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Contact James Dingeman
Listener Candidate for the WBAI Local Station Board
Statement
I am running as a listener candidate to maintain the spirit of the PACIFICA MISSION STATEMENT in broadcasting at WBAI and throughout the entire network.

Here are excerpts from that statement:

“Article II (c): In radio broadcasting operations to provide outlets for the creative skills and energies of the community; to conduct classes and workshops in the writing and producing of drama; to establish awards and scholarships for creative writing; to offer performance facilities to amateur instrumentalists, choral groups, orchestral groups and music students; and to promote and aid other creative activities which will serve the cultural welfare of the community.


Article II (d): In radio broadcasting operations to engage in any activity that shall contribute to the lasting understanding between nations and the individuals of all nations, races, creeds and colors; to gather and disseminate information on the causes of conflict between any and all such groups; and through any and all means compatible with the purposes of this Corporation, to promote the study of political and economic problems and of the causes of religious, philosophical and racial antagonisms.


Article II (e): In radio broadcasting operations, to promote the full distribution of public information; to obtain access to sources of news not commonly brought together in the same medium; and to employ such varied sources in the public presentation of accurate, objective, comprehensive news on all matters vitally affecting the community.”

These are powerful words for guiding broadcasting but remain unfulfilled for the Greater New York audience.

WBAI Radio broadcasts to over 16 million people.Among that diverse population is over 4 million Hispanic Americans and nearly 2.7 African Americans.

Digitization further expands our reach.

Currently, WBAI is only reaching between 0.1 to 0.2 % of this vast number of people weekly.

This amounts to between 40,000 to 80,000 individual tune-ins to our signal weekly.

These numbers have been declining since 2004 and must be reversed in order for WBAI to thrive and grow.


Over the past twenty years the amount of people listening to the Pacifica network has declined by 50-75%.

Since most of our funding comes from listener donations the CONSTANT fiscal instability results from these downward trends.

Pacifica also lost support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting ( CPB).

This has cost all the stations millions of dollars in recent years.

I pledge to do my best to reverse these trends and fight to re-establish the CPB funding that has hurt Pacifica and WBAI in particular.

There is no excuse for WBAI and Pacifica to have suffered these downward trends in the face of growing neo-fascism.


Pacifica must fulfill its mission and offer to a MASS audience critical thinking and inspiration for action.

We must reclaim our involvement with the artistic, intellectual, literary and political aspirations of the vast array of communities our signal serves to create a 21st century WBAI that has a mass impact on humanity and the world.
Answers to Candidate Questionnaire
1. What experience, connections, skills or traits would you bring to the local station board to advance the station's mission?
  First, I have spent time in the nineties as an elected public affairs representative on the WBAI Program Council and served on the Local Advisory Board as a elected staff member to the then self appointed board structure. I participated in the movement to topple the old Board structure starting in 1992.

Much of the current factionalism stems from the entry points of various people into that struggle. I can say with certitude that I was one of the first to oppose the old PNB in the early nineties.

This included an early embrace of an electoral system to choose LAB/PNB members which many came much later to accept. I remain enthusiastic of the need to have the current bylaws maintained and oppose completely the drive to have them overturned.

The success of the New Day People would lead to the sacking completely of WBAI and its probable sale.

During the 2008-2021 period I have served on the WBAI Community Advisory Board(CAB).
I served as the head of the Community Advisory Board for several years.
I have been an elected Listener member of the WBAI Local Station Board.
During that period of time I served as the Secretary of the WBAI LSB and served on the Pacifica National Programming Committee.

For several years I chaired the PNB Programming Committee.

Currently, I am working with the Pacifica Technology Task Force and have spend the past year during the pandemic developing a virtual daily public affairs show called goingviral.news.

I have worked in print and broadcasting journalism for several decades. This has included working with mainstream and alternative television. I helped develop and work with a TV show of Free Speech Tv called the INN World Report where I worked as a on air host/producer.
In addition, I value the time I have spent over the past decades producing shows for WBAI.

In addition, I have organized and developed seminars concerning all aspects of history for the past forty years which I continue to do. I have brought these skills and connections to help WBAI in the past and will do so in the future.

Several times in the past fifty years I have organized and carried out direct lobbying in Congress, Albany and locally in New York City during the anti-apartheid movement and issues with missing children.

I firmly believe that Pacifica needs to take a proactive stance concerning these kinds of issues in the political sphere and create alliances with embattled humanities and arts institutions in our society.

In addition, there is a need to expand the media possibilities for ALL in the United States and Pacifica needs to be once again be a leader in that movement to shift resources for the public good. This means fiercely defending community grassroots efforts to enhance all forms of local media. I have in the past brought these skills to the needs of the station to help us.

I have practically helped the station numerous times to reduce and save costs for example, I took a leading role in helping us move out of 120 Wall Street. When I was chair of the CAB I helped work with others to reduce the amount of outstanding premiums owed to over 2,000 listener members. These efforts must be maintained as a needed interface with our thousands of smart and loyal supporters.

Over the past several months I have been working with others to begin the difficult process of re-establishing the funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting ( CPB) for WBAI and Pacifica. It is important that ALL cooperate in order to achieve this. We have lost millions of dollars of badly needed support and it is imperative to develop the proper strategies to reverse this.

During my time as Chair of the CAB I brought into our facility at 120 Wall Street twelve drama groups to work and practice at WBAI. This included the Theater Group of Occupy Wall Street. WBAI needs to deepen and enrich our connections with the immense and diverse talent in the cultural /artistic richness of the Tri State area in order to thrive and grow.
2. What do you appreciate and value in the station's current operations?
  The station is composed of many resilient people who have worked hard to deal with the constant problems that they have faced for years. I have respect for the determination of all to survive and work together.

Immense good will lies with the thousands of listener supporters and my many years of interaction with them is constantly a source of positive inspiration.

3. What would you like to see improved or changed in the station's current operations?
  First, we need to take a holistic approach to changing all the operations of the station with the goal of increasing the amount of people listening to WBAI. The current numbers of 40,000 to 80,000 a week of individual tune ins to our analog signal is simply not enough to sustain and grow the station.

WE must take measures to try to increase the audience as much as possible. It is not unreasonable to seek to have the audience doubled and our long term goal should be to increase it by 500-600%.

We also need to immediately implement and work with all the other stations in Pacifica to prepeare to be compliant with the CPB and prepare to apply for funding in May 2022. This is a complicated process and we need to work together here in NYC and nationally to accomplish this.

We should also take steps to try to acquire a facility that WBAI owns and has enough space for community meetings, music and theatrical performances so we can further stabilize the ability of WBAI to survive.
We also need to enhance and broaden our relationship with social/digital media companies in the Tri State area to reinforce our ability to enhance our content. It is necessary to develop training for producers and new talent coming in to better develop on air content.

We need to creatively figure out what new equipment is needed and better work with local communities in NYC to broaden and strengthen our broadcasting operations.

Training and teaching radio/audio art is essential for this process. We need to collaborate with educational institutions in the tri state area to bring younger talent into the station. We also need to reach out to the high school students in NYC to cultivate their participation in broadcasting. It is essential that Generation Z be brought into the mix so we can create new forms of media with their creatiuve energy.
4. Describe what you anticipate would be your top three priorities or areas of focus if you were elected to the local station board.
  First, we need to make sure that the Audited Finance Reports(AFR) for 2020 are completed and work begins immediately at WBAi and the network to finish the 2021 AFR. Why is this important? Because the lack of these have resulted in our being denied annually hundreds of thousands of dollars of support from the CPB as well as completely preventing WBAI to obtain grants from non-profit foundations or local,state and federal funding sources. This has resulted in additional tens of thousands of dollars being lost since up to date AFR's are required for financing.

Second, we must take all measures to make sure the our 168 hours of content on the air is compelling and able to attract and hold new listeners. The increase in our audience for our conetnt is imperative to create the circumstances to get more listener donations. The current situation in NYC and elsewhere in the Pacifica network is simply not cutting it. In order to survive there is a need. for a wholesale overhaul of programming in oder to attract new audience and hence fiscally support the stations operations.

Third, we need to implement ongoing measures to make sure our listener supporters are heard and their opinions values. This means regular reports to the listener, constant surveys, once COVID lifts as many in person events as possible and a serious effort to reduce premium issues/problems from the listener supporters of WBAI.
5. Sustainability is an important part of any nonprofit operation. What are your thoughts on how the board can help to improve the station's financial footing?
  We need to make it our common goal at every Pacifica station to radically attempt to increase the audience by several times. Increasing the audience by several times is a radical measure and it means that many moving parts of change need to be implemented simultaneously to accomplish this.

The completion and staying up to date with the AFR's is critical to making it possible to regain Community Sevice Grants from the CPB. This also means that we need to increase our audience. We need to experiment with new technologies to offer multi-platforms so we can create new programs while refreshing and retaining the shows that many have supported for years.

But, we must face the fact that we must change the content of the air not only here in NYC but throughout the entire Pacifica network. the fact that we have actually had declining audience forthe past several years with a neo-facist President like Trump and the rise of fascism globally needs to be a wakeup call to improve and radically change what we are doing.

WE always have the fabulous mission statement as our guidance for developing programming that can compell , inspire and motivate the millions of people in our signal area . Given the perilous times we are living through we need to approach radically changing WBAI to make it better able to survive as a responsibility to the public good in our society.

But the key items are getting the AFR's done and applying for CPB funding and additional support and making sure that our listeners are served in ways that become a standard of excellence for the entire network and community radio
6. Is there anything else you would like prospective voters to know?
  In all my calls to hundreds of listener members I learned that everyone was a smart and unique person, filled with ideas and enthusiasm, forging and committed to seeing WBAI survive.

We need to multiply the numbers of people who are commited to the mission statement of Pacifica and I repeat my desire to see the mission statement thrive and be our guideline for growth


“Article II (c): In radio broadcasting operations to provide outlets for the creative skills and energies of the community; to conduct classes and workshops in the writing and producing of drama; to establish awards and scholarships for creative writing; to offer performance facilities to amateur instrumentalists, choral groups, orchestral groups and music students; and to promote and aid other creative activities which will serve the cultural welfare of the community.


Article II (d): In radio broadcasting operations to engage in any activity that shall contribute to the lasting understanding between nations and the individuals of all nations, races, creeds and colors; to gather and disseminate information on the causes of conflict between any and all such groups; and through any and all means compatible with the purposes of this Corporation, to promote the study of political and economic problems and of the causes of religious, philosophical and racial antagonisms.


Article II (e): In radio broadcasting operations, to promote the full distribution of public information; to obtain access to sources of news not commonly brought together in the same medium; and to employ such varied sources in the public presentation of accurate, objective, comprehensive news on all matters vitally affecting the community.”
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