members spun an ad for WBAI in The Nation to be a bad thing even though it's brought in over $14,000 and hundreds of new members for WBAI. No good deed goes unpunished.
Yours truly made a short presentation about the new vigor with which the FCC is pursuing “indecency” infractions. By the end of the year the fines will probably increase to six figures and there will be five figure personal fines for individual producers whom the FCC will hold responsible for airing anything “indecent.”
Local Station Board Meeting
This was actually a continuation of the recessed June 10, meeting.
One of the items of unfinished business was a motion for the LSB to “dissociate” itself from the remarks of one LSB member. Now this LSB member had apparently written an 8 page screed on a producer's Web site, and had sent it out in E- mail. Within the 8 pages was a statement that was racially insensitive and which exhibited a low consciousness. But the remark in question doesn't seem to be hate speech to me. Most of the 8 pages reportedly consisted of complaints and questions about how WBAI is managed. Disclosure: I can't find the original document. But I never would have read it in the first place; I do not tend to read 8 page screeds.
Before any unfinished business was transacted the 30 minute public comment section of the meeting, which is mandated by the bylaws, was held. Some people lined up and commented about the LSB member's remark. And then one WBAI producer who is a member of the faction currently in charge started speaking and calling the LSB member a racist and praised WBAI Management. Each public speaker gets 2 minutes. At the end of her 2 minutes this producer started shrieking and refusing to hand off the microphone to the next person waiting in line, saying that the LSB had no authority. This continued for several minutes. When the LSB chair asked the Paid Staff engineer on duty to cut the public mic so order could be restored he refused. After this one producer had disrupted the meeting others
followed, including the usual bullies and rageaholics who've been making themselves notorious around the station for a while.
The LSB had to extend the public comments session and in the end no business got done; there was no time to vote on the motion to “dissociate,” because the building we were meeting in was closing down for the night.
Through all of this bullying, disruptive behavior by some Staff WBAI's General Manager Don Rojas never tried to help calm things down and return the meeting to order. He sat silently, immobile, like a plate of undisturbed Jello.
What's really happening here is that one “slate” is going after a smaller “slate” in an attempt to gain political advantage in the upcoming elections. The faction currently in charge at WBAI is engaging in cynical demagoguery around the serious issue of racism.
In my personal opinion there is no need for the LSB to dissociate itself from the member's remarks. The LSB was never associated with the remarks in the first place. If we were to set this precedent then there would be plenty of remarks that I'd want the LSB to dissociate itself from which have been made by other LSB members. Why not bring lots of motions to dissociate from those other members' remarks? Because then the LSB would spend all its time debating dissociating itself from remarks made by members and nothing would get done, maybe that would please some people. Who would benefit from that?
If the LSB can't get its work done WBAI will be in serious trouble. Among a host of other duties mandated by the bylaws WBAI's FY 05 budget needs to be approved by the LSB, and that will take a lot of work. A number of matters involving spending are still not clear. The draft FY 05 budget calls for more spending than in FY 04, and the LSB needs to figure out if this can work, especially since the General Manager says he's leaving in December. A lot of people need to start considering the survival of WBAI as something we all need to work for.
All labor donated by and printing paid for by R. Paul Martin.
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