Back of the Book — March 16, 2013

It's Sunday morning, March 17, 2013, 08:16, and I've updated this Web page just a tiny bit with a link to some meeting minutes that I've posted and with a link to my Web page about the sdeasons. I have also shown what we raised for the Antenna/Transmitter Fund on this program. More updates should be coming. The original top of this page follows the arrow. ⇒ Pickles of the North is at the North Pole tonight, fighting that oppressor Santa Claus. If I make it up 135th St. to the temporary studios all right I'll be talking about all sorts of things. This will be a program with various parts to it, all colored by my concern for the survival of the station. I plan to try to catch up with the mail on this program. I will also try to update this Web page, if I get up that street in good shape. So check back for those.

Did you know that I've got a brief synopsis of some of the WBAI LSB meetings? Well, I do, and I've recently updated some of that.

I have also just posted a whole lot of the minutes of the Pacifica National Finance Committee. I'm a member of that committee because I'm the WBAI LSB treasurer.

The next regular WBAI LSB meeting is scheduled to happen on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, at 7:00 PM at a location to be announced.

The WBAI LSB met on this past Wednesday, March 13, 2013, at Alwan-for-the-arts, 16 Beaver Street, 4th floor, in downtown Manhattan. Of course the current crisis was the main topic.

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

At a previous meeting the WBAI LSB voted to hold its meetings on the second Wednesday of every month and/or the last Thursday of that month, subject to change by the LSB, which gives us the following schedule:

All of these meetings are set to begin at 7:00 PM.

WBAI has a program schedule up on its newly revamped Web site. The site has gotten many of the individual program pages together to provide links and such, so check it out.

Because WBAI was forced out of its studios by the flood waters' destruction of the building's electrical system we still have this alternate, temporary stream for the radio station! I do not know how long this emergency stream will be up for. If this stream isn't working let me know.

New WBAI stream! WBAI has put up an experimental stream for the Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. This is a brand new, experimental stream. So if you have one of those devices you might try the link out. And let us know how it works for you one way or the other. That way the folks implementing it can iron out any kinks in the system.

WBAI is archiving the programs! Just go here and you'll be able to listen to this program any time for the next couple of months. You may need to scroll up one line to see the audio archive. Let me know if you find this feature useful. There is also another version of the archive here.

If you want to listen to any part of the WBAI archive click here to go right to the archives. When you first go to the Web page you'll only see the WBAI programs for the past 7 days. If you want to see older programs you can click on one of the “See ALL Shows” buttons. Or to see only the two shows in this time slot click here.

Back of the Book is one of the programs that you can download, as well as listen to on line.

In the table on the archive Web page Back of the Book and Saturday Morning With the Radio On are both in the “Show” column. The “Date and Category” column shows the date of the program. After the program I go in and write the details of the program and say which program it is. Of course I'd recommend that you just listen to both programs in this time slot!

In the Summer of 2009, there was a Pacifica National Board meeting held in New York. Here's the Web page I did about this PNB meeting and the amazing things that went on at it.

And the PNB has also met in Houston from Friday October 9th, through Sunday October 11th, 2009. The official audio archive of that meeting is here. It was not disrupted as the New York meeting was, although some of the same miscreants got out there to say stupid things.

The Pacifica National Board (PNB) met in Manhattan the weekend of October 1-3, 2010. The audio has been posted for the first day of the meeting, the second day of the meeting and the third day of the meeting.


The Empire State Building
Help WBAI Stay There!

We are pitching on this radio program, and this time we're asking for phone calls as well as Web donations.

The phone number to pledge so we can keep the antenna and transmitter where they are is: 516-620-3602 please call!

We have to raise more money to deal with the current crisis. If we get evicted from the Empire State Building that's it, WBAI is off the air and you may never hear us again, especially if we end up having to relocate the antenna to some place that can't reach where you are.

I'm sure that none of us wants to contemplate how it will be if every time we look at the Empire State Building we remember the late WBAI and wonder if we could have done more to have saved it in 2013.

If you want to pledge to the program via the Web it's best to do so while we're on the air, you need to go here and pick the amount you want to donate, then click on “Add to cart,” and then be sure to pick Back of the Book as the favorite show from the drop down menu. Otherwise your pledge won't be counted toward the program.

UPDATE: We only raised $25 in over the phone contributions on this program. I do not know if we got any pledges via the Web site. We really do need to get enough money to pay off that back rent bill. Thanks to our listener in Jersey city who pledged via the phone line.


We have a strange program tonight. Pickles of the North is away at the North Pole. And we have quite a mail backlog. I also want to talk about various topics, but I really know that the money must be raised for the Empire State Building back rent.

So I plan to try and balance pitching with various bits of program that I can mix in, including some scientific stuff and a short report of what Pickles told me about her latest encounter with ICE.

I'm very glad that Spring will begin in the Northern Hemisphere on Wednesday, March 20th, 2013, at 7:02 AM (ET). With Daylight Saving Time in force already we have sunset coming after 7:00 PM. That feels better.

I have an entire page about the times of the seasons and sub-seasons on this Web site.

View down the hallway to WBAI's studio at CCNY
View Down the Hallway to WBAI's Studio at CCNY

Here's a photograph of the hallway we go down to get to the studio that WBAI is renting at CCNY. That table is out there for our water, etc. because they do not allow water or anything else at all in the studios. Yeah, that's why I had to run out the door to get a drink on the last program.

The window you see is for the Performance Space, which WBAI is not renting.


The door to WBAI's studio
The Door to the WBAI Studio at CCNY

Here's the door to the WBAI studio.

This is where we did our march 2nd, program from, and where all WBAI programs are being broadcast from at this time.

If I get up there alive again this morning I'll take some more shots to post.

There are a lot of issues that are considered hazardous to talk about on the air at WBAI, even though the gag rule was lifted in 2002. However, there is the Internet! There are mailing lists which you can subscribe to and Web based message boards devoted to WBAI and Pacifica issues. Many controversial WBAI/Pacifica issues are discussed on these lists.

One popular list the “NewPacifica” mailing list. Founded October 31, 2000, this list is sometimes lively and as of mid-2011, has 687 subscribers coast to coast.

Being lively, of course, it sometimes also gets a bit nasty. All sorts of things are happening on this list and official announcements are frequently posted there.

You can look at the NewPacifica list here, and you can join the list from that Web page too. If you subscribe to the “NewPacifica” mailing list you will receive, via E-mail, all of the messages which are sent to that list.

There is the option to receive a “digest” version of the list, which means that a bunch of messages are bundled into one E-mail and sent to you at regular intervals, this cuts down on the number of E-mails you get from the list. You will also be able to send messages to the list.

This list also has a Web based interface where you can read messages and from which you can post your own messages.

There is also the more WBAI specific “Goodlight” Web based message board. It is sometimes referred to on Back of the Book as “the bleepin' blue board,” owing to the blue background used on its Web pages. This one has many people posting anonymously and there's also an ancillary “WBAI people” board that's just totally out of hand. UPDATE: The bleepin' blue board has had to add a step for folks to get onto it because it's under attack by spambots. When you click on the above link you may be asked for a username and password. Type in Username: poster Password: enternow

When the computer in Master Control is working we sometimes have live interaction with people posting on the “Goodlight Board” during the program.

Our very own Uncle Sidney Smith, whose program Saturday Morning With the Radio On alternates with us, has a blog these days. You can reach his blog here.

My voice mail number at WBAI is 212-209-2996. Leave a message.

You can also send me E-mail.

WBAI related links

WBAI Listeners' Web page

WBAI Management's official Web site

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Back to my home page.

The contents of this Web page are copyright © 2013, R. Paul Martin.