WBAI is in perilous shape. We need good Staff members elected to the LSB if we are to keep WBAI from going under, or from being sold.
Make no mistake about it, there are people presently on the WBAI LSB, and running for it, who are aligned with the people on the west coast who have made speeches about selling WBAI’s license in order to solve the serious financial problems that the rest of the Pacifica Foundation has been having. I will always vote against selling WBAI or leasing the station to some other entity.
WBAI’s serious financial problems can be attributed to the fact that we’ve had bad Management for many years. WBAI has not had a real Program Director since Samori Marksman died, that’s over 16 years of not having had a real Program Director. Yes, we’ve had people in the position as interims or permanent occupants, but they have variously been incompetent, been caught with their hands in the till, endangered the station’s license with their illegal activities, or just hung around for a short while collecting a paycheck. If re-elected I will not vote for some crony for Program Director, I’ll vote for someone whom I think will be able to actually handle the job and who will stick around long enough to do it.
By December I will have been a voting member of the WBAI LSB for 11 years. I understand how the LSB and the governance structure of Pacifica works. In my opinion the current governance structure of Pacifica is one of the problems plaguing Pacifica and WBAI.
I have been the Treasurer of the WBAI LSB for the past seven years. I’m the Secretary of the National Finance Committee, and I have seen a lot of the reasons why WBAI and Pacifica are in such financial trouble. WBAI had been recovering from years of financial failure and mismanagement; that effort is now faltering. WBAI needs competent Management that understands how to run a radio station and how to deal with many Staff. There have been some egregious cases of current Management maltreating Staff, and this sort of thing has to stop. Besides Unpaid Staff being treated very badly we also have some Paid Staff being overworked and treated unfairly. The LSB needs to be more active in telling Management that the Staff can’t be mistreated as they have been. I’ve been trying to get these issues dealt with, and at least to some degree they probably will be soon.
I take the LSB seriously. I have attended every meeting of the LSB since it was begun. I try to work within the flawed governance structure to make things better, to keep as close an eye as possible on the station’s finances, which isn’t easy with financial information from Pacifica being frequently inaccurate and with WBAI Management not producing financial data a lot of the time.
I will vote for good PNB members. I Chair the WBAI Delegates Assembly.
- In what ways are the station moving in a positive direction, that you would want to continue or perhaps improve? WBAI no longer has people being beaten up by Management thugs, and that is a big improvement. The station is also somewhat more cognizant of reality, which is another improvement over past Managements.
- In what ways are the station moving in a negative direction, that you would want to stop or change? What changes would you work for? Current Management has mistreated Staff, both Paid and Unpaid. Financial information is being made hard to access. I would see Management held to account for its treatment of all Staff and I am already pushing for more financial transparency.
- What key experience, connections, skills or traits would you bring to the Local Station Board to advance the station’s mission? I have been at WBAI for more than 33 years. I have been on the LSB as both a voting and a non-voting member for more than 11 years. I was a Shop Steward of the WBAI Union (UE Local 404) for more than 14 years. I have been the LSAB Treasurer for more than seven years. I think I have a good idea of how WBAI and Pacifica work and I have experience working in the current Pacifica governance structure.
- What ideas do you have for helping the station and the Pacifica Foundation meet the financial challenges currently being faced? There needs to be training for on-air Staff. Many people have gone directly to the air without ever having been trained in some basic radio skills. Management needs to more skillfully create and monitor off-air fund raisers, and then we need to do some more of them. The main revenue will still be from the on-air fund raisers, pitching, and an improvement of the air could help to greatly improve WBAI’s Listener Support.