Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Down and down we go...

The following submission by KPFKcommentator is in response to our blog post "Maxie Looks Ahead". It is a further indication that the current WBAI program facelift is Foundation wide and regarded with a dash of skepticism.  At WBAI, Linda Perry is earning many merits for effort, but much on-air dross remains to be shredded for good. The sad fact is, of course, that Pacifica itself continues to plunge. CA

It is not clear if the new ED of Pacifica is responsible for changes [if not to WBAI in NY] then to the much improved and helpful KPFK website now. For years the same listed webmaster had no apparent interest in the LA station website and tho suggestions and complaints were made more than 1x, nothing happened there.  

Surprisingly and not knowing where or how to attribute this improvement, it was viewed and noted. Further there have actually been some programs added, times changed - so what was dull, repetitive for over 300 years, has been 'changed'... whether that will help increase audience or donors shall never be known. 

KPFK - as all Pacifica - continues to be the least transparent …or giving it's shareholders-stake-holders or donors feedback or any info whatsoever. For further info about WBAI's sibling station, commentary can be found here - FYI 

It is always surprising that each Pacifica station pretends to be so independent and self-sufficient, until that WBAI fiasco put every station into danger/ debt/ difficulty. 

Why is that ? 

Friday, March 29, 2019

Maxie looks ahead

Maxie's Plan Begins to Unfold

A few salient points from Maxie Maxie Maxie's Executive Director Report:

The forthcoming Auditor's Report will represent a Qualified Opinion, ie, it will reflect uncertainties reflecting the 'deteriorating financial state of the organization'.

The best efforts of NETA, the ED, the Auditor, et al, have failed to uncover any number of significant documents, eg, documentation re unpaid salaries, those documents concerning the real estate sale in Berkeley, etc, etc, etc.

Maxie presented a motion re underwriting to the Strategic Planning Committee Tuesday last.

He is working to present proposals for the 'collapse' of Local Station Boards into the existing Community Advisory Boards and the restructuring of Community Advisory Boards as 'slotted' Boards, by which he appears to mean with positions filled by quotas along various demographic and professional lines.

The Pacifica National Board is to be restructured along lines which are both elected and 'slotted' per his criteria.

He is working to develop an annual virtual Pacifica Foundation Conference.

He is also working to put in place an interim or permanent National Election Supervisor, future elections to be paperless.

April through August will feature ~100 promos per week for Democracy Now!

All five stations now have access to Arbitron Data.

There is to be 'Must Carry' national programming in future.

Discussions are in progress for possible/probable carriage of BBC Programming.

As per the Executive Director's proposed/intended structural changes...

In Summary...

~ 'indigopirate'

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

February 2019 PPM Nielsens

Below is an unsolicited response from Linda Perry, who has been with WBAI for a few years and currently has the very difficult—some say, impossible—task of upgrading the station's lapsed listenership to or beyond the level of intellect Pacifica founders had in mind almost seventy years ago. 

The above listed Nielsen figures don't look hopeful, but there has been improvement. Still, tuning in continues to spew worn out, ill-conceived infomercials or the race-based rants of Mimi Rosenberg, the painful, hopelessly tattered remnants of a once culturally significant show hosted by Bob Fass, the shameless tabloid fantasies of Geoff Brady, or a plethora of self-serving audio Kool-aid by wannabe DJs, medical hacks, "spiritual" scammers and propagandists. The fact that the station's most worthwhile programs are retrieved from the Pacifica Archive really says it all.

Unless integrity and truthfulness are restored, WBAI (and its sister stations) will never again see decent Nielsen figures. As PD, Linda has made some notable improvements to the weekly schedule and I continue to encourage support of her efforts, but I still feel that WBAI's programming must undergo radical change if it is to overcome the damage inflicted upon it by years of misguided, incompetent management.

Clearly, we are not waiting for WBAI to die—that has already taken place.  We are, however, waiting and hoping for some sign of a turnaround, but that prospect is further dimmed by what looks like incompetence or, perhaps, willful negligence by the Pacifica National Board.

In all fairness, I realize that Linda's mission is probably made more difficult by having restricted rein, so I do not solely blame her for what appear to be shortcomings. I know for a fact that she reaches out for advice, which is a giant step in a direction not taken by the person who inexplicably remains in ultimate charge. 

Although I right now am inclined to say of WBAI that it would be better dead than chronically dying, I think we owe Linda Perry our thanks for her effort and the following response.    

Hi Chris, The Pacifica National Board’s Strategic Planning Committee was grappling with a motion at the meeting you posted for what would be a very big change for Pacifica. That is underwriting messages for increased revenue. The meeting was totally misrepresented by Spark News whose snarky comments add nothing to the conversation which i listened to in full. 
WBAI needs to change our funding model away from on air pitching into events and underwriting by reputable bonafide progressive organizations to have the revenue it needs to improve and grow. WBAI is driving this debate. 
Our new ED Maxie Jackson describes the network as the progressive window on America’s conversations. He is putting best practices forward and trust in the five stations to administer this change. He wants to task the new local station boards to come up with suggestions for appropriate organizations for underwriting.  
The original underwriting motion came from WBAI’s LSB & National Board member Alex Steinberg and committee members were working out details to his motion for an underwriting trial which would be presented to the Pacifica National Board. Other members are working to ensure that best practices are followed.  —Linda Perry, WBAI Program Director 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Minimizing Maxie?

Pacifica National Board 
Strategic Planning Committee
Such As It Is, Such As It Isn't

When the CPB first came to be, Pacifica was disinclined to accept any CPB grants for fear it would be 'corrupted' and 'compromised' in its 'purity' and 'dedication to principle'. That 'purity' and 'dedication' of course did not preclude such things as its condemnation of Joan Baez for her criticizing the slaughter wrought by the government of Pol Pot or its support for the government of Grenada favored by Samori Marksman, sundry vicious left-wing regimes, etc.

Just so long as they weren't vicious right-wing regimes, you see :)

Purity and Dedication and Political Correctness, Pacifica Fashion :)

In time, however, Pacifica accepted the available funding and became dependent on it. Which posed a problem when Pacifica was so utterly incapable of accounting for its finances that it became ineligible.

Similarly, Pacifica has debated and discussed and discussed and debated the possibility of underwriting for, I suppose, shortly after the majority of literal dinosaurs were last seen in North America.

This exciting discussion continued, yesterday evening, at the Pacifica National Board's Strategic Planning Committee Meeting.

To the mind of this anarchic pirate the key revelation was the simplest: With the notable exception of Maxie Jackson and Robin Smith, the members of the board are profoundly stoopid, inarticulate, and absolutely incapable of coherent thought or, arguably, of thought in any form.

Which is a charitable characterization.

So... if for whatever perverse masochistic inclination leads you to follow these nastiest, shabbiest, and ineffectual self-proclaimed progressives, we have here, heaven help us, an audio clip.

It goes on for forever and half-past forever and a bit more than that, but one may get the gist – if there may be said to be a gist – in the first ten minutes or so.

One prays that AOC shows them mercy when the time comes. Or perhaps not.

Justice would be nice 😎

Then again, when is there ever justice?

Anywhere, other than by random chance?

Consult with your friendly neighborhood pirate and get back to me on that one, okay?

~ 'indigopirate'

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

You say TomAto...

We have here a fairly sharp, conceivably illustrative, arguably (perversely) entertaining clash of perspectives...

Perhaps worth a listen...

Perhaps not...

~ 'indigopirate'

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Pacifica's Dire Dumps

The NES-certified nominal 2018 "pseudo election results" and the complete list as published today:

Victorious WBAI listeners: Mitchel Cohen, Randy Credico (perhaps subject to jury decision), Errol Maitland, Alex Steinberg, Hazel Pinder, Carolyn McIntyre, Ralph Poynter, Michael D D White, King Downing, Marilyn Vogt-Downey (well-known Trotskyist writer in her day), Dacio A Quintana, Jim Dingeman, Maxine Harrison-Gallmon. (13 elected, so presumably there were four other vacant seats.)

Victorious WBAI staff: Max Schmid, R Paul Martin, Shawn Rhodes, Basir Mchawi. (Some will be saddened by John Kane's defeat.)

14 incumbents were unsuccessful . . . KPFA: William Campisi (his litigation against the Foundation has been ongoing for a year now). KPFK: Steve Kaiser, Rob Macon, Reza Pour (of car park fame); & staffers Myla Reson & Fernando Velazquez (guardian of Spanish-language programming). KPFT: Wesley Bethune, Anisa Faruqi, Susie Moreno, Ben Perodeau, Ted Weisgal (strangely not listed; until today the Chair); & staffer Mike Lewis. WPFW: staffer Don Williams. WBAI: staffer John Kane.

Here is the full election report: 

These were the listings for "abstain" which I assume means people sent in blank ballots because they were told to do so to help make quorum - but they didn't want to vote for anyone. 

KPFA 3 or 2.4%
KPFK 141 or 8.9%
KPFT 7 or 5.8%
WBAI 71 o4 7.9%
WPFW couldn't even be bothered to have an election for listeners because there weren't enough candidates. 

These elections are ridiculous and any claims that they represent any kind of "democracy" are demented. Game's over. 


Thursday, February 28, 2019

Is it cricket?

The Arts & Pacifica & Crickets
A proposal was offered at the Pacifica National Board Programming Committee Meeting, Tuesday 26 February 2019.

~ 'indigopirate'

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Is Mo' Maxie Less?

Maxie Fails to Grasp, Fails to Grasp that He Fails to Grasp Absent Thought, Insight, or Ideas

Settles for a few Weasley & Condescending Insults of Affiliates Director

In the past I've pointed out that Maxie III's aptitudes and skill sets are those of a low-level apparatchik – a 'tool' in management argot.

Minimal management competence in other words.

In Monday's PNB Strategic Planning Committee Meeting, the latter portion dealing with Ursula Ruedenberg and the Pacifica Affiliates Program, I came to the realization that I'd been wrong. That I'd seriously overestimated the man's competence, as opposed to his enthusiasm for buzzword and his mindless rote embrace of 'best practices', which in his usage simply means mindless commonplace thinking.

The audio [above link] here is fairly lengthy, I'm afraid, but it makes clear that Maxie is incapable of grasping a simple management situation and addressing it. That task should take, I'd say, no more than five or ten minutes. A number of simple, clear, and likely effective approaches are immediately apparent.

Though they aren't to Maxie, Pacifica's Executive Director.

Here's the story: Ursula Ruedenberg has built and directed what is widely seen as a successful Affiliates Program for Pacifica. Pacifica frequently points to the Affiliates Program as successful and of real importance. She has done so with meager financial means and marginal support in many respects.

Of late, nearing retirement considerations and accompanying questions as to succession, she's raised the need for the Affiliates Program being a separate unit.

It's clear that the Affiliates Program, as an operation, is a small, low-cost, flexible and adaptive operation which has an impact benefitting Pacifica far far more than its relatively modest financial dimensions.

Maxie literally can't grasp this, clear though it is, obvious though it is.

Can't think of any approach other than his little tool kit of standardized 'best practice' approaches.

As they aren't readily applicable here, he has nothing to offer but a few kind and ultimately dismissive words.

Ms Ruedenberg is rightly frustrated and even more rightly offended.

She clearly has a very clear grasp of what works in her operation, and which has resulted in a very successful operation.

Maxie simply doesn't get it, can't hear it, can't comprehend it, and dismisses her while denying that he's dismissing her.


This is an uploadible PDF file that duplicates Kim's comment.

Mimi's arias—they're flat

WBAI today: Hypocrisy, mindless propaganda and shameless marketing.

I received the following note this afternoon, February 26, from an obviously concerned Pacifica
devotee who does not wish to be named [We have a number of Pacifica insiders who contribute to this blog anonymously].  I know very well what this person is talking about—Mimi Rosenberg continues to be an embarrassment and I find her ongoing presence on WBAI’s air inexcusable—it is this sort of failure to take essential action that gives me decreasing hope for the station’s resurrection in the current PD’s hands.

Meaning well, as I believe Linda Perry does, is not enough—the entire program content and those who throw it on the air must come under professional scrutiny. One serious mistake is, as I see it, to put in charge people who have past affiliation or friendship with the producers and hosts.

I hope this note kicks off a serious discussion of WBAI’s programming, which is something the many useless boards and committees seem loath to do. —Chris

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Diga Diga Doo Doo

Pacifica National Board Programming Committee
19 February 2019

Maxie III Explains It All For You

In this report from Pacifica's Executive Director, Maxie III, we have further insight into the approach, thoughts, and insights of the Executive Director.

He finds that Pacifica's people lack his professional education, experience, credentials, perspective, and insights, and seeks to educate and evaluate them accordingly and appropriately.

He finds them to be appreciative of his efforts and eager to learn.

His focus is on market identification and focus.

There is no consideration of talent or the recruitment of potential talent.

It's all analytics, you see... 'Best Practices'....

Listen...! Learn...!

As Pacifica sails Onward.

Toot Toot!

~ 'indigopirate'

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Houston, we have a problem...

KPFT's LSB Sticks Its Tongue Out At Pacifica
Tells Maxie Jackson Where He Can Get Off

A few representative samples from the KPFT LSB Meeting of 13 February

Limitless entertainment, mirth and bonhomie abound...

Pacifica's Future of Infinite Promise...! —'indigopirate'

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A much needed reminder

Unless one first tuned in to WBAI within the last few years, one need not listen to the station for long before realizing that Pacifica Radio has been derailed, if not totaled. Those who have the microphone these days will give Pacifica high praise as a free speech, independent voice of truth—a once honest description made by staffers and volunteers whose dedication to such a concept (most commonly known as listener-sponsored radio) was in line with Pacifica's devotion to its listeners.

My association with Pacifica goes back to 1961, when I volunteered to work there in whatever capacity I was needed. KPFA went on the air in the late Forties—its aim was to satisfy the intellectual hunger of people in San Francisco's, Bay Area, so it became a community station in a relatively narrow sense. Pacifica founder Lewis Hill had idealistic ideas of a world without war and he believed the key to that was an informed populace. While the following Wikipedia bio synopsis brings into focus Mr. Hill's own formative experience, the text linked to below explains why he felt that American broadcasting needed an overhaul, in general. It should be required reading for any individual or group that has authority or the use of broadcasting facilities at a Pacifica radio station.

The magnet that drove most of us to Pacifica a few decades ago has been degaussed by self-serving lightweights who see Pacifica as nothing more than a soapbox for their own advancement. Whether consciously or not, they are cashing in on the honorable efforts of distant predecessors while making a pretense of following in their footsteps. 

The fault lies, in the main, with unprincipled, like-minded management—haphazardly hired and left to its own, often ignoble, devices.

About Lewis Hill (From Wikipedia): 
He was born in Kansas City, Kansas on May 1, 1919. His father was an attorney who made his fortune by brokering a deal to sell an oil company to J.P. Morgan. His mother's brother was Frank Phillips, builder of Phillips Petroleum. Lewis was sent to Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Missouri because he was too bright for the public school. According to his widow, he "despised" his time at military school, but he completed his first two years of college there and also was the Missouri State doubles tennis champion. He then transferred to Stanford University.
While studying at Stanford in 1937, his interest in Quakerism led him to a belief in pacifism. As a conscientious objector, Hill served in Civilian Public Service during World War II. In 1945, Hill resigned from his job as a Washington D.C. correspondent and moved to Berkeley, California.
In 1949 he established KPFA. To support the station financially, he founded the Pacifica Foundation. He served as Pacifica's head until his suicide (during a period of failing health from spinal arthritis) in 1957.

⇨⇨⇨⇨⇨⇨⇨⇨In Lew Hill's own words

Friday, February 8, 2019

How colleagues see today's Pacifica


READER COMMENTS - Posted: 08 Feb 2019 12:00 AM PST

Our coverage of Executive Director Maxie Jackson’s comments at the January 31, 2019, meeting of the Pacifica Foundation’s National Board  brought over 1,000 page views and several comments. Readers had mixed reactions: 

Gregg McVicar

• Gregg McVicar, the host of UnderCurrents and a digital audio pioneer said he supports Jackson’s proposed changes in Pacifica’s system or governance: 

McVicarMaxie (and you) nailed it with the Pacifica assessment.  Likewise, I have the utmost respect for Maxie who totally knows what he’s doing, and it shows.

• A major market programmer and former PRPD board member who requested confidentiality wrote:

Confidential:  Enjoyed your piece today on Maxie speaking truth to power – but I would have liked to have gotten some sense as to how people reacted to what he was saying on that conference call. He is absolutely correct that the governance set up is crazy and needs to be changed – but I can’t imagine this board accepting that it is failing. What a mess. 

• An anonymous reader told us:

Anonymous: Jackson’s “analysis of the situation” is not that impressive. It’s been obvious for a long time - but is also not the full story. While there’s no dispute for me that the boards, who do have ultimate authority, have been overwhelmingly destructive since 2002, the flip side is that the stations’ management is not blameless for the damage they’ve done. Getting “talented” people on the boards is not as easy as it sounds. There have been good people but they are driven away by the various bad actors.

The stations’ were also enabled by the poor financial controls at the national management level. who have gotten inside

Steve Robinson

• Steve Robinson, former GM of WFMT, Chicago and longtime system manager was skeptical about Pacifica’s willingness to change:

Robinson:  “...Pacifica must change its system of governance. “ 

That’s hilarious.  

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Adieu PNB Civility

These days, Pacifica vandalist No. 1, Cerene Roberts—whose Board terms exhausted everybody—flutters on the fringes of her botched attempts. The realization that she is but a meddling outsider is something she finds unacceptable, so she plots in the shadows and desperately fires off fact-starved email that could have come right out of Trump's potty. So far, the collusion between her and MNN's Dan Coughlin has not worked as planned, but she and her gang have played a major role in what may have been a fatal blow to the Pacifica Lew Hill and his associates envisioned. 

A significant cause of the problem is the network-wide ineptitude of management and the lowered standard it generates. The goalpost has long since moved from serving the intellectual community to merely staying on the air. Pacifica stations have become a deceitful Home Shopping Network with high-priced scams, lies and other political propaganda oozing in to bang on downgraded eardrums.

On Thursday January 31st, when dysfunctional PNB delegates once again convened for "business", Cerene Robert's most tiresome, disruptive understudy, Adriana, did a splendid job of stretching a ten-minute extension bid into an hour-long exercise in futility.

Appearances by ED Maxie Jackson provided a sign of sanity, but most Board members—even those who mean well and think straight—appear to have been smitten by the germs of palaver dabble.

The following audio excerpt has been sparingly unmasked, but I think it captures the essence of what happens when the moon of civility descends.

Following that is ED Maxie Jackson's report and an unexpurgated four-part audio of the full meeting. Only the hardiest of you is likely to sit still for the latter, but listening to the remarkably tolerant Mr. Jackson is not a waste of your time.   

The cackle debacle.

Executive Director Maxie's Report

Full meeting - part 1 of 4 - Full meeting - part 2 of 4
Full meeting - part 3 of 4 - Full meeting - part 4 of 4