The one hundred twenty third WBAI Local Station Board (LSB) meeting was held on Wednesday, August 8, 2012, at Alwan-for-the-arts, 16 Beaver Street, 4th floor, in downtown Manhattan. This is not an official Web page of the LSB.
This meeting began 37 minutes late.
This was to be the big meeting where the LSB considered, and probably approved, the radio station's FY13 budget. Well, we did consider the budget.
The faction was there to play. And they played. Former WBAI Program Director Bernard White, who is suing Pacifica and is also on the LSB, brought up a motion that said that the LSB urged the General Manager not to sign a lease extension. And it also called for WBAI to abandon its transmitter and antenna facilities located on the Empire State Building and find lower priced facilities that would not result in the signal having less strength or range than we have now.
Well, this was just a stupid motion designed to sound good to the seriously uninformed. If the General Manager doesn't sign a lease extension WBAI will have no place to broadcast from. Of course Bernard White may well want to have the station housed in his basement, but even that isn't possible.
WBAI can't just pick up and move. A radio station needs to have its space prepared so that all of the electrical and acoustic necessities are available. And just moving the equipment costs money. Back in 2005, we had an expert on Manhattan real estate come in and give our local Finance Committee estimates. The estimate for a move to a place that WBAI could eventually own was way too high. A half-assed move to another rental, he estimated, would cost at least $1,000,000. Even if the move could be done for half that cost, WBAI doesn't have that sort of money hanging around. WBAI isn't even able to break even yet. So right there this is not something that could be done, and finding a place to move to before the lease runs out at the end of December would be very unlikely.
The proposal about finding a place for the station's transmitter and antenna other than its current position in the Empire State Building, a place where the station wouldn't suffer a signal degradation, simply defies the laws of physics. A powerful FM radio station broadcasting its signal close to ground level would also cause a whole lot of interference, and the FCC would have something to say about that.
This isn't the first time that Bernard White has suggested selling WBAI or it's frequency. In an interview some years ago Bernard White talked about the old hijacker PNB of 1998-2002, he said that “... Many of them wanted to sell the radio station, so they [could] make some money,” and then later in that interview he's quoted as saying, “It's not really a bad idea - WBAI could sell for $350 million and you can take $100 million and create a smaller radio station and take the $200 million and buy smaller radio stations.” That entire interview can be read here.
So the faction played around with that nonsense. Luckily the suicidal (for WBAI) motion got voted down.
But the faction had wasted a lot of time through this long meeting, and the Vice Chair had allowed it to go on for too long. In the end when the station's FY13 budget came up for a vote it failed to pass. The vote by then was seven for and eight, all faction operatives, against.
After this the LSB took volunteers for the “Ad Hoc Waivers Committee,” which I've always seen as a way for the faction to try to leverage the elections. There were three from the faction and two non-faction LSB members on this committee. Yeah, plenty of room for mischief there.
And then the meeting finally adjourned at 11:20 PM.
The WBAI FY13 budget will go to Pacifica National Finance Committee on Tuesday, August 21, at 8:30 PM (ET). You can go here and listen to it live, if you want.
Here's the page showing the attendance at the LSB meetings.
Back to the New Pacifica page.
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