, reaching hundreds of thousands of listeners. He also has a health food store in NYC, a health farm/resort in Florida, and brisk sales of products ranging from high-priced blenders to life-giving powders ("stuff") in a variety of colors.

Given all that, we now have to wonder why Mr. Null is putting up for auction his dining room table and chairs in a declared effort to keep his PRN going.  As forensic scientist, Dr. Henry Lee so famously put it when questioned about police work on the infamous O.J. Simpson case, "Something not right".

There have been signs of problems at PRN—dead air, faulty equipment, an iffy schedule, for example. One also questioned the schedule's inclusion of Kathy Davis as a weekly host—Mr. Null is a man of intelligence, so why would he give regular microphone access to this woman's inane psychobabble? One theory is that Davis serves as his conduit to WBAI's nominal manager, Berthold Reimers, which would indicate that he needs the Pacifica station more than he wants us to know. Frankly, when I heard about the table auction yesterday, I thought it was somebody's idea of a joke, but this link to Null's PRN website proves me wrong. The bidding starts at $499 (why not $500?) and that should be a piddling sum to the multitasking Mr. Null.

The PRN site also contains a link to an exhaustive 91-page report that more than summarizes Gary Null's Pacifica fundraising history. I suggest that you skim through it. 

Here is that lengthy report as updated June 7, 2016.

Pacifica: Curiouser and crookeder?

Berkeley- Troubles continue at Pacifica's archives following the announcement of long-time director Brian De Shazor's resignation. Boston PBS station WGBH wrote to say they were withdrawing the American Archive of Public Broadcasting National Digital Stewardship Residency from Pacifica and would be removing their resident from the archives.

Pacifica's five stations, in addition to being delinquent on paying their shared service fees to the archive, which range from $1,500 to $4,900 a month, have declined to use the archive's products as premium gifts and have pulled CD/DVD duplication services away. Archive premium purchases dropped by 300% in 2016 from 2015 numbers. Several stations, including KPFA and WBAI, have purchased their own duplication machines. These decisions have resulted in Pacifica staffers de-funding the archives and endangering the survival of valuable historical records.

Three national board members from LA (Grace Aaron, Jonathan Alexander and Jan Goodman) plan to introduce a resolution at the KPFK local station board and then to the Pacifica National Board in support of the archives. The resolution can be read here.

Pacifica's national office released May 2016 income statements last week. You can see them here. The month of May is the last one in Pacifica's fiscal year when all five stations run full-length on-air fund drives. All 5 stations posted operating deficits except Los Angeles' KPFK. Per GM Radford, KPFK owes $249,000 to Pacifica's national office since May of 2015, making it a prime mover in the network's inability to pay for the 2014 audit or upcoming board elections.

Year to date operating deficits are KPFA (-$64,000), WPFW ($-244,000), WBAI (-$374,000), KPFT ($-21,000) and KPFK at (+$106,000). In addition to the piling up debt for WBAI's tower rental, a significant trouble spot is DC's WPFW where the May fund drive effort netted less than a single month of payroll expense. WPFW is experiencing a trench in listener support revenues in 2016 similar to that at WBAI in 2015, with listener support numbers dropping by 30% in a single year. 

PNB member Bill Crosier called for an emergency national board meeting to address the financial crisis for Sunday June 26th at 7pm EST. It is not known if board majority members will choose to attend. Crosier commented in his meeting call:

"Pacifica's financial situation is looking worse and worse, with no apparent plans (at least, no effective ones) to stop or reverse our financial crisis. Motions to deal with our finances were tabled by the PNB at the last meeting, before we even had discussion on the motions. We need a special Pacifica National Board meeting to deal with this. I, and two other Directors (Grace Aaron and Jan Goodman) are hereby calling for such a special Board meeting to deal with Pacifica's financial crisis, on Sunday, June 26 at 7 pm EDT, and hope all of you can participate. Per the Pacifica Bylaws (Article 6, Section 2), any three Directors may call for a special PNB meeting, and we are doing so. Sam Agarwal, our CFO, has been telling us for months that things cannot continue as they have been, with the cash flow situation becoming increasingly critical. Also remember that Mr. Agarwal told us that WBAI and/or WPFW may not be able to make payroll by the end of June. We can't wait until our July 7 PNB meeting to deal with this."

Despite CFO Agarwal's statements that 2016 board elections are on hold due to the lack of funds to pay for them, Pacifica continues to act "as if", hiring a six-person election team, soliciting candidate nominations and even setting up "waiver hotlines" at New York's WBAI to issue free memberships to individuals not able or willing to donate $25 or volunteer for three hours. The waiver program appears to be administered by the Siegel/Brazonites, who direct applications to a mysterious email address at The current state of things is that candidate nomination packages are due June 30th and members need to renew their memberships for 2016 by the same date in order to be able to vote. Whether these dates will remain in place or the election will occur at all is a matter of speculation. To quote national board member Jose Luis Fuentes, "I'm not sure what Kool-aid we're all drinking".

KPFK general manager Leslie Radford released a payable report confirming the $249,000 debt to the Pacifica National Office and another $100,000+ in debts as well, including $25,000 in backed-up premiums, and $25,000 owed to a funder for a restricted fund taken by then-ED Margy Wilkinson in 2014. Radford prepared a budgetary Powerpoint presentation for the board in which she notes the budget for the next fiscal year is $550,000 in the red. You can see it here. Radford also informed her local board that her choice for KPFK's long-vacant business manager position had failed to submit info for a background check and then disappeared. The phone number for the prospective hire is now disconnected.

KPFK's security guard cum volunteer coordinator Adam Rice, sent out another folio on the eve of KPFK's latest fund drive, which kicks off on June 21st. (The last one ended on May 20). The folio announces schedule changes in overnight profanity-thon Safe Harbor. Rice's own Music To Resist By bites the dust after less than six months, a week after an announcement that Nana Gyamfi would take over hosting duties, and the In Session on-air therapy show will retire. In Session will be replaced by Geek Radio, which promises to cover conventions and comic books. Music To Resist By will be replaced by a one hour interview show hosted by former congressperson Cynthia McKinney. The folio contained a link to the KPFK website program schedule, which listed neither new program and continued to aggravate former Melting Pot producer Michael Barnes by listing his program in the Fridays 8-10pm slot. Barnes left the station and removed his show in November of 2015, saying he was "done with the place and how badly it was managed". Barnes threatened legal action against KPFK in May of 2016 if they did not cease listing his program as a KPFK broadcast.

At KPFA's local board meeting on June 11th, Siegel/Brazonite Jose Luis Fuentes, whose anxiety about Pacifica's financial distress has been palpable, confronted general manager Quincy McCoy about announced plans to add two new union producing positions and two part-time hosts to the station's 7am Upfront public affairs program. McCoy had confirmed moments earlier that KPFA had issued layoff notices to union employees and run out of money between fund drives and had to take out a loan of an undisclosed amount from an undisclosed source to make the payroll, now $1.95 million dollars a year. McCoy responded with the assertion that the Upfront program had raised $246,000 in the station's just completed May fund drive. The actual figure was $69,690. Neither the board treasurer nor the PNB treasurer corrected the general manager. The real-time pledge reports from the May 2016 fund drive can be seen here.

The 4 new part-time positions which will be offset by one reduction, will add approximately $100K to annual personnel costs, pushing the Berkeley station above the $2 million dollar a year mark. McCoy noted that contract negotiations with Local 9415 of the CWA will begin shortly and that he hoped to reduce personnel costs by $200,000, presumably to offset the new hires. Sister station KPFK in Los Angeles recently lost a union arbitration proceeding with SAG-AFTRA in Los Angeles with the arbitrator finding the LA station had violated the union contract by implementing involuntary pay cuts and laying off two employees from the bargaining unit last fall.

The KPFA general manager's soft-core podcast rolled on with a new episode, "The Green Chair". It begins: "I love doing it in the chair, Lexie said, smiling as she gently pushed my body backwards into the faded green wingback. I like the sound it makes when we get a rhythm going Jesse, she said, as she slowly stepped out of her skirt and climbed on my lap, legs straddling my thighs, sinking deeply into a caress, kissing me deeply on my neck and mouth". 75% of the podcasts on the KPFA website, which was described as opening space for new voices, are produced by existing KPFA staff. 

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

On to the past with the morning misfit...

The morning slop served by Michael Haskins seems to be getting worse. Here are three brief excerpts from the Friday show, starting with a demonstration of Haskins' inability to express himself without stumbling over words and endless repetition. It is painful to hear how awkward he is after more than thirty years at WBAI. He doesn't even listen to his own show or he would have realized that all but one of the events announced on "Earthmom's" Community Bulletin Board had already taken place. Ineptitude of the first order. After that segment, rendered totally useless by Haskins' lack of preparation (it rhymes with reparation) he announces a recorded interview conducted by Mario Murillo (an opportunist who has done much to make WBAI unlistenable (he brought in Pamela Brown, for example). That interview is about gentrification problems at South American malls! Just what New Yorkers need to hear with their morning coffee. 

Haskins also talked (though I left it out of this sample) about the dilemma he faces regarding his epic serialized reading from a diary purportedly written by a slave. We were spared further readings during the fundraiser, but now he can resume, but first he must decide if the complaints against this awful production should be heeded. He had better hurry up, for—believe it, or not—yet another fundraising marathon is around the corner!

I offer the following aircheck as proof of not having made this up—one really can't make up stuff like this.

Let me add that Linda Perry's brief newscasts lend this morning program needed professionalism. She should not have to be drowned in Haskins' mediocrity.

Here's the morning sampler from Friday, June 17, 2016.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Thought for the Day

Casting call?

Here are indigopirated™ excerpts from the June 13, 2016 meeting of the PNB Election Committee. It evokes a mood similar to that of a Bulgarian Ladies Knitting Circle coffee klatch on a balmy night. However, although it is not action-packed, one gets the feeling that it may portend an approaching fizzle.

Although scheduled to appear, the National Election Supervisor pulled a Miss Otis number out of his/her ballot box and sent regrets. The rigatoni grew cold.

PNB Personnel Committee discussess discussion...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

And the winner is...

The following was sent to me this afternoon by Ed Manfredonia and posted on the WBAI-LSB-Public list by Frank Lefever. Frank's post was prefaced by this note from Mitchel Cohen. It is confusing, because Mitchel has long been Reimers' apologist as well as had serious clashes with Mr. Manfredonia. I cannot personally vouch for the veracity of this backstage drama, but the story it tells clearly has some basis in truth. For that reason, I put it on  the table, hoping that someone can shed more light on it and, perhaps, come up with some documentation.

So, let's hope listener-supporter Kainak-Daher receives the airfare owed her and thank those who share my strong desire to separate the wheat from the tare and clean up the Pacifica field.

Details of the "thank you gift" in question appeared on the WBAI website, December 29, 2015 (If you need to enlarge it, please click on the image below):


I believe that this e-mail from Mitchel Cohen is very important and should be posted. The entire premium imbroglio is one Ponzi scheme. Just read the e-mail and read how WBAI cheats its listeners.

Thank you. Ed Manfredonia

FROM: Mitchel Cohen
SUBJECT: [WBAI Community Board] letter to WBAI 

I was forwarded this letter from a WBAI listener. I send it to you because this is a serious complaint about the way WBAI management does not prioritize its listeners, despite the extremely strenuous good will attempts by volunteers to reach out and assist them where possible. 

I am asking the CFO to gather the needed documents and issue a full report on the Gary Null paid retreats, because we have two sets of stories that are not even in the same ballpark, moneywise: WBAI management tells me that people call Gary Null's phone number to go on these retreats and not WBAI, and that WBAI has received no more than $8,000 from them. Steve Brown puts the figure at $28,000 from the last retreat and several hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last 2 years, and has provided some audio from 4 years ago but nothing recent that I've heard in which WBAI's number is the one to call. What's the truth here?

Since the costs are $2,000 apiece, these donations should be easy enough to track down and isolate.

I am also sending this to the Local FInance Committee and asking them to work with the CFO as to what's actually going on.

Thank you.

From: eloisebeyond 
Sent: Mon, Jun 13, 2016 2:45 pm

To Berthold Reimers and Andrea Katz:

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Eloise Krainak-Daher. If my name sounds familiar to you it is because I was notified back in February of this year, after donating my hard earned money to one of your fund drives, by Andrea Katz, that I was the winner of the one week retreat with Gary Null in Texas. I understand that the station earned over $25,000 from that fund drive.

Weeks went by and NO ONE CONTACTED ME FROM THE STATION WITH MY TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS OR DATES despite the fact that I sent several e-mails to both of you and left several phone messages. NO ONE EVER GOT BACK TO ME. Can you imagine my emotional confusion and angst after being notified that I was the winner and was never give my prize?? I was furious.

I finally contacted Luanne Pennesi. She connected me with Gary immediately and Gary Null PAID FOR MY ENTIRE RETREAT STAY out of his own pocket. I had to pay my own airfare, which I expect WBAI to refund to me. 

What the two of you committed in no uncertain terms is outright FRAUD. Your gross insensitivity to your audience is the main reason that WBAI is dying. It is sheer mismanagement and ABUSE OF THE LISTENERS and I, for one, will no longer tolerate this negligent behavior.

For starters, know that I and all of my friends, who were shocked to hear how poorly I was treated by WBAI management, will no longer be listening to the station, nor will we be donating ANYTHING to your fund drives.

Next, I am reporting WBAI and its management to the NY District Attorney, the NYS Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission. Many of my friends and co-workers who listen to the station also told me that they paid for premiums and NEVER RECEIVED THEM. After what happened to me they are also going the the Attorney General and FTC with their concerns.

How unfortunate that the management of WBAI is this incompetent and intentionally negligent to its listeners. Shame on both of you for lying to and deceiving your audience.

Eloise Kainak-Daher

Monday, June 13, 2016

Clarification: The ESB rent problem.

Thank you, Ed Manfredonia, for the following submission. 

I would appreciate it if you would print this explanation as a separate post on your blog. I possess an MBA in Finance and had been a member of the American Stock Exchange. I made a market in derivatives- options and index options.

There appears to be a fundamental misconception of WBAI’s Income Statement. I must make a correction to R Paul Martin’s financial analysis. In his Treasurer’s Report Martin expounds:

Again, it must be noted that a significant amount of WBAI’s deficit is the result of the accrued difference between the Empire State Building (ESB) rent and the $12,000 a month that WBAI is actually paying. 

But here is the error. The rent for the Empire State Building is $55,000 per month. This sum of $55,000 must be entered as an expense on the Income Statement. Berthold Reimers is only paying $12,000 per month. This leaves a liability of $43,000 per month, which must be transferred to the Balance Sheet as an accrued liability, which is the rent owed.

This deficit for nonpayment of rent is approximately $516,000 per annum or $43,000 per month multiplied by 12 months. Please note that in a three year period this deficit amounts to approximately $1,548,000. But let us say $1,500,000.

That is an accrued liability of $1,500,000- just for the Empire State Building rent and this sum must appear on the Balance Sheet. And this sum of $1,500,000 does not include interest on the sum owed and penalties for late payment.

Thus a Balance Sheet and a Cash Flow Projection are meaningless because the numbers on the Income Statement are meaningless- actually fraudulent.

Since 2011 I have been pointing out that the financial figures are imaginary numbers and that these figures have nothing to do with the catastrophic financial situation of WBAI. It does not matter that the assets owned by Pacifica can be valued at $100 million; Pacifica (especially the jewel in the crown WBAI) is losing money on assets worth $100 million. Pacifica (and WBAI especially) does not know how to earn money on its assets. And the solution is not by selling Gary Null’s products.

Thank you. Ed Manfredonia

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Little by little: Pacifica's last gasps?

Erasing The History of Pacifica

Berkeley- Pacifica Archives Director Brian De Shazor has announced his resignation from Pacifica Radio, effective June 30th. De Shazor's resignation provoked a strongly worded rebuke to Pacifica from Dr. Josh Sheppard, director of the Radio Preservation Task Force at the Library of Congress in Washington DC. Sheppard stated De Shazor's resignation forced him to retract a Library of Congress offer to apply for grant funding to support the archives and would amount to several hundred thousand dollars in potential lost funds. Sheppard went further, stating the Library of Congress would change Pacifica's status to that of an endangered archive and advised Pacifica management that "abandoning maintenance of the archive and the consequent degradation of these materials will effectively erase the history of Pacifica". Sheppard's full letter can be read here.  Pacifica had recently threatened significant cuts to archival preservation staffing. 

Discussions about the network's deteriorating financial position at the June 2 national board meeting led to attorney Jose Luis Fuentes, a former Siegel and Yee employee, denouncing his comrades-in-arms as "drinking Kool-Aid" and describing the network as a "gravy train". CFO Agarwal also weighed in saying flatly that he did not understand who was accountable for financial decision-making. Agarwal said he has placed the network's planned delegate election, which continues to solicit candidate nominations for 2017 board seats, on hold. You can hear the statements by Fuentes and Agarwal here.

CFO Agarwal also released a spreadsheet to the finance committee summarizing amounts owed by each unit for shared network services. The spreadsheet indicated current fiscal year debts of $50,600 from NY's WBAI and $106,500 from DC's WPFW. LA station KPFK still owes at least $140,000 from the June to September 2015 period. GM Radford has not indicated any intention to make payments and says she is pursuing an $80,000 loan to fulfill unsent premium gifts. 

Interim Exec Director Lydia Brazon announced at the June 2 meeting she had received an email "on the 31st" from KPFA general manager Quincy McCoy indicating neither April nor May network service fees would be paid timely by Berkeley's KPFA (an amount totaling $69,300) and the station had to "borrow money to make payroll". Brazon's declaration was strange, since KPFA concluded a three week fund drive with gross pledges of $628,000 on May 27th, 4 days prior to "the 31st". You can hear Brazon's announcement here. An inquiry to KPFA's local station board treasurer about how much was borrowed to make the payroll and the source of the loan did not get a response to date.

A motion by Houston listener rep Bill Crosier to take emergency actions to recover financial viability including the repayment of restricted funds, preparation for emergency work furloughs if needed, a board fundraising task force and operational assistance for the NY and DC stations, was tabled by the board of directors.

Even members of the Siegel/Brazon faction appear to have lost faith in the information they are receiving from Pacifica volunteer ED Lydia Brazon. Houston listener rep Adriana Casenave launched a directors inspection at all five Pacifica stations in the first week of June, demanding copies of:
  1. Every single bank statement from every single bank account at all 7 of the units from October 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016;
  2. The check registers for every single bank account at all 7 of the units from October 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016;
  3. The list of bank deposit signatories for every single bank account at all 7 of the units;
  4. Lists of every single foundation employee at all 7 of the units with hire date, job title, and rate of pay;
  5. Payroll registers from all 7 of the units
  6. A list of financial recordkeeping deficiencies reported by the audit firm with indications if, when and how they have been addressed by management.

Casenave co-sponsored a proposed bylaws amendments restricting directors from carrying out inspections using agents who are not members of a Pacifica board, but did not let that stop her from designating a Berkeley listener-member who was not a member of any Pacifica board to help carry out her inspection at KPFA. Pacifica's local boards will be reviewing the proposed bylaws amendment, which is contrary to California Corporations Code sections 6311-6313, in the next 6 weeks.

WBAI's fund drive concluded after 35 agonizing days with a minimal take of $280,000, barely 60% of the goal and covering only about 8 weeks of the station's operating expenses. Top fundraiser, unpaid host Gary Null, was kept off the air for most of the fund drive, a heavy contributing factor to the meagre $8,000 a day in pledges. Null made a statement on-air about his show being pulled from the fund drive, which can be heard here. A 2004 report prepared for the WBAI local station board surfaced earlier this week. The 80-page report contains dozens of thank you letters from a bevy of Pacifica managers and producers, as well as other public radio stations, for Null's hefty fundraising totals from the mid-80's to just a few years ago.

In a few host changes at the California stations, volunteer coordinator/security guard/Radford roommate Adam Rice threw in the towel on his hourlong perch during overnight profanity-thon Safe Harbor after only six months, handing it over to attorney Nana Gyamfi, one of the Uprising replacement hosts. Rice's announcement, punctuated with a "thank god" over being released from fundraising and hosting duties, can be heard here. At KPFA, anti-police-brutality organizer and actress Cat Brooks came on board as a co-host for the 7am Upfront program. Brooks was the campaign manager for former Pacifica board member and current corporate counsel Dan Siegel in his 2014 Oakland mayoral campaign. Siegel finished in fourth place.

In LA, GM Radford has her eye on dismantling the joint California news product, the Pacifica Evening News. Radford informed a KPFK staff meeting the Pacifica Evening News product was "reactionary" and she hoped to replace it with a KPFK-generated daily newscast.

One of the four music programmers who left KPFK in disgust after Margy Wilkinson appointed Radford manager of the LA station, former Melting Pot host Michael Barnes, has threatened legal action against Pacifica Radio if his name, program listing and reruns of his old shows are not removed from the KPFK website. Barnes' sayanora to KPFK is here. Despite the May 25th threat of legal action, Melting Pot remained listed as a KPFK program on as of June 11th.

A new podcast joined the small collection on KPFA's website, dubbed Area 94.1. The mystery podcast, a cowboy busted-dreams kinda thing focusing on a country music DJ with a tendency to alcohol-induced blackouts, turned out to be the handiwork of KPFA's general manager, a fact only revealed at the end of the podcast. The monologue describes an encounter between our drunken DJ (whose eyes look like "pissholes in the snow") and a community college student cum stripper with rosy lips, ample breasts and buttocks and a stuck-out tongue, who turns out to be lusting after the drunken DJ's son. You can listen to it here.

This publication's home on the Internet ( is starting a Resources page to provide easy one-click access to frequently searched-for and downloaded documents and files. It's still in the beginning phases, but about two dozen documents are now available, with more to come. If you have any requests for materials you'd like to see there or for posting, send to so we can develop the most useful page possible for those "looking for that thing" moments.

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