|ing him to observe the processing of the first Staff PD surveys on November 18. A second survey ended up with 33 valid responses.
Program Director's Staff Meeting
This meeting was held at 10:30 on a Saturday morning, like the last one that had a low turnout.
Once again the issue of F.C.C. complaints was discussed. WBAI has three complaints outstanding.
The PD said that the delay must always be on when taking phone calls on-air and if some naughty words get out anyway the producer should apologize immediately.
Then we got to the issue of payola/plugola. The PD said that everyone should read the handouts and sign the form. Quite a number of the Staff present had never heard of this issue before. The PD said that the station would bring in a lawyer to teach Staff about payola/plugola some time in January. One department head noted that these plugola laws are being violated frequently at WBAI. I noted that the form from Pacifica that we're required to sign not only says that we're not doing payola/plugola but requires us to state, under penalty of perjury, that “To my knowledge, the station has also complied with these payola and sponsorship identification requirements. I have reported to management any potential violations that I have witnessed ....” I said that I knew that these laws were being violated at WBAI, so there's no way I can sign such a thing.
Plugola is a part of the faction's runaway patronage system at WBAI and so it's a sore issue for them. Getting a lawyer in is a good idea. WBAI is so mired in a culture of conflicts of interest that we probably can't even recognize when producers are violating the federal law anymore.
The PD said that more advertising would be done for the Winter ‘thon in an effort to get more listeners for it.
After noon more faction members came to the meeting and the atmosphere changed. A faction member complained about how few Staff were at the meeting and said that he wanted to go after those not present. The PD said that the next meeting would be in the evening. He also said that he's heard bitterness on the air about preemptions and
|that something is hampering our ability to raise money. Faction members picked up on this. One said that he wanted to go after people who didn't raise enough money. And then we got to hear the faction's new line about the failed ‘thons: the ‘thons have failed lately because producers are “bad mouthing” the station on the air. Well, at least the faction is admitting that some ‘thons have failed. Of course a whole lot of ‘thons have failed over the past couple of years, but at last they're admitting that there's some sort of problem.
Some at the meeting called for the gag rule to be brought back, the LSB Chair said that free speech was not in the Pacifica Mission Statement. Others remembered a time about five years ago when many people were speaking about internal issues on the air. Faction members said that it was all right during the “coup period,” but not anymore.
The PD said that the problem of people saying things on the air that he considered negative should be dealt with collectively. One faction member agreed and volunteered to chair a committee that would deal with errant producers collectively, but first they had to compile a list of those people and then call them in one at a time to be dealt with collectively by his committee. And if they didn't come in the Torquemada wanna-be said he'd have to think of other ways of dealing with them. When one of Utrice Leid's remaining hires endorsed this and said that people were being dishonest by not naming names the faction members applauded.
LSB Finance Committee Meeting
I brought a motion to have the Treasurer report on the tale of the cash receipts from WBAI's 9/11 event in 2003. The faction voted against this, but agreed to have the former Treasurer come and report about it.
I asked the Treasurer if we knew yet what the $120,000 legal bill that had surprised us at a previous meeting was for. He said that the Pacifica CFO had asked that legal fees not be discussed in public. Mum's the word on another six figure legal fee that the CFO had gloated over not bothering to pay in a presentation to the WBAI LSB in March 2004.
We looked at the reports on some recent ‘thons,
Page Four of this newsletter