Can Pacifica cope with young peeps? The Red Wave slate for the WBAI Local Station Board

Red Wave gets the Gezi penguin of approval from PacificaWatch

Can Pacifica cope with the youfff, here we’re talking about people under 35?

We’ll soon find out, because something’s happening in New York. The organisation that benefited most from #feeltheBern was the DSA, the Democratic Socialists of America, a middle-of-the-road social democratic group. They grew perhaps tenfold, & much more in terms of active members. It’s become the principal home in the US of anti-capitalists who aren’t anarchists.

The DSA’s largest chapter is NYC. And they’re in WBAI. A weekly one-hour, drive-time programme, 5pm Tuesdays, Revolutions Per Minute (RPM), is usually hosted by two members, Jack Devine & Lee Ziesche. In fact, it seems to be de facto proprietary – and I’m not talking Pacifica:

NYC-DSA now has a weekly radio program, Revolutions Per Minute on 99.5 WBAI. If you are interested in getting involved come join! There’s room for everyone, no experience necessary!

https://www.socialists.nyc/events/2019/3/21/revolutions-per-minute-monthly-meeting

Seems becomes definitive, the statement heading RPM’s Twitter page:

*The official* radio show and podcast of NYC Democratic Socialists of America @nycDSA. [my emphases]

https://twitter.com/nycRPM

There is no mention of this on their WBAI webpage: https://www.wbai.org/program.php?program=306

That page was augmented today, three links, & a pretty logo.

One link is to the RPM website, which archives the weekly programmes. The inaugural broadcast was M7Jan this year, & it carried an interview with State Senator Julia Salazar, a DSA member, impressively 27-years-old, & more impressively said to be the first socialist in the Senate for well on 100 years (35:31): https://revolutionsperminute.simplecast.com/episodes/january-7th-noamazonnyc. RPM do outreach, having had their first monthly public meeting in March; they also publish a weekly newsletter. The three links: RPM website, http://revolutionsperminute.simplecast.com; their nest, https://twitter.com/nycRPM; & http://bit.ly/rpm-newsletter. [UPDATE: as of Tu27Aug, the logo & three links have been deleted, without explanation, from the programme’s WBAI page. Quite odd.]

Not surprisingly they’ve got a slate of candidates, the Red Wave, in the current WBAI Local Station Board elections.

They have seven listener-candidates & two staff-candidates, here in ranked order: Safia Albaiti, Michael Mordowanec, Charlotte Albrecht, Rosa Palmieri, Simone Norman, Jez Zerbe, & David Torcivia; Jack Devine, & Amy Wilson. (As for the competition, there are 26 verified candidates for the nine listener-seats, & four for the three staff-seats, so Red Wave will win at least one of the latter.) “We’ll have a website up soon with a detailed platform and vision”, in the meantime, https://www.facebook.com/RedWaveWBAI/ & https://twitter.com/RedWaveWBAI (luv the Pisa transmitter, non-Stalinesque socialist realism, in the honest sense). https://airtable.com/shrnu59exwc0rRKad (gives the rankings, & also has a form for email updates from the Red Wave Collective)

A to-&-fro between WBAI listener-candidates featured four of their number, Cdes. Albaiti, Albrecht, Palmieri, & Zerbe. They acquitted themselves well, especially Cde. Albaiti (she is indeed, astutely, ranked #1 on their listener-slate). The video was published this Thursday, 22Aug, on the YouTube channel of National Elections Supervisor Renee Penaloza, & on her website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpYa0DhFGB4 & https://elections.pacifica.org/wordpress/wbai-forum-stephen-finkelstein-david-andersson-dee-dee-halleck-jack-de-palma-jez-zerbe-william-heerwagon-safia-albaiti-rosa-palmieri-charlotte-albrecht/ (snappy URL – it’s ‘Heerwagen’ too). All nine candidates, bar Cde. Palmieri (perversely so, as she’s an actress), have a vid of their one-minute statement at the two sites.

Oddly, not one of their statements mentions that they constitute a slate, nor do they mention each other. Demonstrates they’re new to electioneering. https://elections.pacifica.org/wordpress/wbai-candidate-statements/wbai-listener-statements/ & https://elections.pacifica.org/wordpress/wbai-candidate-statements/wbai-staff-statements/

It’s also surprising that no statement stresses that the candidate isn’t a grandparent or great-grandparent, making the slate a fresh broom for WBAI. This isn’t to be ageist, simply drawing attention to perhaps the biggest persuasive plus they have: voters, one suspects, don’t plumb so much for candidate politics as they do for personal characteristics, & with everyone knowing that Pacifica is getting even older, lots of voters will be pleased that under-40s, even those in their 20s, are running. Letting voters know this will certainly not harm their chances.

If word of their slate spreads, with the positive message that they are part of Pacifica’s & WBAI’s future, they have every chance of getting at least five elected. They really need to hammer home their comparative advantage. The recent past shows that a listener can get elected at WBAI with what seems to be little campaigning. Eve Moser did so with nine votes in the first round of the 4Jan2016 election, out of 920 voting (election report, pages 2 & 56), winning out only in the penultimate round of redistributing the votes (p. 56). https://mega.nz/#!3rxxjAAa!WX4Jz65LkNJC3NYFQyArJwptK1dGX8USofVIq4qRCxM (this substitutes for the public link, broken without notice, presumably by NES Penaloza, c. Mar-June this year, http://elections.pacifica.org/wordpress/wpcontent/uploads/2016/01/UPDATED-13Jan-16-WBAI-Listener-Results-Certification-LetterSimply-Voting.pdf)

Then on 5Mar this year (results certified 18Mar), Hazel Pinder did the same with three such votes, out of 830 voting (other low achievers, likewise getting elected, were Dacio Quintana with five; Michael White, nine; Jim Dingeman, 12; Carolyn McIntyre, 13; & King Downing, 14). You see how even being a parent comes in useful? Remarkably, our Hazel was then elected in the second round, the only candidate to do so, having picked up 88% of Errol Maitland’s 198 redistributed votes! So, sadly, all down to the slate, not Hazel’s magnetism. The first & last rounds of the nominal 2018 pseudo-election: https://mega.nz/#!yz4lEChK!AzaYP0_nv9b30hYQGb3xr3O71DnY7msBracGaajIkhg & https://mega.nz/#!6zxxHajY!J2dOgxN6paySjOENYqugm8A2hMBAdwkXKjY0lnxaCaM

Redistributed votes. The Pacifica voting system meant that March this year, for the WBAI listener pseudo-election, once one got 60 votes one got elected, be it the first round, the 25th round. (For the staff, it was 17 votes.) And how many in the NYC chapter of DSA? . . . “5 500+”. (At the 19Nov2018 ‘record date’, there were 6 806 WBAI listener-members & 177 staff.) https://www.socialists.nyc/ & https://mega.nz/#!fyAwGICZ!-4uWYMHZW3CHxt6yCOITu006SVZ4AyNPjT9bWw6csb0 (Election Final Report 2018, pp. 7-9, 9, 1, 19; in Stalinist style, no longer publicly available on a Pacifica site – with Pacifica, its pervasive & entrenched anti-transparency culture, integral to its unthinking common sense, download written records whilst you can!)

On Monday, 19Aug, Red Wave had an intro to Pacifican morality, having to issue a denial statement because the dastardly Steve Brown had put their candidates as endorsers on one of his mailers. A leopard never changes its spots; a slug never loses its slime. Did he ever know Jeff, one may wonder? https://www.facebook.com/notes/red-wave-wbai/red-wave-statement-on-the-stephen-brown-endosement-mailer/113899156636566/

Red Wave have set things up nicely, giving the WBAI members a test. How will they respond to the shock of the new, the shock of the youfff?

Will the Red Wave sweep all before it? Or will it be dammed, reduced to a ripple?

Can WBAI cope with this injection of youfff?

Or will WBAI carry on, undisturbed, confirmed & contented in its alienation, as if #feeltheBern never happened?

WBAI is fortunate to be presented with this opportunity, for Red Wave to bring a two-generation shift to the LSB. But will it be a step too far for the WBAI members?

This is a test of Pacifica’s capacity to change with the times, to embrace a harbinger of the future.

What transpires will be a portent, evidence of Pacifica’s capacity to re-new.

Whither Pacifica?

And the Gezi Park penguin graffito? There are very few green spaces, let alone parks, in much of Istanbul, population c. 20m, especially in the built-up retail areas. Gezi was to be destroyed, turned into shops & a barracks (where’s the surprise). People protested. When the rioting police moved in at 1am, Su2June2013, CNN International covered the attacks live; CNN Türk carried on showing their documentary, Penguins: Spy in the Huddle, starring 50 spycams. (Would have brought a smile to the face of Gil Scott-Heron.) Penguin graffiti ensued, along with a popular chant, responding to a police supply problem: ‘the people demand the old tear gas’.

Pacifica’s strategic plan: Peter Lorre, Vincent Price, ‘The Comedy of Terrors’ allegory

. . . Pacifica has its peculiar way of surviving: the necro-economics of the golden corpses . . .

✞ ☦ ✞ ☦ ✞ ☦ ✞ ☦ ✞ ☦ ✞ ☦ ✞ ☦ ✞ ☦ ✞

The Comedy of Terrors. Vincent Price plays an undertaker; Peter Lorre, his assistant. Business is slow; creditors at his door. The Vladimir question: what is to be done? Bingo! Increase demand: raise the death rate. So Vince & Pete take to the night, murdering. Then, being in the neighbourhood, they offer their services to the bereaved. Problem solved.

Pacifica is a radio network. Income evaporating, having halved over the decade; creditors at its door. What’s saving Pacifica is corpses. Golden corpses, the bequests. But there can never be enough, can there? Especially with cashflow being so acute.

So have a heart. Think of others.

Do your lil bit for the network.

Auto; assist. Same-same. It’s all good.

Do it for The Mission.

Do it for Lew.

Trailer, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ARUKfGB6wc; full film, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7MOFfqxBvk (the ESRT moment, 7:56; the PNB Strategic Planning Cttee moment, 12:25; the plan is implemented again, applied to the ESRT problem, 30:20; the Pacifica premiums scam moment, 53:52). Putting an end to interminable fund-drives: pacific termination with extreme prejudice.

The main Facebook group, ‘Pacifica Radiowaves – past, present and future of Pacifica Radio’

[UPDATE: I was mistaken in calling this the main FB group on Pacifica: as of 11Sep, it has c. 390 members, whereas Pacifica Radio Supporters has c. 840.] Below is my inaugural post, made today, at [one of] the main Pacifica group on Facebook, Pacifica Radiowaves – past, present and future of Pacifica Radio. For readers here the post is banal, merely a repetition, but the FB group seems to be a noticeboard, a lil sleepy, undisturbed by discussion: even so, last month, Don Davis, warmed by a pleasant, minor disagreement, was moved to say, “I for one am glad to see threads of substance on this page at long last”.

Somewhat surprisingly, the FB group, on W26June, had leaked Pacifica documents, notably the loan agreement borrowing $3.7m from the Foundation for the Jewish Community, FJC, signed by iED Tom Livingston & President Lorin Silverman on M2Apr2018. At the time of the leak, the group was co-administered by Nalini Lasiewicz & Chair of the Pacifica board, Grace Aaron. The latter left her FB post a week or so after becoming iED during the evening of F5July, after successfully engineering, over many, many weeks, the ousting of ED Maxie Jackson – please see https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/08/01/administrative-measures-not-open-discussion-the-pacifica-way/.

I obviously wanted to thank the poster of the documents, & make substantive comments on what, unbelievably, has even been kept from the many non-directors on the PNB Finance Cttee, these including all five station treasurers! Yes, the PNB majority has chosen for 16 months now to prevent the Finance Cttee making fully informed rational decisions concerning Pacifica’s future, to prevent all the Cttee members discharging their fiduciary duty, as required by California corporation law. One can’t be a dutiful trustee, a diligent servant, when kept in wilful ignorance by the information gatekeepers, one’s ostensible colleagues.

However, in order to comment in this FB group one needs to be a member, & so I applied the same day, W26June. After a long silence, then more silence after two FB messages, finally last Monday, on 12Aug, after almost seven weeks, Comrade Nalini finally welcomed me – speaking as if I’d asked the same day. Gracias, caudillo. Who couldn’t love ‘the Pacifica family’?

P.S. My open letter referred iED Vernile to the deficiencies of the public Pacifica financial reports archive, noting to him that this blog had all the missing material, bar a single page. Even 15 days later, Pacifica’s archive lacks three auditor’s reports – FY2006, 2009, 2010 – & FY2011 is sneakily hiding behind the FY2009 ‘button’. C’est la vie.

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Hi, all. By way of intro, here’s an open letter to Pacifica’s new executive director, John Carlo Vernile. Haven’t had a reply yet, nor even an acknowledgement – so much for the Pacifica ‘fam’. https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/08/04/open-letter-to-pacifica-executive-director-john-vernile-what-s-your-plan-why-s-maxie-gone/

We’re lucky to finally have a music corporate careerist with us, who can devise a comprehensive strategic plan to bring stability to our failing network. It’s what we need after the ousting of that experienced radio professional, Maxie Jackson. After all, he’d only been making progress in laying a sound foundation.

With Vernile, will our decision-makers systematically allow technique to flourish at Pacifica? They certainly crushed Maxie as soon as they could.

Rationally, intent & action should spring from evidence- & argument-based communications science, not from tradition, prejudice, & hearsay. Pacifica needs to transform from a broadcaster focused on radios to an audio content provider focused on digital devices [emphases added].

Nevertheless, Pacifica is likely to muddle thru, sustained by the necro-economics of the golden corpses, the bequests. Yes, appropriately distasteful – & true in both senses.

Pacifica Financial Recovery Plan – 28Feb2012, not today

This is the first of a series of documents, drawing attention to the sort of work that Pacifica’s national decision-makers not only used to produce but were also happy to share with all members, staff, & the listening public more generally. As these documents show, the current decision-makers fail both tests.

Some Pacifica officials have ideas, as shown by the public sessions of PNB sub-cttees, but there are hardly any arguments, certainly not evidence-based, & certainly nothing that shows that either individual or collective research has taken place – not even the first necessary step, a perfunctory literature review, showing some awareness of the sciences of both programme production & delivery, & how to relate to, ‘to serve’, one’s audience, the famed ‘community’. Saying that the PNB keeps trying to re-invent the wheel is overstating even their intent: they’re idling, not even re-creating. The desperate question persists, one never asked by any Pacifica decision-maker: why?

This first document is the Pacifica Financial Recovery Plan of 28Feb2012. It was written by the Financial Recovery & Audit Taskforce. Headings used: the problem; increasing revenue; maintaining subscribers; increasing audience; digital distribution/mobile device access; e-commerce; controlling expenses; conclusion. The range of relevant areas, this alone, displays an adequacy of conceptualisation missing from any PNB public discussion occurring since the 2Apr2018 signing for the $3.7m loan, now reduced to $3.265m, from the Foundation for the Jewish Community, FJC. The document is 10 pages long.

https://mega.nz/#!emgXjaYA!JrZeD6CTN26XyDWSc-ZoNoTWAiD__dGef6buW5uYTpM (click the magnifying glass to read online, without having to download)

Two excerpts: the causes, the expectation.

The causes, second line of the summary:

The deficits were a product of many factors, among them declining listener support, failure to make programming changes to retain and grow listenership, and poor management of our budgets and financial reserves, both on the national and local station levels.

Yea, the sun riseth each morn.

The expectation, first line of the conclusion:

With the above strategies in place to increase revenue and control expenses Pacifica expects to pay off debts and become financially stable within 5 years, 2012 – 2016.

Pious wish.

This plan is dated Feb2012. Seven-and-a-half years ago. At the time, a run of five years of successive losses. Instead of ‘the expectation’ there was this realisation: five more years of successive audited losses, thru FY2016; then the 2017 audit that demonstrated that those year’s financial statements, in not being supported by adequate documentation, are in effect worthless (& so can’t be relied upon by potential donors); & there’s every chance that the FY2018 auditors will come to the same conclusion whenever it is this year, now that NETA, in the person of the iCFO, announced to the latest PNB, Th1Aug, that they’ve ditched the pretence of a timeline. The FY2019 audit, the first of financial statements for which NETA have also done the bookkeeping, will presumably be a ‘clean’ audit, that is, the auditors issue an unmodified opinion. Which is progress.

(The latest, vaguest of vague, public iCFO report on the FY2018 accounts, by Tamra Swiderski, in effect recognises the hopelessness of the state of the financial records & supporting evidence, as NETA try to develop the trial balance into the two principal financial statements for evaluation by the auditors – please see the quote, & the Audit Cttee Chair’s unjustified silence, at https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/07/18/pacifica-annual-auditor-s-reports/.)

With all five Spring Fund-drives failing this year, & with no PNB-approved budgets guiding station financial decision-making, despite any sizeable bequests it’s only prudent, & so rational, to expect another loss this year. So, given the evidence, no-one doubts that thru FY2019, on top of the situation detailed in the Feb2012 report, this will be eight more years of successive losses, making the run 13 years, from 1Oct2006 to 30Sep2019.

And the response at the top, the directors supposedly directing? The PNB has proved unwilling to ‘bite the bullet’, to be rational about Pacifica’s financial crisis – so much so that it proved unable to accept that technique, as personified by ED Maxie Jackson, has any place in the work that has to be done. The PNB majority demands a supplicant, not a radio professional.

When a decision-making body has consistently proven both unwilling & unable to respond adequately to an obdurate chronic financial crisis, acute except when meliorated by a golden corpse, its members don’t deserve to be there.

Pacifica = the necro-economics of the golden corpses

But will the current LSB pseudo-elections, voting starting next Thursday, results due F1Nov (sic), usher in the necessary change? Hold your breath, then expire – but only after writing in that bequest. Forget those joke write-in votes, this is a serious matter, deadly serious: Pacifica’s life depends on you, Pacifica’s life depends on your death.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(Nagasaki Remembrance Day . . . 11.02am local time, mass murder from 5½ miles up)

Ever wondered what those disembodied voices look like?

This is #5 of the running commentary on the 2019 pseudo-election. The need for the qualifying prefix is explained there: https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/07/19/2019-lsb-elections-are-another-pseudo-election-no-public-evidence-that-elector-rolls-materially-accurate/

Ever wondered what those disembodied voices come from, what the decision-makers look like? Well, Pacifica now has the answer – maybe the only one it has.

Pacifica has hardly publicised it, but an elections YouTube channel was created in July 2015. Oddly, it’s named ‘National Election [sic] Supervisor 2019’ although it carries vids for both the current pseudo-election & the one voted on earlier this year, the nominal 2018 pseudo-election. (Note that these older candidate discussion vids, some chaired by NES Renee Penaloza, are packaged away in playlists; not dated, but the aesthetic is noticeably different.)

As of W7Aug, the channel has nine subscribers, & has had 1 298 views; this compares with Pacifica having c. 46k members (also, the enfranchised at the last staff elections numbered 978). The channel has 81 vids: 60 one-minute candidate statements (some are discarded edits), & 21 discussions between candidates (12 from this pseudo-election, nine from the last). Since the weekend, the curator has helpfully aggregated most of the vids as 13 topical playlists.

The discussions, in Pacificanese, are candidate forums, bringing together between two & five wanabee delegates, the Pacificanese for those sitting on the local station board. These pseudo-elections, for each station, are for nine listener-seats & three staff-seats, so half the board.

The number of verified candidates, published by the NES on the elections website, has been reduced by five. Originally 128 were declared: 105 listeners (16 KPFA, 23 KPFK, 21 KPFT, 13 WPFW, 32 WBAI), & 23 staff (6 KPFA, 5 KPFK, 4 KPFT, 4 WPFW, 4 WBAI). As of W7Aug, the only changes in the figures concern listener-candidates: up by two at WPFW; & down by seven, two at KPFK (one being the LSB Chair until March this year), one at KPFT, & four at WBAI.

No explanations have been offered by the NES, & a report is long due: there were six in seven weeks, but nothing in the last eight weeks, nothing since Th13June. [UPDATE: a report, undated, was finally published on what seems to be W28Aug.] This fact has not been mentioned in any public PNB meeting. Queen Grace the First, who ousted King Maxie the Third, has displayed no displeasure. Obviously not a problem for her & her minions. However, the silence does not inspire confidence in either NES Penaloza or, more importantly, the electoral process. All reports are work-in-progress, & there has been progress, not least the verifying of the candidates. Puzzling.

Here on the YouTube silver screen are the Paccywood stars of 2019:

KPFA listeners (16 verified candidates, 11 discussants as of W7Aug): Marilla Arguelles, Fred Cook, Lily Kimura, Mantra Plonsey, & Mark Van Landuyt https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uF4dRjuVRo (in-vid caption has ‘Arguiles’, 1:57)

Craig Dunkerley, Christina Huggins, & Akio Tanaka https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7zZXqHCLPk (in-vid caption has ‘Dunklerly’, 4:37)

Marilyn Langlois, Andrea Turner, & Carol Wolfley https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smOozi_CxpQ (did Carol edit this? The vid is 31:16, & the in-vid caption of her name pops up four times before any other candidate’s, monopolising over ⅔ of the vid, before Marilyn’s makes an appearance at 21:39! But of course Carol’s comes next, & with less than five mins to go Andrea’s finally makes a showing. Fair’s fair. The last three are Andrea, then Marilyn, with Carol finishing off, just in case we’d forgotten her name. Unbelievable. Who are these people who reproduce Pacifica, day after day?)

KPFA staff (6 candidates, 2 discussants): Ann Garrison & Steve Zeltzer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBhzZ-qMCg8

KPFK listeners (21, 10): Michael Atkins, Doug Barnett, & Eric Jacobson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpUZ7VvBVyA (misdescribed at YT as ‘KPFA’. The three KPFK listener vids all lack in-vid captions: they were the first discussions to be published, M5Aug)

Jaime Gomez, Jim Osborne, Paul Roberson, & Elizabeth von Gunten https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c5qvk4E-mI (however, Jaime isn’t listed as a verified candidate at the NES’ website, & has no statement there; YT has ‘Jamie’, & ‘van’)

Ralph Hawkins, Barbara Marbach, & Robert Payne https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymUTbWfkfsU

KPFK staff (5, 0): none

KPFT listeners (20, 11): Anisa Faruqi & Nancy Saibara-Naritomi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NByajQCLvsM (YT has ‘Naitomi’)

Robert Gartner, Paula Miller, Rick Pothoff, Ted Weisgal, & Vaniecia Williams https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=za5fwn0sMlc (in-vid caption has ‘Garner’, 3:14; ditto has ‘Vaneicia’, 4:05, & the vid’s title too; the elections site has ‘Potthoff’ but KPFT LSB minutes consistently give ‘Pothoff’)

Raka Ghosh & Susie Moreno https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZ9diZxHumI

Deb Shafto & Richard Uzzell https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_f0GnuISYw

KPFT staff (4, 4 – bingo!): Lilian Guttinger Care, Wally James, Mike Lewis, & Sandy Weinmann https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU0-00pP5aM (YT has ‘Lillian’)

WPFW listeners (15, 0): none (nor any candidate statements, maybe camera shy)

WPFW staff (4, 0): none (nor any candidate statements)

WBAI listeners (28, 0!): none (but lots of candidate statements)

WBAI staff (4, 0): none (but some candidate statements)

Somewhat worrying, given that the NES is responsible for the accuracy of the elector rolls, & for practising basic human respect, is the number of misspelt names, nine, for 38 people, a 24% error rate – and that’s just the names. Why am I not surprised?

How did Maxie miss this talent?

There was me, being a lil sceptical about Ms Aaron’s abilities. She really does have an eye for talent. Talent, along with best practices, watchwords of the dearly departed Maxie Jackson. Ms Aaron, with no history of radio management, radio achievement, radio network success, really does know how to surround herself with the right people.

Here, on audio, is captured Ms Aaron’s first appointment. In full flow. The interim General Manager of KPFT, Houston. On his first day. Mr Jack Valinski. This evening, Jack was the first guest on ‘his’ show, Queer Voices, where until a week ago he’d been exec producer, for over 17 years.

But tonight Jack showed why he’s stepped up. And now Jack says he’s trying to prove himself as station manager, as at the mo he only has the ‘interim’ label, you understand. Don’t worry, Jack, the way you lay it on the line here, you’ve clearly got all the talent, all the technique, all the best practices needed to succeed in today’s Pacifica.

When Jack was vetted by Ms Aaron it was obviously his ideas on ‘the vision thing’ that clinched the job (2:10, 11:17). Here is Jack’s big interview, 4:30 – 25:51. Too many highlights even to list, so please enjoy the full KPFT experience:

https://mega.nz/#!DrIHBY5Z!o8j-mUPSgJz-thJwPPI0eYgiXnsuTArg1iH-Ngv6g-c (26:13, 12 MB, the archive’s original 64 KBps); temporarily, with same timestamps, in these station archives: https://archive.kpft.org & https://kpft.org/programming/newstalk/queer-voices/

Another intern – sorry, interim – is the executive director, Mr John Vernile. His job’s been made a lot easier with Ms Aaron’s judicious elevation of Jack. Texas is all sown up now. John won’t have to get his hands around the Houston issues, & take a deep dive into the options. (I know John’s from the music industry, but in the age of #MeToo he’d better be careful with his catchphrases.)

All this leaves Jack hardly able to contain himself, like Willy Wonka on meth, as he’s left alone to devise his multi-dimensional integrated plan for the station. That vision thing, again.

The surrealness of it all was unintentionally captured with the outgoing music, The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy. Pure genius. Enjoy these 20 minutes of Jack at his most impressive.

Thank Allah we’ve got Ms Aaron, Pacifica’s living, breathing deity.

Remind me, what was all that fuss about, some Maxie guy or someone, right?

Open letter to Pacifica Executive Director John Vernile: what’s your plan? why’s Maxie gone?

4 August 2019

Subject: The intensifying Pacifica crisis; & the financials archive at pacifica.org

Dear Mr Vernile,

You arrive at a momentous time for Pacifica. The majority of the directors has chosen to reject rationality, in this case, to reject technique. It has chosen to halt the initiative that was underway to create the multi-dimensional necessary & sufficient conditions that can arrest Pacifica’s decline, thereby bringing stability, this as preparation for allowing the network to improve & grow. This initiative was designed, monitored, & managed by Executive Director Maxie Jackson.

Not surprisingly, a public discussion of Pacifica’s irrationality is underway. For example, Ken Mills, a well-known radio professional, published three posts in the space of eight days. One of these posts was visited over 3 000 times within four days. This is public news amongst radio professionals. This is not Pacifica gossip. (For your convenience, one of the posts, that even refers to you, with photo: http://acrnewsfeed.blogspot.com/2019/07/what-its-like-to-work-for-grace-aaron.html.)

When you are better acquainted with the evidence, I’m sure you’ll agree that it was a serious mistake to oust Executive Director Maxie Jackson. And, unfortunately, not least for your own tenure, the consequences are not going away any time soon.

This is the situation you have become part of, & irretrievably so. But mitigation can be made. 

You are currently touring the stations, gathering information, hopefully knowledge. When you have devised your own evidence-based initiative, stated as your plan, the one to be implemented during your six-month tenure, I would very much appreciate you sending me a copy. As you know, being transparent helps make it possible for decision-makers, such as yourself, to be judged in an informed way by Pacifica members, staff, listeners, & others. It also helps generate confidence in your tenure.

The Pacifica Foundation has, bafflingly, chosen not to explain why Executive Director Maxie Jackson is no longer at his post. No-one believes he simply resigned, that he simply gave up. The air needs to be cleared. Honesty needs to be nailed to the Pacifica mission statement, in furtherance of its “educational purposes”. Confidence in your tenure, at this crucial early stage, will be raised if you are able to bring openness here. Pacifica members, staff, & listeners deserve to know the truth. I beseech you to do your best endeavours, if only for your own sake, making your job easier, earning respect through your action.

Finally, I want to raise a National Office matter. I do so with you because an email page or address for ‘National Office’ isn’t at pacifica.org, & you are the principal administrator of the Foundation.

I’m glad that, at last, the financials webpages of pacifica.org are being improved. However, there are a number of deficiencies, currently displayed, that may inadvertently be left there: they include the absence of auditor’s reports; & a crucial page missing from another of these reports, the auditor’s narrative. The deficiencies are listed in a post at PacificaWatch: https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/07/18/pacifica-annual-auditor-s-reports/.

All users of these webpages will look forward to the completion of this improvement. Not an immediate priority, but a review should be made of the utility of all Pacifica websites. And wider still, an evaluation of Pacifica’s attempt to communicate using the internet. Yes, the Pacifica radio network needs an evidence-based communications strategy.

Yours sincerely,

Jara Handala

Administrative measures, not open discussion – the Pacifica way

[This is a comment, sent in four parts, to Ken Mills’ blog, Spark News, on Th1Aug, published the next day. It remarked upon his F26July post, ‘What its like to work for Grace Aaron, Chair of the Pacifica National Board’ (yes, there’s a sic in there) http://acrnewsfeed.blogspot.com/2019/07/what-its-like-to-work-for-grace-aaron.html. I’d made a few comments there recently, & I was waiting for others to join in. A few did. As I had three points to make, I decided to send it to Mr Mills. The post here carries a few alterations, importantly correcting the declaration date of the nominal 2018 pseudo-election results: it happened M18Mar2019. For convenience, at the end of the piece, is a list, with links, of Mr Mills’ three posts on the Maxie Jackson disaster.]

Unfortunately there was little discussion here, so I don’t think I’ll be hogging things if I make three points: the Drew Precedent; choosing not a rational course, but administrative measures; & fermenting instability.

1) The Drew Precedent The end of Maxie Jackson’s first month delivered a stark warning of what he had let himself in for. He witnessed a considered, evidenced judgment, by an experienced & knowledgeable professional, being trampled into the dust by the Pacifica National Board (PNB). Why? It was simply politically inconvenient.

Pacifica were due for local station board elections (LSB’s) in late 2018, so iED Tom Livingston had hired Drew North Consulting to act as the National Elections Supervisor (NES). A company. Professional. “Our election teams are led by Graeme Drew, Certified Electoral Officer[,] whose experience includes general elections, by-elections, special elections, and membership ratification processes involving referendum votes to adopt Custom Election Codes, Land Codes, De-Annexation Agreements, Impact Benefit Agreements, and Constitutional Frameworks.” For Pacifica, this was a high-risk choice. http://www.drewnorth.com/ (‘Elections’ tab)

Sure enough, it soon ended in tears.

Mr Drew & his team started work, in the Pacifica National Office & the five stations. They soon found what the reality was, & it halted them in their tracks: on M29Oct, he found himself with no alternative but to terminate the election. Why?

The 10 elector rolls, listener & staff for each of the five stations, are principally derived from the c. 46k membership records – and these had proved inadequate. (Station staff rolls are largely derived from employment records.) The membership records weren’t materially accurate: lapsed members included; current members excluded; out-of-date contact details; & inadequate supporting evidence, of donations made, & of volunteer timesheets. Through a lack of maintenance, the records had become corrupted. The membership list was, in a word, corrupt. Damningly, this meant that the eligibility of not one candidate could be verified: “I am unable to reliably verify any of the applicants for candidacy due to the poor quality of elector lists” (his final, leaked, report to the PNB, Tu30Oct, page 2, my emphasis). He also determined that there was no prospect of this being remedied any time soon – as I’m sure we can all imagine. http://www.mediafire.com/file/s8eu60d26b3ame9/Pacifica_2018_NES_Final_Report.pdf/file

The most basic building block was absent. The process had self-destructed. Logically, he terminated the election process. After all, if a NES is empowered to declare a certification of the election results, just as logically they are empowered to declare a self-destruction of the election process. And this he was about to do.

He told the PNB in his Tu30Oct report that, “I plan to announce the end of the 2018 election on Wednesday, October 31, 2018” (p. 3). PNB Chair Nancy Sorden (WPFW, in DC) called an emergency private PNB meeting for that evening. The PNB majority chose to ignore the considered, evidenced judgment of the elections professional: they wanted voting to happen – any voting.

For the defenders of the Pacifica secrecy culture, trying to end something, that’s one thing; telling the public, quite another.

That meeting instructed Maxie to hire a new NES. The next day Mr Drew resigned. A pseudo-election took place, results declared 18Mar2019. Currently underway is another pseudo-election, for the other half of the seats of the five LSB’s. Sham elections because no evidence has ever been publicly presented showing that the membership list, & the derived electoral rolls, are no longer corrupt. The PNB majority feel they don’t have to reassure anyone, least of all the members.

So, unbeknown at the time, the Drew treatment set a precedent for Maxie. He had seen, in his first month, how professional judgment gets the Pacifica treatment. But he wasn’t cowered. He consistently defended professional standards. And so, over the subsequent months, hearing the wrong news, the core of the PNB majority planned, then engineered, the ousting of ED Maxie Jackson. If Pacifica is really good at one thing, this is it.

2) Choosing not a rational course, but administrative measures The Aaron Machine spent a lot of time & effort ousting Maxie. People working unpaid. Giving up their spring & summer evenings. Plus all those Skype preparation calls. Week after week . . . after week. Committed. Motivated. Determined. True dedication.

The proximate context is captured well by Ken’s audio compilation above, of excerpts from the exchange between Maxie & Grace, at the Tu19Mar2019 PNB Programming Cttee. Probably not a defining moment, but illustrative. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cw4asLVnet4

So what did they do?

Within a month, the wheels were in motion, ready to grind. The five-person PNB Personnel Cttee hadn’t met in Feb & Mar. But it was awoken from its slumber. And put to work. Starting Tu16Apr, it met each & every week, for 12 weeks. The last five meetings, from M3June, were all in private. M1July everything was ready, agreeing its ED evaluation report for the PNB. The next evening, the PNB ousted Maxie. Friday, he left his job. Sorted.

If Pacifica’s good at anything, this is it. (Yes, it bears repeating. Pacifica rarely gets complimented these days. Have a heart.)

[I should have included this in the original comment, now added here, F2Aug: Note, whilst doing the important business, nine FCC violations were committed: a written explanation to the public hadn’t been given as to why nine deliberative sessions had been private (this had only been done for those on 3June & 1July). Law requires that this occur “within a reasonable period of time”; the CPB’s own requirement is “within 10 days after each closed meeting”. Too late to be remedied, then. Par for the course, really. (Communications Act of 1934, §396(k)(4); page 216 https://transition.fcc.gov/Reports/1934new.pdf, & https://www.cpb.org/stations/certification/closed-meetings)]

Much politics is not so much conflict resolution as it is conflict pacification. Suppressing the unacceptable. The Pacifica way is not evidence, but belief. Not open discussion, but secret manoeuvre. Not persuasion, but brute force. Not rational argument, but administrative practice.

This is the Pacifica set-up. And the final element used in deciding the fate of this radio professional, a technician, knowledgeable & experienced, is a bedrock of Pacifica governance, the silent hands, the cttee members who say nothing, & prevent someone else occupying their seat, but who, crucially, vote with The Dear Leader. Pyongyang has captured Pacifica. One may as well call it the Pyongyang Foundation, Inc.

All this was too much for a woman of honour, Maskeelah Washington (WPFW). She had protested, in the public sessions, about the lengths being gone to by ‘the evaluation’. She resigned from the Personnel Cttee, & also as a director of Pacifica. Her last public attendance as a director was at the Th27June PNB, as it was for Maxie. Neither appeared at the next public PNB meeting, Th11July. As is normal in a secret society, Maskeelah’s resignations have not been announced publicly by Pacifica, not in writing, not orally. This means Maskeelah has never been thanked publicly for her service to the members & listeners. Her name was simply removed, without explanation, from lists. Name . . . delete. People just disappear in PacificaWorld.

Given this, is there any surprise that a blog like PacificaWatch, rooted in evidence, was started the evening Maxie’s ousting was announced by Grace, at the Th18July PNB? https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/

3) Fermenting instability The email to the PNB from the KPFK station manager, Anyel Zuberi Fields, that Ken kindly published, rightly focused on the further creation of instability. That has been exacerbated by two appointments, announced on M22 & M29July: John Vernile as Pacifica’s iED, & Jack Valinski as iGM of KPFT in Houston. 2 (JV), with the hyperbolic intent of (JV)².

Vernile has been a corporate careerist, in music, with Sony & EMI: Pacifica has presented no evidence that he’s ever headed a failed & failing organisation, let alone a radio network, nor that he’s succeeded in ever stabilising one. I say that, rather than turning one around, because he’s on a six-month contract – according to Jan Goodman, still Chair of the PNB Personnel Cttee, the one that delivered Maxie to the slab (Su21July KPFK LSB, 3:40, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/kpfk/190721/kpfk190721b.mp3).

As I said in another comment, the swiftness of his appointment shows that he’d already been lined up. And, politically, he would have been carefully chosen: Grace, having waited for over a decade to have the chance to become executive director, won’t be dislodged that easily. In fact, there’s every chance she pushed through Vernile’s temporary appointment because he’s happy to be a silent partner, relying on her knowledge of Pacifica, & she’ll be more than happy to do the work, poking her nose into each & every station. She’ll rope in her confidants, as subordinates, functioning as a collective shadow ED, call it Pacifica’s de facto executive cttee – pushing the PNB further away from where the decisions are actually made. In fact, surprise, surprise, when they can’t find a permanent ED, maybe Vernile extends, or Grace becomes iED again. Either way, there’s going to be no regime change any time soon. Just like with the son of the real Dear Leader.

But stability at the top won’t trickle down, because performance is not determined by agreement amongst friends but by the quality of radio output: do people want to listen, & then donate? Deteriorating performance is the fundamental cause of the instability that GM Fields wants to end. And in this, sadly, the PNB majority is an obdurate obstacle.

Turning to this Monday’s communique, the KPFT iGM hiring, its content is revealing – in what it left out. No mention of the LSB. They’re mandated to draw up a shortlist for the ED, who chooses the lucky one (by-law 7.3B). https://pacifica.org/indexed_bylaws/art7sec3.html So, had they done this? The silence poses four questions concerning her well-known dispositions: another example of Aaron’s authoritarianism?; of her willingness to steamroller by-laws when they get in the way?; of her disposition to misjudge politically?; &, dangerously, an example of her willingness to knowingly create more turbulence, this time in a locality? https://pacifica.org/documents/kpft_jack_valinski_190729.pdf

KPFT has no recent series of Nielsen ratings. But internally there is longitudinal evidence. Recently, membership has fallen precipitously: 25% in less than 2½ years, from 5 736 to 4 294 (the election record dates of 30June2016 & 19Nov2018 – National Elections Supervisor’s final report, 18Mar2019, pp. 19 & 17). And the LSB, highly factionalised for many years, split into two in early Jan this year. They met separately – and had never been happier. But now they’re back in the same room, &, perversely, keeping radio silence, with none of the last four meetings recorded & put in the Pacifica meetings archive. They can’t be happy bunnies, can they? So Pacifica’s default secrecy mode kicks in. http://elections.pacifica.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Pacifica-Election-Final-Report-2018-by-RAP-1-1.pdf

Into this Valinski has been thrown. But actually he’s part of the furniture: exec producer of ‘his’ show for 20 years. So he’ll have made lots of friends – and enemies. In a highly factionalised station, when ‘national’ recruits from within it sends the strongest signal of intent: war will be waged in the localities. Such as this, GM Fields was warning against. Maybe his own days are numbered.

To sum up Pacifica, fuelled by bequests, & with the iCFO skilfully judging which creditor to pay next, not least the $3.265m owed to the Foundation for the Jewish Community (FJC), the current structure is plain for all to see:

Pacifica = zombie radio + necro-economics

4) What does all this mean for any radio professional thinking of working for Grace Aaron? This isn’t personalising the matter because this is the substantive reality, a pigheaded authoritarianism that is based on belief, not upon radio knowledge, least of all upon radio success. Maxie was trying to create the conditions allowing Pacifica to turn itself around. The Board stopped him. What is any new ED at Pacifica supposed to do? What sort of radio professional will take the job? Does it really have to be someone who doesn’t really care, content to do whatever it takes to keep their job? Seems so. Rationally, that’s all that’s possible.

The ousting of Maxie proves that under this Pacifica Board there is no place for technique, no place for rationality.

Inverting what’s just been said leads to a highly disturbing question, one that any radio professional taking the ED job will have to live with: why does the Board majority, by its actions, let alone its inactions, not want Pacifica to improve?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[For convenience, here are Ken Mills’ three posts on the Maxie Jackson disaster. They were provoked by iED Chair Grace Aaron publicly announcing, for the first time, that Maxie had “resigned”. No: he was ousted. She was addressing the Th18July PNB (13:18, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb190718/pnb190718a.mp3).

[As an insight into how Pacifica works, it’s worth saying that even the writing up of a draft agenda can betray how crafty the praetorian guard can be. Presumably so as not to draw attention to the livestream, ‘iED report’ didn’t appear in the draft agenda published on the meetings website, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb190718/pnb190718_6125_agenda.pdf. But the draft would have struck one as odd because Maxie isn’t listed as an expected attendee, & there’s no mention of an ED report. Yes, Kremlinology, Pyongyangology, they’ve now transmuted into Pacificaology. (Apologies to the cacao.)]

Mr Mills’ posts:

F19July ‘Maxie Jackson out as Pacifica executive director’ http://acrnewsfeed.blogspot.com/2019/07/maxie-jackson-out-as-pacifica-executive.html (as of F2Aug, two comments – a two-parter of mine, the points made being incorporated in this blog’s inaugural ‘Welcome!’ post, https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/07/18/welcome/)

M22July ‘Pacifica alert: Maxie Jackson is out & Grace Aaron has taken over’ http://acrnewsfeed.blogspot.com/2019/07/pacifica-alert-maxie-jackson-is-out.html (five comments – including a two-parter of mine, posted here as https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/07/24/maxie-jackson-pacifica-the-politics-of-technique-a-tragedy-for-both/)

F26July ‘What its like to work for Grace Aaron, Chair of the Pacifica National Board’ http://acrnewsfeed.blogspot.com/2019/07/what-its-like-to-work-for-grace-aaron.html (five comments – including my above four-parter. Mr Mills re-posted his piece later that day; as of F2Aug that has no comments.)

Remembering that Pacifica has lost its sense of humour: Twit Wit Radio

From the weeks leading up to the Trumpanzee taking the crown, probably the first of two:

. . . tweet . . . tweet . . . tweet . . . tweet . . . tweet . . . tweet . . . tweet . . . tweet . . . tweet . . .

No explanation has ever been given for the unforgivable axing of this programme, the funniest on Pacifica.

The complete absence of a sense of humour also meant that the KPFA admin excised this multi-year programme from the archive. Satire never loses its bite. So a back-handed compliment – one we could do without.

(Apologies to TR: please consider it a re-twit.)