Pacifica CFO About “Liquidating” WBAI

The Pacifica National Finance Committee (NFC) met on March 15, 2016, and the CFO had a lot to say. This Ides of March meeting passed a motion that requires those claiming to be Pacifica Management to produce a list of options within 60 days for re-structuring WBAI. The CFO, who raised the idea of liquidating WBAI, appears not to understand a number of relevant issues. Some people may come up with a list, but whether its proposals will be relevant or legal or even possible is a question.

For those who don't have access to the WBAI LSB Finance Committee's Yahoo! site I have a link at the bottom of this page to the audio of the CFO's remarks about WBAI, and my questions to him.

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: [wbailsbfinance] Financial developments and more
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2016 04:19:40 -0400
From: 'R. Paul Martin' [wbailsbfinance]
To: WBAI LSB Finance Committee

At the NFC meeting Tuesday night the CFO made some statements that make me think that he doesn't understand some aspects of the Pacifica bylaws, radio licenses and the real situation with regard to the Empire State Building (ESB) and WBAI. He does, however, seem to understand that Pacifica has some real financial problems.

He made statements about WBAI's bad cash flow situation, his desire that action be taken with regard to WBAI in the next month or so and what he sees as, "... the need to look into all possible options: sale, liquidation or Local Marketing Agreements, or whatever."

We were only allowed to ask questions right after the delivery of that part of his report, so I asked, "Does the CFO know that the tower rent is not at this time 43,000 it's more? Is the CFO familiar with the bylaws regarding sale of stations? Is the CFO aware of WBAI's status of its license?" He said these were valid questions and said that he may not be aware of some aspects of the tower rent, the other questions he said were premature for him to get into at this time. He wants a task force and attorneys to handle this more deeply in the future.

The questions I asked are very relevant to the actions he had talked about at this NFC meeting. Without taking those issues into consideration no plan is going to go forward in a coherent way.

When the issue of an LMA came up a couple of years ago we found that in fact a non-commercial station would enter into a Public Service Operating Agreement (PSOA). There are differences between an LMA and a PSOA.

The CFO, Sam Agarwal, the claimant to be interim Executive Director of Pacifica, Lydia Brazon, and the claimant to be Chair of the PNB, Tony Norman (who is the WPFW Director on the NFC) will be coming to NYC March 21, to 23, to negotiate with the ESB over WBAI's tower rent and that large, accrued debt on the unpaid portion of the rent. Presumably the WBAI General Manager, Berthold Reimers, who's been talking with ESB for years now, will also join them. The three out of towners will also be going to WBAI to talk to people at WBAI.

After they leave NYC they will go to Washington, D.C. to look around at WPFW, which is also in bad shape and the Management of which has made some interesting statements, some of which have been at odds with what the CFO has said.

WPFW may be in worse shape than WBAI is right now, but it's hard to tell, what with the CFO saying that there are problems getting the WPFW Business Manager to send him information, and the WPFW General Manager seeming to rely on being able to get underwriting all on his own, without any indication that he understands the legal requirements for a non-commercial radio station to do so. And of course, even with legal compliance there are slippery slopes associated with underwriting. There are also questions as to whether or not underwriting is a real world solution to any of the financial difficulties facing Pacifica.

The NFC is concentrating on WBAI as the big problem now, however. And the NFC passed the following motion at the March 15, 2016, meeting, “The National Finance Committee recommends the PNB pass the following resolution:

The PNB directs National Management (the iED and CFO) to produce a list of options within 60 days for re-structuring WBAI in a manner that would stabilize the station's finances and help stabilize the network's finances. The list shall include an assessment of each option's costs, benefits, risks, implementation time, and impact on the network's overall finances.” (passed 9 for, 2 against)

The above motion will probably come up at the March 17, 2016, PNB meeting.

In other news, the CFO said that we should get a P&L statement through the end of February by the end of this week.

I've posted an excerpt of part of the CFO report from that NFC meeting here:

The file is named: cfo_on_wbai_excerpt_finance160315a-mp3.mp3

It's labeled, "Excerpt of part of the CFO report from the NFC meeting of March 15, 2016. Total time: 6:41."

For those who want to listen to it from the official Pacifica archive audio file of the meeting, which is here:

The WBAI part of the CFO report that I've talked about above starts at 6:20 and ends at 13:01.

My monthly Treasurer's Reports are here:

Excerpt from the CFO Report to the NFC March 15, 2016

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