WBAI in Dire Straits - latest updates & events
WBAI Struggle - May 2016
From the WBAI Justice & Unity Campaign, www.justiceunity.org
- WBAI in Dire Straits - Pacifica National Board motion on WBAI financial options
- Urgent Appeal to Donate Generously to WBAI
- Local Station Board meeting - Thurs., May 19
- Come to Ct, Fri., May 20 - 9:30 AM - Indy/ACE suit to subvert election results
1. WBAI in Dire Straits - Pacifica National Board motion on WBAI financial options
WBAI's financial situation is extremely dire – the day-to-day existence of the station is in jeopardy. As this crisis persists -- exacerbated by the enormous rental costs of the antenna on the Empire State Building -- and as several other Pacifica units are also struggling to meet their monthly expenses, members of the Pacifica National Board and national management have expressed strong concern about the station's continuing inability to operate in the black and the toll that our indebtedness is having on the network's overall financial viability. As a result, the National Board adopted the following motion on April 21:
The PNB directs the iED [interim Executive Director] and CFO [Chief Financial Officer] to each produce a list of options within 60 days for restructuring WBAI in a manner that would stabilize the station's finances and help stabilize the network's finances. The list shall include an assessment of each option's costs, benefits, risks, implementation time, and impact on the network's overall finances.
The PNB directs the iED to instruct WBAI's management to submit within 21 days an implementation schedule for the 90-day "Proposed Immediate Fundraising Plan for WBAI: Pay As You Go," contained in the document titled "Toward a Vibrant, Sustainable WBAI."
Pay-as-you-go is part of the sustainability plan developed by some of us on the WBAI board, working along with other staff and listeners, and in consultation with experts. It calls for planned off-air fundraising to occur in several phases, with each section of the plan generating money to be used for the next steps in the process. (Details can be found at: http://www.wbai.org/dldetail.php?doc=172 ). A copy of 90-day plan can be found at: http://justiceunity.com/joomla34/index.php/platform/402-immediate-fundraising-plan-for-wbai-pay-as-you-go .
WBAI is not the only "problem" Pacifica has and we reject any framing of the issues that suggests such. We believe that the "every-man-for-himself" perspective is not one that will serve the station or Pacifica well. We oppose the break-up of the network even in an "amicable divorce" into stand-alone stations. We will also strongly oppose any sale or signal swap of WBAI.
2. Urgent Appeal to Donate Generously to WBAI
As explained above, WBAI is in an extremely serious crisis. While it will require significant changes to have a BAI that is again vibrant and useful, right now in order to last long enough to implement those changes, we need your help.
The station is in the midst of the Spring Pledge Drive. There are many compelling, educational premiums on important political, historical, and health issues. Please donate as generously as you can, and become a BAI Buddy (monthly sustainer) if you can afford to do so. Those who donate $25 or more become a member entitled to vote in the upcoming elections. You can call 516-620-3602 or go to give2wbai.org.
3. Local Station Board meeting - Thurs., May 19
This month's LSB meeting will be a crucial opportunity to discuss concrete steps to immediately raise funds to deal with the station's financial crisis. Come and bring your input and ways you can help.
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Public Meeting - 7:00-8:30 PM
Theater for the New City - 1st floor, back lobby
155 First Avenue bet. E, 9th and 10th Sts.
(Note: An executive session, closed to the public, will start at 8:30 PM to discuss a confidential personnel matter.)
Take the N or R train to Broadway and 8th Street or the Lexington Avenue #6 train to Astor Place. Walk East to First Avenue on 8th Street/St. Mark's and then uptown a block and a half to Theater for the New City. For more detailed directions, you may want to visit: http://www.theaterforthenewcity.net/directions.htm
The station's dire situation is the worst possible time for 12 members of the Local Station Board to be refusing to attend board meetings -- as the Indy Caucus/ACE folks have now done for four months straight, thus denying the board a quorum to do business. To sign a petition urging them to do their jobs and attend meetings and participate in the rebuilding effort, go to https://www.change.org/p/wbai-indy-ace-board-members-end-phony-boycott-step-up-or-step-aside.
4. Come to Court, Fri., May 20 - 9:30 AM - Indy/ACE suit to subvert election results
At this hearing in NYS Supreme Court in Brooklyn, the lawyer for Steve Brown and Bob Young will try to convince a judge to issue a restraining order against Pacifica, forcing it to seat Kathy Davis instead of Vajra Kilgour on the LSB and install their 4 members who were "elected" in a phony January election onto the PNB. Unhappy that they've lost the majority locally and that they and their allies have been unable to regain a majority nationally, the Indy/ACE folks are upending the network with declarations to courts here and in California of outraged urgency over situations they helped create or have known about for months or years.
Pacifica's lawyer will be there to respond to their unfounded case.
The more of our supporters who can attend, the better.
Fri., May 20 - 9:30 AM
NYS Supreme Court in Brooklyn
360 Adams Street
Courtroom of Judge Knipel (ask in lobby what floor to go to).
(There will be a security scan of bodies and bags, so travel as light as possible.)
Subway: R to Court St.; 2, 3, 4, 5 to Boro Hall; A, C, F to Jay St./Boro Hall;
Bus: Numerous buses stop in the vicinity of the courts. For the number of the bus and the location of the bus stop nearest the building you wish to reach, call the MTA at 718-330-1234.
For background on the case, see:
WBAI Justice and Unity Campaign
Inclusion on all sides of the microphone…
WBAI STRUGGLE – April 2016 Supplemental
From the WBAI Justice & Unity Campaign , www.justiceunity.org
1. Local Station Board Update & Next Meeting: Wed., Apr. 13
2. Station Updates
1. Local Station Board (LSB) Update & Next Meeting
If you’ve been following the developments surrounding the station and waiting for a really important issue to come up, we’re here! WBAI’s income is still not covering the cost of our operation. This cannot be sustained and what can/should be done about that is of pressing urgency. We need a functional board to work outside the system to broaden our footprint and reconnect to area communities and to advocate within the system. We need to survive until we again thrive.
Almost 2 years ago, working with staff, listeners, media experts, and fundraising professionals, J&U authored a plan “Toward a Vibrant, Sustainable WBAI”. Please read it: http://wbai.org/dldetail.php?doc=172
From refusing to accept the responsibility of bylaw-required voting on several previous annual station budgets to now refusing to even show up at meetings since the new 12-12 tie with Justice & Unity does not guarantee their dominance, the Indy Caucus-ACE board members are revealing their disinclination to really engage the issues and do real work. (You can remind them of their duty here: https://www.change.org/p/wbai-indy-ace-board-members-end-phony-boycott-step-up-or-step-aside)
Instead, they’ve launched another round of lawsuits. Pacifica is drowning in payments for the debts, suits, and settlements generated by their and their allies’ actions in the 5 years from 2009 to the national board majority changeover in 2014:
Since the January Local Station Board election results created a 12-12 tie between Justice & Unity and the Indy-ACE group, they have refused to attend board meetings. We need a minimum of 13 members to elect local officers and national representatives and do other business. Their “boycott” prevents any binding action on urgent station problems.
We think that they ran for office and so they should serve or step aside. Below is a petition that urges them to come to the table and also alerts the Pacifica National Board, of which the WBAI LSB is a committee. Please sign it!
In a February 23 letter to the Pacifica National Board (updated version available HERE), the governing body of WBAI's parent foundation, the 12 Justice and Unity local board members requested "action in the face of this continuing emergency." According to the letter, initiated by member Lynne Stewart, the prominent former activist attorney who was the top-vote getter in the recent elections, "One of the opposition was actually overheard saying that there may be no LSB meetings for the next year. Such a we-rule-or-we-ruin ideology has no place in a democratic process….Together we must defeat this attack on the democratically constituted and elected WBAI Local Station Board."
More background on this issue is HERE
We urge you to sign the online petition to tell the 12 Indy Caucus/ACE board members:
Please respect the bylaws and the decisions of the station’s voters and show up and do the work that you were elected to do: Save WBAI.
You can sign on HERE. Spread the word on social media!
The governance board of peace-and-justice radio station WBAI, long split into opposing factions, has been immobilized by one group's boycott of meetings since the January 13 announcement of election results. Because of the boycott, the WBAI Local Station Board (LSB) has been unable to conduct business, even as the station is reeling from a continuing severe deficit and falling paid membership.
The elections by listener and staff members delivered a 12-12 tie between the Justice and Unity Campaign, a multi-racial, anti-racist coalition, and the "Indy Caucus," the latest incarnation of the group (previously called "ACE") that was responsible for firing longtime program director and Black community activist Bernard White in 2009. That move heightened division among staff and alienated a significant portion of the listenership.
Indy/ACE members controlled the board for more than seven years preceding this election; none have appeared at the meetings of the newly reconstituted board.
In a February 23 letter to the Pacifica National Board, the governing body of WBAI's parent foundation (updated version appended below), the 12 Justice and Unity local board members requested "action in the face of this continuing emergency." According to the letter, initiated by member Lynne Stewart, the prominent activist and former attorney who was the top vote-getter in the recent elections, "One of the opposition was actually overheard saying that there may be no LSB meetings for the next year. Such a we-rule-or-we-ruin ideology has no place in a democratic process. . . . Together we must defeat this attack on the democratically constituted and elected WBAI Local Station Board."