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Contact R. Paul Martin
Staff Candidate for the WBAI Local Station Board
I'm R. Paul Martin and I'm an Unpaid Staff producer at WBAI. I've been at WBAI for 39 years, and I know that the station has strengths and weaknesses.

I've been a part of the WBAI LSB since 2004. I've been the WBAI LSB Treasurer since April 2008. I am Chair of the WBAI local Finance Committee and I'm a member of Pacifica's National Finance Committee. I used to be a Shop Steward at WBAI when UE Local 404 was the Union at the station. Some of you may know me from the E-mails I sent out asking all Staff to vote NO on the bylaws referendum. I have opposed those hijackers twice now and I will continue to oppose them when they try again.

The Pacifica Mission Statement says that each station must be self-sustaining. WBAI hasn't been self-sustaining for a long time and that's a major problem. The station has been running a six figure deficit for years. Not only is the station chronically in arrears with its bills, but other stations have had to help WBAI financially, and they resent it. Those stations are not in much better shape than WBAI is. This is what sets some of them against WBAI, and makes WBAI vulnerable to sudden invasions by rogue interim Executive Directors. Financial vulnerability also makes WBAI the target of schemes to solve the financial woes of the rest of Pacifica by selling off WBAI.

WBAI is woefully understaffed and that causes more problems. Layoffs of Paid Staff began in early 2005, the cuts became drastic. We need Staff on the LSB who can push Management to improve the station's revenue.

In my time at WBAI I have come to understand WBAI's financial problems. I also know how the other Pacifica stations relate to WBAI, and that's an important thing to be aware of.

WBAI must improve its revenue. Regular training for Staff would probably help with that.

Station Management is a chronic weakness. In the past the General Manager has made a series of mistakes. These mistakes have cost WBAI large sums of money and lost opportunities. The LSB needs to ensure that Management is held accountable and is assisted when necessary. Pacifica Management also needs to be held accountable.

WBAI still has a diversity of programing and still has an impact on the world, but it can improve. It must improve in order to survive.

Some people have pushed for a Public Service Operating Agreement (PSOA) with a public access cable TV outfit in Manhattan. They have told Staff that this would be a partnership. In fact a PSOA is not a partnership, it's a take-over. A WBAI LSB that advocates handing WBAI over to a cable company would aid those at other stations who want to sell WBAI.

I oppose a sale or PSOA of WBAI.

Reelect me to the LSB and I will fight to keep WBAI alive.

I write Treasurer's Reports for the LSB. You can view them here:
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?
  I've been working on and with the WBAI LSB for over 17 years. I have served a number of terms on the WBAI LSB and have worked with the LSB as Treasurer when I was not a voting member of the LSB. I have gotten pretty good at understanding Robert's Rules of Order, the CPB and FCC Open Meeting Rules and the Pacifica bylaws. I have been a gay activist and a bisexual activist, I have worked as a computer network administrator, I have written articles on computer systems for magazines, in my youth I was a file clerk, and I was once a disgruntled soldier. I can get along with people and I can resist bullies.
2. What do you appreciate and value in the station's current operations?
  I appreciate that the Staff voted NO on the referendum that would have allowed all of Pacifica to be hijacked. I appreciate that at least we have monthly meetings with Management now. They're not great meetings, but they're more than we used to have.
3. What would you like to see improved or changed in the station's current operations?
  Hard to say since when the station finally gets out of lockdown it will be so physically small that it will be hard for many Staff to be present at once. It would be good if Management and Staff could have an E-mail list we could all go back and forth on. Some ordinary issues could probably be settled pretty quickly that way.
4. Describe what you anticipate would be your top three priorities or areas of focus if you were elected to the local station board.
  1) Keeping he LSB meetings orderly and not chaotic. They used to be quite chaotic. nothing really gets done when chaos reigns.
2) Keeping after Management about the finances and keeping the rest of the LSB informed about the fiances. Also keeping anyone else who cares informed about the non-confidential financial situation of WBAI and Pacifica.
3) Making sure we get good people on the PNB from WBAI. Certain past LSBs have put some real stinkers on the PNB, and we need to avoid that.
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?
  There is an ad hoc fund raising committee of the LSB now. There used to be a standing committee called the Membership, Outreach and Fundraising Committee. Unfortunately a certain faction that would now like to give WBAI away to a cable access outfit destroyed that committee. Maybe the new committee can help raise some money.

It is a mistake to imagine that the LSB can fill in for the fund raising role that Management gets paid to fulfill. The bylaws were specifically made to get ordinary people on the boards. As a consequence the LSB members can't fork over a lot of money out of their own pockets to the station, and most have not been able to bring large amounts of money in. The main way the station needs to raise revenue is through the use of the air.
6. Is there anything else you would like prospective voters to know?
  I am also endorsing Shawn Rhodes and Max Schmid as candidates for Staff representatives to the LSB. They have done good things on the LSB and they will continue to do so if reelected.
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