Stephen M Brown
I am reposting a message (see email at bottom) from Pacifica National Board Member Cerene Roberts, at her request.
The message is a bit cryptic. But in case anyone is in doubt as to what it means, the translation is this:
Because Pacifica is no longer able to support the cost of operating WBAI (nor can the station support itself), Pacifica is, and has been for some time, negotiating with one or more non-Pacifica entities or persons to take over management of WBAI under a lease-management arrangement. This will give the new operator carte blanche to do whatever it wishes with the signal.
So although WBAI might not be sold (yet), it seems almost certain to be leased.
But that might not be all bad. I would guess that Pacifica will lease to an entity (or person) with impeccable left- or near-left credentials. Therefore, the thrust of the station’s programming can be expected to remain the same, even if the programs themselves may not. There is at least one, and possibly several candidates offering to take over the station, whose names have been mentioned, but since I have not been able to verify either their identities or their offers personally, I will not name them.
There could be a hitch, though. Since the bylaws specify that WBAI must have a local station board, and also that this local station board must have a hand in the selection of management (or at least of the general manager), it will be interesting to see how the PNB and any new lessee will attempt to evade these requirements. And evade them they must, since it is inconceivable that any lessee (in its right mind) would wish to retain current WBAI management, on the one hand, or desire to be hampered in its decisions by the station’s LSB, on the other.
My guess is that, since WBAI’s LSB is (merely) a committee of the PNB, the PNB might simply terminate that committee, and accept the risk, and cost, of fighting off any legal challenges to that termination from whichever WBAI members might choose to make them.
All in all, depending on the character of the future lessee – that is, how bold, how progressive, and how willing it is to advertise the station vigorously to the general public (as no former management ever has) -- the public might ultimately be better served by a new (albeit undemocratic) WBAI management that can pay its bills, instead of by the current management, which cannot. At least the public will have a live WBAI to listen to, presumably dedicated to the Pacifica mission, instead of a dead WBAI, whose signal has been sold off, for big bucks, to Clearwater or some other right-wing commercial entity (as some on the PNB are in favor of, so that they can divide the sale proceeds among their own stations).
Stand by and watch the unfolding of events. For as mere listeners (or staff), watching is about the only thing you will be able to do.
Stephen M Brown
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Cerene Roberts
Sent: Sunday, October 13, 2013 3:54 PM
Subject: [wbailsbfinance] Emissions from the 2 most recent PNB Closed Sessions Please forward this email to the WBAI LSB's open and closed listservs. I am blocked from posting to either and from reading the closed listserv. For your convenience, the addresses are in the cc section above.
On the evening of October 3, 2013, the Pacifica Foundation Radio Board: met in Executive Session to discuss privileged matters pertaining to contract negotiations, and passed the following motion:
The PNB instructs the interim executive director to prepare a release an RFP (Request for Proposals) for Public Service Operating Agreements for WBAI-FM (99.5 FM - NY) for approval at the next meeting of the PNB, with a response date no longer than 30 days after the release of the RFP and the PNB instructs the interim executive director to schedule a conference call with the WBAI Local Station Board in the next 5-7 working days in executive session to discuss responses received to date.
(Editor’s Note: The abovereferenced conference call with the WBAI LSB has yet to be scheduled.)