WBAI LSB Meeting — March 13, 2013

The one hundred twenty eighth WBAI Local Station Board (LSB) meeting was held on Wednesday, March 13, 2013, at Alwan-for-the-arts, 16 Beaver Street, 4th floor, in downtown Manhattan. This is not an official Web page of the LSB.

Of course the current crisis was the main topic of this meeting.

I got to give a Treasurer's Report for the first time in a long time. I think it was last Summer that I was last able to give a report. The LSB has had better things to do than find out more information about WBAI's finances. The General Manager's report was even pushed down the agenda the last time. Yeah, why let him report?

So I give a fast report and some idiots didn't like it. Now they want written reports before every LSB meeting. This pretty much insures that they won't get to Treasurer's Reports during the meeting and I doubt that most of them will read the reports I put out.

There were a lot of attacks on the General Manager both from faction operatives and from one Staff member who actually heckled and interrupted his report!

On the previous program I pitched for what is variously called “The Antenna” or “The Transmitter” which all comes down to the back rent we owe the Empire State Building.

I wrote the following and posted it in various places in order to help people understand that half million dollar figure.

Some folks are wondering about the Management statement that we need to raise $500,000 to get out from under the Empire State Building (ESB) rent crisis. IMO Management should have given the $500,000 figure right away, rather than stating the lower $250,000 figure that only reflected part of the problem.

Here is a look at a fast spreadsheet layout of the antenna issue only.

Due March 15 50,000
Due March 31 150,000
Due April 1 60,000*
Due May 1 60,000*
Due June 1 60,000*
Due July 1 60,000*
Due August 1 60,000*
TOTAL 500,000

So the reality is that by the end of March we really need to have $210,000 in cash to lay on the ESB or we're in serious trouble. And you can see that the total for the antenna/ESB is $500,000.

If you look at the budget you'll see that the largest expense for WBAI is not the antenna/transmitter space at ESB, it's personnel.

Unfortunately, the Pacifica National Office has been dysfunctional since last year, so we do not have the FY12 audit yet, it is projected to arrive in May - late again. But here are the WBAI figures that I have:

Personnel for FY11 $1,491,554 (source: FY11 audit)
Total Salaries & related Expenses for FY13 $1,356,762 (source: WBAI FY13 budget)

Since we're without a Program Director for a while in FY13 that budget item will probably be little bit lower this fiscal year, but those are big numbers.

Payroll MUST be met on time twice a month. That comes to about $49,000 twice a month. Next payroll is due on March 29. There are additional costs related to payroll with separate deadlines but they all add money to the personnel line.

In addition we still owe Silverstein of 120 Wall St. about $149,000. That's actually a settlement that Pacifica/WBAI reached, it could have been a much larger bill.

And then there are loads of other, ordinary expenses. We have, finally, gotten an income statement for Q1 FY13 (October, November and December 2012). Here's the biggest news:

Listener Support income appears to be off by $329,653 as compared to the FY13 budget.
Total revenue seems to be off by $474,599 as compared to the FY13 budget.
Total direct expenses appear to be off by $96,864 as compared to the FY13 budget.

The above is based on comparing the FY13 budget figures with the Q1 FY13 Income Statement from the National Office. I must say that given the state of the National Office at this time I am not 100% confident in the precision of their figures, but those figures should certainly be in the ball park. So total revenue is short of what had been projected by almost $500,000. Total direct expenses are nearly $100,000 more than had been projected. You can see why we got behind on the rent.

And I will reiterate that in the past this sort of serious cash flow mess has been somewhat ameliorated by Pacifica throwing us bridge loans, and sometimes those loans have simply never been repaid. There are no longer substantial cash reserves in Pacifica nor at any station. WBAI and some other stations have not been paying their "Shared Expenses" payments, formerly called "Central Services" payments to Pacifica, so Pacifica itself is in bad shape. That is the real reason why there is such an emergency now, as opposed to all of the other times that ESB has brought such actions against WBAI for being so far in arrears in paying the rent.

* After negotiations it looks like WBAI will have to pay the $50,000 in arrears remaining after the end of March at the rate of $10,000 a month for five months. So, since we'll also have an additional $50,000 coming due at the first of each month as well, the bills will be $60,000 for those five months. And we must make those payments on time, or we're right back in court and looking at possible eviction. September 1, puts us back at the regular approximately $50,000 a month rent on ESB.

BTW, the $50,000 a month ESB figure is an approximate average. The nominal rent is lower than that, but ESB adds their own utilities and other expenses, so the ESB bill varies every month. We are seeing Manhattan real estate at its most predatory.

The FY13 budget files are to be found here. You'll need a Yahoo! ID in order to access that file.

I hope this helps people to understand this a little better.

Sez who?

R. Paul Martin
Treasurer WBAI LSB

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


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