|needed more time to raise more money! Of course this is a part of the problem! We pitch for so long that we're driving listeners away. WBAI pitched for 91 days in FY04. By August 1, we'll have pitched for 89½ days in FY05.
The iGM noted that premium costs were $70,000 over budget and that our first business is radio and why not perfect that? I find myself agreeing with someone in Management!
LSB Finance Committee Meeting
Before the Spring ‘thon had failed the iGM had prepared a budget that would have cut 4 “Full Time Equivalents” (FTEs) from the FY06 budget. The next item in this newsletter expands on and updates that preliminary proposal.
Some Staff may remember that last September the FY05 budget became a political football with some of us saying that it budgeted too much in on-air donations. Some of us also said that we were pitching too much and that donor fatigue was becoming an issue. But the PNB, at the faction's urging, passed a budget for WBAI that was overly optimistic, to put it overly politely.
The final draft of the budget is due August 15. The LSB Finance Committee will be working on it till then, but it looks like Pacifica Management is going to be doing a lot before that deadline.
The main topic of this meeting turned out to be WBAI's financial crisis. Pacifica CFO Lonnie Hicks led off the meeting saying that WBAI is “On the critical list,” because of the magnitude of the Spring ‘thon's failure.
The CFO said that if the July 18-30, mini-thon raises its goal of $325,000 WBAI will still be short $77,000 in August and about $150,000 short in September. By October WBAI might not even be able to meet payroll. Additionally, WBAI is behind by $250,00 in its financial obligation to the National Office and the National Office is having to reduce their Staff because they don't have the money to pay people.
CFO Hicks also said that because of disciplinary matters and investigations at WBAI the station now
|has a $50,000 legal fee that needs to be paid. Pacifica has to pay these bills and then WBAI is supposed to reimburse Pacifica, but no one knows when that's going to happen.
The committee talked about layoffs. All official WBAI Paid Staff make up 29 “Full Time Equivalents” (FTEs), which means the official WBAI payroll of various full time, half time and part time workers is equal to 29 people having full time jobs. However in this meeting it was pointed out that if you looked at the 13 hourly workers WBAI has 40 FTEs. This is a lot more than most of the other stations. Pacifica iED and PNB Chair Ambrose Lane, Sr., said, “Something is terribly wrong,” with this situation.
In June, iED Lane authorized WBAI iGM Indra Hardat to reduce payroll expenses by $125,000 through the layoffs of 4 FTEs. Under this initial plan all interim workers would be laid off along with some of the per diem Operations Staff. Also cut would be $25,000 in programming expenses and $25,000 in administrative expenses. This memo was sent to all 4 WBAI Directors. But at this meeting it was noted that these measures will only give WBAI a little breathing time.
The iED then mentioned a “recovery plan” which calls for up to 50% reduction in Staff based on Union criteria for reduction. It has specific FTEs and identifies “core staff” who'll be retained. The CFO and iED will go to WBAI in a week to see what can be done by August 1. Otherwise the other Pacifica stations will have to kick in to pay for WBAI.
A motion to have a Pacifica-wide on-air fund raising event for WBAI will be discussed at the Committee's meeting next week. A couple of PNB members said that this was like putting a band-aid on a wound, that the real problem was a Management one at WBAI and that the real problem needed to be solved.
The PNB was supposed to have examined WBAI's imposed budget on November 15, 2004, but it never got around to doing it. Had they done so they might have seen the folly of their having given in to the faction currently in charge last year and creating a situation where WBAI is spending money as if our income was a lot bigger than it really is.
All labor donated by and printing paid for by R. Paul Martin.