WBAI LSB Meeting — November 22, 2013

The one hundred thirty fifth WBAI Local Station Board (LSB) meeting was held on Friday, November 22, 2013, at “Brooklyn Commons,” 388 Atlantic Ave. 1st floor, in downtown Brooklyn. This is not an official Web page of the LSB.

This was actually a special meeting. It was suddenly called by the officers because some of the officers had suddenly found out that the Executive Director really had come to town the weekend before and there was a scramble to find space for the meeting. The regularly scheduled meeting that would have been held on November 13, had to be scrapped because no space for that meeting could be found. Had we held that meeting we would have had to hold this meeting anyway because the Executive Director hadn't been in New York on the 13th.

Here is the call for this special meeting:

Subject: [WBAI-LSB-PUBLIC] Call for a special meeting of the WBAI LSB
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2013 14:41:31 -0500
From: R. Paul Martin
To: WBAI -LSB-PUBLIC

The WBAI LSB will meet on Friday, November 22, 2013, in executive session to consider confidential personnel, contractual and legal issues.

The WBAI LSB will meet in public session on Friday, November 22, 2013, starting at 8:30 PM at 388 Atlantic Ave. Brooklyn, NY, to address urgent matters that are before the LSB and PNB pertaining to:

  1. Report out from executive session. (2 minutes)
  2. Selection of time keeper. (1 minute)
  3. Consideration of a proposal to enter into a Public Service Operating Agreement. (30 minutes)
  4. Reports about the situation at WBAI from:
    1. The Treasurer with a motion from the local Finance Committee. (5minutes)
    2. The General Manager of WBAI. (5 minutes)
    3. The Executive Director of the Pacifica Foundation. (15 minutes)
    4. Discussion of reports. (20 minutes)
  5. Public Comment. (30 minutes)
  6. Statements regarding WBAIís Management. (10 minutes)

This meeting will adjourn no later than 10:30 PM.

This call for a special meeting is made by:

Robert Young, Chair of the WBAI LSB
Mitchel Cohen, Secretary of the WBAI LSB
R. Paul Martin, Treasurer of the WBAI LSB

The executive session was called to have started at 6:30 PM. I had wanted it to start at 7:00 PM, the Secretary was demanding that it start at 6:00 PM, so we compromised. The meeting didn't start until 7:02 PM, when we had finally gotten a quorum. Below is the report out from that meeting:

“The WBAI Local Station Board met in Executive Session to discuss contractual, legal and personnel issues of a confidential nature.

The Executive Director reported to the LSB that Pacifica has received ten responses to the Request For Proposals for the Public Service Operating Agreement/LMA. She will provide the LSB with a written summary of the key elements of each proposal confidentially without specifying the applicants' names.

The Executive Director also discussed personnel matters and recommends that the LSB perform an evaluation of the General Manager as soon as possible.”

The executive session ended at 8:33 PM.

The public session of this meeting started at 8:47 PM, which was 17 minutes later than it had been scheduled to start.

The LSB meeting began with the official report out of the executive session that had concluded not that long before this public session had begun.

Executive Director Summer Reese told the small crowd, maybe 20 people, maybe fewer, that she really couldn't say much about the proposed Public Service Operating Agreement (PSOA) that the PNB was considering. Since this was the topic that most people were there to hear about it sort of made the entire public session something of a letdown, except for those who enjoy posturing in front of small crowds.

The Executive Director explained to those assembled the legal details of a PSOA, all of which have been posted or linked to in various forums on-line for weeks. Pacifica's “Request for Proposals” (RFP), whereby applicants to run WBAI under a PSOA were solicited, had been posted by mid-October. The Executive Director did tell the small crowd that WBAI can't pay its bills, and that if the station doesn't turn around very soon, and if the PNB then takes too long in its consideration of an entity to do a PSOA, that WBAI could be off the air before any PSOA gets implemented.

The Chair chose to go around the room and let all of the LSB members comment. Various things were said.

Faction operatives claimed that WFMU is a contender for the PSOA entity. They slammed WFMU, especially citing the fact that WFMU has a program on five mornings a week that is pro-Israel. The faction operatives then said that of course they weren't anti-semitic, but pro-Israel statements could not be allowed, perhaps they forgot about what the words “free speech radio station” might mean.

At a local Finance Committee meeting earlier this year one person who has contact with the faction mentioned that one of their pals, Dan Coughlin who runs Manhattan Neighborhood Network, had the inside track on this PSOA thing. Mr. Coughlin will be remembered as the faction's choice of Executive Director of Pacifica back in 2002. As Executive Director then he was one of the people who spearheaded the amazingly lopsided agreement to not only give his friend Amy Goodman Pacifica's Democracy Now! program, along with a copyright on all of the work that others had put into it, but to have Pacifica pay a yearly six figure fee for the program. He is also close pals with faction boss Bernard White who was fired for incompetence after far too long a time in the position as WBAI Program Director. It's hard to see how Mr. Coughlin and his operation would be able to save WBAI from financial ruin. But then the faction thinks that there really is no reason at all to not keep on doing the stupid stuff they've been doing for years, the very stuff that has chased away such a large percentage of WBAI's listeners.

After all of this talk, which ran over time, I gave a very short Treasurer's Report where I said that both WBAI and Pacifica are in dire financial straits, and urged everyone present to read my written Treasurer's report. The LSB then passed the following motion:

“The WBAI local Finance Committee strongly urges the WBAI Local Station Board to urge the Pacifica National Board to postpone any decisions on the Public Service Operating Agreement option and any other changes in WBAI's operational status until all other fund raising options for WBAI have been exhausted. In particular we urge the Executive Director to organize a network wide emergency fund drive with the support of the PNB specifically aimed at paying off WBAI's immediate external debts, and to conduct an immediate fund raising mailing and E-mailing to the entire WBAI database.

In addition the Finance Committee recommends that the LSB demand that no decision on leasing WBAI or any other such status changes be made by the PNB before a public presentation and discussion by the WBAI LSB, on-air discussions in several time slots, and an LSB Town Hall meeting.”

We then went to public comment, which featured some of the usual people who make public comments at these meetings saying the things they usually say on such occasions, some of which made no sense, given the current reality, whatsoever.

The meeting ended at 10:42 PM.

Here's the page showing the attendance at the LSB meetings.


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