|the minutes of the October 1998, Board meeting did not show up until the last week of January. The reasons are now clear: The National Board didn't want people to know that this crucial item would be coming up at the February meeting. It turns out that Alexander Cockburn was about to publish an article in Counterpunch titled “The Neutering of Pacifica” about this very maneuver. It is thought that Pacifica Management published the minutes of their meeting so as to be able to deny Cockburn's assertion that they'd kept those minutes secret, as they'd kept entire meetings secret from 1995, to 1997.
Cockburn's brief is that this is a part of the gradual corporatization of Pacifica and that the network will become a purely top down organization employing only paid “professional” broadcasters in the future, as opposed to allowing access to the air by Unpaid Staff, and that national programming will gradually squeeze most local programming out of existence. Cockburn's article will conclude in the next issue of Counterpunch.
Lynn Chadwick, the Pacifica National Board's second best choice for Executive Director (their first choice backed out after being refused a relocation allowance), has been a long time advocate of turning public radio stations away from the open models typified by Pacifica for 50 years and towards the corporate model of the media moguls like Rupert Murdoch. In December Chadwick told WBAI Staff that she wanted to “create a new culture” at WBAI and Pacifica. Part of her new culture included an oily Pacifica consultant who tried to control the December 2, meeting - but WBAI Staff told her where to go.
Matt Binder of KPFA researched, wrote and got a million dollar grant to produce radio programs about the Human Genome Diversity Project. Pacifica/KPFA administered the grant. The grant was supposed to fund 9 one hour programs and one two hour Town hall meeting.
After working on the programs for three years Binder found that the person administering the grant was keeping two sets of books. Binder asked then Pacifica Executive Director Pat Scott to
|look into this - and she fired him!
Binder believed that the Pacifica/KPFA administrator was paying herself for work she wasn't doing and siphoning money from the grant to build her own professional, state of the art recording studio. After he was fired his name was removed from the radio project, thus denying him credit for years of work.
Binder sued Pacifica for having fired him from a job that he himself created and he sued essentially for being paid for the work he did and for being given the proper credit on the completed project. In the end Pacifica settled out of court for a reported $25,000 and a letter of recommendation so he could account for the last 5 years of his life.
But the Pacifica administrator took the radio project out of Pacifica and produced it herself, denying any credit to Binder. He is now suing her, as well.
In her last act as Pacifica Executive Director, Pat Scott called the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and told them that the Pacifica Local Boards were not in compliance with CPB guidelines because they had Staff serving on them. The WBAI Local Board has one regular member who's an Unpaid Staff producer and two Staff Representatives. Scott's action could cause Pacifica to lose significant funding and endanger Staff Representatives on the Local Boards.
The Pacifica “Gag Rule” says you get thrown off the air and banned from the station if you talk about internal Pacifica/WBAI issues on the air. As Larry Bensky proved a few weeks ago, this rule doesn't apply to all producers. His program was removed and he complained about it on the air, saying things uncomplimentary to Pacifica Management. He got another program, and was not banned.
Sign the “Petition Against the Gag Rule.” See a member of the Shop Committee, or on the World Wide Web go to:
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