WBAI LSB Meeting — July 11, 2006
The forty seventh WBAI Local Station Board (LSB) meeting was held on Tuesday, July 11, 2006, at 6:30 PM at Local 1199's Bread and Roses Art Gallery, 310 W. 43rd St. in Manhattan. This is not an official Web page of the LSB.
Well, this meeting began with a dash of mystery, it also started 51 minutes late.
We were consigned to the basement cafeteria of 310 W. 43rd St. It wasn't really layed out for a meeting. The tables were all round, as you might expect of a cafeteria, and the acoustics were a bit strange. The Chair kept telling people that they couldn't even whisper to each other during the meeting because the sound carried so. On top of this the space had only a single power outlet! Oh, there was a bit of a traffic jam at that resource, all right.
The Chair began the meeting by welcoming Jamie Ross as a new member of the LSB. He replaced Mitchel Cohen who'd resigned the day before.
The Chair then said that she would have an announcement from Pacifica Executive Director (ED) Greg Guma about WBAI's interim General Manager (iGM) Indra Hardat! But that's all she'd say. And when the motion was made to approve the agenda faction leader Bob Lederer amended the agenda to inclue the Chair's announcement and a motion from him regarding it. And that's all any of them would say at that point. After adding a couple of committee reports the agenda was approved.
The Chair then handed out copies of an E-mail which she'd been sent in the name of the ED by his assistant Phil Osegueda. The E-mail, which had been sent about four minutes before the scheduled start time of the LSB meeting, said, “... WBAI's Interim General Manager, has chosen to return to her regular position as WBAI's Business Manager, effective as soon as a new Interim General Manager is appointed.”
Well this was a shock to those of us who are not a part of the faction currently in charge. Indra Hardat has been a very good General Manager, perhaps the best one I've seen in my nearly 25 years at WBAI. She had seemed to be planning to stay on the job for some time at least.
Bob Lederer then followed up with his motion, which he had typed up and copied already. This motion provided for the General Manager Search Sub-committee (GMSS) to search for an interim General Manager.
Lederer's motion provided that the GMSS would actually choose the iGM, and would merely send a cc to the LSB when it was all over. Of course Pacifica Executive Director Greg Guma would be the one to make the final hire.
Attempts to amend the motion to either let the LSB do the choosing or at least approve the final list were voted down by the faction majority.
Another proposal was made that the GMSS just choose the permanent General Manager, but the arguement offered for having the GMSS do it was that the choice had to be made fast and getting a new General Manager might take another 3, 6 or 9 months. But the GMSS has been around for more than a year and has done nothing in terms of searching for a new, permanent General Manager! Oh well, contradictions.
There are already rumors about someone having been picked to do the job.
An even more interesting twiast to this story happened the next day when iGM Indra Hardat issued her own E-mail saying that “The reports of my resignation have been greatly fabricated” Here's her full E-mail.
During Public Comment the Chair went off to call the iGM and the Program Director (PD) to see if they were coming to the meeting. They were supposed to show up for a 90 minute discussion of the FY07 budget. So Vice Chair Omawale Clay took over. As a mandatory public comment session began he started asking people for their names. Either he doesn't know that the bylaws forbid that or he doesn't care.
During public comment one listener noted that the faction currently in charge just doesn't listen to anyone else and does what it pleases. He spoke of conflicts of interest with the faction getting those consultancies and air time patronage. He also noted that the WBAI LSB Web page is all about a suspension and a “disassociation,” which are now permenent items up there, as opposed to anything positive for the station.
When Shawn Rhodes wanted to bring up some items regarding how the Ad Hoc Waivers Committee was operating the faction wouldn't let him! The Chair and the other faction members just said that that committee can do whatever it wants. Wow, there's an interesting concept of fiduciary responsibility.
During the 90 minute duscussion about the FY07 budget the Treasurer said that WBAI will have a surplus of $310,000 for next year. But this is based on a number of projections that are not based on proven income.
The LSB passed a motion to be brought to the PNB that the income from the WBAI sub-carrier, which is rented out, be given directly to WBAI and that WBAI will then hand over 20% of that income to Pacifica. Right now Pacifica National Office gets all of it.
The LSB also passed a motion that the FY07 budget include a 10 hour per week Development person in the budget as Staff. Currently there's a person doing that job for 10 hours per weekd but they're a consultant, a legal one, whose salary is paid for by a grant that WBAI got. A second motion was passed that the iGM should give the LSB a job description for this Development job.
Program Director Bernard White showed up at the meeting and said that he didn't see that a 10 hour per week Development person would do that much good. He said that the station would raise as much money as it could with pitching on the air, and then he said that he was getting a lot of complaints about the Premiums Department not getting the premiums out to subscribers.
The Treasurer voiced his concern that the Program Director was not more involved with the planning for the FY07 budget. He asked if people were conmfortable with this.
I pressed the Treasurer on an item that said that WBAI would get $200,000 from a mailing that the Pacifica National Office would do. This gave rise to a number of the LSB members asking the Treasurer to get more information on this projected income.
One non-faction LSB member, the one whom the faction “disassociated” the LSB from, noted that three years ago he'd proposed a method to bring WBAI's fulfillment rate up to around 90% to 95%, as opposed to our current 75% to 80%, which would make quite a difference in the station's income. He said he'd tell the Treasurer all about it. He also noted that in his opinion WBAI doesn't get enough publicity and people just don't know that the radio station exists. He said that the really big issues at WBAI are simply not addressed.
Ironically, one faction supporter complained that there is no accountability at WBAI.
Here's the page showing the attendance at the LSB meetings.
Here is the newsletter I wrote for the WBAI Staff about the July 11, 2006, LSB meeting
Back to the New Pacifica page.
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